No matter how delicious or enjoyable Thanksgiving is, it can be a little exhausting. The preparation is stressful, and the clean up always seems to go on for hours. Many families have opted out of the whole process and gone for a turkey day made simple: dining out. Whether you’re going for something traditional or a meal with diversity, these restaurants will make giving thanks taste better than ever.  

Thanksgiving at Anson includes a three-course meal for $45.  Executive Chef Jeremy Holst is particularly excited about the shaved ham, which they start smoking four days before Thanksgiving. It’s served as a first course dish topped with pumpkin seeds, cranberry raisins, mustard seeds, and an apple cider aioli and served with a side of arugula salad and a crispy farm egg. One of Holst’s favorites from the entree menu is the grouper, which they roast in a parmesan shellfish broth with oysters from Mepkin Abbey. It’s served with wilted arugula and ricotta gnocchi. And for dessert, try the olive oil and lemon pound cake, which Holst says is moist and has just the right amount of zest.

In keeping with the “buy local” theme of the month, Peninsula Grill‘s Thanksgiving menu will feature only local and regional items. The turkey is from Keegan-Fillion Farm, a local farm where all the animals are free-range and hormone-free. General Manager Ryan Groeschel says the turkey is juicy and has a bit of a nutty flavor.  They serve it roasted in garlic potato puree with wild mushroom cornbread stuffing. To start the meal, Groeschel recommends the local heirloom pumpkin soup. Assortments of locally grown pumpkins are roasted and pureed with cream and topped chanterelles and candied almonds. He says the soup is smooth, rich, and full-flavored.  

McCrady’s is taking a more modern approach to Thanksgiving with uniquely prepared turkey, which comes from Border Springs Farm in Virginia. First, they confit the turkey breast and legs by cooking them on low heat in duck fat overnight. Then they pull the meat off the bone and cook it with a sous vide system, a French technique that slowly cooks the meat in an airtight bag to maximize its juiciness. When the process is complete, they serve the softened meat with a cornbread chestnut stuffing and turkey sausage. Another highlight from the three-course menu, ($55 per person) according to Ccef Daniel Heinz, is the spiced lamb, which is serve with apple butter made with slow-roasted persimmons. “It’s a really nice, tart dish,” Heinz says.

Get a traditional, buffet-style Thanksgiving meal at Swamp Fox ($31.95 per adult, $12.95 per child), where they’ll have a carving station of roasted turkey, salmon, beef, and baked ham, which they slow roast and glaze with pineapple juice and maple syrup. One of Chef Charles Watts’ favorite sides is the pepper jack stone-ground grits, but they’ll also have classic turkey-day sides like cornbread dressing, candied yams, and Carolina red rice. For dessert, they’ll have pecan, apple, and pumpkin pies and a fondue fountain with creampuffs and marshmallows. “This is going to be a traditional, Southern-style meal with plenty of options,” chef de cuisine Steve Klatt says.

Blu Restaurant & Bar is taking a different spin on turkey day with a buffet that will feature a variety of seafood selections, like the local seafood jambalaya or the crab stuffed flounder with rosemary beurre blanc. For the vegetarians, they’ll have a fall vegetable medley as an entrée. But if you can’t imagine Thanksgiving without the meat, they’ll have a maple glazed and herb roasted double turkey breast and a roasted leg of lamb with mint demi. Choose from the long list of desserts to top off the meal, from apple pie truffle to banana bread pudding. Blu’s buffet will be open from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. and is $29.95 for adults and $14.50 for children.  

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