Christmas Day is all about the stuffings – stuffing the stockings, stuffing the turkey and stuffing yourself. But this year why not forget about the cooking and focus on the eating? Here’s where you can dine out on the big day without having to lift a finger.

The Smith

Christmas lunch at The Smith involves a combination of traditional favourites with a few Asian influences. The three-course menu begins with champagne oysters and pork croquettes on arrival with kingfish sashimi and a charcuterie selection to share. You’ll have a choice of three mains, including the pan-seared barramundi with tofu, shiso and black-bean dressing and the apricot-stuffed turkey, with braised red cabbage. All dishes come with the classic smashed chat potatoes. The menu will also include a flowing selection of Australian wine and beer. Dessert offers the traditional plum pudding or you can opt for The Smith signature knickerbocker glory. Spaces filling up fast.

$185 per person, all inclusive ($85 children 18 years and younger)
(03) 9514 2444
events@thesmithprahran.com.au

The Atlantic

For many of us, it wouldn’t be a typical summer Christmas without a notable seafood selection. Executive chef Donovan Cooke at The Atlantic has created an extensive and very chilled three-course menu (with some hot options too). Starters include freshly shucked oysters, scallop tartar or tempura soft-shell crab. A choice of main dishes presents a premium fish variety including the King George Whiting or select something “from the land” such as a slow-roasted lamb shoulder or Wagyu F1 beef cheek. A strawberry salad and seasonal sorbets are among the dessert options. Kids can enjoy battered flathead, chicken schnitzel or homemade spaghettini.

$145 per person all inclusive ($75 children 3–12 years)
(03) 9698 8888
reservations@theatlantic.com.au

Newmarket Hotel

Christmas lunch at the Newmarket Hotel is a tough one – there are so many choices. The three-course menu offers four options in every course. Mains include a spit-roasted, dry-aged Moondarah wagyu sirloin, wood-roasted wild barramundi with Spencer Gulf prawns, free-range turkey mole negra or organic barley risotto with black truffle. It’s a lot to process but never too much to taste. Dessert includes wild-strawberry trifle, passionfruit pavlova, Valrhona chocolate pot or Queso Valdeon with walnut biscuits, quince and orange.

$130 per person ($65 children under 12)
(03) 9537 1777
eat@newmarketstkilda.com.au

Melbourne Zoo

It’s not often a day at the Melbourne Zoo involves a three-course set menu and drink package, but this Christmas day, the Zoo is keeping its doors open (cages still remain closed) and offering a traditional Christmas lunch with free admission to the Zoo. The menu includes classics such as slow-cooked pork with sage-roasted potatoes, bread and tomato pudding and green beans, while the vegetarian alternative substitutes a mushroom and spinach puff pastry pithivier. Children’s options are also available and dessert includes Christmas pudding or pavlova. But the day doesn’t finish when the pav is all gone, you’ve got free range of the Zoo until 5pm. Filling fast.

$175 per person ($95 children 4–12 years)
(03) 9285 9440
melbournezoofunctions@compass-group.com.au

The Albert Park Hotel

The Albert Park Hotel has crafted a typically Aussie Christmas menu which is no-frills, no-fuss, but full of all of the traditional flavours and classic fillings. Begin the day with oysters and yellowfin tuna before settling into the cranberry-stuffed turkey breast. Finish with the pavlova covered in tropical fruits and that’s Christmas conquered. Kids can indulge in crumbed fish fingers, mini pizzas, turkey breast and a trio of Jock’s ice cream. Vegetarian options are also available. There will be two sittings; 12pm and 2.30pm. The 12pm session is almost booked out and there are still spots available for the 2.30pm.

$120 per person ($60 for children under 15)
(03) 9690 5459

The Deck at Circa, The Prince

This year, The Deck at Circa is hosting a rooftop roast with a three-course share-style menu. Enjoy the sunshine and relaxed vibe as you’re handed natural oysters and seafood entrees including spanner crab bergamot and crayfish emulsion and Crystal Bay prawns with caviar and summer melons. Mains will involve a combination of turkey and pork accompanied by roasted root vegetables and heritage tomatoes. To finish, dessert includes a summer berry mess or Christmas pudding with spiced rum. Did we mention the views of Port Phillip Bay? Reservations are only available for the 3pm sitting.

$115 ($50 children under 12)
(03) 9536 1122
dining@circa.com.au

The Hotel Windsor

If your Christmases usually get a little rowdy and messy, treat yourself to a change of pace in the elegant dining room at Melbourne landmark, The Hotel Windsor. Spaces are still available for the lunch buffet in the Bourke Room. This isn’t a buffet you’ve ever had at Club Med – expect to be piling your plate with lobster bisque, baked ham with a maple glaze and a selection of traditional desserts.

$299 ($125 for children between 5–12 years, $215 for children between 12–18 years)
(03) 9633 6004
reservations@thw.com.au

The Railway Hotel

If your traditional Australian Christmas means roast turkey with home-made stuffing, slow cooked pork and crackle, glazed ham and fresh prawns then The Railway may be the place for you. Boasting recent renovations and a new restaurant called Highline, The Railway Hotel will be offering a traditional Australian Christmas spread. Accompanying the above staples will be slow-roasted spuds, seasonal salads, Christmas pudding trifle and pavlova. Much of the produce is sourced from the pub's own Oak Valley Farm before being prepared by head chef Simon Tarlington. Complimentary beer or wine upon arrival, free soft drink all day for the kids.

$80 per person ($40 for kids)
(03) 9510 4050
info@therailway.com.au

St ALi

For St ALi, December 25 is just a regular daily grind. It is keeping the roller door up and the milk steaming, which is perfectly convenient for those who crave an espresso or just don’t celebrate Christmas. The menu will run as per usual with just a few Christmas-y add-ons. Leading up to Christmas, St ALi will also be making a limited number of Christmas puddings for $65. Careful – five will have a gold coin inside to claim a prize of either free fortnightly breakfasts or a weekly coffee subscription.

12–18 Yarra Place, South Melbourne
(03) 9686 2990
stali.com.au