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Posted at 11:39 AM ET, 12/20/2011

Five options for Christmas Day dining


Szechuan Hot Pot with housemade noodles at Mala Tang Restaurant in Arlington. (Scott Suchman - FOR THE WASHINGTON POST)
Conventional wisdom says that the only restaurants open on Christmas Day are Chinese restaurants (and in this imagined scenario, they’re all located next to movie theaters). Increasingly, this is a myth: Sure, you can deck the halls with General Tso’s from your family’s go-to Chinese take-out, but there are plenty of other flavors to pick from too. A quick survey of some appealing Dec. 25 dining options:

D.C.

Masala Art

Christmas Day is the perfect occasion for a long, leisurely meal — what else do you have to do? Aside from stellar Northern Indian dishes — Pani Poori, Lassoni Corn Palak and a side of rock salt and cilantro naan, for example — long and leisurely is what Masala Art specializes in, whether you like it or not. Our advice: Take a deep breath and embrace it. 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. 4441-B Wisconsin Ave. NW. 202-362-4441. www.masalaartdc.com.

Sou’Wester

There’s not going to be a white Christmas this year, but if winter’s chill has you feeling subdued nonetheless, the warm breeze blowing from the Southwest should raise your spirits. The postcard-worthy views from this southern accented restaurant at the Mandarin Oriental don’t hurt, either. A family-style Christmas dinner is planned for $65 per adult and $35 per child up to 12 years old. 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. 1330 Maryland Ave. SW. 202-787-6868. www.mandarinoriental.com/washington/dining/souwester.

MARYLAND

Founding Farmers

The West End’s dependably-packed, all-things-to-all-diners destination Founding Farmers has perhaps found its spiritual home in the suburbs. The new location, located in the manicured-as-if-photoshopped Park Potomac development bears all of the hallmarks of its downtown progenitor: a top-shelf bar program, locally-sourced ingredients, numerous reminders of the restaurant’s green building credentials and a touch of whimsy. Eye-catching menu items include the fried chicken and waffles, crispy chicken from an 800 degree oven and an entire section of the menu devoted to hot dogs and seafood rolls. 11 a.m. to 9:45 p.m. 12505 Park Potomac Ave. Potomac. 301-340-8783. www.wearefoundingfarmers.com.

Paul Kee

The nearby Hollywood East gets most of the headlines for crowd-pleasing Chinese cuisine and dim sum in Wheaton, but Paul Kee’s should not be overlooked. Located in a Georgia Avenue strip mall, the Hong Kong-accented menu is served late into the evening, and the atmosphere inside occasionally resembles a festive, all-ages family birthday party more than it does a no frills Cantonese-style eatery. 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. 11305-B Georgia Ave. Wheaton. 301-933-6886. www.paulkee.com.

VIRGINIA

Mala Tang

Chef Liu Chaosheng’s Arlington eatery is a culinary journey through China’s Sichuan province. The specialty is hot pot, a communal vessel of bubbling broth, fresh meat and vegetables. Street food-style appetizers like steamed pork buns and chili-dusted tofu fries round out the meal. 12 p.m. to 10 p.m. 3434 Washington Blvd. Arlington. 703-243-2381. www.mala-tang.com.

By  |  11:39 AM ET, 12/20/2011

 
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