Where to Enjoy the Feast of the Seven Fishes in Westchester

Make your reservations at these Westchester restaurants for the Italian Feast of the Seven Fishes on Christmas Eve.

Although Christmas Eve is when children ’round the world wait for the big guy in red to freefall down the chimney, back in the days of old in Southern Italy, December 24 was a time of commemorative waiting for the birth of Jesus Christ.

This more holy vigil, or La Vigilia, was observed by abstaining from meat and indulging in what was plentiful in the mostly poor region: fish. Today, the Feast of the Seven Fishes, historically starring dried, salted cod, or baccalà, prevails (though much more common among Italians here than in the old country), and Westchester’s seafoodies are giddy over the number of restaurants recognizing the tradition. But, here’s the catch: Reel in a reservation now, or you’ll have to wait until next year.

Augustine’s Salumeria 

213 Halstead Ave, Mamaroneck; 914.315.6541

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Refreshingly seasonal and as local as possible all year round, let the festive feasting begin, this night, with apps of fried calamari with a tomato marmalade, stuffed clams kissed with bone marrow, and/or salted cod with potato and caviar. For the carb lovers in the mix, consider handcrafted, perfectly paired pastas of luscious lobster ravioli fra diavolo or scungilli puttanesca. Traditional Tuscan stew, or cacciucco, is the on-point main event, featuring mussels, clams, octopus, shrimp, and bass in a lobster broth with toasted bread. Chef Marc’s regular menu is also on offer,  so you can still kick it Santa-style with the cannoli fashioned from a pizzelle.

Bread and Brine

19 Main St, Hastings-on-Hudson; 914.479.5243

At this casual-chic fish house, the feast will be served family-style (for parties of four) and the freshest under-the-sea options will be on the table. The meal begins with starters that include a half-dozen oysters on the half shell, fried calamari, and chilled octopus salad, with a kale Caesar salad tossed in for good measure. To warm things up, the feast will move on to baked clams, shrimp scampi, and spicy rigatoni with lobster fra diavola. $75 pp; 4 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

 

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Fin & Brew

5 John Walsh Blvd, Peekskill; 914.788.4555

Breathtaking Hudson River views pair well with The Vigil, the five-course tasting menu by CIA-trained chef Jan Michael Anastacio that “celebrates Catholics from not just Italy, but all over the world.” The celebration begins with an amuse bouche of crispy boquerones (anchovies) followed by a starter of sushi (scallops, tuna, yellowtail). The second course is mussels served escargot-style with basil foam and truffle-parmesan palmier (pastry). Expect a third course of “gift of the mer” pasta featuring lobster and crab, and a fourth course of Ora king salmon en croute with caviar cream. For dessert, it’s caramelized white mousse with yuzu cremeux.

 

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L’inizio

698 Saw Mill River Rd, Ardsley; 914.693.5400

Husband-and-wife chefs Heather and Scott Fratangelo cook with sustainable, artisanal, farm-to-table ingredients, including on Christmas Eve (natch), when they’ll offer specials like pastrami-cured hamachi with kimchi, lime vinaigrette, and pickled mustard seed to start, followed by bucatini with cockle clams, blistered cherry tomato, and amatriciana sauce (pancetta, onion, chili flake). The main course looks like this; olive-oil-poached swordfish with puttanesca, braised escarole, caper, and olives. For dessert: Heather’s chocolate caramel tart with pecan praline.

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Prefer to dig in at home? Pick up the signature seven fishes marinara atop squid-ink fusilli (takeout only) which satisfies 4 to 5 diners for $160.

 

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Purdy’s Farmer & the Fish

100 Titicus Rd, North Salem; 914.617.8380

After more than a decade of night-before-Christmas fish fests, this northerly bastion of farm-to-fork eating is making waves, once again, with an extensive prix-fixe menu that showcases a sea of fish and pays homage to New England and “all the great fishermen up the east coast,” says owner Chef Michael Kaphan. The festivities begin with family-style antipasti to share featuring Maine lobster Wellington, Fisher Island oysters, clam roll, shrimp puffs, Jasper Hill cheesesteak (and a Merry Christmas to you, too!), New England cobb salad with greenhouse leaves, and deviled eggs.

The feasting moves on to the first course with choices of chicken-fried Montauk squid, squid-ink ravioli, and more. Entrées include a choice of dishes like Nantucket bay scallops, Nova Scotia halibut, and a Maine lobster roast. Desserts run the gamut from sticky toffee pudding and chocolate Boston cream pie to a crave-worthy sundae of Salinger’s apple cider donuts with house-made salted caramel ice cream.

 

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The Greekish

273 Halstead Ave, Harrison; 914-732-3333
Chef Constantine Kalandranis is kickin’ Italian-ish style on Christmas Eve with his signature seven fishes to-go box (read that again: to-go only, peeps) for $95 that includes traditional taramasalata (a meze made from salted and cured roe) and pita, a crudo course, and a smorgasbord of calamari, octopus, shrimp, and mussels, plus branzino in a starring role. A Greek-inspired dessert makes it a party.

Bonus:

Bistro de Ville

185 Summerfield St, Scarsdale; 914.574.6364

For a traditional French Christmas Eve, reserve a spot for Le Réveillon at this cozy Scarsdale bistro and enjoy a three-course prix-fixe menu ($75 pp) with offerings ranging from yellowtail crudo with grapefruit to duck a la orange to filet mignon with bone marrow bordelaise. For dessert, consider choices of chocolate mousse, crème brulee, and galette de pomme.

Related: Westchester Restaurants Open for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day

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