Ditch the stress of planning, washing up and cooking by outsourcing your Christmas Day get-together. Bookings are essential, but that’s about all the work you’ll need to do.
Acre Eatery, Camperdown
This inner-west garden restaurant does long-table feasts particularly well, and it looks like that’s what you can expect on December 25. It’s hosting a three-course lunch of shared banquet-style dishes, including a platter of Australian seafood (Sydney rock oysters, king prawns, scallops, blue swimmer crabs and kingfish sashimi); free-range turkey with all the trimmings; Ora king salmon; and pasture-raised, slow-cooked porchetta. For dessert there’s a giant cherry-and-passionfruit pavlova, as well as a pudding with brandy custard.
The laid-back garden setting means there’s room for kids to play, and no pressure to dress up if you want to take it more casual. You’ll receive a drink on the terrace on arrival (either a festive spritz, sparkling wine or beer), plus canapés. It’s $199 per adult and $50 per child, from 1pm to 5pm.
This waterside Italian restaurant has been the site of long, Aperol-Spritz-fuelled lunches for almost 20 years. And now, Christmas lunch too.
For its first Christmas soiree it’s serving four courses, but diners will be able to choose from four options for each course. As always, seafood fans are well catered for: you can opt for woodfired scampi; tuna carpaccio; seared scallops with lobster linguine; crab-filled cappellacci (pasta discs shaped like little hats); and smoked ocean trout. Fish-free dishes include a Waygu rump and caponata-stuffed zucchini flowers. You’ll get canapés and champagne on arrival too. Tickets are $350 per adult and $120 per child.
Quay, Circular Quay
With floor-to-ceiling windows showing off views of the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge, and food by one of Australia’s most acclaimed chefs, Quay has long been a go-to for special occasions. Christmas Day is no exception, and, in-keeping with Quay’s general approach, it’ll be an impressive affair. Exceptional views are guaranteed, as well as canapés and champagne on arrival, and the signature White Coral dessert. But the rest of Peter Gilmore’s five-course menu is still to be confirmed. Gilmore focuses on celebrating the diversity of nature, so expect native ingredients, creative combinations and expert preparation. Tickets are $450 per person.
If you’re north of the bridge and looking for something traditional, Sardinian fine-diner Pilu will be delivering it on many fronts. Expect classic Northern Beaches views from the dining room, and trad-festive dishes such as mince pies and petit fours – but there’ll Italian touches too, of course. The four-course meal includes assaggini (appetisers of ricotta, honey and flatbread), prawn agnolotti with tomato and basil, and panettone pudding. Tickets are $265 per adult; $80 per child.
Ormeggio is also a waterfront Italian-inspired restaurant (because it’s on the Spit marina you feel like you’re right on the water), but its minimalist design and confidently contemporary menu differentiate it from the other Italian lunches listed above. Executive chef Alessandro Pavoni is making the final tweaks to the four-course menu, but it will reflect his signature style. To give you a sense of what to expect, the regular à la carte menu currently includes carnaroli risotto with spanner crab; Moreton Bay bugs with finger lime; and coconut panna cotta with pineapple granita.
The extensive wine list, with drops listed according to region, helped Ormeggio earn its reputation. And since it’s Christmas, it makes sense to leave things with the professionals: matching wines can be added for $70 per person, or $100 for a premium option. Standard tickets are $285 for adults and $99 per child.