Phil Vettel recommends

Christmas Day dining options few, but impressive

Dining out on Christmas Day is never easy, but it's not impossible. Most people know that Chinatown is always a good dining-out bet, and nearly every hotel restaurant has to provide some sort of food service, even on Christmas Day (can't let your guests go hungry).

Here are a few good choices (and don't forget Cafe des Architectes, the subject of this week's Deconstructed Menu):

Ann Sather: You can always count on Ann Sather, which will be serving a selection of holiday dinners from 11 a.m to 7 p.m. (and breakfast beginning at 7 a.m.). Complete meals (with breads, soup, vegetable, entree and dessert) are $19.95; reservations accepted for parties of six or more. In addition, the Andersonville location (5207 N. Clark St.) will be open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and the Ann Sather Cafe (3411 N. Broadway) will be open from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. 909 W. Belmont Ave.; 773-348-2378

Aria: The restaurant in the Fairmont Hotel is bringing back the It's a Jewish Christmas menu, a three-course menu of Chinese cuisine (though the desserts are distinctly Western). The $45 tab includes parking and a Gold Experience ticket to the AMC River East Theaters, located just a few blocks away. Available 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. 200 N. Columbus Drive; 312-444-9494

Balsan: The casual half of the Elysian's dining options (Ria is the high-end option) will be open for breakfast until noon and will feature a $75, three-course menu from noon to 7 p.m. 11 E. Walton St.; 312-646-1400

C-House: Marcus Samuelsson's steak-and-seafooder will serve a $49 ($19 for children younger than 12), three-course menu on Christmas Eve and Day. First seating is 4 p.m.; last seating 8:30 p.m. 166 E. Superior St.; 312-523-0923

D'Noche Latin American Kitchen: Featuring its regular a la carte menu from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. for lunch and dinner. 2710 N. Milwaukee Ave.; 773-289-4274

Francesca's on Chestnut: Serving its regular a la carte menu from 2 to 8:30 p.m. 200 E. Chestnut St.; 312-482-8800

Italiasia: Serving a buffet of Italian and Asian specialties ($25.95, $15.95 for ages 12 and younger) from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. 350 W. Mart Center Drive; 312-529-1157

Lockwood: Serving a Christmas Day buffet ($60) from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; a five-course, $75 tasting menu (including foie gras terrine, Kumamoto oysters, black-truffle risotto) will be served Christmas Eve and Day. 17 E. Monroe St.; 312-917-3404

Pump Room: Will feature a four-course, $57 set menu (in addition to the regular a la carte menu) from noon to 9 p.m. 1301 N. State Parkway; 312-787-3700

Rio's D'Sudamerica: Featuring a Peruvian buffet ($13) from noon to 8 p.m. 2010 W. Armitage Ave.; 773-276-0170

Sunda: For the second year, the restaurant will serve Christmas Day dinner (regular menu, with specials) from 5 to 11 p.m. 110 W. Illinois St.; 312-644-0500

SushiSamba Rio: Featuring its regular menu, augmented with seasonal specials and specialty cocktails. 504 N. Wells St., 312-595-2300

pvettel@tribune.com
CHICAGO

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