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Where to Celebrate the Feast of Seven Fishes 2016

theres-nothing-better-than-quality-seafood-1500x998It’s the most wonderful time of the year — and we’re not just referring to Christmas.  In truth, we’re talking about Christmas Eve and the Italian tradition of The Feast of the Seven Fishes; a lavish under-the-sea spread (owing to the Roman Catholic practice of abstaining from red meat) preceding the midnight birth of Jesus.

So whether you’re legitimately Italian (or simply seafood lovers like us), here’s where to commemorate La Viglia in NYC, at spots like Oceana, Otto and more!

Grand Central Oyster Bar

Grand Central Oyster Bar
Grand Central Station
Midtown East,New York 10017
(212) 490-6650

Chef Sandy Ingber is so keen on the Feast of the Seven Fishes (which he calls his favorite food holiday) that he’s offering festive, seafood-focused a la carte options for both dinner and lunch — including Pasta e Fagiole with seared Maine scallops, Jumbo Shrimp with basil pesto and cherry tomato vinaigrette, Insalata di Natale comprised of pulpo, scungilli and calamari, and Sicilian-style Swordfish Steak anointed with lemon-herb oil.

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Oceana

Oceana
120 W 49th Street
Midtown West,New York 10019
(212) 759-5941

Bill Telepan became known for his Hanukkah latke celebration at his recently shuttered, eponymous restaurant, but now he gets to have fun with seafood as the newly appointed chef at Oceana, serving a five-course, $95 tasting menu of Black Linguine with crab and sepia, Grilled Octopus over farro tabbouleh, Roasted Swordfish paired with cauliflower and fingerlings, and a Crudo flight, featuring scallop with meyer lemon, razor clam marinated in blood orange, and tuna with radish and lime.

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Otto

Otto
1 5th Ave
Greenwich Village,New York 10003
(212) 995-9559

Most of Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich’s eateries get into the holiday spirit when it comes to the Christmas Eve Feast.  But their upscale pizzeria, Otto, really goes for broke by celebrating throughout the month of December — with seven assorted specials, like Octopus with fennel and tangerine, Charred Cuttlefish with pickled ramps and peppers, toasted chickpeas tossed with Bottarga and Marinated Anchovies teamed with potatoes, poached garlic, olive oil and chile flakes.

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Vic’s

Vic’s
31 Great Jones St
NoHo,New York 10012
(212) 253-5700

Only $70 for four courses worth of seafood?  Sounds like a sweet La Viglia deal at Vic’s, where chef Hillary Sterling intends to offer an array of antipasti (like Fried Whitebait, Roasted Oysters and Sea Urchin Bread), followed by Linguini with Clams, Brodo with Black Sea Bass and Fontina Fonduta with caviar.

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Ai Fiori

Ai Fiori
400 5th Ave
Midtown West,New York 10018
(212) 613-8660

Believe it or not, Michael White’s Riviera-inspired restaurant is honoring the Feast for the very first time this year and it is on.  Available for the entire week preceding Christmas (as well as Christmas Day), the $175 seafood-centric progression is especially opulent, including a Cured Sardine Canape, Fluke Crudo paved with sturgeon caviar, Lobster Bisque accented with Perigord truffles, and sous-vide Octopus seared on a plancha, and tossed with brown butter, Cabernet Sauvignon vinegar, brandied cherries and pine nuts.

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La Pecora Bianca

La Pecora Bianca
1133 Broadway
Flatiron District,New York 10010
(212) 498-9696

There will be two Christmas Eve tasting menus available for $75 at La Pecora Bianca — but why bother with Polpette, Pomodoro Pasta and Strip Steak when seafood summons the same price?  Select the Feast of the Seven Fishes option, and you’ll receive Hamachi Tartare, Cioppino, Lobster Cavatelli, and Whole Baked Dorade instead!

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Gato

Gato
324 Lafayette St
NoHo,New York 10012
(212) 334-6400

One doesn’t immediately associate celebrity chef Bobby Flay (the southwestern specialist) with either Italian fare or seafood.  But that hasn’t stopped him from taking a stab at the Feast at his NoHo-based Gato — providing four courses such as Polenta-Crusted Oysters, Mussels with Pickled Shallots, Shellfish Paella and Zuppa di Pesce for $105 dollars a head.

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L’Amico

L’Amico
849 6th Ave
Midtown West,New York 10010
(212) 201-4065

While Laurent Tourondel’s Christmas Eve, $98 prix fixe isn’t technically being termed a La Viglia feast, it’s easy to amass seven fishes amongst the courses; think Tuna Crudo with burnt broccoli, Orata over parsnip puree, Lobster coupled with burrata, Risotto topped with scallops, and Seafood Stracci brimming with urchin and rock shrimp, and permeated with blue crab roe butter.

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