Looking for an alternative to turkey? Hoping to steal yourself away for a few hours from the in-laws and cheek-pinching aunties who have invaded your home? The holidays are always fun—in small doses—but sometimes, you just need to break with tradition. Gather your friends and / or family and head out to any one of these restaurants, the owners of which have graciously agreed to open their doors on December 25. From tried and trusted greasy spoons, to haughty linen napkin joints. We’ve got you covered. Know of any others? Add them to the comments section below.
After a solid week (month? year?) of running around, scouring the city for the perfect gifts, you’re more than entitled to a little R&R. For a laid back vibe, and delicious, unfussy comfort food, Old School is a sure thing. Brunch, lunch or dinner—flapjacks, chicken and waffles, mac and cheese, and a list of items that mom can’t make—the opportunities here are endless.
With three locations in the core, good ol’ Fran’s Restaurant, a certifiable downtown dining icon since 1940, is your safe bet this Christmas for all-day breakfast fare, not to mention anything and everything else you could ever imagine on a plate.
This cool staple of Queen West is open on Christmas Day, with a reduced, albeit delicious menu. As this will surely be a packed house, call ahead and make a reservation.
A great sandwich is all but guaranteed at Caplansky’s on College. This popular destination for home-smoked meat offers authentic Jewish fare for every meal of the day. Don’t get it twisted (challah!)—pastrami isn’t the only thing on the menu. Whether you’re down for a hearty breakfast of bacon and eggs, or the less-popular, yet certifiably delicious liver and onions supper, this is the place to visit.
If it’s finer fare you’re after, you’d be hard pressed to find a prettier space for tea and light refreshments. Colette’s Grand Café, with its Parisian-inspired décor and menu—including a scrumptious weekend brunch, and a daily array of fresh pastries and coffee—is an ideal spot for a late Christmas Day lunch, especially if you’re looking to impress any style-savvy out-of-town relatives
Rain or shine! This 24-hour eatery in the Yonge-Bloor corridor has been a go-to holiday option for years. With a cozy atmosphere and extensive menu (even on Christmas Day), you’ll be sure to find something for everyone.
BONUS: HIGH-END HOTEL EATS
Just about every hotel restaurant in the city is opened for Christmas, some with a modified menu for those looking for traditional turkey fare. Visit the following websites and reserve a table if you’re into ultra fancy food without the clean-up—especially if mom and dad are picking up the tab.