A Guide to Festive Holiday Menus in Vancouver

Miku Holiday Kaiseki; Photo: Rich Won

The holidays are fast approaching, which means it’s time to finalize your festive eating and drinking plans. Restaurants, bars, and other food establishments around the city are offering special menus for you and your guests to enjoy while dining in or entertaining at home.

Here are 10 delicious options for your holiday celebrations:

Miracle in Gastown at Clough Club

Photo: Miracle in Gastown

From now until the end of December, Clough Club is hosting “Miracle in Gastown,” a local version of a holiday cocktail pop-up that began in New York City in 2014. At the time, bar owner Greg Boehm transformed his East Village bar into the best of holidays drinking after his mother urged him to do so.

Nearly a decade later, “Miracle” has become a holiday tradition, and this year, has come to Vancouver’s Clough Club, located in historic Gastown. The vintage-themed cocktail bar is decked out for the season in full retro kitsch pizazz, complete with lights, garlands, Santa inflatables, and Grinch and Home Alone imagery. There are 10 different holiday-inspired cocktails to choose from, including Elfing Around #2 (cognac, mulled wine reduction, champagne, lemon, aromatic bitters, and absinthe), Rudolph’s Replacement (vodka, coffee liqueur, white crème de cacao, orange curaçao, chai, almond milk, and aromatic bitters), and Yippie Ki Yay Mother F****r! (Barbardos rum, rhum Agricole, Trinidad overproof rum, ube and coconut orgeat, and acid-adjusted pineapple juice) for all those Die Hard fans. All drinks are served in fun holiday drinkware.

While you’re sipping, snack on nostalgic bites like holiday dinner dogs with turkey sausage, stuffing, cranberries, mashed potato, and gravy; and Kevin’s mac ‘n’ cheese with Scooby Doo pasta and truffle white cheddar sauce.

Kringle’s at Fairmont Hotel Vancouver

Photo: Kringle’s

The Fairmont Hotel Vancouver is launching a festive holiday pop-up bar, Kringle’s, on December 1, running until the end of the year Tuesdays through Saturdays from 5pm (closed December 25). In the lower lobby, you’ll find an intimate lounge decorated with bright lights and other festive notes for the holidays. Groups of up to 8 can also hold special gatherings in a semi-private space.

Festive drinks available will include After the Frost (Bombay Sapphire, Calvados, and Mission Hill Reserve ice wine), Starry Night Negronis (Roku Gin, pomegranate, Campari, sweet vermouth, and rosemary), and house-made eggnog with Maker’s Mark Bourbon. Small plates and desserts to pair with your drinking will also be available, including albacore tuna tataki, a mortadella parfait, and pumpkin pie trifle.

Excitingly, every day will bring new features from a life-size Advent Calendar (running December 1 to 31). The calendar, in addition to daily features, will reveal Champagne pours and other fun holiday surprises.

Winter Sippers at L’Abattoir

Photo: L’Abattoir

The charming bar at Gastown’s L’Abattoir is always ideal for a special occasion, even more so during the holidays with their just launched Winter Sippers’ menu. Cocktails at L’Abattoir are impeccably crafted and, in this case, will keep you warm, cozy, and in the holiday spirit. Options include a hot Thyme Toddy with Old Forrester, lemon, fig, honey, and thyme; tropical hot chocolate with Stiggins rum, yellow chartreuse, and cinnamon; and a Slaughternog with house-made eggnog, Hennessey VS, and seasonal spices (there is also a zero-proof version).

A Three-Course Holiday Feast at Forage Restaurant

Photo: Forage Restaurant

If you’re looking to have a locavore expert take care of your holiday meal, put yourself in the capable hands of the West End’s Forage Restaurant. This beloved farm-to-table spot is offering a delicious three-course menu on December 25, available for dine-in ($75 per person) or take-out ($55 per person, pick-up at 3pm). After a first course of baby kale and arugula salad with Belgian endive, rose vinaigrette, roasted walnuts, and aged cheddar, you’ll move on to a choice between smoked boneless Fraser Valley pork rack, maple and apple slaw, fall vegetables, and honey garlic Brussels sprouts; and boneless white and dark meat from a JD Farms specialty turkey, served with chanterelle and turkey chorizo stuffing, pan gravy, Spicebox whisky cranberry sauce, and garlic butter pomme purée. Dessert is a cosseting sticky toffee pudding with whisky caramel and Chantilly cream. Forage also has a whole bird (8 kg) option with all the sides for approximately 12-15 guests ($395 for pick-up from 3 to 6pm). Reserve and prepay your holiday take-out online.

Those who dine-in can add fresh BC oysters served with kelp mignonette, fresh horseradish, and remix hot sauce; or bison carpaccio with pickled rhubarb, pesto aioli, sous vide egg yolk, sourdough crisps, and Alpindon cheese.

Seafood and Lobster Santa Brunch Buffet at Coast

Photo: Coast

On December 10, Coast is bringing back their popular Seafood Brunch Buffet ($95 per adult, $35 for children 12 and under). Expect a lavish spread, including fresh seafood such as oysters, snow crab, poached tiger prawns, and lobster. The carving station will feature holiday classics like roast turkey with stuffing and herb-rubbed Canadian prime striploin, and brunch staples such as smoked salmon bennies, and hickory smoked bacon. Omelettes at a live station will also be available. Salads, pastries, and desserts galore will be served, in addition to all sorts of other delectable items. And, look out for a visit from Santa who’s still checking his list for the big day.

Gingerbread Decorating and Tourtière at Honey Salt

Photo: Honey Salt

The whole family will have a lovely time at Honey Salt decorating a gingerbread house on December 3, 10, or 17 from 3pm to 4:30pm. Each kit comes with all the tools and pieces/ingredients you’ll need to assemble and customize your own gingerbread house. The event ($36 per adult, $21 per child 3-12 years old, free for kids under 3; $29 for each gingerbread house kit) also comes with lunch, with items such as tourtière with apple watercress salad or Grandma Rosie’s turkey meatballs with tomato sauce, caramelized onion, and herb ricotta for adults. Children can choose from dishes such as roasted salmon with mashed potatoes and veggies or crispy chicken bites with fries. Plus, each participant will get a complimentary festive drink, such as bubbly or spiked cocoa for adults, or hot cocoa for the kids at a make-your-own station. Plus, there will be a candy cart for treats to decorate the house with (or just to indulge in).

H Tasting Lounge and H2 Kitchen + Bar

Photo: H2 Kitchen + Bar

The Westin Bayshore is doing the holidays up big with multiple ways to celebrate at both H Tasting Lounge and H2 Kitchen + Bar. For those wanting a holiday meal to serve at home, H2 Lounge is offering a Festive Turkey Takeout ($479, feeds 8-10 people), which can be picked up December 24 or 25. The meal comes with a roasted Fraser Valley turkey, apple and chestnut stuffing, creamy Yukon Gold mashed potatoes, maple-glazed root vegetables, rosemary brioche buns, roasted Brussels sprouts, cranberry sauce, and turkey gravy. A chocolate hazelnut yule log will be your last course. Order by December 20 at noon. The meal can also be ordered as a Carvery To-Go option ($65 per person, minimum 2 people).

H Tasting Lounge is offering 12 Cocktails of Christmas Shopping (until December 25) in the retro-themed Bayshore Mall with drinks such as Fast Fashion with chai Campari, Swedish punsch, nitro orange, maple, and cardamom. They’re also taking bookings for Festive Afternoon Tea (weekends until December 31) and a sumptuous Christmas Dinner (December 24 and 25) at H Tasting Lounge or in their Winterlust Domes. The latter four-course meal ($100 per person) comes with options like split pea soup, roasted harvest pumpkin spelt risotto, and roasted wild BC halibut.

Meanwhile, sister establishment H2 Kitchen + Bar (also in the Westin Bayshore) is featuring their own festive menus: a Christmas Day Lunch Buffet with Santa and a Christmas Special dinner (December 24 and 25). The buffet ($155 per adult, $70 per child 5-12) has a wide array of items, such as fresh Pacific oysters, assorted sushi, apple brined smoked turkey breast, AAA prime rib, dim sum, and honey glazed Atlantic salmon. Meanwhile, the Christmas Special ($42 per adult, $30 per child 5-12) is their take on a classic festive dinner encompassing smoked turkey breast, confit dark meat, cheddar croquettes, cornbread stuffing, whipped red skinned potatoes, market-fresh veggies, pickled cranberries, and sage turkey gravy.

Christmas Day Dinner and More at Showcase Restaurant & Bar

Photo: Showcase seafood platter

Showcase Restaurant & Bar has a lot going on this holiday season. They’re featuring a special three-course menu for Christmas Eve and Day this year. The meal starts with a choice between grilled lamb chops with celeriac purée, herb crumb, and cherry reduction; mushroom risotto with crispy sage, grana Padano, and truffle oil; and butternut squash velouté with herbs and chive oil. The main is either traditional roasted turkey with confit dark meat, whipped buttered potatoes, stuffing, carrots, Brussels sprouts, cranberry compote, and pan gravy; braised short ribs with herb canelé, baby carrots, green beans, and red wine jus; or cannellini with salt roasted beets, whipped goat cheese, pine nuts, watercress, and fennel cream sauce. Dessert is either a Christmas tree of dark chocolate mousse, caramel, and praline crunch or a Santa’s Hat of mandarin orange cheesecake, coconut marshmallow, and cranberry gel.

There’s also a Christmas Day Brunch Buffet ($95 per adult, $45 per child 5 to 12 years old, 4 and under are free) with an extensive selection of items, such as a seafood platter (1 per 4 people), assorted maki and nigiri, brunch classics like free run scramble eggs and vanilla brioche French toast, citrus brined turkey, slow roasted Angus beef striploin, and desserts like yule logs and festive cookies. They additionally have a Weekday Festive Lunch Buffet ($45 per adult, $25 per child 5 to 12 years old) from now until December 15, with dishes such as penne alfredo gratin and mushroom arancini, as well as a carvery with turkey and Angus beef striploin.

And finally, Showcase has dreamed up a Festival Cocktail menu, running until the end of December, with drinks like the Polar Potion with Grey Goose vodka, crème de cacao, crème de menthe, and chocolate bitters. Go for the Noel Cocktail Tree, which comes with 6 drinks to sip and sample.

Holiday Kaiseki at Miku

Miku; Photo: Rich Won

If you’re looking for a holiday meal that is different from a traditional turkey with the fixings, Miku is offering a new Holiday Kaiseki (Tasting Menu) for the month of December. The kaiseki ($195 per person), a seven-course tasting experience, features finely crafted dishes, artful presentation, and premium ingredients used in unexpected ways. It is sure to be a memorable holiday dinner. The menu begins with a duck consommé with duck confit and micro shiso before progressing through a wild mushroom mille feuille with matsutake mousse, Atlantic lobster, and Kristal caviar; a chef’s selection of sashimi; Iwate wagyu tartare with Hokkaido milk bread and whiskey shoyu; Pacific halibut with yuzu kosho panko crust and tomato dashi beurre blanc; a selection of premium nigiri, done aburi-style; and, finally, a cranberry kinako bar with white chocolate snow and cranberry consommé. Two beverage pairings (from $65) are also available that feature local and international sake and wine.

Nutcracker Sweets at Beaucoup Bakery

Photo: Beaucoup Bakery

Beaucoup Bakery will make your holiday sweet tooth very happy with their Nutcracker collection. It features three different Bûche de Noël: the mandarine, pistache, and calamansi. They all sound delectable, such as the pistache, which has chocolate joconde, chocolate custard, cassis, Valrhona Alpaco feuilletine crisps, pistachio mousse, and rum ganache. They’re also selling a 12-piece set of Nutcracker Bonbons with flavours like pecan praline with espresso ganache; and cookie boxes with new flavours like matcha toffee macadamia snowballs and yuzu almond Florentines. The Nutcracker Sweets can be pre-ordered for pick-up at their Fir Street location. Both the Fir Street and downtown locations will have festive treats (except the yule logs) for walk-in purchase. And finally, Beaucoup has just released 3 flavours of their charcuterie croissants (prosciutto, mortadella, and smoked salmon) at the St. Regis locations as an indulgent yet fresh lunch option.

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