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All I want for Christmas is for someone else to cook: A guide to dining out in South Jersey this Noel
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All I want for Christmas is for someone else to cook!

All I want for Christmas is for someone else to cook: A guide to dining out in South Jersey this Noel

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Is Christmas cheer adding a little stress to your life? You are so not alone. The persistent holly jolliness can be wonderful, but it can also make you nuts — there are just way too many things to do!

Between the baking and buying and parties and decorating plus your actual day-to-day life (hello, work deadlines), by Christmas Eve, you may be dreaming of kicking back, letting someone else steer the sleigh and settling in for your own winter’s nap.

Luckily, there are plenty of places out there that want to make your Christmas wish — a stress free holiday — come true. For those in that camp, we present a round-up of some of the best Christmas Eve and Christmas Day dinners around — no cooking required.

Christmas Eve Morning

Kicking things off a day early? Sounds good to us. Get to Seaview Hotel and Golf Club in Galloway for an a la carte brunch in the Grill Room from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and start your holiday right. We guarantee your Christmas Eve will be so much better for it.

Christmas Eve Dinner

Head back to the Seaview Hotel and Golf Club for Christmas Eve dinner in the main dining room, where the hotel’s popular Queen and King Cut Prime Rib, plus some additional holiday specials, are on the menu from 5 to 10 p.m. You can still make it home in time for Santa.

If an Italian-American feast is more your style, we’ve got you covered. And we’re not talking spaghetti and meatballs — we’re talking about the Italian-American celebration of The Feast of Seven Fishes, a seven-course seafood meal that traces its roots back to Italy.

Fortunately, you don’t have to be Italian to take part in this seafood celebration, and there are plenty of places doing it locally, saving you, and your kitchen, from loads of work. At Bally’s Atlantic City, the Feast of Seven Fishes takes place at Jerry Longo’s Meatballs & Martinis with a pre-fixe menu that includes, among other things, salted cod salad, linguini bianco with mussels, clams and shrimp sautéed in garlic and white wine butter sauce; and Sole Francese. The Feast of the Seven Fishes at Chart House at Golden Nugget

Atlantic City includes baccala salad, Flounder Picatta, pine nut-crusted snapper and more for $69 per person.

At Ocean Casino Resort’s Dolce Mare, The Seven Fishes celebration takes place Friday through Sunday, Dec. 23 to 25, with Frito Misto and Cioppino (both with lots of fish) for $75, with an additional wine pairing available for $30.

Dougherty’s Steakhouse and Raw Bar at Resorts Casino Hotel features a Feast of Seven Fishes menu that includes broiled oysters, tuna carpaccio, lobster bisque and pan-roasted prawns, among other seafood specialties.

At Il Verdi at Tropicana Atlantic City, the Feast of the Seven Fishes menu includes calamari fritti, cavatelli with jumbo lump crabmeat, steamed clams and mussels, a choice of salmon topped with jumbo lump crabmeat, pan seared Viking Village scallops, Shrimp Scampi Alla Verdi and Passera Francaise, with an Italian pastry sampler to finish things off.

And at award-winning Girasole, where they put a modern twist on classic Italian cuisine, the Feast of Seven Fishes includes a tasting of three appetizers: Cappesante, a dish of scallops and porcini mushrooms; Fiori di Zucca e Baccala, a delectable combination of zucchini blossoms, wild cod and robiola; and Calamari; as well as a second course with three pasta tastings followed by a main course of Branzino or Baccala, all for $75 per person.

Christmas Day

Up all night wrapping gifts and tracking Santa? Let someone else handle Christmas breakfast, and head out for brunch at Seaview Hotel and Golf Club, where they’re serving their award-winning brunch buffet from 11:30 a.m. until 2 p.m. with a build-your-own Bloody Mary bar at the lobby bar from 9 a.m. to noon. There may not be anything better.

Christmas Dinner

Once the gifts have been opened and the wrapping paper cleaned up, it’s time to eat — grab your appropriate new holiday goodies (New bag? New tie? New shoes?) and head out for dinner.

At Jerry Longo’s Meatballs & Martinis inside Bally’s Atlantic City, enjoy a Christmas pre-fix menu of Italian wedding soup or Caesar salad, veal marsala or diver scallops and shrimp, and finish it all off with Italian rum cake. Yum.

Enjoy an authentic Italian Christmas dinner at Il Mulino, at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City, with classic Italian dishes with a holiday twist. The Christmas menu includes buttery Dover Sole, which is deboned in the dining room and served with a house munier sauce Branzino al Sale, a traditional Italian dish featuring sea bass; Lobster Arrabiata with a creamy garlic sauce; or the classic Beef Wellington.

Seaview Hotel and Golf Club hosts a four-course Christmas dinner menu from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. Dinner highlights include corn and crab chowder, prosciutto wrapped Chilean sea bass, mushroom and butternut squash risotto with shaved parmesan and black truffle oil, and a choice of Eggnog Crème Brulee or Trilogy Chocolate Cake with raspberry puree for dessert for $59.95 per person.

In Cape May, Christmas dinner at the Grand Ballroom at Congress Hall features a holiday buffet from Chef Matthias Woernien, featuring slow-roasted prime rib of beef, honey-glazed heritage ham, creole shrimp and garganelli pasta with classic additions and indulgent desserts.

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