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Where to eat this holiday season

Tis the season to eat, drink, and be merry—and our guide to the best of holiday dining in the city will have you doing all three in style, from now until New Year’s Day. Please enjoy, and out of respect for your holiday—when we believe your inbox should only be filled with messages from friends and family—you won’t hear a peep from us until January 2015. Happy Holidays from everyone at BBE!

A traditional Italian-American Christmas Eve at Union
Pasadena’s peerless farm-centric dining dream will host a Feast of the Seven Fishes prix-fixe Christmas Eve dinner. Celebrated Chef Bruce Kalman will offer his California-inspired version of the classic Italian-American Christmas Eve celebration, which features seven indulgent courses of seafood. The evening will begin with escabeche of sardines, and handmade squid ink maccheroni alla chitarra with baccala (salt cod) and uni. Then guests will then be lavished with olive oil albacore and a soft-boiled duck egg; a plate of baby octopus with Tuscan potatoes and smoked almond romesco; ricotta cavatelli with prawns; faro crusted sea scallop; and finally branzino with faro and artichokes. Reservations must be made by calling the restaurant; tickets are $125 per person, with the option of a $40 wine pairing.

When: Wednesday, December 24, 4 PM–10 PM
Where: 37 E. Union St., Pasadena, CA 91103
Telephone: 626-795-5841

Celebrate the holidays in Southern Indian style at Cardamom
For a creative alternative to traditional Christmas fare, this freshly minted Beverly Blvd. destination for contemporary Indian cuisine is offering a sumptuous three-course dinner for Christmas Eve—and the sometimes-elusive Christmas Day—for only $35 per person. Guests will be greeted by a glass of champagne before beginning with singara, Punjabi-style vegetable parcels wrapped in crisp pastry and served with a date-tamarind chutney, paired with an onion piazza—deep-fried shredded onions in a feathery paprika-lentil batter. Main course options include the classic chicken tikka, the creamy Hyderabadi murgh tikka masala, or the tender Khyberi lamb bhona, all accompanied by Cardamom’s signature zafrani rice, freshly baked naan, and house-made raita. And this holiday fête wouldn’t be complete without gazar ka haleva, a traditional carrot pudding topped with house-made ice cream..

When: Wed–Thu, December 24–25, 5:30 PM–10 PM
Where: 7233 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90036
Telephone: 323-936-1000

Scrooged at Ray’s & Stark Bar
Executive Chef Viet Pham riffs on Ebenezer Scrooge, the famous grouch from Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” with his special “Stark After Dark” menu. Dishes run from $9 to $13 and include the “Tiny pataTIM”—braised pork leg with star anise, hoisin, sesame, baby bok choy, and shiitake mushrooms—and the “Ba Humburger,” which tops a meatloaf patty with BBQ sauce, onion rings, and crispy bacon. House cocktails ($12) also play on the theme, with concoctions like Rum Bless Us Every One!, featuring spiced rum, honey, house-made spiced butter, and a cinnamon stick.

When: Now through December 31
Where: 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90036
Telephone: 323-857-6180

L’Assiette Steak Frites lives up to it’s name for a special New Year’s Eve feast
Father and son team Jacques and Marc Fiorentino’s culinary tribute to their favorite meal in France, L’Assiette Steak Frites will offer three seatings of their prix-fixe menu featuring their eponymous dish. Starting at $25 per person, guests will be treated to two portions of steak frites, sorrel soup or house salad starters, and a glass of complimentary champagne. Those who opt not to select the signature sous vide Coulotte cut of steak may choose from the fish of the day or marinated Portobello mushrooms.

When: Wednesday, December 31; three seatings: 5:30 PM, 8 PM, 10 PM
Where: 7166 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90046
Telephone: 323-274-2319

Auld Lang Syne at Providence
Chef Michael Cimarusti and business partner Donato Poto are going luxurious for Providence’s New Year’s Eve celebration. Their special Market Menu features delicacies befitting the year’s final hours, including Santa Barbara uni, caviar, black truffle, dry-aged Prime rib (with more black truffle!), and if you’re feeling especially elegant, Wagyu A5 beef. At $210 per head ($280 with wine pairing), the price tag is steep, but given the ingredients, imagination, and attention to detail, you’re bound to have a memorable evening.

When: Wednesday, December 31; two seatings: early seating at 5:30 PM and 6 PM, late seating at 8:30 PM and 9 PM
Where: 5955 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90038
Telephone: 323-460-4170

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