Dining with Santa's helpers

Give yourself the gift of stress-free Christmas dining by being pampered in one of the many restaurants willing to serve on the day. Photo / Thinkstock
Give yourself the gift of stress-free Christmas dining by being pampered in one of the many restaurants willing to serve on the day. Photo / Thinkstock

If you want Christmas Day to really be a holiday - with no long hours of cooking and food preparation, book yourself into a restaurant and let the staff do all the work as you sit back with a bubbly or two and relax.

Here's a rough guide to a few restaurants which are opening, what's cooking and what it'll set you back.

Most of those open on Christmas Day will offer a set menu with alcohol or no alcohol options. Also note that many will be charging the 15% public holiday surcharge and some require at least a partial pre-payment. And if dining out on Christmas Day is not your thing, a lot of restaurants are also offering special set menus for New Year's Eve. Bon appetit.

AUCKLAND

Kermadec: On Auckland's Viaduct Harbour and specialising in seafood, Kermadec is open from midday with last orders at 6pm on a three-course Christmas Day menu for $105 per person plus the service charge of 15%.

Non-seafood lovers can be reassured there are also options for the likes of lamb, beef or chicken on the menu. Phone (09) 304-0454

Hyatt Regency: The Hyatt is this year hosting a Christmas buffet lunch in its ballroom for $99 per person. There'll be a pianist and a glass of bubbles for adults as well as a visit from Santa and other activities for kids. Five dollars from each ticket goes to Make-A-Wish charity. The hotel will also have an all-you-can eat Christmas Day breakfast from $45 per person including a glass of bubbly, or a dinner buffet from $79. Children aged 5-12 get a 50% discount, and under fives are free. Phone (09) 355 1234.

Kitchen, De Bretts Hotel: Kitchen's Christmas menu includes breads, crayfish, duck and a Christmas platter with dessert and a glass of Moet for $99 per person. Phone (09) 969 1545.

Barolo, The Langham Hotel: Barolo is hosting a four-course Christmas Day lunch from midday to 3pm and dinner from 6.30pm to 10pm for $130 a person. Pre-payment is required. SPF Brasserie has a breakfast buffet from 6am to 11am for $65, a lunch buffet from midday to 3pm from $160 a person, and dinner from 5.30pm to 11.30pm for $135 a person. All meals include a glass of wine, beer or juice. Children aged 5-12 are half-price, and children under 5 are free. The hotel is also hosting a Christmas Day afternoon tea for $58 a person in The Winery lobby bar. Phone (09)379 5132.

Heritage Hotel: Hectors has a buffet menu for $99.50 a person, including a glass of methode. Children under 12 are half-price and receive a free glass of juice. Open for lunch and dinner. Phone (09) 379 8553.

Bracu: Nestled beneath the olive trees at Simunovich estate in Bombay, Bracu is a lovely secluded place for Christmas dinner. The restaurant is open for lunch on Christmas Day for $130 a person and a 10 per cent deposit on booking. Lunch includes a glass of No1 Estate Cuvee on arrival and choices from a set three-course menu. Phone (09) 236 1030.

Mudbrick, Waiheke Island: This Waiheke gem is open for both lunch and dinner, serving a seven-course set menu at $140 an adult or $35 a child, with 15 per cent public holiday surcharge on all drinks. Lunch seating is 12.30pm, to fit an 11am ferry departure from Auckland; dinner seating is 6.30pm to suit the last ferry departure from Waiheke of 10:15pm. Note that Fullers is running its Sunday ferry timetable on Christmas Day. Mudbrick requires a deposit of $20 per person on Christmas Day bookings. Phone (09)372 9050.

SkyCity: Most of SkyCity's restaurants will be open on Christmas Day, ranging from the high-end to the family-friendly.

* dine by Peter Gordon: Open 11.30am to 2.30pm for a degustation menu, $135 without wine matches or $200 with wine. Children's menu also available for $65.

* Orbit Revolving Restaurant: 11.00am to 2.00pm and 5.30pm to 9.30pm for $100 an adult or $50 a child aged 14 and under, for a two-hour, three-course set menu. Payment in advance.

* The Observatory: Open 11am to 2.15pm and 5.45pm to 9pm for a special Christmas buffet menu; $99.99 adults and $49.99 children (aged 14 and under). A 50 per cent deposit is required.

* Fortuna: Open for lunch 11am to 4pm and dinner 4pm to 10.30pm (last booking at 9.30pm) for a Christmas buffet; $70 an adult and $18 a child aged 14 and under, 50 per cent deposit required by December 1.

* Rebo: Open for lunch and dinner from 11am to 6pm from $59.90 a person.

White, The Hilton: White is open for buffet breakfast 7am to 11am (last sitting 10am) for $55; and seven-course degustation lunch and dinner for $155 a person, with an extra $65 for matching wines, plus 15 per cent public holiday surcharge. Phone (09) 978 2000.

Euro: Located right by the water on Auckland's Prince's Wharf, Simon Gault's Euro is open for lunch from 11am to 4pm serving the normal a la carte menu with a few Christmas specials. The 15 per cent public holiday surcharge applies at Euro. Phone (09) 309 9866.

HAMILTON

Vilagrad Wines, Ohaupo: Christmas Day in the winery restaurant includes a visit from Santa, treasure hunts, lolly scrambles and live entertainment. Open midday to 4pm with a three-course a la carte menu for $98 adults and $45 children (under-5s are free). Surcharge included. Phone (07) 825 2893.

Finz, Select The Wesley Hotel: Finz offers a four-course set menu, plus bubbly and canapes on arrival, for $130 a person with wine matches or $90 a person without, for two sittings - midday and 1.45pm. Phone (07) 839 1994.

TAURANGA

Halo, Sebel Tauranga: Open for a buffet lunch from midday for $95 an adult and $47.50 for children under 12. The Sebel is also open for a five-course degustation dinner for $145 an adult; kids' menu also provided. Phone (07) 577 8708.

NAPIER

Chambers at the County Hotel: Napier's historic County Hotel is open for a buffet-style Christmas banquet for lunch, midday to 2pm, or dinner, 6pm to 8pm; $135 a person including a champagne cocktail on arrival. Phone 0800 THE HOTEL.

The Old Church: Located just out of Napier in Meanee, the Old Church is open from 11am for Christmas lunch or from 6pm for dinner. Both are a three-course set menu from $88 a person, with kids' menus available. Phone (06) 844 8866.

WELLINGTON

Logan Brown: Wellington's favourite restaurant is offering two set-menu lunch sittings, 11am to 2pm and 2.30 to 6pm. The menu includes kingfish, salmon and duck for $185 a person, payment required on booking. Phone (04) 801 5114.

Hippopotamus, Museum Hotel: Dine overlooking Wellington Harbour at Hippopotamus, which is serving a "home-style" set menu for $135 a person. Phone (04) 802 8935.

CHRISTCHURCH

George Hotel: The hotel is offering a range of dining options on Christmas Day, including the Park View buffet, for $130 an adult or $65 a child (better-suited to large groups). And both the hotel's restaurants will be serving set a la carte menus. Phone (03) 371 0257.

* 50 On Park is open for a four-course menu for $130 a person plus a three-course children's menu for $65, which also includes a gift from Santa. (03) 371 0250.

* Pescatore is open for a five-course menu for $170 a person.

QUEENSTOWN

Tatler Restaurant and Bar: Choose either a midday or 2.30pm sitting for a three-course lunch from $70 a adult and $45 per child aged 12 and under. The 15 per cent surcharge applies to beverages. Phone (03) 442 8372.

Prime Restaurant and Bar: Enjoy dinner overlooking Lake Wakatipu with a three-course dinner for $110 an adult or $70 a child, from 5pm to 8pm. The 15 per cent surcharge applies to drinks. Phone (03) 442 5288.

- NZ Herald

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