Movies and TV would convince us that there’s only one way to spend Dec. 25: under a tree, with loot, eating a meal prepared by a relative. That’s not a bad way to spend Christmas, but it’s not the only one. Some of us enjoy other activities (volunteering, heading to the movies or just sleeping in) and then, when we’re feeling peckish, we want to grab a meal. Others of us are down with the loot-and-tree part of the day, but prefer a dinner spent inside a restaurant, where everyone can get their own favorites and the dishes are not our problem.

That’s why we compiled this list of East Bay restaurants that will be open for diners on Christmas 2021. Some of the restaurants are serving Christmas specials, while others are sticking with their regular menus. All of them will be happy to see you, especially given that this time last year, takeout was the most any could offer.

Note: This isn’t an all-encompassing list of East Bay restaurants that are open on Christmas, just a guide to get you started. If you’re hankering for a meal from your favorite spot, give them a call to see if they’ll be open that day. They might surprise you!

Berkeley Boathouse The DoubleTree Hotel’s Marina-side restaurant will serve turkey and prime rib dinners on Christmas Day. Reservations are available via OpenTableBerkeley Boathouse, 200 Marina Blvd. (between University Avenue and Spinnaker Way), Berkeley

Brasas Do Brazil Brazilian Steakhouse A full churrasco dinner can be yours from noon-9 p.m on Christmas Day. Reservations are recommended. Brasas Do Brazil Brazilian Steakhouse, 1631 Willow Pass Rd. (near Gateway Boulevard), Concord

China Village The reliable Albany Szechuan spot will be open from 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m. China Village, 1335 Solano Ave. (at Ramona Avenue), Albany

Creek House Dim Sum Restaurant This Walnut Creek restaurant with a heartwarming story will be open on Christmas Day from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m. Creek House Dim Sum Restaurant, 1291 Parkside Dr. (near N Broadway), Walnut Creek

Holly’s Mandarin This reliable Chinese restaurant with tasty chow fun, friendly service and a nice selection of soups will be open on Christmas Day from noon-9 p.m. Holly’s Mandarin, 4080 Piedmont Ave. (near 41st Street), Oakland

Lobster with ginger and scallion at East Ocean Seafood in Alameda. Photo: East Ocean Seafood
Lobster with ginger and scallion at East Ocean Seafood. Credit: East Ocean Seafood

East Ocean Seafood Restaurant Enjoy Hong Kong cuisine on Christmas Day from 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. and 5-9 p.m. The restaurant doesn’t take reservations, and “If you’re coming for dim sum, we’re going to be really busy,” a staffer told Nosh. But the line moves quickly, so don’t let that dissuade you — just make sure your full party is there when your name is called, as they won’t seat you until then. East Ocean Seafood Restaurant, 1713 Webster St. (near Pacific Avenue), Alameda

Fiore This comforting Italian spot is serving its usual menu of classic pastas and mains from 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. and 5-9 p.m. Fiore, 3103, 5100 Clayton Rd. # A14 (near Ayers Road), Concord

Horatio’s Take in a view of the bay and enjoy traditional dishes at Horatio’s this Christmas Day from noon-8 p.m. A limited menu featuring dishes like prime rib, lobster tails or a Wagyu sirloin is online if you want to plan your eating strategy now. Horatio’s, 60 Monarch Bay Dr. (near Pescador Point Drive), San Leandro

La Sen Bistro La Sen is serving a special $95 per person, three course, prix fixe menu from 5-9 p.m., with dishes like escargot and mushroom flambé, scallop risotto and prime rib. Call 925-448-8187 to make a reservation  La Sen Bistro, 1606 N Main St., (at Lincoln Avenue), Walnut Creek

Little Shin Shin This Oakland Chinese standby will be open on Christmas Day from 11:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m., but its dining room will be closed. It’s takeout menu is available online, and orders can be placed over the phone at 510-658-9799. Little Shin Shin, 4258 Piedmont Ave. (near Glenwood Avenue), Oakland

Luna Ristorante Luna’s usual menu of Northern and Southern Italian dishes will be available from 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Luna Ristorante, 2118 Willow Pass Rd. #100b (at Mt. Diablo Street), Concord

A spread of dishes from Monkey Thai, which is open on Christmas Day. Credit: Monkey Thai/Facebook

Monkey Thai South Shore Head to Monkey Thai South Shore for its regular menu of Northern Thai cuisine. It’ll be open 11 a.m. to (we double checked on this) midnight on Christmas Day. Reservations are recommended, and can be made at 510-263-8505 Monkey Thai South Shore, 2210 S Shore Center Unit H (near Franciscan Way), Alameda

Pacific Lighthouse This dim sum spot boasts a great Bay view and a solid menu on Cantonese treats. Hours are 10 a.m.-3 p.m. and 5-10 p.m. Call 510-263-9232 to make a reservation. Pacific Lighthouse, 1051 Pacific Marina, Alameda

Quinn’s Lighthouse American seafood restaurant Quinn’s is offering its regular menu on Christmas, with the addition of a possible holiday special “that we haven’t worked out yet.” Hours are from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Quinn’s Lighthouse Restaurant & Pub, 1951 Embarcadero, Oakland

Sichuan Style Restaurant Yang Jian’s spicy and comforting restaurant will be serving its popular tea smoked duck, along with the rest of its usual menu, from 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Sichuan Style Restaurant, 1699 Solano Ave. (between Tulare and Ensanada avenues), Berkeley

Zino Their holiday buffet is back this year, from 1-7 p.m. Expect herb roasted chicken and glazed ham, and a dessert station offering pies, cookies and cakes. It’s $59.99 per person for adults, $29.99 for kids 6-12 and those 5 and under dine for free. The menu is available for your perusal online, and reservations are on OpenTable. Zino, 2086 Allston Way (at Shattuck Avenue), Berkeley

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Eve Batey has worked as a reporter and editor since 2004, including as the co-founder of SFist, as a deputy managing editor of the SF Chronicle and as the editor of Eater San Francisco.