Whether you’re craving holiday desserts, less traditional bites, or more traditional fare, it’s no secret that restaurants coast-to-coast are busy prepping their holiday specials. Here’s a sampling of just some of the most delicious options headed your way this holiday season. There is something for everyone — from quick bites to six-course prix fixe offerings.
And of course, if you’re planning for a night in, we’ve got you covered with our Holiday Menu Full of Secrets From the Kitchen.
Here are our top picks from restaurants and specialty grocers across the country.
REIGN at Fairmont Royal York (Toronto, ON)
If you find yourself in Toronto over the holiday season, the luxe REIGN at the Fairmont Royal York has several holiday specials on offer you won’t want to miss, including its Holiday Lunch Buffet, Christmas Day Brunch and Dinner, as well as a spectacular New Year’s Eve dining experience. Here are highlights from each.
Holiday Lunch Buffet
Enjoy the festive experience with cold and hot buffet options such as squash and farro salad, roasted beetroot salad, smoked Atlantic salmon, roast turkey, maple and mustard salmon, squash gnocchi and a generous dessert offering, including Christmas linzers and traditional Christmas log cake.
Christmas Day Brunch Buffet
The Pantry and Hot Buffet include charcuterie and Quebec and Ontario cheeses, mixed pastries, orecchiette with roasted squash and mushrooms, Canadian AAA striploin, maple and mustard glazed salmon, roasted turkey as well as sides like apple sausage and more. Made-to-order options feature REIGN benedict (with poached heritage eggs, peameal bacon and citrus hollandaise on an English muffin), hot turkey sandwich, and REIGN bread and butter pudding. A festive dessert table will also be available.
For Christmas Day dinner, enjoy a holiday-inspired three-course prix fixe menu. Prepared by Executive Restaurant Chef Roland Torok-Ducharme and his team, the menu features seasonal ingredients such as leek and potato soup, turkey dinner and seared cauliflower steak. Diners will also have options between sea bass meuniere or tenderloin steak for their main.
New Year’s Eve Dinner
REIGN is offering a festive four-course or six-course prix fixe menu this New Year’s Eve, and the option of an added wine pairing by REIGN’s resident Sommelier, Steven Karataglidis. Here is more about each option.
First seating: Highlights include mushroom and pear tart, beef Wellington, or Cape D’Or salmon (with roasted chestnuts), and wild mushroom risotto and capped with a caramelia crunch dessert (expect flavours of sea salt caramel, chocolate ganache and orange sorbet).
Second seating: The expanded second seating menu builds on some of the options from the first, and includes a scallop crudo (lobster bisque emulsion, lemon gel, Acadian caviar and pickles), and venison tartar.
Hong Shing (Toronto, ON)
The Dundas Street West staple is offering a special Friendsmas chef tasting menu, and it promises to be a feast. Beginning with har gow (shrimp, spinach and white pepper), Sichuan lemon pepper wings and ginger scallion pancake. Mains feature cereal prawns (with red eye chilies and curry leaf), prosperity lobster tower, balsamic sweet and sour pork, stir fry eggplant, and holiday stuffing fried rice. To learn more and make reservations, you have to email Hong Shing in advance.
Juke Fried Chicken, Ribs & Cocktail Bar (Vancouver, BC)
If you’re already in the know about Juke’s Fried Chicken offerings, you may be anticipating their upcoming holiday menu: this year, the Tur-Duc-Ken Holiday Sandwich comes complete with a Tur-Duc-Ken roll, Brussels sprouts slaw, holiday gravy, cranberry sauce, and herb mayo, available from December 15 to December 23.
Not ready to stop there? The resto’s cocktail and snack bar, The Chickadee Room, will also be selling four cocktail kits built around bourbon, vodka, gin and cognac. Every kit is equipped for three unique cocktails — each enough for four drinks (a total of 12 cocktails per kit).
Hokkaido Ramen (Vancouver, BC – West Broadway location only)
One of our favourite ramen restaurants in Vancouver, this spot is definitely a winter weather must on our holiday specials roundup. Hokkaido Ramen‘s seasonal offerings come with an otsumami set that allow you to sample a variety of dishes in smaller portions — perfect for a holiday get-together that won’t break the bank, yet still allow you to enjoy some holiday cheer.
Wild Blue (Whistler, BC)
Noted as one of OpenTable’s Top 100 Restaurants of 2023, Wild Blue is “where Italy, France and the Pacific Northwest’s coastal influences meet the mountains.” Located in scenic Whistler, the restaurant is offering a special New Year’s Eve menu, with two seating options (first seating for a three-course menu at $179, and gala seating for a four-course menu, plus champagne at midnight for $279).
Menu highlights for first seating include: sunchoke velute (Dungeness crab with tarragon), sablefish, risotto and roasted beef tenderloin while dessert features molten chocolate cake and Mont Blanc. The gala seating highlights feature: butternut squash bisque, roasted strip loin, rigatoni with seared scallops, as well as some of the same offerings from the First Seating menu.
Redwater Rustic Grille (Charlottetown, PEI)
The rustic restaurant, located in the heart of downtown Charlottetown is offering two feature festive dinners, complemented with two seasonal cocktails.
The first dinner option serves up spiced apple brined roast turkey, savoury dressing, citrus cranberry sauce, caramelized garlic buttermilk mashed potatoes and traditional gravy. The second features grainy mustard roasted prime rib, Yorkshire pudding, rosemary pan jus, brown butter sage smash Yukon gold potatoes, and a root vegetable medley. Dessert-wise, you’ll find gingerbread cheesecake and toasted marshmallow options while the seasonal cocktails are an apple amaretto sour and a pistachio martini.
Peacock (Halifax, NS)
Another 2023 best restaurant listee, Peacock Wine Bar is offering a six-course meal for NYE, priced at $85 for first seating and $110 for second seating. Highlights from the former include tuna tartare, crab tortellini, spice-crusted rack of lamb and bourbon vanilla panna cotta with persimmon and thyme. Second seating highlights feature oysters, roast duck, along with additional items from the first seating menu and a glass of bubbles.
Terroni (Toronto, ON)
For many, Christmas time is synonymous with panettone time, and Terroni is delivering this Italian tradition with its Panettone Artigianale. Crafted in-house and made using flour from the Marche region in Italy, fresh, free-range eggs, butter, vanilla beans and Terroni’s mother yeast, the holiday treat that is often gifted to hosts has no preservatives, and takes three days to create.
Farm Boy (Ontario-wide)
This Canadian grocery store favourite is also offering seasonal products, and here are some of our top picks.
Classic Holiday Drinks
Christmas and eggnog go hand-in-hand and Farm Boy is leaning in with this flavour in their seasonal products, starting with its organic eggnog holiday drink. But if fruity rather than creamy is more your taste, you’ll also find other options, such as sweet apple cider, sparkling juices and our fave: mulled cranberry kombucha.
Whether you’re playing host or bringing apps elsewhere, a great time-strapped solution are Farm Boy’s bites (yes, they do have shrimp rings), Hors d’Oeuvres and selection of charcuterie staples (we recommend the Rosette de Lyon salami).
Dessert favourites include gingerbread loaf cake, candy cane fudge, eggnog cheesecake, and eggnog chocolate swirl gelato.
Cozy Meal Options
For those who are keeping it small and want an easy to-go dine-in holiday option, Farm Boy will have chef-prepped holiday meals available, which can be pre-ordered and picked up in-store. The options include an Indulgence Dinner for Two (priced at $90) or a full-on Christmas Family Dinner (priced at $200). The former requires a 50-minute reheating time (there is an NYE version of this as well), while the family dinner will need 2 hours to cook. Quick ready-to-go options also include their pot pies (we like the BBQ pork and beans pot pie).
Ladurée (Toronto, ON and Vancouver, BC)
Look no further for the ultimate show-stopping dessert: For the first time ever, Canadians can try Ladurée’s holiday Yule Logs, which made their first appearance in Toronto thanks to Ladurée’s newly opened pastry lab. The classic Yule Log gets a very Ladurée makeover in this festive dessert, available in Vanilla Pecan, Ispahan, Pistachio and Chocolate Hazelnut. The Yule Log features a macaron-inspired design that has a delicate shell, rich centre and crispy base. Individual serving Yule Logs retail for $13.50 each, and the large Yule Logs retail for $98 and serve 6-8. You can find these gorgeous desserts at Ladurée’s Toronto Yorkdale Tea Salon, First Canadian Place Exchange Tower location, Vancouver’s Robson Street Tea Salon, and Carriage Pop-ups at CF Pacific Centre and Vancouver International Airport.
Sunterra Market (Calgary, AB)
If you’re in Calgary and are looking for seasonal feasts available at your local specialty market, check out Sunterra. Their Holiday Feast options are robust and available for delivery or pickup. Between December 22–24 you’ll see family feast and entre options such as herb-rubbed turkey with mashed potatoes ($33 per person), Soleterra d’Italia Modena ham with mashed potatoes ($33 per person), prime rib with mashed potatoes ($38 per person), and creamy mushroom, kale and sweet potato casserole with mashed potatoes ($29 per person). For New Year’s Eve, you can also order that centre on entrees like peppered beef tenderloin with au jus ($40 per person), Soleterra d’Italia prosciutto wrapped chicken breast with roasted garlic peppercorn sauce ($36 per person), pesto and sun-dried tomato salmon fillet ($36 per person) and vegetable Wellington with roasted garlic peppercorn sauce ($36 per person).
Related: Salted Caramel Spiked Apple Cider