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A mixed grill of seafood at Officina
Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.

12 D.C. Destinations for the Feast of the Seven Fishes

Where to find a celebratory Italian seafood feast

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A mixed grill of seafood at Officina
| Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.

For many people, Christmas Eve is a time to pause from the harried season of shopping and partying and spend time with family and friends. If time allows for a leisurely dinner, consider adopting the Southern Italian tradition of the feast of the seven fishes. The multi-course meal comes from the Roman Catholic tradition of omitting meat on the night before a holiday. Generally it includes a complete showcase of dishes like soups, stews, pastas and (fish-free) desserts.

Here in D.C., the meal has become popular among Italian chefs and restaurants, who go to great lengths to create celebratory menus. Some feature local ingredients like oysters. Others go luxury with lobsters and uni. Many of the menus are served prix fixe and family-style, making it a communal and festive experience.

The following 12 restaurants are all offering a special Feast of The Seven Fishes menu on Christmas Eve, with some offering it a few other days this December.

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I’m Eddie Cano

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This Chevy Chase newcomer (and yes, it has gotten plenty of eye rolls for its quirky name) is a relative value destination for pre-Christmas seafood feasting. Score a four-course dinner for $58 per person (before tax and gratuity) with a family-style appetizer with five fishes, a choice of first and second course and a shareable dessert. Seatings will be held at 5 p.m. or 7:30 p.m. and limited to 70 people per session.

Assaggi Osteria

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The six-course Christmas Eve menu here begins with an octopus and shrimp carpaccio and progresses to larger plates that include a homemade chitarra pasta with clams and speck and a monkfish porchetta with roasted butternut squash and chanterelle mushrooms. Reservations are $98 per person with wine pairings available for an additional $45.

Lupo Osteria Palisades

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Over in the Palisades, Lupo Verde has created a feast of the seven fishes with a neighborhood feel. The $90 multi-course tasting menu features two types of pasta: a blue crab-filled ravioli and a clam linguine. That’s in addition to preparations of octopus, cod, mussels, and a dessert course that includes rustic panettone with hot chocolate dipping sauce. As an added bonus, each table will get a bottle of Prosecco to help kick off the celebrating.

House-cured gravlax crostini and monkfish picatta are highlights of executive chef Ethan McKee’s Christmas Eve seafood feast. He’ll also a sweet finish of a Nutella affogato and a mix of cookies. The modern Italian restaurant and wine bar is offering the special dinner on the 24th only, priced at $85 per person.

Black sea bass at Urbana.
Urbana/Facebook

Masseria

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This Christmas Eve, let Masseria’s Michelin-starred talent take the lead. Chef Nicholas Steffanelli’s team is expected to whip up plates of spaghetti nero with sea urchin as well as a traditional dish called capitone — made with eel, red onion, and red wine vinegar — that’s served with fried bread. The menu is $115 per person with reservations available on December 24 beginning at 5 p.m.

Iron Gate Restaurant

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Mediterranean flavors abound in Iron Gate’s kitchen, making the cozy restaurant a natural fit for this seafood-forward tradition. Snag a reservation between December 17 and 23 for an $85 three-course, family-style menu that’s full of choices. Start with seafood charcuterie of shrimp and scallop chorizo and smoked catfish pate before moving on to heartier plates of oak roasted whole snapper or black garlic fusilli with little neck clams, sea urchin and nduja breadcrumbs.

Scallops and chorizo at Iron Gate
Tawn E./Yelp

Dyllan’s Raw Bar Grill

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This Georgetown tavern is offering couples five-course Christmas Eve tasting for $250. That also includes an amuse-bouche and a dessert. Diners can split a dozen raw oysters or littleneck clams as an appetizer and warm up with a double portions of entrees — perhaps some pan roasted scallops or grilled octopus. The final course includes linguine and clams or a comforting cioppino stew.

Raw oysters from Dyllan’s Raw Bar Grill
Dyllan’s Raw Bar Grill/Facebook

RPM Italian

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RPM Italian is ringing in Christmas with a heavy dose of luxury. It’s seven fishes menu centers around lobster, Alaskan king crab, and an uni spaghetti with white truffle. The meal runs $95 per person.

Centrolina

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Join chef and owner Amy Brandwein for a family-style seven fishes dinner on Christmas Eve served over four bountiful courses. Break bread over dishes like wood roasted Rappahannock oysters, fried clams and an Italian “ramen” full of seafood such as squid ink, shrimp, clams, octopus, and more. It’s priced at $75 per person, and a selection of plates will also be available for a la carte ordering.

Seafood pasta from Centrolina.
Centrolina/Official site

Osteria Bibiana Enoteca

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Fill up on six courses of fish and pasta at restaurateur Ashok Bajaj’s long-running Italian restaurant. The downtown spot is offering six courses, including oysters, salmon crudo, mixed seafood risotto, and poached seabass. The menu will be served on Christmas Eve for $75 per person, excluding tax and gratuity. Dinner begins at 3 p.m. on the 24th. An additional wine pairing is available as well.

Photo: Bibiana

Officina

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Head to Nicholas Stefanelli’s (slightly) casual waterside trattoria for a Christmas Eve feast at one of the buzziest spots in the Wharf development. The sprawling restaurant is serving dinner for $85 per person, to include dishes of an octopus (pulpo) salad, spaghetti frutti di mare and more. Make sure to save room to sip on an after dinner drink from the bar’s large selection of Italian bitter liqueurs.

A mixed grill of seafood at Officina
Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.

Hank's Pasta Bar

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Hank’s Pasta Bar is giving guests the seven fishes experience without the time commitment (or price) of a multi-course menu. The $34 bowl of spicy tomato linguine comes with octopus, clams, mussels, shrimp, squid, lump crab meat and catfish. It’s available through the end of December.

I’m Eddie Cano

This Chevy Chase newcomer (and yes, it has gotten plenty of eye rolls for its quirky name) is a relative value destination for pre-Christmas seafood feasting. Score a four-course dinner for $58 per person (before tax and gratuity) with a family-style appetizer with five fishes, a choice of first and second course and a shareable dessert. Seatings will be held at 5 p.m. or 7:30 p.m. and limited to 70 people per session.

Assaggi Osteria

The six-course Christmas Eve menu here begins with an octopus and shrimp carpaccio and progresses to larger plates that include a homemade chitarra pasta with clams and speck and a monkfish porchetta with roasted butternut squash and chanterelle mushrooms. Reservations are $98 per person with wine pairings available for an additional $45.

Lupo Osteria Palisades

Over in the Palisades, Lupo Verde has created a feast of the seven fishes with a neighborhood feel. The $90 multi-course tasting menu features two types of pasta: a blue crab-filled ravioli and a clam linguine. That’s in addition to preparations of octopus, cod, mussels, and a dessert course that includes rustic panettone with hot chocolate dipping sauce. As an added bonus, each table will get a bottle of Prosecco to help kick off the celebrating.

Urbana

House-cured gravlax crostini and monkfish picatta are highlights of executive chef Ethan McKee’s Christmas Eve seafood feast. He’ll also a sweet finish of a Nutella affogato and a mix of cookies. The modern Italian restaurant and wine bar is offering the special dinner on the 24th only, priced at $85 per person.

Black sea bass at Urbana.
Urbana/Facebook

Masseria

This Christmas Eve, let Masseria’s Michelin-starred talent take the lead. Chef Nicholas Steffanelli’s team is expected to whip up plates of spaghetti nero with sea urchin as well as a traditional dish called capitone — made with eel, red onion, and red wine vinegar — that’s served with fried bread. The menu is $115 per person with reservations available on December 24 beginning at 5 p.m.

Iron Gate Restaurant

Mediterranean flavors abound in Iron Gate’s kitchen, making the cozy restaurant a natural fit for this seafood-forward tradition. Snag a reservation between December 17 and 23 for an $85 three-course, family-style menu that’s full of choices. Start with seafood charcuterie of shrimp and scallop chorizo and smoked catfish pate before moving on to heartier plates of oak roasted whole snapper or black garlic fusilli with little neck clams, sea urchin and nduja breadcrumbs.

Scallops and chorizo at Iron Gate
Tawn E./Yelp

Dyllan’s Raw Bar Grill

This Georgetown tavern is offering couples five-course Christmas Eve tasting for $250. That also includes an amuse-bouche and a dessert. Diners can split a dozen raw oysters or littleneck clams as an appetizer and warm up with a double portions of entrees — perhaps some pan roasted scallops or grilled octopus. The final course includes linguine and clams or a comforting cioppino stew.

Raw oysters from Dyllan’s Raw Bar Grill
Dyllan’s Raw Bar Grill/Facebook

RPM Italian

RPM Italian is ringing in Christmas with a heavy dose of luxury. It’s seven fishes menu centers around lobster, Alaskan king crab, and an uni spaghetti with white truffle. The meal runs $95 per person.

Centrolina

Join chef and owner Amy Brandwein for a family-style seven fishes dinner on Christmas Eve served over four bountiful courses. Break bread over dishes like wood roasted Rappahannock oysters, fried clams and an Italian “ramen” full of seafood such as squid ink, shrimp, clams, octopus, and more. It’s priced at $75 per person, and a selection of plates will also be available for a la carte ordering.

Seafood pasta from Centrolina.
Centrolina/Official site

Osteria Bibiana Enoteca

Fill up on six courses of fish and pasta at restaurateur Ashok Bajaj’s long-running Italian restaurant. The downtown spot is offering six courses, including oysters, salmon crudo, mixed seafood risotto, and poached seabass. The menu will be served on Christmas Eve for $75 per person, excluding tax and gratuity. Dinner begins at 3 p.m. on the 24th. An additional wine pairing is available as well.

Photo: Bibiana

Officina

Head to Nicholas Stefanelli’s (slightly) casual waterside trattoria for a Christmas Eve feast at one of the buzziest spots in the Wharf development. The sprawling restaurant is serving dinner for $85 per person, to include dishes of an octopus (pulpo) salad, spaghetti frutti di mare and more. Make sure to save room to sip on an after dinner drink from the bar’s large selection of Italian bitter liqueurs.

A mixed grill of seafood at Officina
Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.

Hank's Pasta Bar

Hank’s Pasta Bar is giving guests the seven fishes experience without the time commitment (or price) of a multi-course menu. The $34 bowl of spicy tomato linguine comes with octopus, clams, mussels, shrimp, squid, lump crab meat and catfish. It’s available through the end of December.

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