Making your own Thanksgiving dinner is a lot of work. There's hours of recipe scouring, shopping and prep work to do before you even get to the day's-worth of actual cooking. And with Thanksgiving less than two weeks away, if you haven't already begun to plan, you might as well retire the apron this year and make a reservation instead.
Dozens of restaurants across Los Angeles will be open on Turkey Day, some serving their regular menus, but many more offering custom feasts and prix fixe dinners full of both traditional and non-traditional goodies that easily rival mom's (sorry mom!). The range of meals available is as diverse as the chefs who create them, meaning the turkey-as-main-course concept is only the beginning.
Turn the page for our picks of where to go on Thanksgiving, when all you want to do is eat good food and not worry about the dishes:
Beelman’s Pub: For its first Thanksgiving, this downtown pub is having a football-and-food-fueled celebration that includes a buffet of Southern-inspired specials. With your favorite NFL teams on the TV, eat Louisiana-style turkey wings, brussel sprouts, purple cabbage and pecan pie while sipping on champagne and mulled wine. $29.95 gets you all you can eat from 2-9 p.m. and reservations are recommended, but not required. 600 S. Spring St., Los Angeles; (213) 622-1022; to make a reservation, click here.
Bouchon Bistro: Bouchon offers its second-ever Thanksgiving dinner this year, which like last will include turkey along with all of the trimmings from the Thomas Keller kitchen: green bean casserole, corn bread and cranberry relish. More decadent selections, like sauteed Idaho rainbow trout and steak frites, will also be available. $65 per person; 235 N. Canon Drive, Beverly Hills; 310-271-9910; bouchonbistro.com/beverlyhills.
Cast: Overlooking the Santa Monica Bay, the Viceroy Hotel's Thanksgiving brunch (served until 4 p.m.) includes: a carving station with turkey and ham; a buffet of vegetables, meat-filled salads and market quiches; plus a dessert buffet with everything for your sweet tooth. The meal is $65 per person ($25 for children 10 and under) and seasonal cocktails are available at an extra charge. 1819 Ocean Ave., Santa Monica; (310) 260-7500; viceroyotelsandresorts.com/en/santamonica
Cecconi’s: From turkey to black-truffle mashed potatoes to cardamom gelato, Cecconi’s in West Hollywood is offering an all-inclusive family-style feast as well as a condensed version of its regular a la carte menu on Thanksgiving Day. For $55 ($20 for kids 10 and younger), you get an assortment of traditional Thanksgiving goodies from 1-9 p.m., and the restaurant will also be open for breakfast for those who like to celebrate early. 8764 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood; (310) 432-2000; cecconiswesthollywood.com
Commissary: From 3-8 p.m., Roy Choi’s hotel-nestled “ode to vegetables” serves a Native Spirit Feast, which for $45 per person includes unlimited helpings from a vegetarian buffet. Expect corn chowder, quinoa salad, pumpkin gumbo and specialty tamales. Full bar is also available. 3515 Wilshire Blvd., 2nd floor, Koreatown; (213) 368-3030; eatatpot.com
The Culver Hotel: From slow-roasted turkey to onion-and-apple stuffing, dine on a traditional buffet of holiday favorites at the Culver Hotel’s Crystal Dining Room, along with the hotel’s a la carte menu available all day long. Live music in the lobby starts at 7:30 p.m. and Prohibition-era cocktails keep the party going through the evening. $39 per person, reservation required. 9440 Culver Blvd., Culver City; (310) 558-9400; culverhotel.com
Esterel: Traditional Thanksgiving fare meets contemporary Southern French Cuisine at Esterel at the Sofitel Los Angeles Hotel. A $65 ($40 for children) three-course prix fixe menu includes a choice of tableside-carved roasted turkey, crispy-skin branzino fish or porcini angolotti pasta with creative desserts to match. 8555 Beverly Boulevard, Beverly Hills; (310) 358-3979; EsterelRestaurant.com
Fuego: With a waterfront patio and views of the iconic Queen Mary, Fuego at the Hotel Maya offers a truly Southern California Thanksgiving. A three-course prix fixe meal includes traditional and Latin-infused Thanksgiving dishes from turkey and prime rib to piloncillo-cinnamon-glazed yams and vegetarian potato lasagna. Coffee, tea, juice and soft drinks are all included in the $48-per-person price. 11 a.m. - 9 p.m.; 700 Queensway Drive, Long Beach; (562) 481-3910; facebook.com/fuegolongbeach
The Hungry Cat: Both of chef David Lentz’s Hungry Cat outposts (Hollywood and Santa Monica Canyon) are open for Thanksgiving, serving a $65 meal ($32.50 for kids) featuring deep fried turkey, alongside optional add-ons from their raw bar. Vegetarian dishes include ricotta gnocci and kabocha squash, and Lentz’s proprietary egg nog will also be served. Reservations required; 2-8 p.m. at 1535 N. Vine St., Hollywood, and 1-7 p.m. at 100 W. Channel Road, Santa Monica; (323) 462-2155, (310) 459-3337; thehungrycat.com
Melisse: You don't even have to touch the turkey for your protein at Melisse this year, since the fine-dining establishment is also planning entree rarities like Maine lobster ravioli (with optional white truffle), big-eye tuna tartare (with avocado and yuzu) and dry-aged prime rib. Chef Josiah Citrin’s Thanksgiving menu also includes his mother's traditional sides and desserts and, of course, an herb-roasted turkey. $95 for adults, $42 for children; 3-7:30 p.m.; 1104 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica; (310) 395-0881; melisse.com.
Mr. C: The L.A. version of the international Cipriani hotel and restaurant empire is serving a menu of traditional American and Italian goods this Thanksgiving. Butternut squash ravioli, baked white tagliolini and the popular Cipriani vanilla meringue cake are on the menu along with turkey, sweet potato and pumpkin pie. $85 per person, $35 for wine pairings. 1224 Beverwil Dr., Beverly Hills; (877) 334-5623; mrchotels.com
Patina: Eat your Thanksgiving feast inside the Walt Disney Concert Hall with chef Joachim Spichal’s fine-dining take on traditional holiday fare. Highlights from the $75-per-person menu include non-traditional seafood options like bay scallops and black cod as well as two kinds of turkey: roasted and confit. A children’s menu is also available for $35 and reservations are highly encouraged. 141 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles; (213) 972-3331; patinarestaurant.com
The Pikey: As a nostalgically futuristic ode to the British pub, The Pikey's all-day (and all-night) Thanksgiving feast is all about the turkey. Guests may choose from a "cruelty free" organic turkey breast or rolled-and-stuffed confit turkey legs and wings, each served with traditional sides for $35. Extra sides (like macaroni and cheese) may be ordered a la carte and other signature dishes are also available from 2 p.m. - 2 a.m. 7617 W. Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles; (323) 850-5400; thepikeyla.com.
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The Raymond 1886: Located inside a historic Pasadena Craftsman, The Raymond 1886 is one of the few restaurants that's able to literally offer a home-cooked Thanksgiving meal. Prime rib, salmon and turkey will all be served, along with a half-dozen fixings, from marshmallow yams to Italian sausage stuffing. The $70-per-person meal will be served from 12-7 p.m. Reservations are required. 1250 S. Fair Oaks Ave., Pasadena; (626) 441-3136; theraymond.com.
The Standard: Hip meets old school at The Standard downtown, where a holiday feast including butternut-squash-and-apple soup with pancetta and Swiss chard and leek gratin will be served. Herb-roasted turkey with shallot gravy is the main course of this prix-fixe dinner, and dessert includes bread pudding, caramel pot de creme and bourbon pumpkin pie with pecan streusel. $35 per person; 550 S. Flower St., Los Angeles; (213) 439-3030; standardhotels.com.