Christmas takeout from Denver restaurants, 2020 edition

For anywhere from $20 to $200, you and yours can celebrate Christmas this year with a number of holiday restaurant specials. The 15 take-home packages we’ve combined here are extra treats — rather than offering in-person Christmas Eve and Day dining, many local restaurants are pulling out all the stops for their to-go feasts.

They’re preparing plenty of ham, but also duck, veal, prime rib, short rib and more. They’re making cross-cultural meals, with traditions from China, Mexico, Italy, West Africa and others represented on the plate.

Best of all: They’ve got festive desserts and drinks galore. For just a few highlights, check out American Elm’s fancy Champagne punch, The Family Jones’s eggnog (see Edible Beats), sticky toffee pudding from Hickory & Ash and duck fat ice cream from Sage Restaurant Group.

Remember to call or go online as soon as possible, as some places cut off orders as early as Wednesday evening, and others will just sell out fast.

Ace Eat Serve (Uptown)

Chef Thach Tran’s whole Peking duck spread comes with moo shu crepes, scallions, cucumber, apricot chili sauce and hoisin. On the side there’s vegetable fried rice, green bean casserole, saag paneer and matcha tiramisu for dessert. ($149). For an extra treat, order the “next day ramen kit” which includes instructions to make duck broth from your Christmas leftovers, as well as all the fixings — fresh noodles, poached eggs, bean sprouts, pickled ginger and spices ($18). aceeatserve.com/holidaypekingduck 

American Elm (Highland)

At this North Denver neighborhood spot, every option is covered to complete your professional holiday meal at home. You can order a whole feast including maple brown sugar ham, smoked mac and cheese, mashed potatoes with browned butter gravy, Brussels sprouts and Christmas cookies ($135). Or you can order just the sides ($10-$20 each), or just the sweets (from $15). The party really starts with a spread of festive cocktails — Champagne punch ($110), house eggnog ($30) and an alpine Manhattan cocktail kit ($55). amelm.com 

Barolo Grill (Cherry Creek)

The Christmas meal pack from this Denver Italian institution comes with braised veal shank, lobster salad, roasted cauliflower, truffle potato gratin, creamed spinach and kale and gingerbread spice cake ($80 per person). Don’t forget to consult the award-winning wine list for single bottles to add on or else three-bottle packs of your favorite styles. exploretock.com/barologrilldenver/ 

Chef Zorba’s (Congress Park)

The 40-year-old Greek restaurant serves a Christmas dinner complete with a bone-in baked ham, two quarts each of scalloped potatoes and roasted vegetables, a feta and walnut salad, a dozen dinner rolls and a quart of pineapple bread pudding ($129.95 for the family or $17.95 for an individual meal). chefzorbas.com 

Edible Beats (Multiple)

Restaurants like Root Down, Linger and El Five have come together to serve three Christmas dinner options: turkey, ham or short rib with a smattering of sides ($65 per person). The group is also offering a dinner for two for $180 which includes a bottle of wine, eggnog, Christmas morning scones and The Edible Beat cookbook. See also pies, cinnamon rolls and a kids’ cookie decorating kit sold a la carte. exploretock.com/rootdowndenver 

Guard and Grace (Downtown)

Tag restaurants are combining forces this year and preparing family-style Christmas meals out of the downtown Denver location of Guard and Grace steakhouse. You’ll start by choosing a main course — bone-in pork loin, pork loin and glazed ham, prime rib with au jus or beef tenderloin with demi-glace. Then you’ll get all the sides — pork belly and cornbread stuffing, Cipollini onion gravy, mashed potatoes, green beans, roasted carrots, winter salad, house rolls and triple chocolate cookies and chocolate peppermint pie for dessert ($199-$245, $119 just for the spread of sides, or a la carte). tagrestaurantgroup.com 

Hickory & Ash (Broomfield)

Families in the northern suburbs will appreciate the kids option that comes with this spread: Herb-crusted prime rib with au jus, baby spinach salad, roasted Brussels sprouts, French onion potato gratin, parker house rolls and sticky toffee pudding ($60 per person) plus kids meals for $8 each. Order at (720) 390-4400. 

Hop Alley (RiNo)

Skip the honey baking and splurge for Hop Alley’s smoked and braised char siu pork shoulder or the Chinese black bean braised beef chuck instead. Either will come with sides of pork dumplings, hot and sour soup, gai lan (Chinese broccoli), Sichuan spice potatoes, chopped salad, chilled tofu and braised sour mustard greens ($200 for four to six people). hopalleydenver.com 

Jax Fish House (Multiple)

The Feast of the Seven Fishes is a decade-long Christmas Eve tradition at Jax, and you can order if for two to take home this year. Frutti di mare, bagna cauda, stone clams, salt-baked bass, sweet potato gnocchi and butterscotch budino make up the meal ($125). You can also opt for raw bar packages with oysters, shrimp and crab, or order everything a la carte. jaxfishhouse.com 

Le French (DTC)

The four-course holiday menu at this South Denver restaurant features choices for each, starting with a fromage board, charcuterie board or Croustillant de Lapin (rabbit, foie gras and beef feet wrapped in dough). Next comes French onion soup, curried pumpkin soup or a beet and berries salad. The main options are salmon with potato-truffle emulsion, duck leg confit, filet mignon with foie gras (an additional $12) or gniiri (vegan and gluten-free) with creamed cornmeal, peanut and black-eyed peas. For dessert: chocolate mousse or crêpes Suzette. $75 per person, order at 720-710-8963. 

Rosenberg’s (Aurora)

This Denver-based bagel shop takes the Jewish tradition of eating Chinese food on Christmas and turns it on its head. Smoked salmon rangoons, Reuben spring rolls, matzo ball hot and sour soup, Taylor ham fried rice, Kung Pao pastrami, duck lo mein, matcha bread pudding, fortune cookies and Sherry’s Soda Shoppe vanilla ice cream all cost $100 for two. A cocktail package can be added for an additional $60. rosenbergsbagels.com/cateringstanley 

Sage Restaurants (Multiple)

Another duck feast and a resurrection of sorts: Sage restaurants is bringing back its former Denver restaurant Departure and the famed Peking duck dinner over the holiday season. That means whole roasted duck with all the fixings, including moo shu pancakes, sour cherry and Five Spice, hoisin, cucumber, scallion and candied kumquat, plus duck fried rice and duck fat huckleberry ice cream ($105). You can order and see the restaurant group’s other offerings at sagerestaurantstogo.com. 

The Kitchen (LoDo and Boulder)

A smoked ham dinner, root vegetable risotto dinner and Christmas day brunch are all on the menu here. Milk rolls, endive salad, twice baked potato gratin, broccolini and coconut cake come with the dinners ($125-$175 for four to six people). And the brunch package includes maple cinnamon coffee cake, mushroom-leek quiche, a simple salad and mimosa makings ($69.50). thekitchenbistros.com 

Ultreia (Union Station)

Bored of all other traditions? Try a Spanish feast with either tapas or tinned fish. The tapas spread includes Iberico meatballs, foie gras-stuffed figs, jamón and manchego and lots more ($100 for two). The seafood mix features three selections of gourmet tinned fish served with chips for dipping and sauces for topping, plus a bottle of cava ($100 for two). exploretock.com/ultreiadenver 

Westwood Food Co-op (Lakewood)

On Morrison Road inside Rise Westwood, you’ll find homemade holiday tamales, available in packs of six or 12 ($18 or $30). Take them home for Christmas dining along with some Cultura craft drinking chocolate ($5-$20). These and other treats are for sale inside the community collective. risewestwoodcollective.com 

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