Holiday brunch, vegan turkey, steak house indulgence, Italian spinoffs and (if it comes down to it) Benihana.

(Image via Getty)

There’s just no shortage of reasons why you should mix it up for Thanksgiving this year.

Perhaps you’re finally ready for some culinary expertise instead of homemade creations when celebrating the most meal-centric of the American holidays. Or more likely, hosting the relatives took all your energy in years past and you swore off cooking again (let alone facing the devastating aftermath of slimy pots, pans and plates). Maybe you straight-up burned the turkey and are now looking for an 11th-hour solution. Whatever the case may be, we encourage you to consider seeking out a restaurant for your holiday feast this Thanksgiving.

And rather than run into a bunch of dining dead ends trying to hunt down something, anything that is open, we’ve not only done the legwork for you, but listed the legit locations worth your time and taste buds.

So keep it easy and keep it local.

Roadhouse views: Alice’s Restaurant at the intersection of Skyline Blvd and Highway 84. (Photo by Kate Bradshaw)

Alice’s Restaurant

First things first, everybody’s favorite restaurant in the Redwoods is hosting its (somewhat) annual Thanksgiving Day brunch, with ALL proceeds benefiting Second Harvest Food Bank. It’s a great opportunity to support a good cause AND get out of the house early in the day while your family members freak out about the yams.

8 a.m.–12 noon (No reservations necessary!)

Alice’s Restaurant // 17288 Skyline Blvd, Woodside; 650.851.0303

Isn’t it Grand! Head to Nick’s for a vegan Thanksgiving dinner! (Image via Yelp)

Nicks on Grand

Before we get into the white meat/dark meat debate, let us point you towards our favorite vegan Filipino restaurant in the Bay Area—Nicks on Grand, which has planned a plant-based Thanksgiving meal. Vegan Charcuterie Platters! Green Bean Casserole! And of course—Vegan Roast Turkey.

Seating is limited so grab tickets here. One catch though…the dinner is not on Thanksgiving Day, but Friday, November 22nd (which from our glass half-full point of view just means that you get to have Thanksgiving dinner twice!).

Nicks on Grand // 223 Grand Ave, South San Francisco; 650.989.8452

The sleek interior of Fairchilds Public House. (Image via Yelp)

Fairchilds Public House

The good folks at Fairchilds in Mountain View have devised a special Thanksgiving pre-fixe menu. Bring the whole family ($35 for adults, $17 for kids) and enjoy a three-course Thanksgiving meal which includes the luscious likes of a butternut squash soup (topped with coconut creme), butter-roasted turkey breast, stuffing, Brussels sprouts with heirloom carrots and more of your holiday faves. Plus, don’t forget that there’s a full bar with some great cocktail options (hi there, smoked maple old fashioned) because…family.

11 a.m.–9 p.m. (reservations recommended)

Fairchilds Public House // 409 San Antonio Rd, Mountain View; 650.966.6949

The very new, very stylish interior of Pasta Moon’s new downtown location in Half Moon Bay. (Image via Pasta Moon’s Facebook page)

Pasta Moon

Don’t sleep on the Coastside. Take the drive, enjoy the autumn atmosphere and head over to Pasta Moon on Main Street in Half Moon Bay for their take on a classic Thanksgiving three-course meal (in their very swanky new location).

The menu will feature Chanterelle mushroom and lentil soup, hand-carved Diestel turkey and lobster linguine (plus much more). Then, mix it up a bit with their other menu options, which will include Dungeness crab cakes, Iacopi Farm green beans (we’ve tried to clue you in here) and pear & prosciutto pizza.

$78 for adults and $25 for kids.

Reservations are highly recommended (in fact, you might want to hurry).

Pasta Moon // 845 Main St., Half Moon Bay; 650.726.5125

Grab a big booth at Left Bank. (Image via Yelp)

Left Bank Brasserie (Menlo Park)

Options abound at the Brasserie. Turkey with Yukon gold mashed potatoes and corn bread stuffing? Or honey mustard-glazed rack of pork served with an indulgent leek and potato gratin? Better yet, maybe you should go for their autumn risotto?

That’s right, Left Bank is offering an entire cornucopia of delectable dishes for the day.

Noon–8 p.m. (Reservations needed)

Left Bank Brasserie // 635 Santa Cruz Ave, Menlo Park; 650.473.6543

Cafe Pro Bono in Palo Alto. (Image via Yelp)

Cafe Pro Bono

Tailored for “taste-conscious people,” Cafe Pro Bono is a warm Italian restaurant serving colorful dishes across crisp, white tablecloths. For this special day, they’ve whipped up a special menu. Beyond traditional turkey with stuffing, Cafe Pro Bono will also be making full use of the gourd family. Dishes include squash soup, squash ravioli and pumpkin bread pudding.

3–8 p.m. (Reservations required)

Cafe Pro Bono // 2437 Birch St., Palo Alto; 650.326.1626

It’s an Italian Thanksgiving at Il Fornaio. (Image via Yelp)

Il Fornaio (Palo Alto)

Though Italian restaurants might not be the first to come to mind as the place to savor your American holiday, Il Fornaio may pleasantly surprise you. Along with traditional staples like roasted turkey breast, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie (drizzled with caramel sauce and whipped cream), they’re also serving a seasonally-themed soup and salad.

11:30 a.m.–8 p.m. (Reservations highly recommended)

Il Fornaio // 520 Cowper St., Palo Alto; 650.853.3888

The lively confines of Local Union 271. (Image via Yelp)

Local Union 271 (Palo Alto)

Local Union 271 is serving regular brunch for this November holiday. If you believe turkey is a necessity to celebrating the day well, we recommend the egg’s benedict with smoked turkey, avocado and chipotle hollandaise.

However, if the bird is not a culinary requirement for your day (or you’re feeling a little rebellious), you could always go for an ahi poke bowl or chile verde chicken tacos.

11a.m.–3 p.m. (Reservations not needed)

Local Union 271 // 271 University Ave., Palo Alto; 650.322.7509

Get your steak on at Porterhouse in San Mateo. (Image via Yelp)


San Mateo’s well-known high-end steakhouse will have a special Thanksgiving meal offering on their menu, in addition to their not-to-miss list of prime cuts.

Turkey? Or 30 ounces of dry-aged Porterhouse steak? Hmmm…why not go for both? (Because if there is one day in the year you can get away with it….)

5–10 p.m. (Reservations are recommended)

Porterhouse // 60 E 3rd Ave., San Mateo; 650.579.5911

Point us to the carving station. (Image via Yelp)

MacArthur Park (Palo Alto)

Macarthur Park, an American eatery housed within a historic colonial building, will have you observing Thanksgiving in luxury. The restaurant will offer a full carving station with a selection of meats: slow-roasted prime rib, Kurobuta baked ham, mesquite-grilled wild salmon and Mary’s free-range organic roasted turkey. And if you can’t look another pumpkin pie in the eye, never fear, there are pecan pie and apple crisp options for dessert.

11 a.m.–8 p.m. (Reservations needed)

MacArthur Park // 27 University Ave., Palo Alto; 650.321.9990

Come for the atmosphere…stay for the brûlée. (Image via Yelp)

Enchanté Boutique Hotel

Why obsess over cooking and cleaning at home when you can just take the short trip to spend the holiday in a stylish French hotel. Yes (er…oui) the very le chic hotel in Los Altos is offering a classic Thanksgiving dinner: butter-roasted turkey, candied yams, mashed potatoes and (in a compelling Franco twist) croissant stuffing. For dessert? Wait for it…pumpkin crème brûlée.

There’s just one seating, at 5p.m. (Reservations are recommended)

$40 for adults and $20 for kids

Enchanté Hotel // 1 Main St., Los Altos; 650.946.2000

Also noteworthy (and open) for this Thanksgiving:

Saltyard // 322 Lorton Ave, Burlingame; 650.342.7355

Menlo Tavern // 100 El Camino Real, Menlo Park; 650.330.2790

British Bankers Club // 555 Santa Cruz Ave., Menlo Park; 650.382.3191

Oak + Violet // 1400 El Camino Real, Menlo Park; 650.304.3880

Benihana // 2074 Vallco Pkwy, Cupertino; 408.253.1221

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