Before it’s all-in on family time and office parties, plan a festive feast with friends where you leave the cooking to the pros. Remember to book well in advance though, because ‘Tis The Season for full restaurants, many whose private dining and party rooms are booked so there’s no option for overflow seating. Saturday evenings at many of these picks book weeks in advance.  If you are using OpenTable and have a party of 6 or more, it’s almost always better to just go on and call the restaurant to see when they have available for larger parties.

(Editor’s Note: there are several local eateries that are on our favorite list but that do not take reservations…so not for the faint of heart during the holiday season. While we’re happy to go commando during the week or during less busy times, we just cannot recommend for large parties on a weekend during the holidays).

 

Halcyon, Flavors from the Earth 

Uptown, Chef James Stouffer will guide your party through a taste of seasonal flavors with dishes like the scallop and pork belly small plate, bacon wrapped rabbit saddle and Mediterranean spice lamb rack.

Make plans: Call 704.910.0865 or book online.

 

Fig Tree Restaurant 

Inside this historic 1913 bungalow-turned stunning dining destination, you and yours can enjoy dishes including pumpkin seed crusted sea scallops, elk chop, veal chop, filet mignon and grilled lamb tenderloin over fig and almond risotto.

Make plans: Reserve your table online.

 

The Stanley

The menu changes daily, but dishes from a sample menu fit for a holiday feast include duck breast with hot pepper, creamed corn and hull peas, spinach and a blackberry-bbq sauce, as well as NY strip with confit potatoes, onions, shrooms, greens, onion rings and red wine.

Make plans: Call 980.299.2741 or book online.

 

La Belle Helene

Start your meal with the charcuterie and fromages board featuring an assortment of French cheeses, cornichons and grain mustard, followed by a seasonal take on the salade végétarienne with anson mills farro, pears, bleu d’avergne, chicory and pecans. For mains, indulge in their classic poulet rôti “Rouge Fermier” with yukon gold potatoes, or grilled pork chop topped with a grain mustard sauce and pommes purée (pictured).

Make plans: Call 704.969.2550 or book online.

 

Haymaker

Enjoy farm-to-table flavors for your holiday feast at Haymaker. Start with a charcuterie board to share, a Harvest Spritz cocktail or a choice from their hand-curated selection of fine wines. Savory mains include a roasted pork shoulder with cauliflower, sweet potatoes, cider jus and eggplant, as well as crisp duck confit with collard greens and a blackberry-habanero glaze. Dessert options include an apple and parsnip cake and a warm pear and oat bar.

Make plans: Call 704-626-6116 or book online.

 

Aix en Provence

The warm atmosphere and knowledgable staff at Aix en Provence will make you feel like you’ve opted to spend the holiday in France. All can enjoy orders of grilled octopus, escargot and foie gras to start, followed by entrée options like Bouillabaisse Marseilleaise and Cassoulet Campagnard.

Make plans: Reserve your table online.

 

Kindred

Kindred in Davidson has many an accolade, so why not add your crew’s best get-together ever to the list? Try to snag a seat at the Chefs Table for groups of 6 – 10, or enjoy the regular menu featuring golden tilefish with peperonata, taggiasca olive salsa verde and nasturtium (pictured), as well as scallops a la plancha with cushaw squash, sage, brown butter and hazelnut. Pastas include tagliatelle with braised venison, cocoa, chiles en adobo, vanilla bean, preserved tomato and squid ink conchiglie.

Make plans: Reserve your table online.

 

Corkbuzz Charlotte

Raise a toast to the holidays at Corkbuzz, where the wine pairs perfectly with cheese and charcuterie and seasonal fall harvest salad with butternut squash, apple, pecan, goat cheese, kale and apple cider vinaigrette. For mains, choose from options including risotto with roasted pumpkin, feta cheese, spiced pumpkin seeds, sage or beef tenderloin.

Make plans: Reserve your table online.

 

Bardo Restaurant

Executive chef Michael Noll’s menu offers plenty of ways to share and enjoy. Start with the ricotta tortellini with green curry, coconut, cauliflower and peanut, and the charred shishito peppers or diver scallops. The dry-aged ribeye is served with kimchi butter, Carolina gold rice and wakame. End on a sweet notes with classic carrot cake and homemade ginger ice-cream with opal basil.

Make plans: Call 980.585.2433 to reserve your table.

 

Oak Steakhouse

Before selecting your pick of certified Angus beef signature steaks and chops, indulge in new fall menu offerings from Chef Alex like pan seared scallops with apple butter, brussels sprouts, pickled beets and pork belly.

Make plans: Reserve your table online.

 

Zeppelin

Enjoy sharable seasonal flavors, like roasted and glazed carrots (pictured) with fresh ricotta, picked herbs, olive oil and local wildflower honey alongside your handcrafted cocktails at Zeppelin. Other can’t-miss items include the calamari and shishito peppers, ricotta gnocchi, NC rainbow trout and lamb ribs. View the full menu here.

Make plans: Call 980.209.0008 or reserve online.

 

Upstream Seafood

Upstream is ready to host your festive feast with a raw bar and starters, followed by entrées like the sake marinated wild sea bass (pictured) with lobster dumplings, bok choy, shiitake mushrooms and mirin broth. Other top picks include the 42-day dry aged ribeye and Wagyu skirt steak.

Make plans: Call 704.556.7730 or book online.

 

Legion Brewing SouthPark

In addition to great beer, Legion Brewing SouthPark offers elevated American fare perfect for a casual get-together. Share a local charcuterie board or the SouthPark dip platter featuring a trio of housemade artichoke and tomato spread, hummus and pimento cheese. When it comes time for mains, don’t skip the grilled Carolina trout or the wood-grilled 10oz prime ribeye with cast iron parmesan polenta. And whatever you do, don’t skip the mac and cheese.

Make plans: Call 980.256.4167.

 

Dilworth Tasting Room

Settle in at Dilworth Tasting room to share an assortment of charcuterie, wines, starters and spreads. Continue the celebration with scallops served with candied melon, cauliflower, petite crepes and saffron butter, or zucchini, squash, eggplant and goat cheese. Another favorite from their fall menu is the beef tenderloin with black garlic in an olive emulsion, mushroom demi-glaze and quail egg. When planning, don’t forget about half price Cabernet Sauvignons on Wednesdays.

Make plans: Call 704.595.3337 or check Waitlist online.

 

Angeline’s

Gather around for a modern-Italian celebratory supper. Start with house selections of salumi and cheeses served with giardiniera, fig jam and bread. Then, choose from mains including braised lamb sugo rigati (pictured) with charred eggplant puree, puttanésca, spiced heirloom carrots and marinated feta and cioppino with pan-seared scallops, mussels, clams, tomato, saffron aioli and braised fennel.

Make plans: Call 704.445.2540 or online.

 

5Church

Start your meal with a signature cocktail, like the rosemary gin fizz or berry gingerly, or opt for a selection from the wine list. The menu features seasonal flavors including lobster and butternut squash bisque, seared sea scallops with butternut purée, caramelized butternut coins, maple-bacon jam and apple parsley coulis, and a pan-roasted veal chop with roasted fingerling potatoes, pearl onions, roasted garlic, broccolini and natural jus.

Make plans: Reserve online.

 

Fahrenheit Charlotte

Photo by Peter Taylor

Celebrate with a skyline view and new seasonal items at Fahrenheit. Order the coal-roasted chicken mac and cheese with rigatoni, goat cheese and rosemary, or opt for the Main lobster and crab salad, with celery, lemon, sweet soy glaze, toast and grilled avocado. Another favorite from the new menu includes the 22 oz bone-in ribeye with grilled broccoli, arugula and shishito pepper salsa.Share (or not) selections from their dessert menu including a spiced rum cake (cinnamon ice cream, candied pecans, blueberry compote) and the popcorn crunch sundae. View the full menu here.

Make plans: Reserve online.

 

Bistro la Bon

In Plaza Midwood, Bistro la Bon’s cozy and welcoming atmosphere make for the perfect holiday dinner destination. Try a signature dish, like duck three ways (pictured), wild mushroom ravioli or the all-natural filet. When planning, don’t forget about half price wine bottles every Thursday.

Make plans: Reserve your table online. Call 704.333.4646 for parties of eight or more.

 

 

 

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