Festive takeout dinners from local restaurants and shops ease the planning and exhaustion of Christmas meals and let you spend time with family and friends instead.
The holidays are a time for gathering with loved ones around a bountiful feast. But as a food writer and recipe developer (and mom of two small children), they’re a time when I most often need a break. Courtesy of my dad, we’ve leaned into holiday takeout meals for several years now and it has changed the vibe, workload and experience of our traditional Christmas dinner for the better. We’ve feasted on incredible meals while barely lifting a finger and we’ve had more time to spend together.
Since I can’t seem to stay out of the kitchen, I usually make dessert, bread, and/or a vibrant salad to add a touch of home. But these takeout meals have never needed anything more. This year, I want to use my professional experience to encourage you to let someone else do the work. Hamilton’s restaurants and gourmet grocery stores offer holiday meals that taste like home, or better, to make that special celebration easy. From classic roast turkey with all the fixings to succulent glazed ham dinners with decadent desserts, you can order a complete holiday spread without spending hours in the kitchen. You may never cook Christmas dinner again!
If you’ve ever dined at Rapscallion, you know you’ve experienced the sublime. Now you can experience this level of exquisiteness in the comfort of your own home. Much to our luck, executive chef Matt Kershaw decided to share his personally treasured meal again this year. It features slow roast turkey, sweet mustard glazed ham, sage and onion stuffing, red skin mashed potato, gravy, cranberry, glazed root vegetables, roasted Brussels sprouts, and the option to add a pumpkin pie. But why wouldn’t you? “It’s what I ate growing up and it’s what I still want to eat,” he said when asked why he chose this particular menu. Unique to any other place offering a holiday takeout meal, Rapscallion offers pickup on Dec. 25, a day when almost everyone is home. The reason? “A lot of people that I work with don’t actually relish the day for a variety of reasons,” said Kershaw. “It turns into a fun evening for everyone and they get to make extra cash. We over-staff so it stays fun, and then open the bar and feast together after we are finished,” he adds. The base menu is offered for two, but can be further scaled up in multiples of two to serve any size family. Pickup on Christmas Day from 2:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. to take the stress out of the day and leave you more time to enjoy the company of friends and family.
$99 + tax for two people and can easily be multiplied
Order by Dec. 20
For something more casual, Burlington’s Pepperwood Bistro has been offering its “Turkey in a Box” dinner for over 20 years, leading us to believe they must be doing something right. Their generous dinner serves eight to 10 people, making it an easy win for larger groups and tighter budgets. Savour whole carved turkey, garlic-roasted red-skinned mashed potatoes, herb-roasted root vegetables, savoury bread stuffing with caramelized onions and sage, fresh cranberry compote, house-made turkey gravy, and for dessert, Pepperwood’s toasted apple cobbler with caramel sauce – all pre-cooked and ready to reheat. Pickup any time on Dec. 24 from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. With easy instructions and the work done for you, you’ll have plenty of time to relax and enjoy what the day has to offer.
$299 + tax for eight to 10 people
Order by Dec. 15
BE SURE NOT TO MISS OUR EXTENSIVE HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE!
This holiday season, Radius is celebrating all things local with two ready-to-eat holiday dinners and (for gifting yourself or others) these festive take-home meal kits, perfect for an effortless family feast. As a much-loved local spot, passionate about thoughtfully curated and prepared foods, Radius sources ingredients from community farmers and craftspeople whenever possible. This year, choose between slow-roasted turkey or signature porchetta. Both are paired with a luscious Grand Marnier cranberry sauce, rosemary gravy, sourdough stuffing and two gourmet sides of your choice. With options like chorizo creamed corn, maple miso Brussels sprouts, Radius’ signature gruyère mashed potatoes, butternut squash soup with crème fraiche, Caesar salad, and roasted heirloom carrots, there’s something for everyone. But if you can’t decide, additional sides can be purchased. Rounding out the meal are soft dinner rolls with honey butter and your choice of house-made apple, pumpkin or maple pecan pie. The family-sized option serves six to eight people, or if it’s just you and a plus-one, opt for the dinner for two. Pick up your ready-to-reheat meal on Dec. 23 or 24 between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. and relax into a holiday centred around connection rather than kitchen chaos.
Prices range from $105 to $345 + tax, depending on size
Order by Dec. 15
For the folks at Genuine Bakery, the holidays mean family and their homestyle Italian influence is reflected in their unique and abundant holiday menus. With over 60 years of tradition, innovation, and continued success, the third generation of Genuine family members are continuing to offer what their customers love and come back for year after year. There are two menus and customers can choose between a lavish seafood or meat-focused dinner and customize with a-la-carte add-ons like lobster ravioli, mussels, and veal spezzatino. The seafood menu includes seafood salad, orecchiette with rapini, shrimp, fried calamari, fillet of sole, roast potatoes with peppers and onions, a garden salad, and fresh rolls with butter. The meat-focussed menu features mini arancini, meat lasagna, roast lamb, prosciutto and asparagus-stuffed chicken, festive roast vegetable mix, roast potatoes, caprese-style mixed green salad, and fresh rolls with butter. Genuine meticulously prepares each dish, from perfectly cooked shrimp and stuffed pastas to roast lamb and chicken, bringing homestyle Italian cooking to your table this season. It's a catered holiday done genuinely right.
$50 per person + tax
Topowe Boutique Events & Catering
Executive chef Tobias Pohl-Weary is bringing back the big, bountiful Christmas dinners of his childhood with Topowe’s extravagant holiday menu. With the layered and thoughtful offerings, Pohl-Weary promises “a gourmet Christmas experience … with a little extra touch of special.” The gorgeous starters alone are ample and could leave you feeling sated before dinner ever starts. Openers include salmon rillettes with baguette crisps, cheddar and caramelized onion tarts, herb and lemon shrimp with smoky cocktail sauce, and tomato-bocconcini bites with basil balsamic drizzle. But believe it or not, they all lead to a main event that includes both a five-herb garlic rub roast turkey (carved light and dark meat) and Pohl-Weary’s sour cherry and bourbon glazed ham – a combination I can’t stop thinking about. Noteworthy sides include dried cranberry, chevre and pumpkin seed salad with mixed greens, roasted delicata squash – the queen of all squashes, fennel and heirloom carrots with pomegranate molasses and thyme apricot, leek and pecan stuffing with rosemary and focaccia, cinnamon orange-cranberry sauce, Topowe’s house-made 24-hour simmered gravy, and an arrangement of artisan breads with a variety of butters and spreads. Despite all that, he also offers two desserts. The dark chocolate, almond, and brown sugar brioche bread pudding and baked apple and cinnamon cake finish off the cozy, nostalgic feast. With Pohl-Weary’s aim to give you “more options than you can fit on a single plate” and where you are left feeling “warm and full,” there is no doubt this will be a meal that fills you up in more ways than one. Delivery available.
$255 + tax for four people (with price points for larger gatherings), including delivery
Order by Dec. 15
Power down your oven and stove and let The Powerhouse take care of Christmas dinner this year. The Powerhouse and its sister restaurants (Southcote 53 and District Kitchen & Bar) have establishments across the greater Hamilton area from Stoney Creek to Ancaster to Burlington, each offering casual turkey dinners for takeout or dine-in. Their classic dinner experience brings all the basics, starting with butternut squash soup, garlic and rosemary rubbed slow-roasted turkey, house-made sausage and sage stuffing, creamy Yukon gold mashed potatoes, roasted heirloom carrots, Grand Marnier and vanilla-infused cranberry sauce, and to top it all off, Chudleigh’s crumble crunch apple blossoms. The 1890s rail-line-power-source-turned eatery offers single servings and a family-sized dinner for five to six and you can pick up on Dec. 23 or 24 before 6 p.m. With simple heating directions included, The Powerhouse lets you feast stress-free this Christmas.
Order by Dec. 18
From $27.95 + tax for a single serving to $175 + tax for five to six people
Hamilton Meat Pie Company
If you’re craving a Quebec-inspired Christmas feast this year, look no further than the large turkey or tourtiere pie at Hamilton Meat Pie Company. The meal comes with turkey gravy, cranberry sauce and garlic mashed potatoes and feeds four to six people for $65. With a pumpkin pie, $75. The mega-Christmas feast adds honey and herb-glazed carrots and festive stuffing for $110 with a pumpkin pie and $100 without. You can even have the feast delivered (within a 25 km radius of the 601 Burlington St. E.)
Orders are being filled Dec. 15 to Dec. 23
Columbus Club Catering
An east Hamilton institution known for homemade kielbasa, perogies, sub sandwiches and affordable catered dinners, is preparing Christmas dinner, too. Full roast turkey dinner with mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy, chef’s choice of vegetable, bread and cranberry for $16. Also available is a full boneless roasted turkey from $55, a tray of stuffing for six is $16, and homemade ham is also available for $13. Order online. Delivery is available, too.
Available for pickup and delivery Dec. 23, 24 and 25
This Hamilton institution is offering a fully cooked roasted turkey dinner kit that includes a whole oven-roasted turkey, Denninger's scalloped potatoes, a choice of two vegetable side dishes (garlic herb green beans, maple glazed carrots, braised red cabbage with apple, spiced roasted squash), Denninger's stuffing, poultry gravy, lingonberry preserve and Denninger's premium apple strudel. A full ham dinner for is also available.
$295, serves eight to 10
Nellie James (sold out already this year, so order early next year!)
Farm Boy: My family has ordered Farm Boy’s turkey and ham dinner. Both were wonderful. They do not disappoint.
Rose Garden Family Restaurant: If you don’t want to eat at home or do the dishes, Rose Garden offers four holiday options for dine-in or takeout including turkey, roast beef, salmon, and chicken and pasta. Kids get a half-price turkey or pasta dinner, as well.