Christmas dinner is wonderful, but there’s nothing like the Italian Christmas Eve tradition where plate after bountiful plate of gorgeous seafood is served.
The Feast of the Seven Fishes is such a glorious occasion that it’s gone well beyond Italian households and trattorias. Some of L.A.’s top restaurants are reinterpreting the tradition. Unfortunately, chef Michael Cimarusti’s Feast of the Seven Fishes blowout at Providence is already fully booked, but here are two good options for Christmas Eve.
Chef/owner Bruce Kalman’s Pasadena restaurant will serve a Cal-Italian feast that both features local fish and weaves in some traditional Feast of the Seven Fishes specialties. Dishes include an escabeche of sardines, squid ink macherroni alla chitarra, olive-oil poached albacore, baby octopus, ricotta cavatelli with ridgeback prawns, farro-crusted sea scallop, and branzino. The meal, which ends with a dessert of struffoli and biscotti, is available from 4 p.m to 10 p.m. and requires reservations with advance payment. $125, plus $40 for wine pairing.
Union, 37 E. Union St., Pasadena, 626-795-5841
Blue Plate Oysterette
Executive chef Paolo Bendez`u isn’t making things easy for himself on Christmas Eve. He’s doing a different Feast of the Seven fishes menu (subject to change based on availability) at Blue Plate Oysterette’s West Third Street/Beverly Grove location and at Blue Plate Oysterette’s Santa Monica outpost. Expect oysters, crudo, lobster bisque, octopus, arctic char, sea scallop, and tagliatelle with lobster and lobster sauce (plus the option of adding truffles) on West Third Street. The Santa Monica restaurant counters with oysters, shellfish ceviche, tuna crudo, butter lettuce salad with grilled prawns, lobster bisque, a petite Maine lobster roll, and whole-roasted branzino. The menu is available from noon to 9 p.m. Call for reservations. $89.
Blue Plate Oysterette, 8048 W. Third St. Los Angeles, 323-656-5474 and 1355 Ocean Ave., Santa Monica, 310-576-3474