The holidays are full of excuses to eat. There are the eight days of Hanukkah, Christmas day banquets, and celebratory New Year’s Eve dinners. Around D.C., a lot of restaurants are also getting in one one of the lesser-known meal traditions: the feast of the seven fishes. This Christmas Eve meal is popular among Italians and Italian-Americans, and it embraces the bounty of the sea, which at one point was a relatively cheap way to eat. Here are some spots serving the special dinner this year.
1914 9th St. NW
Dino’s Grotto in Shaw is going unorthodox with its 13th annual feast of the seven fishes menu. The restaurant keeps it simple, with an assortment of antipasti and fried snacks along with pasta and a choice of entree. Select from a whole fish or fillet of the day, all based on what’s fresh and good from the local fishmonger. Prices are $49 from December 17th through December 23rd and $59 on Christmas Eve.
Hank’s Pasta Bar
600 Montgomery St., Alexandria
For a seafood fix without leaving Northern Virginia, look no further than Hank’s Pasta Bar. The restaurant is taking a different interpretation, serving a country-style stew with seven kinds of seafood for $34. The pot will be packed with crabmeat, catfish, squid, shrimp, and more. It’s available throughout December.
3907 14th St. NW
Come in on to this cozy bistro on December 20th or 21st for plates of marinated octopus bruschetta, shellfish pasta, and more for $50 a head.
301 Water St. SE #109
This Navy Yard Italian restaurant has a $65 per person menu from December 22nd through the 24th. The feast will be served family-style and includes dishes like wood grilled swordfish, lobster ravioli, and scallop crudo.
2121 P St. NW
Swing into the Kimpton Palomar Hotel in Dupont Circle for Urbana’s four-course offering. Reservations run $65 for the food, and wine pairings can be added for an extra $30. Chef Ethan McKee’s creations range from an antipasti of poached Maine lobster to a secondi course of black sea bass.
…and if you don’t like fish:
777 I St. NW
Chef Victor Albisu and his team are doing away with seafood-exclusive and instead hosting their annual “feast of the seven beasts.” Highlights of the surf-and-turf include rabbit and panchetta bolognese, charred duck heart, Olde Salt oysters. It’s a bit of a splurge at $88, but worth it if you appreciated quality, wood-fired meats and seafoods from an expert chef.