Our favorite restaurants open for takeout on Christmas
Ghormeh sabzi is the unofficial national dish of Iran. Photo courtesy of East Bay Express.
Tired of cooking at home and would rather get some food to go on Christmas? We've rounded up some of our favorite restaurants open on Christmas Day in walking distance of BART stations. Hop on BART, pick up your takeout and enjoy the food in the comfort of your home.
Editor's note: Please wear a mask and keep a physical distance of at least six feet while riding the trains. BART will run its Sunday schedule on Christmas Day. Before you go, use our Trip Planner to get estimated travel times. See BART's 15-step plan to safely welcoming riders here.
From a tiny tamale window in North Oakland, Tamaleria Azteca offers tamales filled with chicken, pork, cheese or vegetables. Order over the phone or through text. The restaurant is cash only and it's recommended to order in advance. Get there early on Christmas Day because the shop closes when they sell out.
It can be difficult to satiate fans of traditional Chinese food as well as the meatless-minded seeking modern, alternate versions of the classics. Head to Oakland’s Chinatown and take in this full menu of faux meats, tofu and all-vegetarian plates that are known to be large in both flavor and serving size. Some places can make cooking seem like magic, and frying up prawn-less honey walnut prawns is just one example of Nature Vegetarian Restaurant’s impeccable bag of tricks.
Wise Sons Jewish Delicatessen
Wise Sons Jewish Delicatessen is dedicated to building community through traditional Jewish comfort food. Founded in San Francisco’s Mission District, Wise Sons pairs classic Jewish recipes with the best ingredients from California to make delicious deli fare that would make their bubbies proud.
Daimo Chinese Restaurant
Over the years, Daimo Chinese Restaurant in the Pacific East Shopping Mall has racked up numerous accolades, including features in Gourmet and San Francisco Magazines, and has been voted “Best Chinese Restaurant” by The East Bay Express for 2001-2003. Loyal customers love the salt and pepper sea bass, won ton soup, and barbecue pork.
What’s in a name? A lot of spicy recipes from China’s Sichuan Province. Szechuan Pork with Explosive Chili, Kiss of Fire Orange Chicken, Spicy Fried Rice. The menu at this casual Oakland Chinatown restaurant makes it clear it celebrates plenty of full flavors not meant for the fearful. Patrons keep coming back to Spices 3 for plates that boldly brim with red chilis.
Yank Sing specializes in traditional and contemporary Dim Sum in the heart of San Francisco. Must tries include dumplings with scallops, snow pea tendrils and mushrooms, and the “Shanghai Kurobuta Pork Dumplings”. Beyond dumplings there is the baked cha siu bao (smooth discs with sweet-and-sour-pork barbecue filling) and freshly fried sesame balls with a creamy interior.
It can be hard to find a great Persian restaurant because as Anthony Bourdain explained in an episode of "Parts Unknown," "the great food of Iran is cooked in people's homes." Luckily for you, Daryoush offers a menu of Persian dishes rarely seen elsewhere. Even better, most dishes include saffron, imported from the market in Tehran.
Shangrila Chinese Cuisine
In Dublin, Shangrila Chinese Cuisine always comes up when the conversation focuses on great Chinese restaurants in the area. You’ll find the classics done well here. Try the chow mein, salt and pepper chicken wings, Mongolian beef and fried rice. Shangrila also offers an alternative menu that features dishes without salt, sugar, cornstarch or oil.
Beauty's Bagel Shop
The team behind Beauty's moved to Oakland in 2009 and while they immediately fell in love with the friendly people, beautiful landscape and great food, there was just one thing they found themselves longing for: amazing bagels. Armed with culinary experience, they decided to bring old-school, traditional bagels to the Bay Area.
For the finest Northern Chinese cuisine, head to China Palace in Walnut Creek. The chefs pride themselves in using only the freshest ingredients from their native provinces. Locals love the Szechuan prawns, Mongolian beef and Hunan chicken.
Z & Y Restaurant
Z & Y is a celebrity of Chinese restaurants in San Francisco, having been visited by President Barack Obama and chosen as a 2018 Bib Gourmand pick by the Michelin Guide. If you go, try the chicken with explosive chile pepper – nuggets of golden fried meat buried like treasures in hundreds of dried red chiles.