Celebrate the Holidays with Delicious Feasts of the Seven Fishes

Restaurants serving a bounty of Italian seafood for Christmas Eve and beyond.
Celebrate the Holidays with Delicious Feasts of the Seven Fishes
Celebrate Christmas Eve with the Feast of Seven Fishes at these nine restaurants. Photo courtesy of Osteria Morini.

The Feast of the Seven Fishes is a Southern-Italian Christmas Eve tradition adopted by Italian-Americans, but you don’t even have to celebrate Christmas to appreciate a seafood feast on December 24. Most of the restaurants offer set menus for one night, though some have extended service before and after the holiday.

Al Dente Ristorante

3201 New Mexico Ave., NW

Chef Roberto Donna’s festa dei sette pesci features six courses, with dishes such as salted cod with salsa verde, warm octopus salad, and half-moon pasta filled with sea scallops. For dessert, enjoy a traditional panettone cake pudding.

Details: Tuesday, December 12 to Sunday, December 24. $55 per person, and the whole table must participate.

Centrolina

974 Palmer Alley, NW

Celebrate seafood with dishes like Baccala (venetian whipped cod and grilled polenta), spaghetti vongole with baby clams, and Rhode Island sea scallops with charred spinach. Top it off with cartellate, a fried Puglian pastry with chocolate sauce.

Details: Sunday, December 24 from 5 to 10 PM. $75 per person.

Del Campo 

Feast on oysters with wagyu beef ceviche, rabbit and pancetta bolognese with smoked burrata, and foie gras with sauternes ice cream.

777 I St., NW

Details: Wednesday, December 20 to Sunday, December 24. $88 per person.

Dino’s Grotto

1914 Ninth St., NW

For the 13th year, Dino’s Grotto is putting an American spin on the traditional Italian feast with nods to Italian-American communities in Boston, New York, and Philadelphia. The family-style menu includes mussels in puttanesca, ceviche with scallops and shrimp, mozzarella in carrozza with anchovy tomato sauce, and a grilled whole fish.

Details: Sunday, December 17 to Sunday, December 24. The menu is priced at $49 through December 23, and $59 on December 24.

Fiola

601 Pennsylvania Ave., NW

Chef Fabio Trabocchi’s five-course menu is available all afternoon and evening on Christmas Eve. Items at the fine dining spot include a whelk and calamari salad, baked Maine scallops, gnocchi with Alaskan king crab, and a chestnut yule log for dessert.

Details: Sunday, December 24 from 1 to 9 PM. The feast is priced at $165, with a kids menu available for $45, and wine pairings for an additional $105.

Graffiato 

707 6th St., NW

Mike Isabella’s five-course menu includes tuna tartare with charred avocado, a seafood salad with baby greens, octopus, and lobster, baked clams, and rainbow cookies for dessert.

Details: Sunday, December 17 to Sunday, December 24. $65 per person.

Hank’s Pasta Bar

600 Montgomery St., Alexandria

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Hank’s feast gets a rustic twist from chef Jamie Leeds, who heaps all seven fishes into one dish. The family-style bowl of house-made linguine is tossed with crabmeat, catfish, squid, shrimp, mussels, clams, and a thick tomato sauce.

Details: Available throughout December and priced at $34.

Iron Gate

1734 N St., NW

The family-style tasting menu consists of three courses, with dishes like bay scallop crudo with charred avocado, lobster cappellacci with baby fennel, and ricotta panna cotta with blood orange.

Details: Monday, December 18 to Saturday, December 23. $65 per person, and at least two must order the feast.

Lupo Verde

1401 T St., NW

Order a la carte or dive into executive chef Matteo Venini’s feast, with dishes like scallops crudo with black truffle, crespella (an Italian pancake) stuffed with calamari, mussels, and octopus, and ravioli with burrata and poached lobster. Dessert consists of traditional Italian panettone and prosecco Zabaglione.

Details: December 24 from 5 to 11 PM. Priced $75 per person.

Masseria

1340 Fourth St., NE

The Michelin-starred restaurant showcases chef Nicholas Stefanelli’s Puglian heritage. The luxe menu boasts kampachi crudo with hearts of palm, cod with tomato, fritto misto (fried seafood) with calamari, and delizia al limone (sponge cakes with lemon glaze).

Details: Sunday, December 24 at 5 PM. The dinner is $115.

Osteria Morini

301 Water St., SE

Executive chef Ben Pflaumer prepares four family-style courses, including bay scallop crudo with ruby red grapefruit, lobster ravioli with black trumpet mushrooms, and wood-grilled swordfish with trout roe. For dessert, enjoy ginger molasses mousse with a cranberry compote.

Details: Friday, December 22 to Sunday,  December 24. The dinner is $65 per person.

Urbana

2121 P St., NW

Executive chef Ethan McKee presents a four-course seafood dinner, complete with a poached Maine lobster with caviar, salt cod tortellini with crispy capers, black sea bass with smoked farro risotto, and a chocolate chestnut cake for dessert.

Details: Saturday, December 16; Thursday, December 21 through Monday, December 25. The meal is $65 per person, plus an additional $30 for wine pairings.

Via Umbria

1525 Wisconsin Avenue, NW

Chef Liam LaCivita created a three-day dinner series at this Umbrian market/restaurant in Georgetown, incorporating seafood from different regions around Italy. Menu items include squid and rock shrimp fritto misto, Pugliese-style stuffed mussels, Branzino with salmoriglio sauce, and spaghetti with clams.

Details: Thursday, December 21 through Saturday, December 23, at 7 PM. Tickets are $100 per person.


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Editorial Fellow

Nehal joined Washingtonian as an editorial fellow in fall 2017. She enjoys all things food, arts, culture, and health and is always looking out for new trends. This past May she graduated from Johns Hopkins with a degree in creative writing and a minor in photography. She lives in Foggy Bottom.