Wednesday, December 21, 2011


Oh my, it's that time again already. This year has passed so quickly, and it's just a few days to Christmas. And that also means a Christmas Eve Feast of The Seven Fishes. I'm noticing more restaurants than ever creating Seven Fishes menus for the days preceding Christmas. A few have already begun serving that special menu, and many begin tomorrow night. If you haven't made Christmas Eve plans, and want to experience a special holiday culinary tradition, here are a few places to visit:

Avalon, West Chester, PA:

AntiPasti (Served family style)
Fried Smelts, White Anchovies, Preserved Tuna and Fried Calamari

Black Linguini with Shrimp, Mussels and Crab in San Marzano Red Sauce

Secondi (choice of)
Skate Wing with Brown Butter Sauce and Crab Apple Mostarda
White Fish Picatta with Capers, Lemon and White Wine
*both served with Risotto Style Toasted Orzo

Insalta Digestivo
Organic Mixed Greens with Honey Broken Balsamic Vinaigrette

Dolce (Served family style)
Fresh Fruit and Cheese
(or sweet dessert from regular dessert menu may be substituted).

This feast, which is designed to be ordered by the entire party, is $45 per person; $15 for children under 12. Child-friendly options will be available. Available on Thursday, December 22; Friday, December 23and Saturday, December 24. Reservations necessary at 610/436-4100. For those who prefer, a limited a la carte menu will be available on Thursday, December 22 and Friday, December 23. On December 24, they'ere serving 7 Fishes menu exclusively.

Trax Cafe, Ambler, PA

1st course
House Smoked Salmon Mousse Topped with Caviar or Butternut Squash Shrimp Bisque

2nd course
Caesar Salad with White Anchovy

3rd course
Bouillabaisse with Cod, Mussels, Calamari & Shrimp

4th course
Chocolate Mousse with Cognac or
Poached Pear with Candied Wine Sauce

The dinner is $45 per person, plus tax and gratuity. The restaurant will also serve its regular a la carte menu from December 20 - 24. The menu may change slightly due to availability of fresh seafood. Reservations are necessary at 215/591-9777 or on Open Table. The restaurant will be closed on December 25.

The website has an amazing roundup of Philly spots doing the Feast:

Center City

• Route 6: 600 N. Broad Street. On Christmas Eve, Saturday, December 24, $50 will get you a delicious meal from Chef Anthony DiRienzo, including Cape Codder Oyster with cranberry granite, Smoked Bluefish Dip with horseradish crème fraiche and bagel chips, Lobster Boudain with watercress salad and spicy chili aioli, Wood Oven Roasted Atlantic Salmon with honey crisp apple relish and more. Call (215)391-4600 to reserve your spot.

• Amis: 412 S. 13th Street. The Vetri Family welcomes you to share in this festive Italian-American celebration on December 23 from 5-11 p.m. On this evening a four-course meal featuring the seven fishes will be served family style. It is $65 per person and does not include tax, gratuity, or alcohol. For reservations call (215) 732-2647.

• Davio’s Northern Italian Steakhouse: 111 S. 17th Street. Davio’s will offer the Feast of the Seven Fishes dinner as a prix-fixe menu of uniquely selected seafood by Executive Chef David Boyle. The menu is $75 per person and features items such as grilled branzino with crab risotto and spinach and citrus nage. It will be available on Saturday, December 24 from 5-11 p.m. Reservations are recommended; call (215) 563-4810.

• Ristorante Panorama: 14 N. Front Street. Ristorante Panorama will be serving the Festa dei Sette Pesci now through Thursday, December 30th. For $45 enjoy a four-course menu featuring sea scallops, smelts, calamari, lobster ravioli, branzino and more. A 3-oz. taste of the Sommelier’s Mediterranean wine pairings will be available with each course for an additional $25. For more information call (215) 922-7800.

South Philly

• Chiarella’s: 11th & Tasker Streets. Hard to believe, but this is the first time Chiarella’s is hosting a seven fishes dinner. It takes place on December 24. The four courses will include New England clam chowder, clams casino, mussels, pasta and sauteed Branzino and creamy polenta. It is $50 per person and BYOB; call (215) 334-6404 for reservations.

• Da Vinci Ristorante: 1533 S. 11th Street. On December 24, Da Vinci’s will serve a set menu in three course. There will be seven traditional items like fried smelts, stuffed calamari, linguine with mussels, cod with olives, capers and tomatoes and rock fish with mushrooms in a lemon white wine sauce. It’s $50 per person and BYOB; call (215) 336-3636 for reservations.

• Le Virtu: 1927 E. Passyunk Avenue. Le Virtù will offer a four-course pre-fixe menu for $65 per person.Items include: Fritto Misto di Pesce, assorted fried calamari, fish and shrimp; Timballo, layered crepes with pork sausage ragu; Agnello al Forno, roasted leg of lamb with rosemary potatoes; and Torcinelli, fried anise-and-raisin dough tossed in sugar with eggnog sauce. Call (215) 271-5626 for reservations.

• Mamma Maria Ristorante: 1637 E. Passyunk Avenue. Various seatings at 3 p.m., 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. on December 24 will include antipasto of fish and seafood, chestnut soup, seven fishes (including baccala, shrimp, stuffed squid and smelts), dessert, espresso or cappuccino, and complimentary wine and after-dinner cordials. This meal is $70 per person. Call (215) 463-6884 for reservations.

• Paradiso: 1627 E. Passyunk Avenue. This four-course dinner served December 24 will include fritto misto with smelts, calamari, cod cakes and oysters, seafood risotto, spaghetti with white anchovies, golden raisins, garlic and tomatoes, baccala with onions, olives and fresh tomato, tilapia with jumbo lump crab meat and lobster cream, broccoli rabe, and a variety of Italian cookies for dessert. It’s $65 per person with a full bar. Call (215) 271-2066 for reservations.

• Monsu: 901 Christian Street. Executive Chef and Owner Peter McAndrews will be hosting the Feast of the Seven Fishes dinner on Saturday, December 24. Expect a special five course dinner from 4-8 p.m., $50 per person. Diners will have the first course served for the entire table and then will choose from a selection of Antipasti, Pasta, Secondi and Dolci. And don’t forget a couple bottles of your favorite vino; the restaurant is BYOB. Make your reservations today by calling (215) 440-0495.


• Gemelli: 4161 Main Street: Celebrate the Feast of the Seven Fishes every night from Thursday, December 20 through Christmas Eve, Saturday, December 24. Items include arancini, smoked salmon, fried calamari, linguini and clams, scallops, shrimp and lobster cannelloni and more. This meal is $45 per person. An a la carte menu will also be available. Call (215) 487-1230 for more info.


• Pepperoncini: Conshohocken (72 Poplar Street) and Phoenixville (184 Bridge Street). This feast will be offered as take-out only on Christmas Eve. Pick up items like baccala, fried smelts, lobster ravioli or crab cakes starting at 11 a.m. through 5 p.m. Call ahead to place your order in Phoenixville at (484) 924-8429 or Conshohocken at (610) 941-7783.

Eat it up, folks. It's a great tradition to savor with friends and family.

And if I don't see you before Sunday: MERRY CHRISTMAS!

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