Christmas Day should be about relaxing and spending time with your loved ones, right? Though sometimes finding an Auckland restaurant that's open on Christmas Day is like finding a needle in a haystack.
We've done the hard yards and found out who's open to play host this year so you can sit back, relax and make merry while someone else does all the work.
Here are all the great restaurants that are open on Christmas Day 2021.
Onemata, The Park Hyatt Auckland
If fried chicken with pineapple kimchi and Korean chilli mayo, lamb shoulder with mint and caper salsa verde and duck-fat potatoes, and coconut roulade with raspberries and torched meringue—washed down with a glass of champagne sounds like your cup of Christmas tea, then best book yourself in for a Christmas Day feed at Onemata. One of several top-notch eateries located inside the stunning Park Hyatt Auckland hotel, these guys are serving up lunch and dinner fit for a Christmas king (or queen), in an unrivalled waterfront setting. Plus, they're putting on a special dinner for Christmas Eve, too.
Lunch: $225 per person | Dinner: $190 per person. Book here.
The Living Room, The Park Hyatt Auckland
The Living Room is here with a festive feast you won't soon forget. Not only will you be treated to some of the best views this side of the North Pole (the Auckland Viaduct, seen through floor-to-ceiling windows or from their deck), the food here is officially delicious. Christmas lunch comes in the form of a shared seafood platter, grilled sourdough with burnt butter, your choice of crispy duck breast, pork belly, or ras el hanout cauliflower and assorted desserts to follow; along with a glass of bubbles to wash it all down.
Lunch only: $195 per person. Book here.
The Sugar Club, SkyCity
For a festive feast that's quite literally next-level, head up Auckland's tallest building to The Sugar Club. Yes, if the Sky Tower were a Christmas tree then this world-class restaurant is surely the shining star on top. Located 53 floors above ground, not only will you enjoy one of the best views in the city—but you'll also be treated to an epic meal showcasing cleverly-named dishes like Rudolph (juniper-cured venison with chestnut, beetroot, and rosemary) and Let It Snow (black forest mousse with strawberry, white chocolate, and almond), as well as a glass of champagne on arrival. They've even gone the extra mile and conjured up a magical plant-based menu so the vegans amongst us can make merry. And seeing as it's the one day of the year where over-indulgence is not only acceptable but actively encouraged, you'd better finish off with one of the Club's coveted cocktails. Like many of the others on this list, they too are hosting a Christmas Eve dinner.
Lunch and dinner: $210 per person (excluding cocktails)/ $79 per child. Book here.
For those who want to steer clear of tradition, there's not a single slice of ham in sight at the award-winning Masu—which is instead offering diners an exotic, Japanese-inspired menu for both lunch and dinner. Expect plenty of scrumptious fare, including an Asahi black beer sourdough with wagyu butter—shio koji lamb rump with red pickled onion, smoked oil, spring onion powder and yakitori jus—and Christmas-inspired dessert dumplings (hell yes). Meri Kurisumasu!
Lunch and dinner: $140 per person/ $70 per child. Book here.
Gusto at the Grand, SkyCity
Cue the Santa belly—one of the city's best Italian joints is putting on a drool-worthy Taste of Amalfi feast for Christmas Day. In the true famiglia way, Gusto at the Grand will be cooking up a generous lunch and dinner menu featuring antipasto, Wagyu beef and taleggio ravioli, slow-cooked lamb shoulder, panettone pudding and more. Christmas Eve dinner is also available.
Lunch and dinner: $145 per adult / $60 per child. Book here.
Cooke's Restaurant And Bar, Hotel Grand Windsor
A chic Christmas menu awaits those who choose to spend December 25 at Cooke's Restaurant & Bar. Whether it's an exquisite champagne breakfast or a seven-course degustation over a leisurely lunch or dinner, a meal here will take your Christmas Day celebrations to new heights. Enjoy the restaurant's stylish heritage setting whilst feasting on drool-worthy dishes including a smoked short rib with mushroom puree, onion veloute and truffle pudding and a deconstructed white chocolate luxe trifle to finish. A glass of bubbles is also included on arrival—however if you want to go the extra mile and really treat yourself, consider adding a wine pairing to your meal for just $85.
Champagne breakfast: $90 per person, Lunch and dinner: $199 per person. Book here.
One thing we know about Christmas Day dining at Orbit—spirits will be high. How could they not be, when the food and drink is flowing, and the views are otherworldly (like The Sugar Club this one sits far above the city, up the Sky Tower). These guys are putting on a special Kiwi-inspired Christmas menu showcasing the best local and seasonal produce for both lunch and dinner (think Cambridge duck breast with potato fondant and asparagus, Hauraki Gulf snapper fillets with chardonnay beurre blanc, and a gorgeous dark chocolate cake with raspberry jelly and sorbet), which you'll enjoy while sitting in the country's only rotating restaurant (yes people, the dining room actually moves).
Lunch and dinner: $165 per person/ $75 per child. Book here.
DeBrett's Kitchen, Hotel DeBrett
You'll be feeling very merry indeed as you work your way through four courses of festive deliciousness at the inner-city haven that is Debrett's Kitchen, where the star of the show will be a traditional old English roast turkey with all the trimmings. End celebrations on a sweet note by indulging in a bowl of plum pudding with brandy butter and some chocolate truffles on the side—and let's not forget the complimentary Christmas cocktail. Again, they too are hosting a Christmas Eve dinner, as well as a Christmas Day brekkie.
Breakfast: $50 per person | Lunch and dinner: $185 per person. Book here.
Eight, Cordis Hotel
For a Yuletide banquet with all the trimmings, head along to Eight. The team here believe that some traditions are worth keeping so with that in mind, are serving up all the holiday fare you know and love—think succulent cuts of ham and turkey, delicious duck-fat potatoes and rich Christmas pudding (along with some more unconventional goodies like Peking duck with mini bao buns), all in a grand festive setting. Plus, there's a lavish champagne breakfast also up for grabs AND a special dinner on Christmas Eve.
Breakfast: $109 per person | Lunch and dinner: $289 per person. Book here.
FISH, Hilton Auckland
Get set for a serious festive feast over at FISH, who are hosting lunch AND dinner this December 25. Perched at the end of Princes Wharf, this is certainly a pretty special spot to spend Christmas Day and the food is just as fab. There'll be scampi and celeriac eclairs—burrata with heirloom tomatoes, stone fruit, and basil—turkey breast with stuffing, roasted root veggies, and cranberry relish—and perhaps the best piece of news yet, cherries and berries with eggnog ice cream. And let's not forget that glass of Bollinger bubbles... Again, a special Christmas Eve dinner is also available.
Lunch and dinner: $185 per person. Book here.
Esther, QT Auckland
Switch up the festivities with a Mediterranean-inspired spread at celeb chef Sean Connolly's gorgeous restaurant, Esther. Located inside the stylish QT Hotel, you'll be treated to your choice of lunch or dinner featuring fan faves like Sean's steak tartare and Pacific rock oysters, alongside seasonal specials like fire-pit roasted chorizo paella, roast porchetta, and line-caught snapper. Ooh, and a gorgeous raspberry trifle for afters.
Lunch: From $159 per person/ $79 per child | Dinner: $120 per adult/ $60 per child. Book here.
It's two times the festivities over at Waiheke favourite, Mudbrick, who are serving up a Christmas Day feast at their fancy flagship, Mudbrick Restaurant (where you'll enjoy a seven-course degustation), as well as at the more relaxed Archive Bistro (expect a set menu of shared nibbles followed by your choice of entrée, main, and dessert). And bonus, both come with insane ocean views.
Lunch: $175 per person (Mudbrick Restaurant), $160 per person (Archive Bistro) | Dinner: $175 per person (Mudbrick Restaurant). Book here.
Poderi Crisci, Waiheke
In true Poderi Crisci style, Christmas Day lunch will be served in the form of a lush Italian feast. The family-owned, Tuscan-style vineyard has seven gorgeous courses for you to graze over, as well as a champagne cocktail on arrival and assorted treats throughout.
Lunch only: $165 per person plus 15% public holiday surcharge. Book here.
Cable Bay Vineyards, Waiheke
Escape to Cable Bay Vineyards this Christmas, where the popular winery is dishing up five courses of festive delights for both lunch and dinner, including turkey breast kotleti with salsa de tomatoes, reggiano and rocket, and Christmas pudding with green buttercream icing, cherries and housemade raspberry sorbet. Add to that bubbles on arrival, award-winning vino and a generous serve of Hauraki Gulf views, and Christmas has never looked better.
Lunch and dinner: $130 per person / $39 per child. Book here.
La Marée, Sofitel Auckland Viaduct Harbour Hotel
Christmas is the time to indulge, is it not? And La Marée, the signature restaurant over at Sofitel Auckland Viaduct Harbour Hotel, is just the place to do it. Their exquisite Christmas day long lunch and set menu dinner will equally impress, with both served a literal stone's throw from the tranquil waters of the Auckland Viaduct. A Christmas Eve dinner will also be taking place here.
Long lunch $225 per person/$95 per child (ages 4-12), Christmas Day Dinner $179 per person Book here.
Get in the festive spirit with a tour of Auckland's best Christmas lights.
Image credit: The Park Hyatt Auckland, Hotel Grand Windsor, Cordis.