Where to Eat the Feast of the Seven Fishes in Philly
The Italian-American Christmas tradition is coming to a restaurant near you.
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Feast of the Seven Fishes is, in my opinion, the best Italian tradition that isn’t Italian. Like eggplant parm and peas in your carbonara, it’s a delicious Italian-American adaptation based on the Catholic tradition of eating fish (a leaner meal) the night before a holiday or feast. So, yes, a pre-feast feast. It’s become a custom for many northeastern Italian-American families to cook the spread for family and friends at home on Christmas Eve, but seven fishes is a lot of fishes to cook yourself. Check out these Philly area restaurants that are offering their own take on the feast in the run-up to Christmas. Buon natale.
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Where: FringeArts, Feast of the Seven-ish Fishes with Poi Dog’s Kiki Aranita and Chris Vacca, 140 North Columbus Boulevard
When: Thursday, December 12 at 7 p.m.
Price: $100 per person
What’s on the menu: Four courses of seafood-centric, Italian inflected dishes, plus a welcome cocktail and wine pairings. The meal will also be accompanied by brief videos and commentary about holiday traditions from around the world.
Where: Fork, 306 Market Street
When: Tuesday, December 24th, starting at 5:30 p.m.
Price: $99 per person, $55 for additional wine pairing
What’s on the menu: New chef Jeremy Hansen brings his international perspective to the Feast of the Seven Fishes with an epic, ten-course Christmas Eve meal that starts with oysters and includes English Sole and Dungeness crab (plus two desserts if that doesn’t seem like quite enough.)
Where: Teca, Newtown Square
When: Tuesday, December 24th, 12 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Price: A la carte
What’s on the menu: If you’re not feeling up to all seven fishes, check out Chef Chris Scarduzio’s a la carte option for a lower-commitment feast.
Where: Gran Caffe L’Aquila, 1716 Chestnut Street
When: December 16th through 24th
Price: A la carte
What’s on the menu: Order one item from each section of Gran Caffe’s special menu for the full seven fishes, or simply dabble in the seafood by ordering a single appetizer or entree.
Where: Branzino Restaurante, 261 South Seventeenth Street
When: Tuesday, December 24th, starting at 5 p.m.
Price: $75 per person
What’s on the menu: Look for crudo, squid ink tagliatelle, scallops, and calamari. The meal concludes with Branzino’s signature Albanian milk cake. Note that Branzino is a BYO, so this is a good chance to flex your seafood-paring skills or bring out some fancy bottles for the holidays.
Where: Spasso, 34 South Front Street
When: Tuesday, December 24th, 3:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Price: $49 per person
What’s on the menu: 2 set courses plus your choice of entree means there’s something for everyone at Spasso.
Where: Davio’s, 111 South Seventeenth Street
When: Tuesday, December 24th 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Price: $75 per person
What’s on the menu: A three-course special menu featuring chilled seafood, raw oysters, pasta and crab risotto will be available alongside Davio’s regular menu.
Where: Hearthside, 801 Hadden Avenue, Collingswood
When: Friday December 20th through Sunday, December 22nd
Price: $125 per person, for parties of 4, 8 or 12 only.
What’s on the menu: Hearthside’s excellent pastas and flame-grilled proteins are perfect for turning out their three-course feast, including a whole roasted Bronzino, spaghetti with clams, a seafood stew, plus dessert. This is another BYO, ready for your perfect parings.
Where: Little Nonna’s, 1234 Locust Street
When: December 18th through 23rd, normal service hours. Call to reserve.
Price: $50 per person
What’s on the menu: Three courses served family-style, plus an appetizer bite. Think grilled octopus, shrimp scampi, and other Italian-American dishes, decked out with plenty of seafood.