Where to Order Christmas Dinner This Year from Local Restaurants

Not so sure about cooking this holiday? Local chefs can cover you.

IF THE IDEA OF PULLING TOGETHER dinner on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day doesn’t sound like a present to yourself at all, give yourself the gift of ordering to-go from one of these local restaurants. Whether you want purely traditional meat and fixings or wish to chart a new course with a meal folding in French, Chinese or Nordic accents, the good news is you’ve got plenty of options.

A La Carte

Le Rêve Cafe


From a charcuterie platter or European fromage platter before the big meal to ready-to-bake Christmas Day chocolate croissants or fruit danishes, Le Rêve Café’s holiday menu for carry-out covers a lot of food needs. There’s even a French baguette to build out your spread, and a Plateau de Fruits de Mer loaded with chilled lobster and shrimp, salmon rillette and crab claws. Pre-order by Friday, Dec. 17, and pick up at Le Reve Café on Thursday, Dec. 23.

The Entire Meal



Offering a customizable menu that features choice of an entrée (such as duckling, salmon or filet mignon), along with soup or salad, choice of potato and dessert, you can also tack on dessert (seven choices range from cherry cheesecake to pumpkin pie). Serves one, $26-$39 (plus dessert). Pre-order and pick up at Alioto’s on Saturday, Dec. 25 between noon and 3 p.m.


360 E. ERIE ST. 

Continuing its specialization in Chinese Sichuan cuisine, DanDan’s Peking Duck Christmas Dinner is more than just the bird: it’s also a meal. Duck soup with duck dumplings and vegetables, and a stir-fried rice noodle dish, are included with the roast duck breast (served with scallion crepes). Serves two, $82. Pre-order and pick up at DanDan on Thursday, Dec. 23.



Located on the ground floor of Renaissance Milwaukee West next to Mayfair Mall, the restaurant’s “Holiday Spread” features an entrée choice (seared Faroe Island salmon in birch syrup glaze, braised beef short ribs or roasted turkey breast in wild Arctic thyme sea salt), four sides and Christmas Silk Pie. Serves 4, $140. Pre-order and pick up at Eldr + Rime on Friday, Dec. 24 between 11 a.m. and 8 p.m.


360 E. ERIE ST. 

This dining concept inside of DanDan goes luxe for its Holiday Caviar to-go special: one ounce of caviar with egg salad, tater tots, shallots and crème fraiche. $75. Pre-order by Saturday, Dec. 18 and pick up at EsterEv on Thursday, Dec. 23 between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m.

Miss Molly’s Cafe

9201 W. CENTER ST. 

The Christmas Dinner Meal Kit honors this bakery’s beginnings with the option to add dessert ($32-$40), such as eggnog cheesecake with gingersnap crust, chocolate peppermint mousse pie and caramel-apple almond galette with cornmeal crust. In the kit are pork tenderloin, roasted carrots, Brussel-sprout salad, garlic scalloped potatoes and French rolls with butter. Serves 2 or 4, $60 per person. Pre-order by Sunday, Dec. 19, and pick up at Miss Molly’s Café on Thursday, Dec. 23 between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m.


1547 N. JACKSON ST. 

Included in the Sanford Holiday Meal Package are three courses (prime rib, root vegetables and duck-fat potatoes), plus rolls and butter, and dessert (fruitcake with chocolate and brandied cherries). Serves four, $240. Pre-order and pick up at Sanford on Thursday, Dec. 23 between noon and 4 p.m.

Ward’s House of Prime

540 E. MASON ST.

Ward’s House of Prime’s “At Home for the Holidays” carry-out special is centered around prime rib: along with au jus and creamy horseradish, house salad, mushrooms, mashed potatoes, buttered corn. Desserts (for an extra $7-$8 per person) include banana cake, chocolate cake, carrot cake and cheesecake. Serves four, $200; 5-8, $320; and 9-12, $525. Pre-order and pick up at Ward’s House of Prime on Friday, Dec. 24 between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. or Saturday, Dec. 25 between noon and 1 p.m.

Smoke Shack


Traditional ham and other fixings are on the Holiday Menu from this Third Ward staple for smoked meats. Choose from smoked beef brisket ($25/pound), whole Amish chicken ($25) or whole smoked ham ($70) for the meat entrée, then tack on sides ($20-$45, either half or full pans) like four-cheese mac and cheese, roasted winter squash and beans, or chive and sour cream mashed potatoes. The only decision remaining is what sauce: bourbon gravy ($8) or Alabama white BBQ sauce ($9)? Dessert is also an option (whole apple streusel, $20). Pre-order by Sunday, Dec. 19 and pick up at Smoke Shack on Thursday, Dec. 23.



A seasoned writer, and a former editor at Milwaukee Home & Fine Living, Kristine Hansen launched her wine-writing career in 2003, covering wine tourism, wine and food pairings, wine trends and quirky winemakers. Her wine-related articles have published in Wine Enthusiast, Sommelier Journal, Uncorked (an iPad-only magazine), FoodRepublic.com, CNN.com and Whole Living (a Martha Stewart publication). She's trekked through vineyards and chatted up winemakers in many regions, including Chile, Portugal, California (Napa, Sonoma and Central Coast), Canada, Oregon and France (Bordeaux and Burgundy). While picking out her favorite wine is kind of like asking which child you like best, she will admit to being a fan of Oregon Pinot Noir and even on a sub-zero winter day won't turn down a glass of zippy Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc.