The festive season is still technically a few weeks off, but you can hear the jingle bells a ringin' from here, and restaurant reservations for Christmas Day get snapped up fast. So whether it's for lunch or dinner, a family affair or a gathering with friends, we've got some great ideas for outsourcing Yuletide good times.
With chef Peter Gilmore leading the charge, this year's Christmas celebrations at Quay are looking mighty fine. Say hello to the likes of the mud crab and white cucumber salad, and a dish of bacon and squid with XO sauce and red rice koji. And in the glass? Champagne, naturally. Priced $330 per person.
Overseas Passenger Terminal, The Rocks, (02) 9251 5600
Ormeggio at the Spit
Add an Italian twist to your Christmas line-up. Ormeggio at the Spit, tucked behind the Spit Bridge, will serve a Mediterranean-accented feast of scampi tartare, crab tagliolini and charcoal-grilled wagyu. Priced $249 per person.
d'Albora Marina, The Spit, Mosman, (02) 9969 4088
Pilu at Freshwater
Chef Giovanni Pilu serves a little slice of Sardinia at his beachside Sydney restaurant and this Christmas is no exception. A feast of salumi, squid-ink malloreddus and slow-roasted lamb shoulder with fregola is on offer. Priced $230 per person.
End of Moore Rd, Freshwater, (02) 9938 3331
Details of the Christmas menu at this harbourside favourite are still being finalised, but good things from the department of great seafood ought to be a pretty good bet. Priced $220 per person.
Jones Bay Wharf, 19-21 Pirrama Road, Pyrmont, (02) 9518 6677
Pei Modern opens its doors this Christmas for both lunch and dinner. In the kitchen, new chef Joachim Borenius will prepare a feast with all the trimmings, bookended by Clyde River rock oysters and traditional Christmas pudding. Priced $150 per person.
The Four Seasons, 199 George St, Sydney, (02) 9250 3160
Calling all themed-menu fans - this year, the team that once brought you a Les Misérables Christmas will present a six-course colonial-era menu with dishes emulating the fare at the Criterion Hotel circa 1853. Priced $210 per person.
Bistro Vue, 430 Little Collins St, Melbourne, (03) 9691 3838
The Press Club
George Calombaris's modern Greek restaurant will be in full swing this Christmas with an eight-course menu of reinvented festive favourites. Priced $195 per person.
72 Flinders St, Melbourne, (03) 9677 9677
Adorned with strings of lights and a grand Christmas tree, Lake House is a picture-perfect destination for Christmas in the country. Start with a family-style toast before retiring to the terrace for a four-course lunch. Priced $260 per person.
4 King St, Daylesford, (03) 5348 3329
This St Kilda institution has two options for holiday diners. The Prince dining room will serve a four-course menu with pre-dessert and petits fours, while upstairs at The Deck guests can kick back over a relaxed rooftop roast and shared entrées. Priced $130 per person at The Deck, $195 per person at Circa.
2 Acland St, St Kilda, (03) 9536 1122
Choose from a bounty of fresh seafood at one of Melbourne's most acclaimed riverside eateries. The Atlantic is offering three courses from its extensive à la carte menu on Christmas Day for both lunch and dinner. Lunch $150 per person, dinner $130 per person.
Riverside at Crown, 8 Whiteman St, Southbank, (03) 9698 8888
The Glass House
Usually more focused on drinks than what's on the plate, come Christmas Day, The Glass House at Sullivan Cove is switching gears to bring revellers a five-course menu of oysters, local seafood and dishes with an Asian bent. Start with a glass of complimentary Clover Hill or Moo Brew Belgo before diving into the bar's extensive cocktail and spiritz list. Priced $150 per person.
Brooke St Pier, Hobart, 0437 245 540
Set in the reincarnated Treasury Buildings, this hotspot-to-be opens its doors in the first week of December, but the rooftop restaurant is already taking Christmas bookings. (Price to be confirmed; check website for details.)
Como The Treasury, 1 Cathedral Ave, Perth, (08) 6168 7888
Guillaume Brahimi's bistro offers a French-accented four-course feast come 25 December. Grab a glass of fizz - Perrier-Jouët or Kronenbourg - ahead of foie gras-topped brioche, local seafood, chicken ballotine and chocolate délice grace the Christmas table. Priced $170 per person.
Crown Perth, Great Eastern Hwy, Burswood, (08) 9362 755
Thankfully Christmas at Monster is anything but scary with chef Sean McConnell at the pass. Moonlight Flat oysters, roasted Moreton Bay bugs with crustacean oil and toasted nori, and liquorice-cured duck breast with boudin noir will share the table with Lost River ham and mince pies for a roaring good time. Priced $150 per person.
25 Edinburgh Ave, Acton, (02) 6287 6287
Settle in beneath the hanging gardens for Christmas at the beach. Slow-roasted Tablelands pork with Daintree vanilla and cherries, and line-caught fish with lychee and papaya may feature in the three-course affair. On the sweet side, there'll be velvet crumble with passionfruit marshmallow, classic mince pies and Christmas pudding ice-cream. Priced $85-$95 per person.
1 Veivers Rd, Palm Cove, (07) 4059 1880
Berkshire pork with apple and mash or north Queensland barramundi with corn and jalapeño - the choice will be yours from a four-course menu mixing the traditional bill of fare with tropical touches at this elegant beach house. Priced $120 per person.
22 Wharf St, Port Douglas, (07) 4099 4011
It's out with the old and in with the new as the Brisbane bistro offers a five-course spread featuring wagyu beef carpaccio, Mooloolaba tiger prawn ceviche and a roasted rack of lamb with watercress and fennel. The finale? Strawberry cheesecake. Priced $135 per person.
181 Mary St, Brisbane, (07) 3229 3686
Enjoy panoramic views framed by bushland at this hilltop eatery. The restaurant and café will each present a menu replete with a three-hour drinks package and tasting plates that may include cheddar tarts, Barossa chicken and ham-hock terrine, and smoked barramundi. Priced $105 per person at Windy Point Café, $160 per person at Windy Point Restaurant.
Belair Rd, Belair, (08) 8278 8255
Skycity Darwin's Mediterranean fine diner has five plates on offer on Christmas Day:an amuse bouche of lightly cured scallop with capsicum, a goat's cheese panna cotta with heirloom tomatoes, chargrilled leader prawns with chestnuts, turkey breast stuffed with cranberries and macadamias, and a white chocolate and passionfruit mousse. Priced $195 per person.
Gilruth Ave, Mindil Beach, (08) 8943 8888