Where to Eat This Christmas
If you're just too caught up in the holiday craziness to even think about cooking

For some reason, it seems as if time really flew between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year, which means that most of us have been scrambling to get our greeting cards and presents in order, as well as trying to keep track of the various holiday functions we feel obliged to attend. When your main preoccupation is trying to find just one good gift for your mom and realizing that you haven’t sent anything to your in-laws while they sent you a box of presents, the last thing on your mind is planning a Christmas (or Noche Buena) feast. Sure, you can do what I do and round up a selection of charcuterie and cheeses from Graziano’s and Epicure to nibble at throughout the holiday - or visit a Blue Sky for your lechón - but with so many fabulous restaurants offering such wonderful Christmas and Christmas Eve dinners, it’s hard not to take the easy way out and leave the preparations to the gourmet chefs. If you’re finding yourself in Miami without dinner plans this Christmas, let Joonbug outline a few suggestions for you:

Quattro Gastronomia Italiana
1014 Lincoln Road
Miami Beach, FL 33139

Enjoy an extremely luxurious, specially-created à la carte menu on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day at this Lincoln Road landmark serving some of the best norther Italian cuisine in Miami. The twin chefs from Piedmont will be offering such extravagant dishes as stuffed truffle polenta with fontina cheese fondue and white truffles and a duo of tartares: filet mignon with parmesan and white truffle, and branzino with Osetra caviar. A dish of scampi ravioli with oyster sauce and gold leaf is reminiscent of the wise men’s gifts, and duck breast with butter, foie gras, and sweet saba sounds appealing in its combination of rich and sweet flavors.

Fontainebleau Resort
4441 Collins Avenue
Miami Beach, FL 33140
(305) 538-2000

Scarpetta will be offering its regular menu on Christmas Eve from 6:00 PM to 12:00 AM, but Christmas Day will bring a special prix fixe meal for $75 per person that will feature Chef Scott Conant’s famous truffled polenta with fricassé of wild mushrooms, as well as his award-winning spaghetti with tomato and basil. Entrée choices include Alaskan halibut or 21 day-aged sirloin steak, and revelers will be able to partake in Scarpetta’s memorable coconut panna cotta for dessert, among many others.

Gotham Steak will also be offering its regular menu from 6:00 PM to midnight on Christmas Eve, but will be offering special holiday-inspired dishes on Christmas day from 6:00 PM to 11:00 PM, such as Australian lamb porterhouse and prime rib of beef, and desserts will include such Christmas traditions as gingerbread.

BLT Steak
1440 Ocean Drive
Miami Beach, FL 33139

The Ocean Drive steakhouse that’s more than just a steakhouse will be serving Christmas Eve blackboard specials alongside the regular menu. Selections will include appetizers of chestnut apple soup with ginger whipped cream and apple tuille, and Nantucket bay scallop with persimmon, grilled country bread and candied kumquat. Entrées of braised lamb shank with blood orange gremolata, seared turbot with black trumpet and salsify ragout promise to make this Christmas Eve unforgettable. Make sure to pair them with sides like rainbow chard with parsnip and bacon lardons, or wild mushroom tart with roasted tomato, gruyère and frisée. Don’t miss out on the French Christmas tradition of the bûche de noël with candy cane buttercream and vanilla “mushrooms”.

Toro Toro
100 Chopin Plaza
Miami, FL 33131

The Nuevo Latino-style restaurant in the newly remodeled Intercontinental Hotel will be offering a Christmas Eve seafood buffet from 6:00 PM to 11:00 PM for $55 per person, while Christmas Day brings a four-course dinner ($75 per person) complete with all-you-can eat Brazilian rodizio-style meats. Don’t miss out on Chef Sandoval’s interesting ceviches and innovative croquetas.

Asia de Cuba
100 West Avenue
Miami Beach, FL 33139

Christmas Eve at this Asian-Cuban fusion restaurant in the fantasy-like Mondrian hotel will be a very Cuban Noche Buena affair with prix-fixe dinner consisting of a mojo marinated shoulder of pork cooked in the very Miami caja china. This, of course, is served with moros y cristianos, but other dishes exhibit the restaurant’s more innovative nature, like roast plantain mashed potatoes, napa cabbage with chicharrones, and a shiso and thai basil chimichurri. Christmas Day brings another prix fixe menu with such offerings as stone crabs with mung bean aioli, honey mustard sauce, mizuna, and charred lemon vinaigrette, as well as coffee crusted slow roasted prime rib of beef with yucca galette, chicharrones, mushrooms, shanghai bok choy, toasted coconut, and horseradish au jus. Prix fixe menus are $52 per person

db Bistro Moderne
255 Biscayne Boulevard Way
Miami, FL 33131

Miami’s beacon of fine French haute cuisine from Chef Daniel Boulud will be offering special à la carte options in addition to the regular menu. Christmas specials will include a foie gras chaud with poached pear, toasted walnuts, brioche, and huckleberry compote, as well as a rack of venison with sweet potato purée, braised Swiss chard, caramelized chestnut, and black trumpet mushrooms. Of course, what is a French Christmas celebration without a bûche de noël? db Bistro Moderne’s version includes a coffee pastry cream, cacao nib foam, and bourbon ice cream.

Bianca at Delano
1685 Collins Avenue
Miami Beach, FL 33139

Bianca will be offering a few beautifully created Christmas dishes to add to its already impeccable Italian menu. Serving dinner on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, Bianca’s specials will include a delicata squash salad with ricotta salata, candied walnuts, and walnut vinaigrette, as well as sou vide Colorado lamb chops with sautéed baby artichokes, sunchoke purée, pistachio gremolata, and lamb jus. Also be sure to try the Christmas Candy Cocktail with Godiva white chocolate, nutmeg, and mint.