10 venues and restaurants open on Christmas Day in Sydney and beyond

Beachside Christmas: The terrace overlooks the beach at Betel Leaf.
Beachside Christmas: The terrace overlooks the beach at Betel Leaf. Photo: Nikki To

After spending perhaps more time than planned feeding ourselves at home this year, you deserve to buck that trend this Christmas.

Whether you're craving a quick coffee or a fully decked-out feast with all the trimmings, here are some venues in NSW that will welcome you with open arms this Christmas Day.

Bathers' Pavilion, Mosman

Like a classic Aussie Christmas at the beach, only classier. Book their upstairs venue, Betel Leaf, which is serving a family feast for lunch. The Thai restaurant's sharing menu will add a European spin to its festive dishes this year. Expect seafood-heavy starters, from oysters and prawns to octopus escabeche, and iconic Christmas mains such as honey and glazed ham, and roast turkey with walnuts and cherries. Dessert covers favourites such as Christmas pudding, tiramisu, and pavlova. Take a stroll along Balmoral Beach afterwards to soak in the harbour views. 

Upstairs sharing menu, $250 per adult, kids $110. Book via batherspavilion.com.au 

Good Food. Ho Jiak Town Hall - traditional Malaysian food. William Xie and chef Junda Khoo were about to throw their third and largest Hojiak Malaysian restaurant open to the public when the Coronavirus lock-down came into force, and everything was put on hold. Now with the 50 people limit in place, the 250 seater is, at last, open. Har Mee Bomb. Photographed Thursday 4th June 2020. Photograph by James Brickwood. SMH GOOD FOOD 200604

Ho Jiak's har mee bombs smash prawn, pork, and bean shoots into five big, meaty, dumplings. Photo: James Brickwood

Ho Jiak, Town Hall and Haymarket

Let Sydney's favourite Malaysian restaurant get the party started with their classic menu available all day long. Start with their famous laksa bombs, perhaps, or get your hands dirty with chilli crab. And because it's Christmas, why not add marron to your char kway teow? You'll find plenty of vegetarian and gluten-free options, too. 

Book via hojiak.com.au

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Shuk, Bondi, Elizabeth Bay

You don't have to go without your morning coffee just because it's Christmas. Israeli-inspired cafe group Shuk will open all their eastern suburb locations on Christmas Day. Grab coffee and baked goods to go, or linger and enjoy their iconic shakshuka with a cheeky Aperol Spritz with the family. 

Book via shuk.com.au

Alibi, Ovolo, Woolloomooloo, April 6, 2018. Photo: Brook Mitchell

Ovolo's Alibi restaurant is rolling out its vegan high tea for Christmas. Photo: Brook Mitchell

Alibi, Woolloomooloo

This chic vegan restaurant is rolling out their famous vegan high tea again for Christmas. Expect festive-themed versions of their regular line-up of sweet and savoury vegan petit fours. For drinks, choose from a Rabbit Hole teas, St Remino coffee or sparkling Chandon rosé.

High tea, $115 per adult, book via alibibar.com.au

Noi, Petersham

Let this modern Italian joint look after you with a four-course Italo-inspired lunch. Start with Tasmanian scallops, then move onto a Moreton Bay bug risotto. Get serious with a main of confit lamb and sheep's yoghurt, and end with a torrone semifreddo with pistachio custard. Pair your meal with an Italian cocktail or wine. Bookings are filling up fast, so get in quick. 

Four courses plus bread and snacks, $159 per adult, kids $49. Book via noirestaurant.com.au

TRAVEL: Exterior of Lilianfels Hotel in Katoomba. 12th October 2020. Photo: Wolter Peeters, The Sydney Morning Herald.

Could Christmas be any quainter than at Lilianfels in Katoomba? Photo: Wolter Peeters

Lilianfels, Katoomba

Could Christmas be any quainter than at this historic hotel's fine-diner, Darley's, or in their cosy lounge. The restaurant offers a rich seven-course degustation dinner or lunch featuring foie gras with venison, langoustine carpaccio, wood-fired lamb rump, and a three-bird roast. If you're after something slightly more low-key, try a three-tier Christmas lunch (seafood, salad and charcuterie) in the lounge. You'll also receive a plated main of your choice, a palate cleanser and dessert. And don't forget the three-hour beverage package. 

Darley's, seven courses, $299 per adult, teens $269, kids $79, under 4s free. Three-tier Christmas lunch, $249 per adult, teens $179, kids $79, under 4s free. Book via lilianfels.com.au

No Bones, Byron Bay

Vegans and carnivores alike will be impressed by the plant-based pioneers at No Bones, and their creative Christmas lunch. Marvel at their vegan "cheese" platter, and their "prawn" and mango cocktail and find yourself saying, "are you sure this is vegan?". Move onto a hearty mushroom wellington with pink peppercorn butter potatoes and maple rosemary carrots on the side. Get a sugar high to see you through the rest of the day from their mixed berry cheesecake with hibiscus cream and blackberry compote, plus a rich choc-peanut brownie with a bourbon eggnog (all vegan, of course).

Eight courses, $120 per adult, kids $40. Book via nobonesbyronbay.com.au

Shoal Bay Country Club

Soak up the ocean views at this slice of paradise in Port Stephens, where the country club, and their in-house Greek restaurant, Atmos, will be plating up a Christmas lunch that will make you never want to spend another Christmas at home. Opt for the country club's seafood banquet and get stuck into Australian king prawns, blue swimmer crab, Balmain bugs and oysters sourced from the water in front of you. Once you can't take any more seafood, move onto Christmas favourites for mains such as whole roasted turkey, maple-glazed ham, and slow-cooked lamb shoulder. Top it off with pavlova, Christmas pudding and fruit. Alternatively, pretend you're holidaying in the Agean sea with Atmos' marriage of Greek and Christmas classics from the country club. Start with your favourite Greek antipasto dishes (don't worry, those local oysters are still on the menu), and treat yourself to a whole snapper or the country club's lamb shoulder and maple ham. Greek salad, lemon potatoes, and baklava are on the menu for the ultimate Greek experience. 

Seafood shared banquet, $149 per adult, teens $120, kids, $60, under 5s free. Greek Christmas banquet $180 per adult. Book via shoalbaycountryclub.com.au