While, for many, the festive season is usually packed to the rafters with fun traditions and celebrations, these don’t come without their fair share of work and effort. The trade-off is usually worth it, of course, but what if you could enjoy a sit-down meal on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day where the feast is piled high, the drinks are flowing — and you don’t have to lift a finger?
Some of the city’s best eateries have us all sorted in this regard, with their festive set menu offerings. Should you wish to let the experts take care of the big day itself, there are excellent options available for you. Otherwise, we suggest making like the Europeans and booking in for one of the Christmas Eve extravaganzas — not only a tasty way to celebrate during the Christmas period, its a great option for supporting local eateries that have had to be closed for four months and can only open again very close to the statutory holidays.
Park Hyatt Auckland
The luxury waterfront hotel has a comprehensive Christmas offering this year that will ensure you don’t have to worry either the night before or the day of. At Park Hyatt’s flagship restaurant Onemata, enjoy a three-course Christmas Eve dinner from 5:30pm on the 24th. At $125 per person, choose from delectable dishes like a starter of lamb agnolotti or goats cheese profiterole; for mains, there’s honey and mustard glazed ham with salad; miso and sake salmon with glazed carrots, or saffron risotto for a vegetarian option — followed by dessert, of course.
Christmas Day itself sees a four-course lunch served from 12:30pm, and dinner from 6pm. The lunch is $255 per person for a four-course menu and glass of Champagne, and dinner is $190 per person for a three-course menu and glass of Champagne. Both have similarly delectable dishes to the Christmas Eve dinner, yet with slightly more to choose from. Book at Onemata here.
The hotel’s relaxed yet elegant Living Room restaurant has a Christmas Day extravaganza on offer — at $195 per person for four courses and a glass of Champagne, dive into the likes of a shared seafood platter with shrimp, oysters, salmon tataki, clams, ceviche and mussels, followed by sourdough, a choice of crispy duck breast, pork belly or ras el hanout spiced cauliflower, and dessert. Book at The Living Room here.
The beloved Herne Bay haunt has a Christmas Eve set menu that will inject a hefty helping of la dolce vita into your Christmas celebrations. Get together with your loved ones on the 24th for an Italiano feast, and for $80 per person you’ll enjoy a very generous spread of starters and mains, sides and desserts to share like burrata with aubergine and heirloom cherry tomatoes; grass-fed beef meatballs; chilli fried calamari; risotto; first-light Wagyu rump cap — and much more. Book at Andiamo here.
A take on the Philippines’ beloved Christmas Eve celebrations, Bar Magda’s Noche Buena menu for December the 24th is set to be a real treat. Best for groups of four or more, the menu will showcase a contemporary twist on a Noche Buena feast and is designed for grazing and sharing. The $95 per person price includes six savoury dishes and one dessert to be shared, plus a glass of Jean Milan 2013 Champagne or a cocktail each upon arrival. Book at Bar Magda here.
The inner-city Japanese gem is open on the 25th, and has quite the spread available, as part of its “Masu Kurisumasu Day” set menu. For $140 per person, enjoy a whole host of Masu’s moreish Robata dishes, from Asahi black beer sourdough with Wagyu butter, to seared tuna tataki with apple mustard dressing, to shio koji lamb rump — and much, much more. Book at Masu here.
Head to Kingi for Christmas lunch, and you’ll be able to indulge in some exquisite fare from crayfish to confit duck leg, cherry pavlova and more. Beloved antipasti and raw bar dishes like oysters also make delectable appearances. It’s $170 per person for a four-course family-style sharing menu, or $260 per person for the same with wine matches. And, should you wish to be able to simply toddle to your bed, seeing as Kingi is in the same building as The Hotel Britomart, why not enquire about staying overnight? Book at Kingi here.
Embrace a Mediterranean vibe for your Christmas meal with restaurant Esther’s ‘Feasting’ menus at QT Auckland. There is a Lunch Feasting menu for $159 per adult and $79 per child 12 and under, a lunch and beverage package for $230 per adult, or a Dinner Feasting menu for $120 per adult and $60 per child. Enjoy all the Esther classics like Chef Sean Connolly’s steak tartare and Pacific rock oysters, plus seasonal specials like fire-pit roasted chorizo paella, roast porchetta and Lee line-caught snapper. Book at Esther here.
Soul Bar & Bistro
Although Soul’s staff are having a well-deserved break on the 25th, book in for dinner on the 24th and you’ll be able to enjoy the Viaduct Harbour treasure’s famous hospitality for one of two sittings — 5pm to 7pm, or 7pm to 9pm. Get ready for a classically Soul-ified buzzing vibe, just the thing to ease into a relaxing Christmas day. Book at Soul here.
While Ostro may be closed on the 25th and other statutory holidays, you can still book in for an unforgettable meal between the 1st and the 30th of December to enjoy Ostro’s Christmas menu — and a special Christmas Eve set menu on the 24th. Enjoy a four-course dinner with all the trimmings and a performance by the Taotua Duo, for $125 per person including a flute of Veuve Clicquot. Plus, there is a children’s menu available so the whole family can come along. Book at Ostro here.
The Sugar Club
If you fancy taking your Christmas meal to soaring new heights, look no further than The Sugar Club. Putting on two special degustation menus for the 24th and 25th of December, one of which is plant-based, the jewel in the Sky Tower’s crown will be sure to make a luxurious affair of the proceedings. For $210 per person, indulge in the likes of juniper-cured venison, Chatham Island crayfish, Roasted beef fillet and more. Book at The Sugar Club here.
For a convivial pre-Christmas catch-up in a pub setting, look no further than The Brit which has plenty of options for group functions. Whether booking for smaller or larger groups, book a spot at the sun-soaked outdoor tables or indoors if that suits better. There are three menus available — the canapé menu which ideal for a small bite between beers; a sharing menu that includes grazing boards and pizzas, and a set menu of grazing boards and individual mains. Book at The Brit here.
Non Solo Pizza
Non Solo Pizza has all you need to celebrate Christmas Eve in the most delicious way possible with its Feast of the Seven Fishes. Kicking off from 6pm on the 24th, a grand meal with an abundance of seafood celebrates a long-held Italian tradition of eating seafood on Christmas Eve. For $145 per person (including a flute of Veuve Clicquot), enjoy all the trimmings with freshly shucked oysters, crayfish pasta, prawns and a show-stopping, salt-baked whole snapper. Book at Non Solo Pizza here.