The pressure is off for holiday dinners this year. No one expects a big get-together anchored by a homemade feast that took hours, if not days, to cook. Instead, embrace one of the silver linings of 2020: really well-done takeout.
All sorts of restaurants have ventured into takeout this year, and they’ve had 10 months to perfect their approach. So leave the cooking (and grocery shopping) to them.
Here are more than two dozen local options for the Feast of the Seven Fishes, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Eve. Note that some restaurants have menus for more than one of these holidays.
A previous version of this post included Davio’s in King of Prussia; that restaurant has closed temporarily until Gov. Wolf’s newly announced restaurant restrictions are lifted.
Fork: Whether you’re in it for the surf or the turf, Ellen Yin’s flagship on Market Street has a holiday option for you. On Christmas Eve, there’s a Seven Fishes menu with Portuguese sardines, bagna cauda (warm garlic dip with anchovy), oysters Rockefeller, lobster mac and cheese, and more. Come Christmas Day, the menu shifts to prime rib supper for two, complete with truffled mashed potatoes, wedge salad, and chocolate mousse. 306 Market St., 215-625-9425, forkrestaurant.com
Charlie was a sinner.: The vegan cocktail lounge has a plant-based Christmas Eve feast covered. A six-course spread for four or six includes barbecue-glazed meatloaf, wild mushroom risotto, mac & cheese with smoked gouda, and bread pudding with bourbon-caramel glaze. Add a cranberry Christmas punch onto your order. Order by Dec. 23 for pickup Dec. 24. 131 S. 13th St., 267-758-5372, charliewasasinner.com
The Olde Bar: At Jose Garces’ restyling of the Old Original Bookbinder’s, the ready-to-heat feast includes cured hamachi pastrami, jumbo shrimp cocktail, curried mussels, crab and corn chowder, bay scallop pappardelle, lobster pot pie, and tilefish en papillote. A chocolate layer cake wraps up the meal. 125 Walnut St., 215-253-3777, theoldebar.com
Giuseppe’s Market: Assemble the customary Christmas Eve spread with prepared dishes from seafood wholesaler Samuels and Sons’ retail market. They’ve got shrimp cocktail, clams casino, oysters Rockefeller, cooked mussels in white and red sauces, and all kinds of seafood salad (octopus, scungilli, baccala, calamari, shrimp, crab, and Mediterranean). There’s buckets of crab gravy and trays of seafood lasagnas, too. Order for pickup Dec. 22-24. 3400 S. Lawrence St., 215) 389-8906, giuseppesmarket.com/family-packs
SliCE: What’s a pizza shop doing on this list? The folks behind SliCE crafted a pizza of the Seven Fishes — topped with clams, mussels, shrimp, tuna, crab meat, and sardines sauteed in fresh olive oil and garlic. Lemon, basil, and anchovies round out the equation. Order a seafood Caesar to lighten up the mix. Available now until Dec. 24. 1180 S. 10th St., 215-463-0868; 431 E. Girard Ave., 215-425-1555; 137 Egg Harbor Rd., Sewell, N.J., 856-302-5099; slicepa.com
Caffe Aldo Lamberti: It’s not Seven Fishes-themed, but Christmas Eve lunch or dinner at the sprawling flagship of the Lamberti empire features shrimp and scallop fra diavolo, veal campagnola, filet mignon gorgonzola, zucchini crabcake, and yellowfin tuna and crab. Available for dine-in (reservations required) or takeout (order by Dec. 22). 2011 Route 70 West, Cherry Hill, N.J., 856-663-1747, caffelamberti.com
Gran Caffe L’Aquila: Get the Seven Fishes (or just a few) delivered. The owner of this Italian restaurant channels his Naples upbringing in the Christmas Eve menu (which is also available on Dec. 26-27). Look forward to a traditional Neopolitan lasagna and sugo di Natale, a Christmas Day dish with wild boar meatballs, veal braciole, sausage and lamb in a slow-cooked tomato sauce. Order anytime for pickup or delivery up to Dec. 27. 1716 Chestnut St., 215-568-5600, grancaffelaquila.com
Noord: Put a Northern European stamp on Christmas with chef Joncarl Lachman’s five-course menu: Dutch Christmas bread accompanied with your choice of chopped chicken liver or walnut-mushroom pâté; roasted root vegetable soup or Dutch pea soup with smoked sausage and bacon; a choice of one of five entrees, including peppered quail, roasted salmon, braised goat curry, and smoked pork sausage; and either Dutch doughnuts or roasted pear-and-speculaas bread pudding for dessert. Order soon for pickup on Christmas Eve or day. And look out for Lachman’s New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day hangover brunch menus. 1046 Tasker St., 267-909-9704, noordphilly.com
Rex 1516: Head here for a Southern spin on the Christmas Day menu. A meal for two or four includes buttermilk biscuits, white bean stew, au gratin potatoes, cornbread-and-pineapple stuffing, house-smoked ham, and Christmas cookies plus a bouche de Noel for dessert. Optional beverage pairings are available, too. The beverage package is $55 for 2 or $100 for 4. Order soon for pickup Dec. 24. 1516 South St., 267-319-1366, rex1516.com
Southwark: Build a family-style or individual meal from the Queen Village standby’s Christmas Day menu: prime rib and/or butternut squash wellingtons for the main; potato and celery root au gratin, Tuscan kale, grilled green beans, and fresh-baked bread for sides; and a chocolate-hazelnut buche de Noel for dessert. A cash-only, to-go Seven Fishes dinner will be available, first-come, first-serve, on Dec. 24 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. 701 S. Fourth St., 267-930-8538, southwarkrestaurant.com
Rowhouse Grocery: The mission-driven community grocer is packing up trays of sliced holiday ham with pineapple and maraschino cherries, creamy scalloped potatoes, and green beans dressed in lemon-almond vinaigrette. Each item serves two and costs $15. There’s also a Christmas morning box with holiday babka, breakfast casserole, fresh fruit, and a pound of Càphê Roasters coffee. 1713 McKean St., 267-423-4249, rowhousegrocery.com
Dim Sum House: For some, Chinese food on Christmas is tradition. So Dim Sum House is preparing a Christmas feast for up to six people for pickup or delivery. Get a half Peking duck and a ginger-scallion lobster, plus a choice of dumplings and rice or noodle sides. Order by Dec. 23 for Christmas Eve and Dec. 24 for Christmas pickup at the Rittenhouse or University City locations. 1930 Chestnut St., 215-563-8800; 3939 Chestnut St., 215-921-5377; dimsum.house
Smokin’ Betty’s, Devil’s Alley: Barbecue for Christmas? Why not. Pick up a hot tray of pork ribs or chicken, hot turkey with gravy, cheddar cornbread, baked beans, charred Brussels, and mashed potatoes from either of these sister spots. Corn chowder and salad to start, chocolate cake or carrot cake to finish. Smokin’ Betty’s, 116 S. 11th St., 215-922-6500, smokinbettys.com; Devil’s Alley, 1907 Chestnut St., 215-751-0707, devilsalleybarandgrill.com
El Camino Real: The Northern Liberties Tex-Mex bar nods to tradition with its holiday dinner packages, which offer choices like ribeye roast beef, brisket pot roast, and fried turkey. Scale your menu’s size for anywhere between two and 10 people, and don’t forget to add the sparkling margaritas. 1040 N. Second St., 215-925-1110, elcaminophilly.com
Abe Fisher: For “Jewish Christmas Dinner,” the upscale Center City outpost of Michael Solomonov’s empire serves up kreplach soup with chicken dumplings, roasted duck breast with pretzel steamed buns and Manischewitz teriyaki, schmaltz fried rice, and Orange Julius custard. Order soon for pickup Dec. 24. 1623 Sansom St., 215-867-0088, abe-fisher.square.site
Brickside Grill: Exton’s bustling brunch destination is packing up Christmas Day dinner. Main courses include hickory-smoked ham, roasted turkey or filet, and salmon. Two sides (buttermilk whipped potatoes, andouille bread stuffing, herb-butter broccoli, etc.), cornbread, and dessert come with each meal. Starters (roasted pear salad, mini crab cakes) are extra. 540 Wellington Square, Exton, 610-321-1600, bricksidegrille.com
Pumpkin BYOB: The cozy South Street spot serves up four courses for NYE: a choice of oyster and celeriac chowder with black truffle, lamb-stuffed cabbage roll, or heirloom carrots to start; a cheese course with fennel agrodolce; dry-aged ribeye, braised monkfish, or Roman gnocchi; and either chocolate torte or portokalopita, an orange-infused, syrup-soaked cake, for dessert. 1713 South St., 215-545-4448, pumpkinphilly.com
Fiore Fine Foods: The duo behind the Queen Village all-day destination has the holidays well-covered. For New Year’s, the menu for two starts with garlic focaccia, cacio e pepe fritters, smoked cabbage, roasted carrots, and a leek and tarragon lasagna; progresses to braised beef cheeks, wood-fired turbot, or Umbrian lentils; and finishes with New York cheesecake. Add on caviar or truffles for a real splurge. 757 S. Front St., 215-339-0509, fiore-finefoods.com
Forsythia: Chef Christopher Kearse toasts 2021 with a five-course tasting menu complete with a beverage pairing (wine or non-alcoholic). Expect to do a little reheating and plating, but not much else. Dishes includes wild boar paté en croûte, black truffle crab cake, short rib with smoked shallots and morel fricassee, and a babas au rhum (fans of The Great British Baking Show will know). Order by Dec. 29 for pickup Dec. 31. 233 Chestnut St., 215-644-9395, forsythiaphilly.com
The Wayward: Nothing says New Year’s Eve like a seafood tower. Get one for takeout from Center City’s newest hotel restaurant. The tower (which you may have to stack yourself) includes a half-lobster, shrimp cocktail, Maine mussels, tuna Niçoise tartare, and a dozen oysters. Pair it with a French 75. Order by noon on Dec. 28 for New Year’s Eve. 1170 Ludlow St., 215-258-9430, thewayward.com
Cuba Libre: The Old City spot rings in the new year with a takeout feast (or reserve a seat at its outdoor dining setup). A pork dinner for two, or any order over $50, comes with party favors and “12 lucky grapes” for observing the Cuban New Year’s tradition: Make a wish with each grape you eat as the clock strikes midnight. Order by Dec. 29 by 3 p.m. 10 S. Second St., 215-627-0666, cubalibrerestaurant.com/en/philadelphia
Garces Trading Company: The Garces group (including Amada and the Olde Bar) has a lot of offerings for the holiday season, including storytime with Santa sessions, gingerbread house-building tutorials, and Christmas Eve meals. New Year’s Eve is no different, but the menu is. It’s a family-style selection of cocktail-hour fare, including crab-stuffed piquillo peppers, garlic shrimp, and fennel and chicory salad. Strip steak with veal short rib and scallop pappardelle will be sure to fill you up, and a Spanish-style cheesecake rounds out the meal. Order at least three days in advance. 125 Walnut St., 267-284-7950, garcestradingcompany.com
Talula’s Table, Talula’s Daily: Two of Aimee Olexy’s outposts have catering menus that cover anything from Christmas brunch to New Year’s Eve supper. Highlights include jumbo cinnamon rolls, holiday cheese boards, mini crabcakes, gourmet mac and cheese, and homemade cookie boxes. Order by Dec. 28 for pickup on Dec. 30/31, respectively. Talula’s Table, 102 W. State St., Kennett Square, 610-444-8255, talulastable.com; Talula’s Daily, 215-592-6555, talulasdaily.com
Bibou Boutique: The intimate Bella Vista BYOB may be a specialty market now, but you can still get chef Pierre Calmels’ exquisite French cooking. His Christmas menu includes a smoked salmon napoleon and stuffed quail, and he goes even bigger for New Year’s Eve, with lobster and scallop mousse, beef wellington, and a mango-meringue tart. Order soon for pickup on Dec. 23/24 or 30/31. 1009 S. Eighth St., 215-965-8290, boutiquebibou.com
Riverwinds Restaurant: Gloucester County’s steak-and-seafood spot is set for Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, too. For the latter, start with a colossal shrimp or crab cocktail, move on to cheesesteak spring rolls or fried mozzarella bruschetta, and finish with surf and turf or crab-crusted salmon. 1075 Riverwinds Dr., West Deptford, N.J., 856-579-7900, theriverwindsrestaurant.com
River Twice: Chef Randy Rucker’s New Year’s Eve menu focuses on extravagant grazing: shrimp cocktail, charcuteries, trout roe, mini tostadas topped with Maine uni and bean dip, Sweet Amalia oyster escabeche, and black-eyed peas for good luck in the new year. Every order includes a bottle of 2017 Meinklang Foam white sparkling wine. Order by noon on Dec. 30 for Dec. 31 pickup. 1601 E. Passyunk Ave., rivertwicerestaurant.com
Miss Rachel’s Pantry: Rachel Klein’s vegan dinners — like her holiday lasagna layered with roasted seitan, rosemary stuffing, and gravy — sell out quick. Her New Year’s Eve offerings, for pickup and delivery by Dec. 30, include charcuterie boxes, DIY fondue kits, spanakopita bites, and other DIY canapés that will stay fresh till the next day. Look out for a New Year’s Day brunch, too (frittatas, baked French toast casserole). 1938 S. Chadwick St., 215-798-0053, missrachelspantry.com