Being that we’re obsessed with seafood, we really start wishing we were Italian around this time of year. That’s because their Christmas Eve centers around La Viglia, better known as the Feast of Seven Fishes, a crustacean-focused commemoration of the wait for the midnight birth of Jesus.
But even if your own family isn’t busy prepping for the Feast, that doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate shellfish elsewhere. In fact, we’d rather eat out because these restaurants are offering under-the-sea spreads set to rival those of any self-respecting Italian kitchen, from Osteria Morini in SoHo to Esca in Midtown and Roman’s in Fort Greene.
Dubbed the fish whisperer by the New York Times, I’d say it’s safe to say chef Dave Pasternack is going to rock the Feast of Seven Fishes dinner. But if you already have Christmas Eve plans, don’t worry because this Southern Italian trattoria also offers its spectacular fish-focused feast up to two days before. A delectable progression of seven courses can be ordered with or without wine pairings, there’s Marinated Seafood Salad “in the style of Friulli,” Roasted Blackfish (poor man’s lobster) with Venetian Black Rice, and Stone Ground Polenta with a stew of Salt Cod, Green Chilies and Calabrese Olives.Read More
This Fort Greene restaurant from the Marlow & Sons team is so seasonally focused, you generally won’t know what they plan on cooking until you sit down to dinner that night. But they’ve thrown us a bone this year by already revealing their entire Feast of the Seven Fishes menu, which fully embraces traditional Italian dishes while staying true to their farm-to-table ethos. And at $65 per person for a full seven courses, this feast sounds like a real steal, including Spot Prawns with Oranges and Olives, Sardines in Saor (a classic Venetian recipe with vinegar and onions), Crab Brodetto, and Whole Roasted Fish with Lemon, Fennel and Treviso.Read More
While you could easily compose a feast of seven different fishes at Michael White’s Marea, only Osteria Morini, his much more casual but no less enticing trattoria, is offering an actual La Viglia menu. Expect delicious seafaring dishes, like Calamari stuffed with Raspaurra Cheese, Pickled Sardine Crudo, Marine Snail Sformato, Polenta with Braised Baby Octopus, Monkfish Ossobuco in Brodetto, Whole Grilled Orata and since no dinner at a White restaurant would be complete without pasta, options like Spaghetti with Crab and Tomato. And for $79 per person no less! You’ll want to make your reservations now.Read More
Chef Dave Santos may be Portuguese, but he eagerly plans dinners around just about any theme at Louro, from Elvis’ birthday to Mad Men’s finale. And this Christmas Eve, guests will have a choice between a three-course holiday meal ($55), or a full-on Seven Fishes tasting menu ($85); and you know which one we advocate making a reservation for. You’ll start with Piri Piri Shrimp and Seafood Fritters for the table, followed by Uni Crudo, Mackerel with Smoked Pineapple, Sepia with Potato, Lobster Fra Diavolo, Roasted Monkfish with Winter Bean Ragu and a (fish-free) Chocolate Brownie, served with White Chocolate Pudding and Candy Cane Ice Cream.Read More
Grand Central Oyster BarCuisine: Seafood
We could happily work our way through seven courses of oysters alone here, but why should we, when chef Sandy Ingber has lined up an exciting, a la carte progression of under-the-sea delights? His special Feast dishes are available during both lunch and dinner on Christmas Eve, and include Pasta e Fagiole with Nantucket Bay Scallops and Basil Oil, Maine Lobster Marsala served “housewife style” over Egg Noodles, meaty Grilled Montauk Swordfish Steaks with Lemon and Capers, and amazingly, even a creamy Sea Urchin Gelato for dessert. FYI: we never say no to Uni in any form.
Red GravyCuisine: Italian
Saul Bolton always commemorates La Viglia at his eponymous, Michelin-starred restaurant, Saul, but this year, he’ll also be celebrating at his newest Brooklyn hotspot, Red Gravy. And we’re excited to see what chef de cuisine Ayesha Nurdjaja (formerly of Felidia and A Voce) brings to her 8-course, $100 feast, set to include dishes, like Bay Scallop Crudo with Meyer Lemon, Grilled Octopus with Chickpea Puree, Chestnut Tagliatelle with Snails and Chanterelle Mushrooms, and Cacciucco; a shellfish stew with Manila Clams, Mussels, Prawns, Tile Fish, Fennel and Lobster Brodetto.
Located right by Rockefeller Center, there’s no better way to end a day of window shopping, ice skating and tree-gazing than with a blow-out meal at this posh palace of shellfish. Chef Ben Pollinger is offering a seven-course Feast for $95 this year. And while you can technically order most dishes a la carte, you’d have a terrible time choosing between Bay Scallop Crudo with Persimmon, Pomegranate and Pistachio, an East Coast Oyster and Chanterelle Mushroom Pan Roast, Seared Turbot and Poached Lobster with Asparagus and Sauce Americaine, and a Valrhona Chocolate and Chestnut Parfait with Candied Cherries and Chestnut Gelato for dessert. On Christmas Eve, you don’t have to as they all come with the dinner. Read More
Tommaso RistoranteCuisine: Italian
If you’re lucky, you might get treated to an aria along with your antipasti at this 40-year-old Brooklyn mainstay, courtesy of owner and Julliard-trained opera singer, Tom Verdillo. And the La Viglia menu is just as much of a draw as the genial restaurateur’s golden pipes; a four-course feast of Seafood Salad with Octopus, Calamari, Sepia, Shrimp and Scungilli, plump Mussels Marinara, golden Baked Clams, Linguini piled high with Crab, Lobster and Shrimp, and the highly traditional Baccala, dried Salt Cod prepared with Potatoes, Celery and briny Gaeta Olives.