Seafood lovers, prepare to have your appetite whet. Every Christmas Eve Italian-Americans ditch the holiday ham for the Feast of the Seven Fishes or La Vigilia.
The tradition originated in Italy centuries ago when Catholics would abstain from meat and milk on Holy Days. Today, the Feast of the Seven Fishes is mostly cooked by Italian-Americans and instead of just fish, they serve other types of seafood like shrimp, clams, mussels, crabs, scallops, and more. But the one thing you almost will always find on the table is the baccala, cod that is preserved by drying and salting. Sound like just the sort of thing you’d love to relish in come Christmas Eve? Secure your fish fest in NYC at one of these restaurants:
Lupa Osteria Romana: Dine on raw fluke with lemon and Aleppo pepper; crispy octopus with green faro and Swiss chard; shellfish stew with eels, lobster and clams; baccala ravioli with marjoram; dried pasta with crab and sea urchin; sea scallops with cauliflower, fennel and citrus; and turbot cooked in parchment with black truffles; plus dessert. $85 per guest; $130 with wine pairings. 170 Thompson St., 212.982.5089
Hearth: Nosh on clams with roasted red pepper and lemon zest; baccala crostini; white anchovies with arugula, shaved fennel and pickled onions; grilled calamari with smoked chick peas, black olives and celery; fried flounder with lemon aioli; shrimp and mussels stew; plus dessert. $65 per guest. 403 E. 12th St., 646.602.1300
Aroma Kitchen & Winebar: Enjoy a four-course dinner with cod ravioli alongside monkfish and artichokes; spicy Johan crab stuffed pepper; sea scallop Carpaccio; pan seared Chilean Sea Bass with braised fennel, Swiss chard and fregola; fettuccine with poached monkfish, white shrimp, leeks and saffron; plus dessert. $60 per guest; $95 with wine pairings. 36 E. 4th St., 212.375.0100
Grand Central Oyster Bar: Eat pasta e fagiole with seared sea scallops; Italian seafood salad with pulpu, scungelli, mussels and calamari; linguini with rock shrimp, hazelnuts, anchovies and agilio e olio; fried New Bedford lemon sol with pesto sauce; grilled marinated sardines with oregano sauce over escarole and cannelloni beans; baccala over rice pilaf; and sea urchin gelato. $59.95 per guest. 42nd St. and Lexington Ave., Grand Central Terminal, 212.490.665