Christmas is just a few weeks away, and just thinking of having close friends and family gathered around a table piled high with turkey, roast ham, a dizzying selection of sides and hors d’oeuvres, puddings and pies is making us go all warm and fuzzy inside.

With our small ovens and lack of kitchen space in Hong Kong, the merriest meal of the year doesn’t always happen at home, but who’s complaining when our favourite restaurants pull out all the stops to spread the yuletide cheer this time of year? With so many options available for where to have Christmas dinner in Hong Kong, we’ve handpicked the best of the bunch to make your holiday gathering extra special this year.

Best for… dinner with a view: Alto

ALTO - Interiors (Private Champagne Room)

With stunning interiors and a view that’s hard to beat, Alto is one of the few places where you can enjoy a gorgeous setting with your meal without having to drop a fortune for it. For their first holiday season, the contemporary grill house has prepared a three-course meal (HK$588): Start with a choice of poached egg paired with parma ham and black truffle vinaigrette; seared scallops with parsnips and capers; or a warming roasted squash soup with creamy sage brown butter. Hearty mains include traditional roasted turkey breast with sweet potatoes, French beans and cranberries; USDA beef tenderloin with buttered whipped potatoes and asparagus; pan-roasted cod with bacon croquettes; or black truffle pappardelle with asparagus. Finally, indulge your sweet tooth with freshly baked warm apple pie and cinnamon ice cream as you watch the sun set over the harbour.

When: 24–25 December 2016

Alto, 31/F, V Point, 18 Tang Lung Street, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong, +852 2603 7181, diningconcepts.com/Alto

Best for… a quintessential Christmas gathering: The Continental 

The Continental Xmas - Christmas Eggnog Soufflé

One of the best-kept secrets in Admiralty, The Continental’s fairy lights and foliage-decorated garden terrace is getting a holiday makeover this month with Christmas adornments, blankets to cosy up under, and a wintery cocktail menu and cheese fondue to warm you from the inside out. Whether you’re dining indoors or out, you can enjoy the five-course festive menu (HK$450 lunch; HK$788 dinner) featuring tuna tartare with black truffles, foie gras terrine with poached quince, lobster medallions with gingerbread crumble and milk-fed Holland veal cheeks ragout. For dessert, The Continental brings back the classic eggnog soufflé served with spiced cranberries and brandy anglaise.

When: Through 31 December 2016

The Continental, Unit 406, L4 Pacific Place, 88 Queensway, Hong Kong, +852 2704 5211, thecontinentalhongkong.com

Best for… an Italian Christmas: Sabatini

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Christmas is all about spending quality time with family while indulging in good food and wine, and who knows how to do this better than the Italians? Experience the true spirit of Italian hospitality while tasting the best produce the country has to offer at Sabatini’s Christmas Eve Gala Dinner, priced at HK$2,288 per person. Reflecting the style of a traditional Roman trattoria, Sabatini dishes up consistent, classically-executed Italian comfort foods, from linguine with red prawns and sea urchin sauce, to herb-crusted French sea bass with tiger prawns and roasted bell peppers. The eight-course Christmas menu is sure to leave you stuffed as a Christmas ham, but there’s no turning down dessert — a curiously named “Pistachio Delight” which we bet will be a highlight of the meal.

When: 24 December 2016

Sabatini, 3/F, The Royal Garden, 69 Mody Road, Tsim Sha Tsui East, Hong Kong, +852 2733 2000, rghk.com.hk

Best for… holiday imbibing: The Envoy

The Envoy_Elephant's Tea Party

No Christmas dinner is complete without excellent drinks to match, which is why  we’re counting on The Envoy to bring us the best of both this season. With a menu conceived by master mixologists Antonio Lai and Amanda Wan, it’s no surprise that The Envoy was named one of Asia’s 50 Best Bars this year, but the boutique hideout in The Pottinger is just as good for tasty nibbles as it is for tipples (try saying that five times fast). The classic line-up of festive faves (HK$458 per person) soup and salad for starters; turkey roulade, halibut and Australian grain-fed stuffed tenderloin for mains; and Christmas pudding for dessert. Of course, the drinks will be flowing all night long; we’re particularly intrigued by the new winter cocktails including the tiki-themed Elephant’s Tea Party (HK$248 for two); and the festive Blue Bells presented in The Envoy’s signature bird glass (included in Christmas Eve dinner).

When: Lunch available 5–31 December from noon–2:30pm; dinner available 17–27 December from 6:30–10pm

The Envoy, 3/F, The Pottinger Hotel, 74 Queen’s Road, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2169 3311, theenvoy.hk

Best for… a family-style affair: Rhoda

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Family is at the heart of the food philosophy at contemporary eatery Rhoda (after all, the restaurant is named after chef Nate Green’s grandma), so you can bet Christmas dinner at this Sai Ying Pun hotspot will be all about generosity and family-style sharing. The menu constantly changes to reflect the seasons and the chef’s creative whims, and this month is all about embracing festive flavours, with dishes such as duck ham with juniper and orange (HK$128); smoked venison tartare with pickled walnut, beetroot and celeriac (HK$208); turkey cottage pie with veggies (HK$398 for sharing); and brussels sprouts, roasted carrots and parsnips for sides. The excellent Brink’s free-range chicken has also been given a festive twist with a pork and apricot stuffing (HK$648 for sharing). On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, sit down for a special set menu of chef Nate’s choosing for HK$650 per person.

When: Through 31 December 2016

Rhoda, G/F, Upton, 345 Des Voeux Road West, Hong Kong, +852 2177 5050, rhoda.hk

Best for… an exotic Christmas: TRi

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TRi’s Balinese paradise can’t be matched when you need an escape from the city, and while it may not be your typical Christmas set-up, the dazzling setting and world-class food are enough to make up for that holiday trip you’re probably regretting not booking this year. Sitting in your own private lotus ‘pod’ with elements of nature all around, it’s easy to pretend you’re in exotic Bali as you feast on an eight-course Christmas menu (HK$880) featuring the best of Indonesian cuisine — think tuna wrapped in betel leaves, Balinese minced pork satay with spicy chilli sambal, steamed buns with smoked duck breast and braised veal shank with nasi lemak. Wrap up the Balinese feast with shortbread with coffee cream and a ginger-scented sponge cake with fried banana for dessert.

When: 24–26 December 2016

TRi, Shop 302, 3/F, Lobby C, The Pulse, 28 Beach Road, Repulse Bay, Hong Kong, +852 2515 0577, tri.hk

Best for… dinner in fancy digs: Mandarin Grill + Bar 

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A meal at the Mandarin Grill + Bar is always a treat, and the special occasion type restaurant is just the sort of place to make worthwhile Christmas memories. This year, the grill house is offering up a two-course (HK$1,188) or three-course (HK$1,388) menu, with mains including dover sole with buttered spinach, blue lobster with sorrel puree, girolle ragout and pea juice; prime roast beef with yorkshire pudding and jus; and your choice cut of grass-fed beef served with Béarnaise sauce, grilled vegetables and mashed potatoes. Rum baba with orange, brioche and vanilla and baked cheesecake with blueberries round out the festive meal.

When: 24–25 December 2016

Mandarin Grill + Bar, 5 Connaught Road Central, Hong Kong, +852 2522 0111, mandarinoriental.com

Best for… a steak dinner: Buenos Aires Polo Club 

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Who says you need a stuffed bird to have a proper Christmas meal? We say ditch the turkey this year and dig into a tender, juicy T-bone steak instead at Buenos Aires Polo Club. Built in the style of an old Argentinian member’s club, BA Polo Club is not just for the gentlemen patrons despite its handsome furnishings and whisky- and cognac-stocked bar — the family-friendly establishment is imbued with the type of charm and hospitality that goes hand-in-hand with the holidays. Feast family-style on a traditional menu (HK$658 plus 10%) that kicks off with a gem lettuce salad, steak tartare, and the signature Provoleta — a combination of fontina and provolone cheese melted in a cast-iron skillet. The main event includes an iberian pork chop, king salmon, and a 24-oz bone-in ribeye, paired with a selection of classic steakhouse sides. Don’t forget to top up with a few glasses of Argentinian wine.

When: Available throughout December

Buenos Aires Polo Club, 7/F, LKF Tower, 33 Wyndham Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2321 8681, bapoloclub.com

Leslie Yeh
Editor in Chief
Having worked as a lifestyle editor for almost 10 years, Leslie is thrilled to be writing about the topic she loves most: wining and dining. When she's not out pounding the pavement for the latest new restaurant opening or tracking food trends, Leslie can be found at home whipping up a plate of rigatoni vodka and binge-watching Netflix with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc in hand.