This bastion of tradition — it has been a 12th-floor fixture at the Store Formerly Known as Dayton’s since 1947 — gets all dolled up for the holidays. Celebrate the season with almond-crusted walleye, Swedish meatballs, cider-glazed roast turkey, a chicken pot pie and other reasonably priced favorites. And popovers, of course. Reservations recommended (ask for a table near the fireplace). On Dec. 16, treat the family to a turkey-and-trimmings dinner with Santa and Mrs. Claus ($17.95 to $29.95, reservations 1-877-556-2297), next door at the Skyroom.
700 Nicollet Mall, Mpls., 612-375-2938, macysrestaurants.com
Lake Elmo Inn
Chef/owner John Schiltz hauls out enough yuletide cheer to decorate a midsize department store. Then he fills his already busy calendar with events, including two festive, family-friendly Santa brunches, on Dec. 10 and Dec. 24. The extravagant, buffet-style Sunday brunch ($25.50 adults, $12.75 for ages 3 to 11) is always a treat (love those caramel rolls). Drop in on Thursday evenings for prime rib night ($22.95), and Friday for Schiltz’s three-course, $30 dinner. Reservations recommended.
3442 N. Lake Elmo Av. N., Lake Elmo, 651-777-8495, lakeelmoinn.com
St. Paul Grill
It’s not what’s inside the St. Paul Hotel’s great-looking restaurant that’s the December draw. It’s the spectacular light show across the street in Rice Park — complete with a towering Christmas tree — all framed through the Grill’s enormous windows (booking a nighttime window table is Job No. 1). The fare? Classic all-American favorites such as shrimp cocktail, wild rice soup, a bacon-fueled wedge salad, a long list of steaks and chops and a terrific banana cream pie. Reservations recommended.
350 Market St., St. Paul, 651-224-7455, stpaulgrill.com