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Where to eat this holiday season

Photo credit: Jonathan & Joanne Encarnacion

Tis the season to eat, drink, and be merry—and our guide to the best of holiday dining in the city will have you doing all three in style, from now until New Year’s Day. Please enjoy, and out of respect for your holiday—when we believe your inbox should only be filled with messages from friends and family—you won’t hear a peep from us until January 2015. Happy Holidays from everyone at BBE!

Christmas Eve at Piperade
Exposed brick walls and warm wood accents give Piperade a cozy feel that is especially welcome on Christmas Eve. A wall-sized clock ticks ever forward, serving perhaps as a reminder to diners of Christmases past, present, and future. The well-regarded Basque-via-California cuisine of chef Gerald Hirigoyen is available a la carte during the day, but once darkness falls, the night turns to festive fare with flair. Choose one of four three-course prix fixe dinners: roasted chicken galantine with chestnut, cranberry, chanterelle and pistachio; sautéed black cod “Porrusalda” with potatoes and leeks; roasted rack of lamb with merguez, cumin, and date relish; or New York Steak with root vegetables, huckleberry and Tempranillo sauce. And don’t forget to toast the season with a complimentary glass of sparkling wine.

When: Wednesday, December 24, 11:30 AM–10 PM
Where: 1015 Battery St., San Francisco, CA 94111
Telephone: 415-391-2555

Holiday Lunch Club at BIX
Lunch is not normally a meal associated with holiday festivities, but BIX's annual Holiday Lunch Club celebrates the season with a signature menu that’s available daily through December 23. Known for its supper club atmosphere, BIX tweaks its offerings for the season and the daytime downtown crowd. Chef Bruce Hill mixes it up with a la carte offerings such as a steak tartare revamped with American Kobe beef, truffles, and black olive crostini and Dungeness crab cocktail with jicama, Brussels sprout slaw, and horseradish crema. Get it while you can—the Lunch Club will melt like a snowflake once the reindeer and the jolly man in the suit are in the air.

When: Mon–Fri, December 1–23, 11:30 AM–2:30 PM
Where: 56 Gold St., San Francisco, CA 94133
Telephone: 415-433-6300

Christmas Day all day at Top of the Mark
Start Christmas Day off right with Live entertainment from pianists Michael Athens and Ricardo Scales at the Top of the Mark. From 10 AM to 7 PM, savor the joy of Christmas from brunch on through to dinner, while chef Nenad Stefanovic serves up the classics, from traditional prime rib, bone-in ham, and roast turkey with all the trimmings to eggs Benedict with Béarnaise sauce, roasted potatoes, and an omelet and waffle station, all done buffet style. Whether you choose brunch or dinner, it is $119 per adult and $59 per child. Reservations are required.

When: Thursday, December 25
Where: 999 California St., San Francisco, CA 94108
Telephone: 415-616-6941

New Years at Bluestem Brasserie
On New Year’s Eve, Bluestem transforms into a luxury cruise liner as chef Francis Hogan takes guests on a themed voyage around the Mediterranean. Stop in at ports as varied as Barcelona, Monte Carlo, and the Greek Islands and select from an array of dishes specially designed for the evening. Guests may choose the three-course option, available until 8 PM, for $65, or the five-course adventure for $125. Select your preferred flavors from the each port’s renowned cuisine—think white anchovies with Meyer lemon and green olive in Barcelona, roasted branzino with pine nuts and goat cheese for the Greek Islands, and Maine lobster with caviar-vodka gelée for Monte Carlo (second seating only). Dining with a theme was never so posh.

When: Wednesday December 31, seatings at 4-8 PM (3 courses, $65) and 8-11 PM (5 courses, $125)
Where: 1 Yerba Buena Ln., San Francisco, CA 94103
Telephone: 415-547-1111

Dance in the New Year at Comal
Dancing is as important as dining on New Year’s Eve at Berkeley’s Comal, where the tables will be cleared out and the volume turned up for an end of the year dancehall party. DJ Jose Ruiz, Comal’s regular Thursday night DJ, will spin Latin and funk tracks into the wee hours while chef Matt Gandin will turn out Oaxaca-style street snacks like quesadillas, flautas, and albóndigas en adobo to keep your feet moving. The $45 ticket includes all food, while an original New Year’s Eve cocktail, crafted for the occasion by Comal’s lead bartender, Matthew Campbell—plus craft cocktails, draft beer, wine, tequila, and mezcal—will also be available.

When: Wednesday, December 31, doors at 9 PM
Where: 2020 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley, CA 94704
Telephone: 510-926-6300

Toast the New Year at The Lounge at the Ritz Carlton
Nebuchadnezzer may have been a Babylonian king, but his name is also synonymous with a gigantic bottle of champagne, equal to 20 standard bottles. As a guest at the Lounge at The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco you can share in the revelry of New Year’s Eve and raise a toast to 2015 with a glass of the fizzy stuff, poured from a Nebuchadnezzer by the ladies and gentlemen of The Ritz-Carlton. Balloons will drop around you, a DJ will spin tunes, and seasonal bites from chef Michael Rotondo of The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco’s Parallel 37 will be available. Bottle service is available in The Lounge and tables are first come, first serve for this epic experience.

When: Wednesday, December 31, 2014, 9 PM¬–1 AM
Where: The Ritz-Carlton, 600 Stockton St., San Francisco, CA 94108
Telephone: 415-773-6168

New Year’s on your own schedule at Brasserie S&P
In iconoclastic San Francisco, no one says you have to celebrate the New Year at the stroke of midnight. Celebrate on London time (or Paris time for that matter) with a flight of Henriot champagne at the Bar at Brasserie S&P. For $55, enjoy Brut, Blanc de Blancs, and Rosé champagne along with an assortment of canapés from Brasserie S&P chef Adam Mali. One of the last independent and family-owned houses in Champagne, Henriot is recognized for their finesse, exceptional elegance, complexity, and brilliant richness. So toast the New Year on your own schedule—three times.

When: Wednesday, December 31, 3 PM–7 PM
Where: The Bar at Brasserie S&P, 222 Sansome St., San Francisco, CA 94104
Telephone: 415-276-9888

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