Festive Spots for Sips & Snacks

Restaurants around town are welcoming the season with specials galore. From a Christmas Day Chinese feast to a gingerbread village and a Festivus Party, here are some of the most exciting holiday happenings in Austin.


Wu Chow | 500 W. 5th St.

Décor: The brand new modern Chinese restaurant from the folks behind Swift’s Attic brings swank to the season.

Don’t miss: Christmas Day multi-course family-style banquets, complete with Peking duck. (For the squeamish, be advised that they won’t be cutting the heads off tableside, like in A Christmas Story.)

Details: Prices will vary, but call to make reservations, as these spots are sure to fill up fast.

Mandola’s | 4700 W. Guadalupe St. #12

Décor: Head to this hot spot in the Triangle for a hearty Italian meal. After your meal, peruse the rows of Italian imports and stop by the gelato and sweets counter. Buon Natale, indeed!

Don’t miss: Dozens of Italian holiday cookies like giuggiulena, bocconcini and cucidati, as well as pumpkin and pecan pies and pumpkin cheesecake.

Details: Find them in the bakery section, or order them online for the ultimate party treats. The cookies run $20 per tin, the pumpkin and pecan pies for $20 per pie, and the pumpkin cheesecake is $40 per cake.

Vox Table | 1100 S. Lamar Blvd. #2140

Décor: The airy, New American small plates restaurant is the perfect place for a celebratory holiday meal.

Don’t miss: The chef’s tasting prix fixe menu on Christmas Eve. Think dishes like chestnut soup with truffle panna cotta, brown butter and micro croutons; seared scallops with grilled sunchokes, preserved Meyer lemon and port reduction; a Muscovy grilled duck breast with persimmons and root vegetables; and a sweet potato Bavarian cream dessert.

Details: Call the restaurant for prices and reservations.

The Driskill Hotel | 604 Brazos St.

Décor: This classic downtown Austin hotel celebrates the holidays the classic way, complete with an enormous Christmas tree and lights and can’t-miss events to get you in the holiday spirit.

Don’t miss: Catch the tree lighting with musical performances, performances by the Arundel Ensemble Strong Quarter, holiday teas, Cookies for Caring cookie exchange, an afternoon with Santa, and a five-course prix fixe dinner on Christmas Day.

Details: Tree lighting takes place on December 1 at 6pm. Holiday music on on weekday evenings from December 2–17. Holiday teas on Friday, Saturday and Sunday afternoons, December 4–20, reservations required, $46 per adult, $26 per child. Cookies for Caring on December 13 from 2pm–4pm, $25 per cookie tin. Afternoon with Santa on December 13, 3pm–6pm, reservations required, $25 per person. Christmas Day dinner, reservations required, $125 per adult, $65 per child.

Royers Pie Haven and Royers Round Top Café | 2900 Guadalupe St. | 105 Main St., Round Top, Texas

Décor: Royers makes everything fun, with loud, colorful decorations like red and green coffee filters, garlands made of pie pans, paper chains and a ginormous tree fit for a pie maven.

Don’t miss: Specials like eggnog pie, pumpkin pie and chocolate chess pie with peppermint cream, as well as eggnog cookies and chocolate peppermint cookies.

Details: Specials run through the month of December. Get your fill of slices at the haven, or order whole pies online for an at home celebration. Or make a day of it and drive out to the café for a serious meal of pork tenderloin with peach-and-pepper glaze, with plenty of pie for dessert. Cookies are $1, whole pies are $30.

Independence Brewing | 3913 Todd Ln., #607

Décor: In honor of Seinfeld, this craft brewery in South Austin wants you to come celebrate Festivus with the best of them.

Don’t miss: The Festivus Party, will feature a Festivus pole that patrons will make from empty Independence Power & Light Cans (after they’ve shotgunned the beers, naturally). The pole building will be followed by the traditional “airing of the grievances,” followed by high fives, and noshes from the on-site food truck. Be sure to come dressed in your favorite ugly sweater to win a bonus prize.

Details: Festivus Party is December 23 from 6pm to 9pm.

Péché | 208 W 4th St.

Décor: No, you haven’t traveled back to 1920s Paris, though it sure feels like it in this swanky cocktail bar that specializes in absinthe.

Don’t miss: The absinthe cocktails will start your evening out with a kick, but then move on to one of the many sweet treats from Pastry Chef Yolanda Diaz. Think eggnog brulée with whiskey macarons, spiced chocolate ganache, malt crumble, gingerbread cream and candied mandarins, as well as Buche de Noel with peppermint bark, meringue and chocolate foil. Or keep Thanksgiving going with pumpkin pie with sage ice cream, toasted mallow, and caramel corn.

Details: Dessert specials available throughout the month of December.

Odd Duck | 1201 S. Lamar Blvd.

Décor: With its hipster-meets-homey plates and mismatched decorations, this South Lamar restaurant from Chef Bryce Gilmore always feels a bit like the holidays.

Don’t miss: Pastry Chef Susana Querejazu’s special apple pie made with local apples. Big enough for three to four people, this sweet treat is served in a small cast-iron skillet and topped with buttered pecan ice cream and cajeta, complete with a cheddar-packed crust (but be warned: this popular dish runs out early).

Details: The special apple pie is available through December for a mere $16.

La V | 1501 E. 7th St.

Décor: Classic and classy is the name of the game at this East Austin French restaurant. Find decadent holiday meals and festive holiday events at the Say laV trailer and the garden throughout the season.

Don’t miss: At the restaurant proper, indulge in a three-course savory tasting menu. Then head to the Jardins de laV next door for the inaugural Christmas Tree Lighting, and enjoy treats from Say laV like hot chocolate and cider for the kids and hot toddies, mulled wine and spiked cider for the grown-ups. Also don’t miss the live reindeer petting zoo, ornament decorating station, and a visit from Pere de Noel (i.e., Santa Claus). The event benefits Operation Blue Santa, which provides toys and food to Austin-based families in need.

Details: Tasting menu through the month of December (excluding New Year’s Eve). Christmas Tree Lighting will take place on December 5 from 4pm to 7pm; the event is free and open to the public, though donations to Operation Blue Santa are encouraged.

Lonesome Dove | 419 Colorado St.

Décor: Chef Tim Love’s Western bistro features oversize everything, from big booths to antlers to enormous plates of ribeyes and elk loin. Also on the menu? A crispy beef tendon “taco” with holiday venison, pickled fall vegetables and edible flowers.

Don’t miss: On New Year’s Eve, Chef Love is dishing up a four-course feast with a complimentary Champagne toast for extra celebrating.

Details: The dinner costs $95 per person. Call for reservations.


Photography by Hayden Spears

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