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It’s holly at jolly at the Cooperage Inn. (Photo courtesy of the Cooperage Inn)

Have a feast to cook on Christmas Day? Worn out from gift-wrapping and baking? Give yourself a little change of scenery (and less dishes) by turning Christmas Eve into a date night, be it for you and your sweetie, or your entire crew of holly-jolly celebrators. 

North Fork restaurants are here for you this season, offering Christmas Eve dinners that’ll have you feeling more than satisfied as you settle in for a long winter’s nap (after the meal, of course). From a turkey dinner at a Greenport icon to Italian fare in a white-tablecloth setting, these are North Fork Christmas Eve dinners worth considering.

Claudio’s Tavern and Grill: 111 Main St., Greenport, 631-477-0627

All is calm and bright on the water by Claudio’s. (Photo courtesy of Claudio’s)

Loved for its lively al fresco summer atmosphere, Claudio’s is also wonderfully cozy in the winter. They’re hosting a Christmas Eve dinner at their tavern with all the trimmings of a cozy holiday feast. A turkey dinner with stuffing, mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce is only missing mistletoe. But the dessert menu with holiday classics like pumpkin and apple pie is better than a decoration. If you got your fill of turkey on Thanksgiving, rest easy. A second entrée of glazed ham is also available. 

Vine Street Café, South Ferry Road, Shelter Island, 631-749-3210

Locals flock to Vine Street for Christmas Eve dinner. Out-of-towners? You’re in for a treat. A 3-minute ferry ride away, a trip to Shelter Island will feel like you’ve taken a brief holiday getaway, offering a respite from the hustle and bustle the season brings. Vine Street Café is offering a pair of specials for the occasion. A chateaubriand with an elegant truffle mushroom sauce feeds two and is a lovely date-night dish. Meanwhile, a lobster bouillabaisse with rouille and bruschetta honors the idea that Christmas Eve is a day for seafood, particularly in Italian families. 

Jedidiah Hawkins Inn, 400 S Jamesport Ave., Riverhead, 631-722-2900

Cozy up fireside at the Jedediah Hawkins Inn. (Photo courtesy of Jedediah Hawkins Inn)

Expect the usual food menu at Jedidiah Hawkins Inn, a relaxed yet upscale restaurant set in a boutique hotel. But the cocktail menu will have some festive additions, including grown-up hot cocoa spiked with peppermint vodka and labneh Chantilly and a chocolate martini. Would you prefer something lighter and less sweet? A Pom Collins with Tanqueray gin and pomegranate liqueur might make your nice list.

Touch of Venice, 28350 Main Road, Cutchogue, 631-298-5851

Over the whole sit-around-in-PJs-all-day routine you’ve had since Christmas of 2020? Venture out for an elegant affair. Touch of Venice’s white tablecloth dining room adds a touch of elegance, but its approachable menu of Italian classics makes it a warm setting for a Christmas Eve dinner. Ditto for the extensive wine list that includes local and Italian wines, pairing perfectly with everything from the veal ricotta meatballs to the lasagna loaded with mozzarella and creamy Parmigiana Reggiano cheeses and doused in marinara sauce. Early reservations are recommended for those hoping to dine there on Dec. 24.

Cooperage Inn, 2218 Sound Ave., Baiting Hollow, 631-727-8994

Reservations are recommended at this North Fork institution brimming with bucolic charm (and rumor has it they’re going fast). Cooperage Inn isn’t reinventing the wheel for Christmas Eve — if you’ve been before, expect the usual menu, plus some TBD chef’s special. But truly, you can’t go wrong with the pot pie the inn now sells for take-home consumption. A cozy fireplace and Christmas tree add a warm, festive touch.