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Is Thanksgiving the new New Year's Eve? Increasing numbers of folks, from empty nesters to newcomers far from home, are opting to have restaurants cook their feasts.

Many of you start e-mailing me as early as mid-October to ask which restaurants are "doing Thanksgiving." Here is this year's list. (Restaurants cooking on Turkey Day are also likely to be serving on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, so you may want to clip the list if you're thinking ahead.) I haven't eaten at all of them, so caveat emptor. (Check www.sdreader.com for capsule reviews.) Also note that some prices are for multicourse meals, others for entrée plates only. The restaurants are arranged by geographical area, in hopes that you won't do much driving under the influence of turkey -- or prime rib, filet mignon, ham, etc., since most eateries offer at least one alternative to Big Bird.

At our deadline, some of the owners had not yet settled on the price or the hours of the feast, but you can find out when you call for reservations -- which you need to do right now. Some restaurants may be sold out already, especially those in restaurant-challenged communities and those charging an arm and a leg. (The higher the price, the more likely the full house.) Have your credit card ready; many restaurants require the number and may charge if you're a no-show. (Can you blame them?) Prices quoted below do not include tip or tax unless so noted. "Kiddie prices" at most restaurants apply to children between their 5th and 12th birthdays. Toddlers can usually nibble for free.

Also keep in mind that nearly all large hotels (not just those listed below) offer Thanksgiving buffets, and the quintessential family holiday is also a feast day at the local casinos. Most offer giant-sized, affordable buffets for those aged 21 and up. Call your favorite to learn more.

Take-Home Turkeys

There's also the option to enjoy a restaurant feast at home. For something more interesting than a supermarket ready-roasted turkey, chef Pascal Vignau at Savory (see North Coast, below) is offering a complete take-out roast turkey dinner for 10-12 for $195; call them at least three days ahead to order. Also in Encinitas, at Big Jim's (North Coast), you can find that terrifying Cajun treat (what's scarier is trying to do it yourself), a deep-fried 12-pound bird, either flying solo ($60) or as the main course of a complete dinner for 8 ($80). Reserve your take-out or eat-in by November 21. Metro area customers looking to nab a fried gobbler can get one at Mardi Gras Cafe, 3185 Midway Drive, 619-223-5501. The price is $4.50 per pound, or you can BYO bird and they'll fry it for $3.50 per pound; you pick it up the day before the feast. In East County, the take-out specialty is smoked turkey. You can tote your own fully thawed bird to Barnes Bar-B-Que, 2625 Lemon Grove Avenue (at Cypress, tucked in the back of Liquor Mart Square), Lemon Grove, 619-462-9206. They'll smoke it for you for $1.25 per pound, and you can pick it up on Wednesday along with sides of cornbread, sweet potato pie, peach cobbler, etc. The deadline for giving them the bird is Monday.

North Coast

Big Jim's Old South Bar-B-Q, 190 North Coast Highway 101, Encinitas, 760-635-1166. Sit-down deep-fried turkey dinner, $13, 11:45 a.m.--4:00 p.m.

Chart House, 2588 South Coast Highway 101, Cardiff-by-the-Sea, 760-436-4044. Regular à la carte menu, turkey entrée $22, 11:00 a.m.--8:00 p.m.

Four Seasons Resort Aviara, 7100 Four Seasons Point, Carlsbad, 760-603-6800.

Vivace Restaurant, 760-603-6999. Four-course prix fixe Italian feast $65 ($84 with wine pairings), 4:00--8:30 p.m.

California Bistro, 760-603-6868, buffets $55 ($65 with champagne), 4:30--8:00 p.m.

Hershel's Deli Restaurant, 1486 Encinitas Boulevard, Encinitas, 760-942-9655. Casual atmosphere, regular menu including a traditional turkey dinner for $13, 10:00 a.m.--10:00 p.m.

Karl Strauss Carlsbad, 5801 Armada Drive, Carlsbad, 760-431-2739. Regular à la carte menu, 7:00 a.m.--10:00 p.m.

La Costa Resort and Spa, Costa del Mar Road, La Costa, 760-438-9111. Champagne brunch buffet in Poinsettia Ballroom, $49.50, kids $25, 11:00 a.m.--5:00 p.m. Legends Restaurant, three-course meal, $32, 5:00--10:00 p.m.

Neimans, 300 Carlsbad Village Drive (at Highway 101), Carlsbad, 760-729-4131. Champagne brunch in a historic Victorian seaside mansion. $35, kids on a sliding scale by age, 10:00 a.m.--3:00 p.m. Traditional Thanksgiving dinner plus normal à la carte choices, $15--$25 per entrée, 6:00--9:00 p.m.

Savory, 267 North El Camino Real, Encinitas, 760-634-5556. Three-course sit-down meal, choice of entrées includes roast turkey with sausage stuffing, $37.50--$43, 11:00 a.m.--7:00 p.m.

North Inland

Bernard'O, 12457 Rancho Bernardo Road, Rancho Bernardo, 858-487-7171. Three courses, with choice of entrées, live harp music, prices in $30s, 1:00--7:00 p.m.

Café Champagne, Thornton Winery, 32575 Rancho California Road, Temecula, 951-699-0088. Three courses, four entrée choices, $54, kids $17, noon--5:30 p.m.

Centre City Cafe, 2680 South Escondido Boulevard, Escondido, 760-489-6011. À la carte choices include turkey, informal atmosphere, prices inexpensive, 6:00 a.m.--9:00 p.m.

The Fireside, 439 West Washington Avenue (at Centre City Parkway), Escondido, 760-745-1931. À la carte traditional holiday meals, about $16, noon to 8:30 p.m.

Kountry Kitchen, 826 Main Street, Ramona, 760-789-3200. Soup or salad and turkey, $10, 11:30 a.m.--3:00 p.m.

Quails Inn, 1035 La Bonita Drive, Lake San Marcos, 760-744-2445. Buffet with a lake view, $25, kids $10, 11:00 a.m.--7:00 p.m.

Rancho Bernardo Inn, 17550 Bernardo Oaks Drive (at Rancho Bernardo Road), Rancho Bernardo, 858-675-8500. Ballroom buffet brunch, $42, kids $18 to age 14, a famously lavish spread, 11:30 a.m.--5:30 p.m.

Veranda Bar and Grille, 858-675-8555, three-course Fall Harvest Meal, casual atmosphere, $42, kids $18, 11:30 a.m.--9:00 p.m.

El Bizcocho, 858-675-8550, five-course feast, $60 adult, $90 with matching wines, kids $18, 2:00--8:00 p.m., jacket required.

Rancho Valencia, 5921 Valencia Circle, Rancho Santa Fe, 858-759-6216. Four-course meal with several entrée choices in beautiful surroundings, $75, kids half price, noon--7:00 p.m.

Temet Grill, Temecula Creek Inn, 44501 Rainbow Canyon Road, Temecula, 951-694-1000. Brunch buffet $35, kids $18, 11:00 a.m.--6:00 p.m. Sit-down dinner 7:00--9:00 p.m., call for details.

Gold Coast

J. Taylor's at L'Auberge Del Mar, 1540 Camino Del Mar, Del Mar, 858-793-6460. À la carte regular menu with seasonal dishes (expensive), 2:00--10:00 p.m.

Pacifica Del Mar, Del Mar Plaza, 1555 Camino Del Mar (at 15th Street), Del Mar, 858-792-0476. Three-course dinner, choice of entrées, $35--$45, kids $15.50, plus regular à la carte menu, noon--9:00 p.m.

Pamplemousse Grille, 514 Via de la Valle, Solana Beach, 858-792-9090. Three-course dinner $50, kids $25, 3:00--8:00 p.m.

Poseidon, 1670 Coast Boulevard (at 15th Street), Del Mar, 858-755-9345. Set menu with many entrée choices, $18--22, kids $11, 5:30--9:00 p.m.

Red Tracton's, 550 Via de la Valle, Solana Beach, 858-755-6600. Next to the racetrack, à la carte menu includes turkey entrée ($20); 2:00--9:00 p.m.

La Jolla and

Golden Triangle

Arterra, San Diego Marriott Del Mar, 11966 El Camino Real, Carmel Valley, 858-369-6032. Three-course dinner with local-grown produce, choice of entrées, about $50, kids half price, noon--8:00 p.m.

A.R. Valentien, Lodge at Torrey Pines, 11480 North Torrey Pines Road, La Jolla, 858-453-4420. Dinner $65, kids $30, may be sold out.

Elario's Bistro and Sky Lounge, Hotel La Jolla, 7955 La Jolla Shores Drive, La Jolla, 858-459-0541. Traditional buffet with a sky-high view, $30, kids $16, noon--8:00 p.m.

Galoka, 5662 La Jolla Boulevard, Bird Rock, 858-551-8610. Organic vegan Indo-fusion dinner, call for details.

George's at the Cove, 1250 Prospect Street, La Jolla, 858-454-4244. Regular à la carte menu plus chef Trey Foshee's seasonal specials. Turkey entrée $26, kids $16, 1:00--9:00 p.m.

La Valencia Hotel, 1132 Prospect Street (at Herschel), La Jolla. Thanksgiving in three venues.

Mediterranean Room, 858-551-3765, four-course dinner, $55, kids $27.50, casual atmosphere.

Cafe La Rue, 858-551-3761, dinner $55, 5:00--9:30 p.m., business casual dress.

Sky Room, 858-551-3744, $65, starts at 2:30 p.m., jacket required, may be sold out.

Marine Room, 2000 Spindrift Drive, La Jolla, 858-459-7222, www.marineroom.com. À la carte holiday menu with a close-up ocean view and adventurous cuisine. See website under "special events" for menu. Expensive, open 11:30 a.m.--7:30 p.m.

Nine-Ten, Grande Colonial Hotel, 910 Prospect Street, La Jolla, 858-964-5400. Chef Jason Knibb (a Trey Foshee protegé) rides the range at a four-course Thanksgiving menu, $42, kids $19, 2:00--8:00 p.m.

The Shores, Sea Lodge, 8110 Camino del Oro, La Jolla, 858-456-0600. Family-friendly atmosphere, buffet $30, kids $15 age 7--12, under 7, $2 per year, 11:00 a.m.--8:00 p.m.

Top of the Cove, 1216 Prospect Street, La Jolla, 858-454-7779. Three-course prix-fixe dinner with a view, choice of entrée, $48, 1:00--7:00 p.m.

Torreyana Grille, Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines, 10950 North Torrey Pines Road, La Jolla, 858-450-4571. Holiday buffet $37, $15 kids, noon--8 p.m.


AJ's, Shelter Pointe Hotel, 1551 Shelter Island Drive, Shelter Island, 619-221-8000. Brunch buffet $29, $14 kids, 10:00 a.m.--3:00 p.m.

The Atoll, Catamaran Resort Hotel, 3999 Mission Boulevard, Mission Beach, 858-539-8635. Brunch buffet $33, kids $16, 11:00 a.m.--3:00 p.m., includes complimentary paddle-wheeler cruise to Bahia and back. Dinner à la carte (no cruise), turkey $20, kids $12, 5:30--10:00 p.m.

Bahia Resort Hotel, 998 West Mission Bay Drive, Mission Beach, 858-539-7635. Brunch buffet $33, kids $15, includes complimentary paddle-wheeler cruise to the Catamaran Resort and back, 11:00 a.m.--3:00 p.m. Dinner (no cruise) $20, kids $10, 5:30--10:30 p.m.

Baleen, Paradise Point Resort, 1404 Vacation Road, Mission Bay, 858-490-6363. Buffet side dishes, sit-down entrées in charming resort setting, $59, $27 kids, 11:30 a.m.--8:00 p.m.

Bali Hai, 2230 Shelter Island Drive, Shelter Island, 619-222-1181. Family ambience, traditional buffet $20, kids at reduced price, 11:00 a.m.--8:00 p.m.

Blue Pearl, the Dana on Mission Bay, 1710 West Mission Bay Drive, Mission Bay, 619-222-4198. Special menu, marina view, call for price (moderate), 8:00 a.m.--8:00 p.m.

Harbor's Edge, Sheraton San Diego Hotel and Marina, 1380 Harbor Island Drive, Harbor Island, 619-692-2255. Regular à la carte menu, 6:30 a.m.--10:00 p.m.

Alfiere, 619-692-2778, regular (expensive) menu, seasonal specials, 6:30 a.m.--10:00 p.m.

Humphrey's by the Bay, 2241 Shelter Island Drive, Shelter Island, 619-224-3577. Champagne brunch with a marina view, $35, $16 kids, 11:30 a.m.--4:30 p.m.

Kaiserhof, 2253 Sunset Cliffs Boulevard (West Point Loma Boulevard), Ocean Beach, 619-224-0606. Call for details.

Thee Bungalow, 4996 West Point Loma Boulevard, Ocean Beach, 619-224-2884. Three-course dinner in cozy cottage, numerous festive entrée choices, about $35, 11:00--8:00 p.m. May be sold out.

Third Corner, 2265 Bacon Street (across from sister restaurant Thee Bungalow), Ocean Beach, 619-223-2700. Three-course dinner with several entrée choices, about $35, 1:00--8:00 p.m.

Tom Ham's Lighthouse, end of Harbor Island Drive, Harbor Island, 619-291-9110. Convivial buffet $23, kids $14, $8 under age 7, 11:30 a.m.--9:00 p.m.

World Famous, 711 Pacific Beach Drive, Pacific Beach, 858-272-3100. Right on the boardwalk, all-day à la carte brunch, about $28, kiddie discount, 11:00 a.m.--8:00 p.m.

Mission Valley

and the Mesas

Butcher Shop Steakhouse, 5255 Kearny Villa Road, Kearny Mesa, 858-565-2272. Holiday buffet with turkey, prime rib, etc., $25, kids $13, 11:00 a.m.--8:00 p.m.

94th Aero Squadron, 8885 Balboa Avenue, Kearny Mesa, 858-560-6771. Traditional buffet in a faux-farmhouse with airport view, $24, kids $13, 11:00 a.m.--8:00 p.m.

The Tickled Trout, Ramada Plaza Hotel, 2151 Hotel Circle South, 619-291-6505. Traditional holiday dinner, family atmosphere, $22, kids $10, 11:00 a.m.--7:00 p.m.


San Diego

Bertrand at Mister A's, 2550 Fifth Avenue, Uptown, 619-239-1377. A spectacular view, and a three-course menu with three entrée choices, $45, from 2:30--8:30 p.m.

Buster's Beach House, 807 West Harbor Drive, Seaport Village, 619-233-4300. Waterfront location, regular à la carte menu, moderate, 11:30 a.m.--9:00 p.m.

Cafe Pacifica, 2414 San Diego Avenue, Old Town, 619-291-6666. À la carte holiday menu includes turkey entrée at $19, 3:00--9:00 p.m.

Grant Grill, U.S. Grant Hotel, 326 Broadway, downtown, 619-239-6806. Traditional holiday brunch buffet in historic Victorian-era hotel, call for details.

Hob Nob Hill, 2271 First Avenue, Uptown, 619-239-8176. À la carte holiday menu, with full turkey dinner, many other entrée choices, about $17, kids $7.75, open 7:00 a.m.--9:00 p.m.

Hornblower Cruises. Tickets/boarding at 1066 North Harbor Drive, downtown, 619-686-8715; online reservations at www.hornblower.com. Thanksgiving champagne buffet afloat, check website for prices and times.

Imperial House, 505 Kalmia Street (at Sixth Avenue), Uptown, 619-234-3525. Sit-down dinner by Balboa Park, many entrée choices, $25, $17 kids, 1:00--7:00 p.m.

Lael's Restaurant, Manchester Grand Hyatt, One Market Place, downtown, 619-358-6735. Buffet $43, kids $22, 11:30 a.m.--6:30 p.m.

Laurel Restaurant, 505 Laurel Street (at Fifth Avenue), Uptown, 619-239-2222. Call for details.

McCormick and Schmick's, Omni Hotel, 675 L Street (at Sixth Avenue), downtown, 619-645-6545. Breakfast buffet 6:00 a.m.--noon, $17, kids half price. Three-course turkey dinner $10 (not a misprint!), noon--7:00 p.m.

Po Pazzo, 1917 India Street, Little Italy, 619-238-1917. Traditional Thanksgiving menu plus regular menu, call for details.

Sevilla, 555 Fourth Avenue, Gaslamp Quarter, 619-233-5979. Three-course traditional holiday dinner with Spanish touches, $20, kids $13, plus à la carte choices, 4:00--11:00 p.m. Club Sevilla, Salsa Night, $8 cover includes Thanksgiving buffet, 9:00 p.m.--1:30 a.m.

Terra, 1270 Cleveland Avenue, Hillcrest, 619-293-7088, www.terrasd.com. Three-course holiday dinner with several choices, including vegetarian entrée, $39, kids $11, noon--7:30 p.m.

Voyage, 1845 India Street, Little Italy, 619-234-1344. Chef Andre Bellard of the late, lamented Sassafras is back, and he's cooking three courses, featuring "Cajun Turducken" (turkey fillet wrapped around duck meat wrapped around chicken, with andouille stuffing at the center) or other entrées of your choice, $29--$36, noon--8:00 p.m.

Westgate Hotel, 1055 Second Avenue, downtown, 619-557-3655.

Le Fontainebleau offers a four-course formal meal in a formal setting, with entrée choices $59--$65, including tax and tip, kids half price, 5:30--10:00 p.m. The Versailles Ballroom's buffet features live entertainment, $48 per person, kids $24, including tip and tax, 10:00 a.m.--3:30 p.m.

Café Westgate serves a four-course holiday dinner, $39, kids half price, all included, casual atmosphere, 11:30 a.m.--10:00 p.m.


and South Bay

Bob's on the Bay, 570 Marina Parkway, Chula Vista, 619-476-0400. Marina-view champagne buffet, call for details.

Coronado Boathouse 1887, 1701 Strand Way, Coronado, 619-435-0155. Turkey dinner $19, kids $13, additional entrée choices, 2:00--8:00 p.m.

Hotel Del Coronado, 1500 Orange Avenue, Coronado, 619-522-8490. Holiday buffets in both the Ballroom and the gorgeous Crown Room, $70, kids $32, noon--6:00 p.m. Prince of Wales dinner $83, kids $39, may be sold out.

L'Escale, Coronado Island Marriott, 2000 Second Street, Coronado, 619-522-3150. Buffet $45, kids $18, 11:00 a.m.--6:00 p.m.

Loews Coronado Bay Resort, 4000 Coronado Bay Road, Silver Strand, Coronado, 619-424-4000. Azzura Point's three-course dinner $55, kids $13, 4:00--9:00 p.m. Market Cafe, family atmosphere, brunch buffet $49, kids $21, 6:00 a.m.--11:00 a.m.

Peohe's, Ferry Landing Marketplace, 1201 First Street, Coronado, 619-437-4474. Waterfront view, tropical decor, special holiday menu and à la carte choices, turkey entrée $25, 11:00 a.m.--8:00 p.m.

East County and Far East:

Alpine Bread Basket, 1347 Tavern Road, Alpine, 619-445-0706. Prime rib or turkey breast dinner $16; whole turkey, $135.77 for 4, $20 more for each additional person, 11:30 a.m.--5:30 p.m.

Giovanni's III, 401 West Main Street, El Cajon, 619-442-7768. Call for details.

Jasmine Bistro, Parkway Plaza mall, El Cajon, 619-588-8228. Regular à la carte Asian menu, including Peking duck.

Village Garden, 8384 La Mesa Boulevard, La Mesa, 619-462-9100. Turkey dinner, moderate price with kiddie discount, 10:00 a.m.--5:00 p.m.

Multiple Locations:

Mimi's Cafe: Oceanside, 760-721-7170; Mira Mesa, 858-566-6667; Mission Valley, 619-491-0284; Santee, 619-562-2644. Four-course turkey dinner, $14, $7 kids, plus regular menu, 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

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