Fuss-free Feast: Best Restaurants to Eat Out for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving dinner on table including turkey and vegetables
Rebecca Parsons

The theme of the last year’s Pandemic Thanksgiving could have been “Keep Away,” applicable to both viruses and extraneous cousins. The situation this holiday season, while far from perfect, is meaningfully safer, and it feels like cause for celebration. Instead of going to a random relative’s house for dinner, consider a fuss-free feast at one of the best restaurants to eat out for Thanksgiving, where there’s a 100 percent chance of a full bar and perfectly cooked turkey. Best of all, nobody needs to set the table or do the dishes.

Best Restaurants to Eat Out for Thanksgiving

1. Le Cavalier

Wilmington, DE

The DuPonts are the most famous family in Delaware not named Biden, and the grand Italian Renaissance hotel named for them (which once housed company headquarters) sets the stage for a ritzy Thanksgiving. At the hotel’s handsome French bistro, Le Cavalier, chef Tyler Akin is putting on a feast that’s half Hamilton, half Lafayette. Soup a l’oignon and foie gras tartine with stewed apples, followed by roulade and confit of turkey and sweet potato pie? Yes and oui!

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2. Rezdôra: New York

It’s not Thanksgiving at Rezdôra but Ringraziamento. Pasta maestro Stefano Secchi’s warm, glowy dining room in the Flatiron neighborhood is doing two afternoon seatings for an Italian-accented, family-style feast that includes shared antipasti and primi (squash-and-chestnut cappelletti, truffled porcini tortelli) and choice of entrée. Don’t worry—Secchi’s doing turkey, too: a succulent leg prepared osso bucco-style.

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Sliced turkey dinner on a plate with gravy being poured from above with Signature Room window view in the background
Neil Burger

The Signature Room at the 95th

3. The Signature Room at the 95th: Chicago

You’re coming to The Signature Room at the 95th for the views. Way up here in the John Hancock Building on Michigan Avenue, surrounded by clouds and skyscrapers, it feels like you’re floating. That alone is probably a nice change of pace, given that Thanksgiving usually makes you feel anchored, not airborne. This menu is strong for roasted turkey-and-pumpkin pie traditionalists, but there are few surprises thrown in, too—including a full raw bar and seared scallops.

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4. Olmsted: Brooklyn

Greg Baxtrom’s family-style spread at Olmsted begins with roasted chestnuts and ends with pumpkin pie. In between, Baxtrom flexes with plates like Arctic char tartare, cheddar pumpkin hummus, cornbread with sage duck butter, black truffled mashed potatoes, and heritage turkey two ways.

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Window-side tables overlooking the beach at 1 Pico in Santa Monica CA
1 Pico at Shutters on the Beach Courtesy Image

5. 1 Pico: Santa Monica, CA

SANTA MONICA: 1 Pico at the iconic Shutters on the Beach has a new executive chef, Sean Michael Runyon, who’s lightening the holiday in SoCal fashion. There’s a classic turkey with cranberry sauce and stuffing and mini pumpkin cheesecakes, but we’re not mad at a Thanksgiving menu that also includes oysters with garlic-chive mignonette and hamachi crudo with yuzu and finger lime.

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Thanksgiving—To Go

Countless restaurants warmed to the idea of take-out during the pandemic. Many of them are doing full meals for the holiday. We Frankenstein-ed together our ultimate Thanksgiving feast from various options around the country.

1. Starter: Gumbo from Virtue in Chicago.

2. Bird: Brined, roasted, ‘n sliced turkey from Stargazy in Philadelphia.

3. Bird Alt: Butternut, chestnut-and-porcini lasagna from Che Fico Alimentari in San Francisco.

4. Yams: Coal-roasted sweet potatoes drizzled with condensed milk from Caracol in Houston.

5. Crans: Cranberry-kumquat relish from Flowers of Vietnam in Detroit.

6. Dessert: Pumpkin Basque-style cheesecake from Pasjoli in Santa Monica.

7. Day After: The Ultimate Leftovers Sandwich Kit from Canlis in Seattle.


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