9 Places Serving the Feast of the Seven Fishes in Washington in 2014

A bounty of Italian seafood for Christmas Eve and beyond.

Chef Fabio Trabocchi brings a bounty of seafood to the table. Photograph by Scott Suchman

The Italian-American tradition of eating seafood on Christmas Eve stems from Catholic abstention of meat, but there’s nothing limiting about the Feast of the Seven Fishes. The meal, typically a multi-course affair offering an ocean’s worth of seafood, is a delicious holiday tradition regardless of religion or dietary principles.

Many Washington restaurants offer the dinner on Christmas Eve, and some serve it on multiple days throughout the month. Feast and enjoy.

Al Dente

3201 New Mexico Ave., NW

The ocean-inspired holiday menu lasts all month at Roberto Donna‘s eatery, and is also one of the most gently priced options of the bunch.

Details: Served now through December 24; $45 per person, minimum two people per table.


1100 New York Ave., NW

Chef Nick Stefanelli offers a creative take on the traditional feast at his swanky Italian spot, including plates of grilled eel with onion compote, black spaghetti with sea urchin, and cod with tomatoes, capers, and potatoes.

Details: Served December 24; $85 per person.

Cafe Milano

3251 Prospect St., NW

One of Georgetown’s see-and-be-seen Italian eateries serves a Christmas Eve menu with seven kinds of fish, ranging from polenta-crusted cod to sea bream in white wine sauce.

Details: Served December 24; $95 per person.

Dino’s Grotto

1914 Ninth St., NW

Looking for a homey version of the feast? Try Dean Gold‘s Shaw spot, which offers a menu with “wedding soup of the sea,” linguini and clams, shrimp scampi, and more. A limited à-la-carte offering is also available on Christmas Eve, and kids are welcome to order from a children’s menu.

Details: Served December 18 through December 24; $49 per person ($59 on Christmas Eve).


601 Pennsylvania Ave., NW

The most luxurious feast of the seven fishes can be found at chef Fabio Trabocchi‘s upscale Italian, which offers seven courses such as oysters with Prosecco zabaliogne, scallop risotto, and halibut with porcini crema and truffles. Sister restaurant Fiola Mare also serves a Christmas Eve meal from the ocean, though not the traditional seven seafoods.

Details: Served December 24; $160 per person; additional wine pairing $80 to $110.

G by Mike Isabella

2201 14th St., NW

Once chef Mike Isabella‘s sandwich shop closes for the day, the cooks turn over to an evening tasting menu, which will be filled with fish on several dates this month (including Christmas Eve). Think roasted oysters, cioppino, and spaghetti with crab and uni.

Details: Served December 17 through 20 and 22 through 24; five courses for $65; optional beverage pairing $39.

Iron Gate

1734 N St., NW

Chef Tony Conte‘s mid-December tasting menu is inspired by the oceanic feast, and focuses on Mediterranean and Italian preparations of East Coast seafood. Look for dishes like rice-crusted Chesapeake oysters and whole roasted Atlantic snapper, all of which can be eaten by the wood-burning fireplace.

Details: Served at dinner, December 16 through 23 (closed Christmas Eve and Day); $135 per person.

Lupo Verde

1401 T St., NW

This atmospheric neighborhood Italian serves up courses like ravioli with prawns and chickpeas, almond-and-herb-crusted halibut, and spaghetti with anchovies and mussels. Note that dinner goes late, 5 to 11.

Details: Served December 24; $85 per person.

Ristorante Tosca

1112 F St., NW

Head to this classic (and classy) downtown Italian on Christmas eve for a traditional seven-course feast, with dishes such as lobster risotto and Chilean sea bass acqua pazza.

Details: Served December 24; $105 per person.

Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.