Celebrating the Feast of the Seven Fishes in Philadelphia


For many Italian-American families, the feast of the seven fishes is a traditional Christmas Eve celebration. The short story is abstaining for food especially meat is to be avoided on Christmas Eve Day so come sundown the fish feast is on. Why seven? Well it is a tradition. But any odd number will do. Go up to 13 fishy feasts or if you're single with a tiny appetite, do one fish.

Here are a few restaurants to choose from and all menus are pre-fixe.

Amis Trattoria in Center City. The famous owners, the Vetri family, will host a four course, family-style meal from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. The price is $65 per person. More information and reservations can be found on their website.

Ristorante Panorama in Old City. Panorama is already in the swing of celebrating the seven fishes and will be doing so through December 30th. For a very affordable $45, enjoy a four-course menu featuring sea scallops, smelts, calamari, lobster ravioli, branzino and more. Wine pairings cost more per course. For more information call (215) 922-7800.

Chirarella's in South Philadelphia. This is the first time Chiarella's is hosting a seven fishes dinner on Christmas Eve. 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.

Mamma Maria Ristorante in East Passyunk Crossing. Dishes 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. It is $70 per person. Call (215) 463-6884 for reservations.

Take it from this Irish-Italian-American, it may be the best meal and party of the year.

Stasia DeMarco is a Philadelphia native. She is a content writer, journalist and culture critic.