Photograph by Carlos Osorio — Toronto Star via Getty Images
By Travel + Leisure
November 24, 2014

This post is in partnership with Travel + Leisure. The article below was originally published at

By Geraldine Campbell, Travel + Leisure

“Thanksgiving is my favorite day of the year,” says Sean Brock, executive chef of Charleston, SC’s much-lauded Husk. “It’s the only day when everyone else wakes up thinking about food, like I do every day.”

More than any other holiday, Thanksgiving is about coming together with family and friends to eat well. Many of us even have a single dish that epitomizes Thanksgiving—marshmallow-flecked sweet potatoes, perhaps, or green bean casserole laced with bacon, or, for Brock, his Aunt Shell’s pumpkin rolls.

But if the reality of hosting a Thanksgiving feast is more daunting than enticing, don’t fret: you don’t have to cook your own bird. There are dozens of restaurants open on Thanksgiving and they’re working overtime to make you a memorable meal—no cleanup required.

On the haute end of the spectrum, you can sup on turkey with chanterelle mushrooms and pomegranate gravy at Santa Monica, CA’s Mélisse, a bastion of fine dining where white tablecloths, real silver, and suited waiters are still the rule. Even more over-the-top is the option to hunt for your dinner at Colorado’s Viceroy Snowmass, then watch as chef Will Nolan breaks down your catch and prepares an amazing en suite meal.

For a more down-home approach, consider chef Marcus Samuelsson’s Harlem hot spot, Red Rooster, where the Thanksgiving menu includes soul food favorites like blackened catfish, black-eyed peas, and collard greens.

We’ve included a suburban Chinese restaurant—albeit with a twist—on our roster of Turkey Day options. And you can forgo turkey in favor of grilled wild king salmon with views of Puget Sound at Ray’s Boathouse.

In short, the possibilities are endless. Read on for our favorite alternatives to Thanksgiving at home.


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