What happens when you can’t go home?

Plane tickets cost a lot around the holidays. Airline companies know this, and that’s how they get you.

Plane tickets cost a lot around the holidays. Airline companies know this, and that’s how they get you. That said, if you don’t have $1,000 to spend on a plane ticket, there are some restaurants in the Portland area that serve up nice holiday meals for a fraction of the cost of airfare.

Since lots of people travel on the holidays, Portland’s hotels often go out of their way to serve up festive dinners. The first two suggestions will be hotel restaurants, and the last two will be standalone restaurants.

Place: Heathman Restaurant

Where: Heathman Hotel, 1001 SW Broadway

Why: You may know the Heathman as the place where the door guy/valet dresses up like a medieval prince. As the Heathman is one of our city’s finest hotels, it is only fitting that it offers up an equally fine restaurant. Granted, Heathman does indeed serve “pretty food,” but for the most part, it’s pretty good. Heathman serves up a Thanksgiving feast as well, and it’s there that it ditches all the fancy-pants stuff and goes right for the essentials with a contemporary flair. Christmas dinner is more of the same of what you’d expect from their Thanksgiving fare, as both dinners generally employ the same bounty of goodies.

Place: Pazzo Ristorante

Where: Vintage Plaza Hotel, 422 SW Broadway

Why: This building is tough to miss because it looks like it’s made out of actual rocks. Vintage Plaza indeed. While the outside looks like a dank cave, the inside houses an Italian restaurant that is actually pretty good. I know you’re going to look this up on Yelp later, which I have to advise against. Hotel patrons—especially expensive, luxury hotel patrons—are notorious for being overly persnickety about everything, including the restaurants holding up the corner of their hotel. That said, you have nothing to worry about with Pazzo. Be warned, you won’t find spaghetti here. What you will find is lovely contemporary Italian fare served up in new, exciting ways. They’re open on Christmas, too, and they always do something good for weary travelers.

Place: Fenouil

Where: 900 NW 11th Ave.

Why: Fenouil is serving up a four-course prix-fixe menu on Christmas Eve. And it’s a French restaurant. Oh, Portland. Unlike some other establishments open for the holidays, Fenouil is actually rolling out a special menu for the dinner, instead of serving the same food wearing a Santa hat. One might feel a little antsy about spending Christmas Eve in a French restaurant in the Pearl, but Fenouil has many friends and few enemies in Portland’s culinary scene. It’s the only restaurant in this article that prominently wears the “local/sustainable” badge of honor—a Portland staple. What can you expect? Well, if you’re vegetarian, not much; unfortunately, options are limited on that front. However, if you enjoy poultry or fish, you’ll get along well with Fenouil’s chefs.

Place: Ling Garden

Where: 915 NW 21st Ave.

Why: Who can forget the classic scene in “A Christmas Story” where the Bumpus family’s dogs enter and subsequently ransack Ralphie and company’s Christmas spread? Following that, the family goes to a Chinese restaurant and feasts while being serenaded by the employees. Christmas dinner at a Chinese restaurant is quickly becoming a tradition among broke college kids. I’ve done it; maybe you have too. However, everyone who has done it knows that all the charm lies within getting Chinese food that is just ok—and tons of it. If you want fancy pants Chinese, go out and find it. Here, you get what you expect, good versions of Americanized Chinese staples. Lots of sweet and sour sauce, fried rice and mar far everything. Merry Christmas! ?