Ah, Christmas! For those who celebrate the holiday, even if a gathering remains small, the cooking and dishes job remains substantial. Here’s a thought: You can spend more time with your loved ones and less time cooking and washing up if you order your Christmas feast to go — and if you do so from a local market or restaurant, you’ll help to make their Christmas merry, too.

Note: This roundup of meals to pick up (or be delivered) isn’t exhaustive, it’s just intended to help spark some holiday takeout ideas. If you’re hoping for a dish from your East Bay favorite for the holidays, contact them directly to see what you might arrange.


Buttercup Diner’s Christmas prime rib dinner. Credit: Buttercup Diner

BUTTERCUP DINER All Buttercup Diner locations will offer a holiday takeout feast featuring prime rib with au jus and creamy horseradish, garlic mashed potatoes, mixed vegetables, Caesar salad and upside down apple walnut pie. The prime rib comes uncooked, to be prepared at home; other items will need to be reheated. The kit is $150, and “generously” serves four to six. Order two days in advance for pickup Dec. 21-24 Be warned: Buttercup closes at 2 p.m. Christmas Eve and will be closed on Christmas Day. Buttercup Diner, 229 Broadway (at Third Street), Oakland; 1000 Cotton St. (at Dennison Street), Oakland (Other locations at 660 Ygnacio Valley Rd., Walnut Creek; 4301 Clayton Rd., Concord; 3288 Sonoma Blvd., Vallejo)

CACTUS TAQUERIA Family-favorite Cactus — with locations in both Berkeley and Oakland — is a good bet for Christmas tamales. Choices include chicken and green Anaheim chilies, chicken and red mole, turkey and black mole, pork with red sauce, corn and roasted poblano chilies and cheese and jalapeño. All orders come with salsa, pickled onions and Mexican cream. Meat tamales are $38.50 per dozen; vegetable-filled ones are $32 per dozen. Available for pre-order (at least two days in advance) through Dec. 30. Christmas Eve pickup is before 2 p.m. The dedicated tamale menu is here. Cactus Taqueria, 5642 College Ave. (at Keith Avenue), Oakland or 1881 Solano Ave. (between The Alameda and Fresno Avenue), Berkeley  

COMMUNITÉ TABLE This neighborhood restaurant in the Laurel District is offering three Christmas meals that serve two, available for pickup Dec. 23 or 24 (pre-order by Dec. 20): Lamb shanks with mashed potatoes, broccolini and chocolate roulade ($40); mushroom and butternut squash lasagna with kale salad, broccolini and chocolate roulade ($60); or roast turkey with gravy, mashed potatoes, broccolini, cranberry sauce, buttermilk biscuit and chocolate roulade ($70).  If you’re just looking for dessert for your holiday party, they also have a platter available that includes goat cheesecake, chocolate cookies, lemon tartlets, almond star cookies and chocolate mini cupcakes ($35, order one day ahead, available Dec. 16-31). Communité Table, 4171 MacArthur Blvd. (between Maybelle and 39th avenues), Oakland.

DAUGHTER’S DINER Know someone who needs a break from cooking Christmas morning? Uptown brunch spot Daughter’s Diner has a Christmas Day breakfast gift box for two ($78) that includes frittata, French toast, house-made sausage, applewood smoked bacon, smoked trout sour cream, a fresh fruit cup, lavender yogurt with pomegranate and Martinelli’s sparkling apple juice. Order in advance; pick up on Christmas Eve. Daughter’s Diner, 326 23rd St. Unit D (between Webster and Valdez streets), Oakland. 

DUENDE Although Duende will be closed on Christmas Day, the Uptown Spanish eatery is offering a signature Spanish style feast for two, which comes fully prepared and can be picked up at the restaurant on Christmas Eve ($94). The meal includes braised veal (a vegetarian option is also available), an ensalada de col, potatoes au gratin, sautéed chard and pots de crème. Spanish drink pairings are also available for an extra charge, including a pitcher of mulled wine. Order by Tuesday, Dec. 21 at 8 p.m. Duende, 468 19th Street (between Telegraph Avenue and Broadway), Oakland 

Horn Barbecue’s eggnog bread pudding. Credit: Horn Barbecue

HORN BARBECUE Preorder your Christmas barbecue feast for pickup on Christmas Eve between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. The full menu (available here) includes brisket, beef ribs, ham, duck and sides of spiced pumpkin, mac and cheese, and potatoes, along with two desert choices: eggnog bread pudding and banana pudding. Menu is a la carte and ranges from $45 to $250 (serves 10-30 depending on items ordered). Horn Barbecue, 2534 Mandela Pkwy. (between 24th and 26th streets), Oakland

MARKET HALL Market Hall always comes through with gourmet holiday feasts. This year, their Christmas dinner is available from both their Rockridge and Berkeley locations between Dec. 22-24 (order by noon two days in advance). Starters range from smoked salmon ($16.95) to fig and olive tapenade ($6.95) and chicken liver mousse ($9.95); mains include braised duck leg with mushrooms ($14.95 for one leg; $44.50 for three), chicken pot pie ($40 for a large pie that serves four to six), grilled salmon with chive and preserved lemon yogurt sauce ($14.95 for one; $44.85 serves six) and more. Also available are sides and fixings — $160 will get you seven side dishes to accompany your entrée of choice. And, of course, they also offer deserts like pecan tarte and bûche de Noël. Rockridge Market Hall, 5655 College Ave. (at Shafter Avenue), Oakland; and Market Hall Foods on 4th, 1786 4th St. (at Delaware Street), Berkeley 

NIDO’S BACKYARD Get your Christmas tamales at Nido’s. They have pulled pork, pulled chicken with red mole sauce, and vegan eggplant barbacoa, cost is $35 for six. You can also order extras like crema, salsa, pickled onion and cotija cheese. You’ll pick them up fully cooked and cold, and will heat the tamales up when you’re ready to eat. Order online for pickup Dec. 23 or earlier. Nido’s Backyard, 104 Oak St. (near Embarcadero West), Oakland

PERLE WINE BAR You can grab a prime rib Christmas Eve dinner to go from this Montclair spot. $40 per person includes sides of creamed spinach, Yorkshire pudding and pommes puree, along with a “Million $$$ Sweet Potata Pie” with lingonberry, Chantilly cream and gold leaf. Call for more details, (510)808-7767. Perle Wine Bar, 2058 Mountain Blvd. (near LaSalle Avenue), Oakland  

SOULEY VEGAN Jack London’s Souley Vegan has Christmas Eve feast available including vegan braised oxtails, jambalaya, creamed mozzarella spinach, pesto mac and cheese, garlic “Parmesan” mash potatoes, “buttered” cabbage, dinner rolls and pumpkin cheesecake, $29 per person. Trays of these dishes are also available for larger groups. Order online for pickup between 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Dec. 24. Souley Vegan, 301 Broadway (at Third Street), Oakland

TAMALERIA AZTECA Christmas tamales from this Oakland tamaleria are highly lauded. Choose from regulars like chicken, vegetable, cheese and pork, along with sweet tamales and special holiday pineapple tamales. Their tasty tamales are $3.50 each or $35 for a dozen. Oder by Dec. 20. Tamaleria Azteca, 5751 Market St. (between Arlington Avenue and 58th Street), Oakland 


BETTE’S OCEANVIEW DINER While Bette’s doesn’t have a special Christmas menu, they have pies galore! In addition to standards like pumpkin and apple, you can order any flavor you can think of (within reason). All pies are $36. Call 510-548-9494 to order at least a few days in advance. Closed Christmas Day. Bette’s Oceanview Diner, 1807 Fourth St. (near Delaware Street), Berkeley 

THE BUTCHER’S SON This vegan deli is offering a 2021 Vegan Feastivus featuring maple mustard-glazed vegan ham; vegan turkey roast; Impossible meatloaf; baked “brie”; vegan chicken pot pie and frittata, with cheesecake, eggnog, fudge and chocolate chip cookie dough for a sweet ending. Most items serve up to three. Order online by Dec. 15; pick up dates are Dec. 15-22. The Butcher’s Son 1954 University Ave (between Milvia and Martin Luther King, Jr., Way), Berkeley

Chez Panisse’s hors d’oeuvres platter is $45, and is packed with little snacky things to keep spirits bright. Credit: Chez Panisse

CHEZ PANISSE Berkeley’s world-famous fine dining restaurant is offering a range of options for your at-home holiday meal, from cassoulet ($160) to leafy broccoli and roasted red onions ($35) to a hors d’oeuvres platter ($45), and deserts like a ready-to-bake apple and huckleberry galette ($65), persimmon pudding ($65), and caramel ice cream ($14). Order soon; some items are already sold out. Preorder began Dec. 7 for pick up Wednesday, Dec. 23. Chez Panisse, 1517 Shattuck Ave. (at Vine Street), Berkeley

DARYOUSH Persian spot Daryoush claims to have the best kabob and Middle Eastern food in town. The restaurant will be open on Christmas Day with its regular Persian menu. Order online for a 20% discount. Delivery is available. Daryoush, 2144 Center St. (between Shattuck Avenue and Oxford Street), Berkeley 

GREAT CHINA Craving Michelin-recognized Chinese cuisine for Christmas? Great China is open Christmas Eve and offers its full menu for takeout or delivery. Peking duck sells out early, so get your order in ASAP. Call 510-843-7996 to order for pick up. Great China, 2190 Bancroft Way (at Oxford Street), Berkeley  

RICK & ANN’S Family favorite Rick & Ann’s is offering a beef short ribs dinner for Christmas. The full meal serves two and includes ribs, Caesar salad, mashed potatoes and garlicky green beans ($90). Their regular catering menu is also available for your holiday shindigs. Order in advance for pick up Christmas Eve between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Rick & Ann’s,2922 Domingo Avenue (between Russell Street and Ashby Avenue), Berkeley