La Vigilia: Where to Celebrate the Feast of the Seven Fishes

Plus one Feast of the Seven Cows.


True, the Feast of the Seven Fishes may be more an American tradition than an Italian one, but its heart is in the right place. Held the night before Christmas, it gathers loved ones ’round prolific seafood extravaganzas, served in seven courses to represent the seven days of creation, the seven sacraments, or the biblical number of perfection. 

Though the Feast’s roots lie in Catholic traditions of liturgical abstinence, however, don’t think you’re making any sacrifices by eating marinated-smoked mussels, roasted monkfish, or salt-cod fritters this Christmas Eve. From Pasadena to the Miracle Mile, here’s three places where you and yours can celebrate the Feast of the Seven Fishes in style — plus one Feast of the Seven Cows, because who said Christmas had to be white, anyhow?

Drago Centro
Drago Centro left no tide, no barnacle unturned on this teeming seafood menu. Scallops, oysters, tuna, swordfish, salmon, and cod are sliced, smoked, tossed into cappuccinos, and folded into raviolis. Seats are $80 a person, or $55 more with wine pairings. More information

Inspired by his grandmother and great grandmother, Providence chef Michael Cimarusti starts his Christmas Eve repast with seafood appetizers, followed by big eye tuna with marinated black truffles, then main lobster and buckwheat crepes, then calamari, then clams and abalone, then roasted monkfish, then a pear tart with ginger bread genoise and cream cheese ice cream, before finally closing out with struffoli, a pile of deep-fried Italian donuts. Tickets are $130 a person, $190 with wine pairings, and $290 with premium wine pairings. More information. 

Ray’s and Stark Bar
Served family-style, Ray’s dinner offerings include octopus cavatelli pasta, salt-baked bass, and marsala wine tiramisu. Reservations are highly recommended. Save your spot for $55 a person; $19 for children under 12. More information.

Feast of the Seven Cows at Trattoria Neapolis
Smoked salmon flounders out in favor of angus carpaccio and roasted bone marrow at this beefy Italian affair. $59 buys four featured courses, while $88 nabs all seven, including a sweet Greek yogurt and honey Panna “Cowta” that doesn’t seem to contain any actual beef, but in the spirit of the holidays, we’ll let it slide. Reservations must be made by December 21st. More information

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