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Eat ethnic Christmas dinners around Chicago

Kinley Preston

Enjoy Christmas with diva Kinley Preston.

Every culture has its holiday traditions and in Chicago we can try most of them. Check out these ideas:

  • Cuban: Chef Chico Vilchez at Nacional 27 in River North offers a pre-holiday look at Cuban Christmas traditions through Saturday, Dec. 22, with a four-course, prix-fixe menu, paired with wine. The meal starts with a tapas sampling and includes hearts of palm salad, slow-roasted suckling pig Cubano or spice-rubbed jumbo prawns, and a dessert duo, $45.

  • David DiGregorio

    David DiGregorio

  • Italian: Chef David DiGregorio prepares a “Feast of the Seven Fishes” inspired by his family traditions on Christmas Eve at Osteria Via Stato in River North. The meatless menu includes Rhode Island calamari with hot cherry peppers; grilled octopus with fingerling potatoes; jumbo flounder with lemon, capers and brown butter; seafood stew with shrimp, seared scallops, fish and toasted ciabatta bread; linguine with gulf shrimp and spinach; pan-roasted scallops and wild mushroom risotto; and salmon with artichokes, herbs and lemon; plus antipasti and desserts, $48.95.

  • French: Chef Martial Noguier at Bistronomic on the Near North Side. will serve a French-inspired, three-course Christmas Eve prix-fixe menu from 5 to 10 p.m. Entree choices include: braised venison tournedos with persimmon, celery root mousseline and foie gras; walleye pike with brussels sprouts and oxtail pinot noir reduction; veal medallion with ginger glazed carrot, mandarin orange supremes and toasted cumin; winter squash ravioli with almond, parmesan shaving and butternut squash nage; and prime short ribs with braised salsify, bresola and country mustard. The dinner costs $49; two courses for children are $20, $10 for those under age 5.

  • Swedish: Ann Sather restaurants will be open on Christmas Day serving “The Swedish Sampler,” roasted duck breast with lingonberry glaze, meatball, potato sausage, spaetzle, sauerkraut and brown beans; as well as broiled salmon with mustard dill sauce and mashed potatoes; roast turkey with celery-sage stuffing, mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce; baked bone-in ham with fruit glaze and sweet potatoes; and prime rib au jus with mashed potatoes. The complete meals, $19.95 ($10.95 for children 12 years and under), come with homemade breads, vegetable soup, seasonal vegetable and dessert: apple, walnut-chocolate chip or pumpkin pie. Reservations accepted only for parties of six or more, and the meals will be in Andersonville from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and in Lakeview from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Lakeview will also be serving holiday dinners the same hours on Christmas Eve.

  • GLBT: Chef JoAnn Witherell serves a holiday prix-fixe menu on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day at Kit Kat Lounge and Supper Club in Northalsted with entertainment by female impersonator Kinley Preston each night starting at 7:30 p.m. The meal starts with your choice of a holiday martini, and features sliced turkey breast and mashed potatoes with mushroom gravy, classic stuffing, green beans sauteed with olive oil and sea salt and cranberry relish, plus pumpkin tart. The dinner is $40, but bring in at least one nonperishable food donation and they’ll give you half off. The collected food will be donated to local charity Vital Bridges, in support of their “Harvest for Hope” community food drive.

  • Jewish: For Jewish Christmas traditions, check out any Chinese restaurant on the North Shore. Szechwan Kingdom in Northbrook is a good bet.