Have you ever dreamed of escaping kitchen duty on Christmas? Does the thought of sitting at an opulent table in a majestic dining room without having to jump up to refill the gravy bowl sound like your idea of bliss?Steve Mellon, Post-Gazette
The Terrace Room at the Omni William Penn Hotel will offer a prix-fixe menu from noon to 6 p.m. Christmas Day.
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Reasons for dining out on Christmas are myriad. Remember the 1983 movie "A Christmas Story," where the dog eats the turkey and the whole family goes in search of a restaurant open on Christmas Day? They end up eating Chinese food. A friend of mine had a total power outage one holiday before the turkey was cooked, and her family feasted instead on curry and papadums from a neighborhood Indian take-out cafe.
Although most of our local restaurants will be open on Christmas Eve this year, few will open Christmas Day. If you are considering eating out, I suggest that you make a reservation as early as this week. Even for Christmas Eve, when there are more possibilities, you would be wise to reserve now.
Listed here are some of the Christmas Day dining possibilities in Pittsburgh. If these locations are not convenient for you, check with the hotels and Asian restaurants in your area.
The elegant Terrace Room at the Omni William Penn Hotel will be serving a sit-down dinner from noon to 6 p.m. The prix-fixe menu features soup, salad, a choice of entree (beef, pork, chicken or salmon) and a choice of dessert. The price is $39 for adults, $19.50 for children between 6 and 12 (plus tax and gratuity). Children under 6 dine free. There is a full-service bar, and the dining room is nonsmoking. The hotel is fully wheelchair accessible and accepts all major credit cards. Parking is on the street or in the underground lot in Mellon Square at normal rates.
William Penn Hotel, 530 William Penn Place, Downtown; 412-553-5235.
Opus at the Renaissance Pittsburgh Hotel, another stylish dining room, will be serving its normal dinner menu from 2 to 6 p.m. All entrees on the menu are less than $24. Opus is nonsmoking and offers a full bar. It is wheelchair accessible and accepts all major credit cards. A big plus for people with mobility problems is valet parking, which is free.
Opus at the Renaissance Hotel, 107 Sixth St., Downtown; 412-992-2005.
The Westin Convention Center Hotel will serve a buffet brunch in the second-floor banquet rooms. The price is $29.95 (plus tax and gratuity) for adults, $24.95 for seniors and $14.95 for children from 5-12 years. Children under 5 are free. Seating will be at 11 a.m., noon, 1, 2:30 or 3:30 p.m. The dining room is nonsmoking and wheelchair accessible. There will be bar service available. All major credit cards are accepted. Parking in the hotel underground lot is $2 with validation.
Westin Convention Center Hotel, 1001 Liberty Ave., Downtown; 412-560-6390.
Bigelow Grille at the Doubletree Hotel (formerly The Ramada Downtown) will be open all day from 6 a.m. for its normal breakfast, lunch and dinner service. The kitchen will close at 8 p.m. There is full bar service. Wheelchair accessible and major credit cards accepted. Parking is available at normal rates in the hotel garage (enter from Centre Avenue).
Bigelow Grille, Doubletree Hotel, 1 Bigelow Square (corner of Sixth Avenue and Ross Street), Downtown; 412-281-5013.
The Sheraton at Station Square will offer a Christmas buffet from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Admiral's Room overlooking the Monongahela River. There will be a carving station with turkey and prime rib in addition to other entrees. The cost is $26.95 (plus tax and gratuity) for adults and $13.95 for children 5-12. The dining room is nonsmoking and wheelchair accessible. Major credit cards accepted. Parking in Station Square lots is free with validation.
Sheraton Hotel at Station Square, South Side; 412-803-3824.
Duranti's Restaurant in Oakland has been a Christmas destination every year since it opened in 1979. It will be serving a holiday buffet for $24.99 from noon to 5 p.m. There is full bar service available. If you will be dining alone, you should know that Duranti's has agreed to offer a table where singles can share their meal with other single guests. Wheelchair accessible from the parking lot entrance. Parking in adjacent lot is free.
Duranti's Restaurant, 128 N. Craig St., Oakland; 412-682-1155.
Miller's Seafood House will be offering a special a la carte menu for the holiday and will be open from 11 a.m.-8 p.m. All entrees will be priced less than $20. The dining room is wheelchair accessible. There is a full bar, and all major credit cards are acceptable. Parking in adjacent lot is free.
Miller's Seafood House, 3853 California Ave., Brighton Heights; 412-766-7459.
McCormick & Schmick's in the Southside Works will be open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. In addition to its normal menu, it will serve a traditional holiday menu. At the time of this writing, however, the price had not been determined. Please call the restaurant for further details.
McCormick & Schmick's, 2667 Sidney St., South Side; 412-432-3260.
There is a good chance that your favorite Asian restaurant will be open on Christmas. It will not require reservations. I recommend, however, that you call beforehand to verify the hours they will be open.
Here are a few that I have contacted.
Oriental Buffet, 4801 McKnight Road, Ross. Open from 11 a.m.- 9:30 p.m. with full bar and free parking. 412-366-4288.
New Dumpling and Sushi House, 2138 Murray Ave., Squirrel Hill. Open from 11 a.m. - 10 p.m. with full bar service.
Star of India, 412 S. Craig St., Oakland, will be open for lunch from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. and dinner from 5-10 p.m. The menu offers classic northern India specialities and vegetarian entrees. Parking on the street. Beer is available, but wine is BYOB. 412-681-5700.
Wherever you may be, I hope you have a delicious holiday.
Elizabeth Downer can be reached at email@example.com or 412-263-1454.