Saturday, January 28, 2023

What’s open for Christmas? More than 20 restaurants in the Cape Fear

Chinese roasted duck is served with kumquat sauce with yellow five-treasure rice from Cafe Chinois. (Port City Daily/Shea Carver)

NEW HANOVER COUNTY — The tree is decorated, the wreaths hung, the presents … well, mostly wrapped. Now, where to eat?

The age-old question will be easier to answer with the help of more than a dozen restaurants opening either for Christmas Eve or Christmas Day — or both — this season.

Below’s list features multiple destinations in the Cape Fear, ready to serve the tastiest meals for you and yours come Dec. 24 and 25. There are dine-in and takeaway options, the latter of which may require pre-ordering. 

It’s best to call ahead to ensure an opening or make a reservation.

Happiest of holidays!

Aromas of Peru

417 S. College Road • (910) 769-1939 

The restaurant will be open on Christmas Eve until 3:30 p.m. serving from its regular menu. It’s also offering a take-out special, which can be ordered through Dec. 23. Pickup is Dec. 24 until 4 p.m.

For $85, Aromas will whip up two whole rotisserie chickens, three orders of chicken-fried rice, three side items of diner’s choosing, as well as three sauces and 12 alfajores.

Call 910-769-1939 for details and more information.

Blue Surf Arboretum West

414 Arboretum Drive • (910) 406-5050 • bluesurfrestaurants.com/blue-surf-arboretum-west

A Christmas Eve brunch will be served at Blue Surf off Military Cutoff Road from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Items are priced from $11 to $22, and include Blue Surf’s famed waffles or steak and eggs, breakfast sandwiches and plates and bowls. 

Reservations recommended.

Cafe Chinois

3710 S. College Road, #123 • (910) 769-3193 • cafe-chinois.com

From the Indochine group, Cafe Chinois will be open Christmas Eve, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., offering a full menu of French-inspired Asian cuisine. 

No reservations are required; Cafe Chinois will be closed Christmas Day.

Caprice Bistro

10 Market St. •  (910) 815-0810 • capricebistro.com

Downtown Wilmington’s premier French restaurant will be serving a pre-fixe menu on Christmas Eve. It’s $55 for a three-course meal. 

Diners can choose an appetizer — petit charcuterie, salad “Noel,” escargot, lobster bisque, or frog legs Provencal — followed by one of five entrees. Waterzooi, beef short ribs, lamb, salmon en croute or duck duet is offered. The meal will be topped off with a trio of desserts.

Casey’s

5559 Oleander Drive • (910) 798-2913 • caseysbuffet.com

Casey’s Buffet will be open Christmas Eve, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and will be closed Christmas Day. Buffet prices run $9 to $17.

The restaurant also offers catering for $10.99 a person for pickup or drop-off. Folks can choose from a vast offering of country cookin’, as each plate comes with two meats, two vegetables or sides, plus bread. Meats include turkey and dressing, ham, pot roast, oxtail, stew beef, beef ribs, hamburger steak, baked chicken, BBQ, and others. Sides run the gamut from baked to string to lima beans, turnip to collard greens, mac-and-cheese, mashed potatoes, sweet potato soufflé, squash casserole, cornbread dressing, and more.

Adding vegetables or sides is $1 more, while dessert is an additional 75 cents per order. 

Casey’s also offers drop-off service for $20 extra, which includes the food being delivered in disposable aluminum platters 20 minutes ahead of any event. Casey’s will provide disposable serving products, tea (sweet or unsweetened), sauces, butters and condiments. Drop-off catering must be booked 48 hours ahead to ensure availability.  

Double Happiness

4403 Wrightsville Ave. • (910) 313-1088  

7122 Market St., Ste. 150 • (910) 686-1988

chinesedoublehappiness.com

With two locations serving Wilmington its tasty homemade Chinese cuisine, diners will be able to patronize at least one this Christmas.

The Wrightsville Avenue location will be open Christmas Eve during regular hours, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., and serving from its normal menu. The Ogden location is closed Christmas Eve due to a private party. 

Both locations are closed Christmas Day.

Ratatouille a la Epicurean, available at The Epicurean Bistro. (Courtesy photo)

The Epicurean Bistro

1978 Eastwood Road • (910) 465-6010 • epicureanbistro.com

Wilmington’s newest French restaurant from the Sweet n Savory group will open Christmas Eve, 3 p.m. to 8 p.m., and Christmas Day, noon to 6 p.m. It will offer its regular menu, as well as holiday specials.

Reservations are being accepted at (910) 465-6010.

Girls With Dough

204 Arcadian Row Suite 100 • (910) 833-5357 • girlswithdough.com

Open until 7 p.m. on Christmas Eve, the Riverlights Italian eatery focuses on pasta dishes and hand-tossed pies. On weekends, it also serves a brunch menu from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. 

The Harp Irish Restaurant and Pub 

1423 S. Third St. • harpwilmington.com

Open from noon to 6 p.m. on Christmas Day, The Harp will serve a traditional buffet, featuring ham, turkey, roast beef and sides, for $25. To make a reservation, call 910-763-1607. 

Hiro Japanese Steakhouse

222 Old Eastwood Road • (910) 794-1570 • hirojapanesesteakhouse.com

Serving hibachi and teriyaki dishes, Hiro will be open on Christmas Eve from 4 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Reservations are encouraged.

Indochine 

7 Wayne Drive • (910) 251-9229 • indochinewilmington.com 

Open both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, Indochine will have a full menu for diners to order from — sushi, curries, fried rice and noodles.

Hours are noon to 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. for Christmas Eve and dinner only on Christmas Day, 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Joe’s Oasis

6400 Carolina Beach Road • (910) 399-8585 • joesoasis.com

Known for its pierogies, burgers and brews, the Carolina Beach Road bar and restaurant will be opening on Christmas Day at 4 p.m. 

The restaurant has wings, quesadillas, nachos and other bar food as well as sandwiches and Pennsylvania classics — including a Steelworkers Stack and Isaly’s Chipped Ham. 

JohnnyLuke’s Kitchen and Bar

5500 Market St. • (910) 769-1798 • johnnylukeskb.com

JohnnyLuke’s will serve brunch on Christmas Eve from noon to 4 p.m. Reservations are open now. Parties of seven or more need to call ahead: 910-769-1798.

Junction 421

5104 S. College Road • (910) 392-3490 • junction421.com

The Feast of the Seven Fishes will be served on Christmas Eve — a holiday tradition with American-Italian roots. The fish-forward meal highlights seafood for every dish, which at Junction 421 will consist of a five-course meal for $70.

The prix-fixe menu is served from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., featuring oysters Delaney, smoked salmon salad, stuffed flounder with shrimp and crab filling, or pasta Newberg (lobster, shrimp, crab, sherry cream).The meal is finished off with a blood-orange cannoli or tiramisu.

Reservations are required.

Kornerstone Bistro

8262 Market St. • (910) 686-2296 • kornerstonebistro.com

Open Christmas Eve, Kornerstone Bistro is serving lunch and dinner. The Porter’s Neck restaurant focuses on rustic Italian and Mediterranean cuisine.

Lunch reservations are open aplenty, while dinner reservations are booking fast, with the last time available at 9:30 p.m.; check in here.

Lake Park Steakhouse

12 S Lake Park Blvd. • lakeparksteakhouse.com

Carolina Beach’s steakhouse will open Christmas Eve, 4:30 p.m. to 9 p.m., and is taking reservations. The menu features a variety of steaks and seafood, ranging in price from $22 to $50. Call 910-707-0996 to reserve a table.

It will then close Dec. 25 through the 27 and again on New Year’s Day, Jan. 1.

Little Dipper will be open Christmas Eve, but closes Dec. 25 and 26. (Courtesy photo)

Little Dipper Fondue

138 South Front St. • (910) 251-0433 • littledipperfondue.com

Downtown’s fondue restaurant is accepting reservations starting at 4 p.m. on Christmas Eve. It will be closed Dec. 25 and 26.

The menu, featuring holiday sauces, desserts and cocktails, can be accessed here.

Michael’s Seafood

1206 N. Lake Park Blvd. • (910) 458-7761 • mikescfood.com 

Open Christmas Eve from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Michael’s Seafood will serve its full menu and specials all day, including crab cakes, scampi mussels, and tempura shrimp, as well as burgers, shrimp and fish tacos. See the full menu here

Nikki’s Hibachi Steak House and Sushi Bar

1055 Military Cutoff Road, Ste 100(910) 509-8998 • nikkissushibar.com

Serving Japanese-style hibachi and teriyaki dishes and a menu of sushi, Nikki’s Hibachi Steak House near Wrightsville Beach will be open on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. See full menu here.

Operating hours are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Dec. 24 and 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Dec. 25. 

Nori Asian Fusion and Sushi

1412 Barclay Pointe Blvd. Unit 1006 • Norisushinc.com

Serving Japanese, Chinese and Thai cuisines, Nori will open on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. Located at The Pointe at Barclay, Nori will serve from its full menu of sushi, sashimi, and rolls, as well as a poke, noodle dishes and curries.

Panacea Brewing Co. 

4107 Oleander Dr., Ste. H • panaceabrewingcompany.com

The hot vegan spot will be open Christmas Eve until 4 p.m., serving from its regular menu. It’s not doing a takeout Christmas meal this year and will also be closed Dec. 25 through 27.

Ruth’s Chris

301 N. Water St. • ruthschris-wilmington.com

Ruth’s Chris will be open Christmas Eve, 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. and closed Christmas Day. The regular menu will be served.

The steak house is also offering a celebration feast, featuring roasted beef tenderloin, choice of salad, garlic mash and creamed spinach, plus personal cheesecakes. It feeds four and costs $195.

Holiday sides can also be purchased for $28 each, featuring creamed spinach, sweet potato casserole, au gratin potatoes, Caesar salad and steak house salad.

The restaurant asks for a 48-hour notice before ordering.

Salt Fish Restaurant and Tiki Bar

718 N. Lake Park Blvd. • (910) 707-1225 • cbsaltfish.com

With David Scott from CraftGrown Market,, Leslie Weiss from Blockade Runner, Reina Laws from Quanta Basta and the Salt Fish team, the Feast of the Seven Fishes takes place during two seatings, 4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., on Christmas Eve. 

The menu will consist of seven courses, starting with sardines and garlic served hot on the table with hot peppers and oil, followed by an antipasto board of Taleggio cheese, marinated artichokes, olives and whipped salted cod. Next up will be baked clams casino and then cioppino, with crab, mussels, clams and langostinos in a red base, served with warm rosemary focaccia.

A lemon gelato intermission will cleanse the palate before the final courses are served. A seafood salad over mixed hydroponic greens will be first, followed by creamy shrimp marsala over paccheri pasta and a sweet ending of cannoli and mini pineapple ricotta pie.

The meal is served family-style and reservations are required: 910-352-1973.

Seabird

1 South Front St. • (910) 769-5996 • seabirdnc.com

Another Feast of the Seven Fishes is coming from Seabird this Christmas Eve. Chef Dean Neff is serving an a la carte menu of starters and mains. Below are its features:

STARTERS: 

  • Oyster with semifreddo cucumber caviar: $20
  • Trigger fish brandade fritter with preserved lemon olive aioli fried herb: $16
  • Yellowtail carpaccio mushroom soy, celeriac preserved lemon, and bay: $18
  • Ribs with pickled apple and chili-sorghum lacquer: $18
  • Marinated sardines salsa verde, lemon, and crusty bread: $18

MAINS:

  • Speckled sea trout with dirty rice, olive, and fennel salad, with lemon and sweet vermouth emulsion: $32
  • Clam and egg yolk pasta with capers, roasted garlic, and bottarga: $29
  • Sea bass with root veg hash, shaved radish and winter citrus with caviar emulsion: $33
  • Squid and fregula with spicy tomato golden raisins, chilis, and toast: $25
  • Short ribs with whipped rutabaga, glazed root vegetables, gomasio, and turnip top kraut: $39

Reservations are accepted here.

Steam

9 Estell Lee Pl. • (910) 726-9226 • steamrestaurantilm.com

Located in the Embassy Suites in downtown Wilmington, Steam will open Christmas Eve with a four-course meal.

It starts with an amuse bouche of a N.C. oyster on the half shell, including shaved ginger and blood orange mignonette, followed by a second course of potato leek soup or an arugula salad. The entree comes with a choice of pan-seared rockfish or pistachio-crusted rack of lambs.

There will be a dessert to share, consisting of eggnog crème brûlée.

It’s $119 per couple and reservations are open here.

Tarantelli’s

102 S. 2nd St. • tarantellis.com

Tarantelli’s will open Christmas Eve at 4 p.m. It will serve from its menu of Italian delicacies, including antipastos, homemade pastas, pizzas, and chef’s signature dishes.

The restaurant will close by 10 p.m. on Dec. 24 and will remain closed through the 28th.

Three10

1022 N. Fourth St. • (910) 399-5428 •  three10wilmington.com

The seafood restaurant located in the Brooklyn Arts District will be open Christmas Eve, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. 

Chef Matt Walker prepares a modern take on Southern seafood, including oysters and shrimp from the raw bar, as well as small plates and larger entrees, featuring items like crispy skin red snapper or seared diver scallops. Vegetarian options available.

Reservations can be made here

YoSake

33 S. Front St. • (910) 763-3172 • yosake.com

Downtown’s sushi and Asian fusion restaurant will be operating on Christmas Eve from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. There will be a variety of offerings, from poke bowls to curries, noodles to fried rice, and sushi rolls aplenty, with wine, beer and specialty cocktails; prices range from $6 to $20.

The restaurant is located on the third floor of the historic Roudabush building.

YoSake will be open from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Christmas Eve. (Courtesy photo)

Have comments, tips or want to add to the list? Email shea@portcitydaily.com

Want to read more from PCD? Subscribe now and then sign up for our morning newsletter, Wilmington Wire, and get the headlines delivered to your inbox every morning.

Shea Carver
Shea Carver
Shea Carver is the editor in chief at Port City Daily. A UNCW alumna, Shea worked in the print media business in Wilmington for 22 years before joining the PCD team in October 2020. She specializes in arts coverage — music, film, literature, theatre — the dining scene, and can often be tapped on where to go, what to do and who to see in Wilmington. When she isn’t hanging with her pup, Shadow Wolf, tending the garden or spinning vinyl, she’s attending concerts and live theater.

Related Articles