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, 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.
900 Fort Hill Rd, Peekskill; 914.739.3546
Seven fish will be celebrated across four courses at this new contemporary restaurant overlooking the Hudson, with selections to include striped bass crudo with pomegranate, toasted onion seeds, and basil; baby octopus with salsa verde gigante bean and chicory; and East Coast cioppino made with monkfish in a fennel and saffron broth. The meal is served in house for $80 pp.
19 Main St, Hastings-on-Hudson; 914.479.5243
At this laidback, modern fish joint, the classic seven-course celebratory seafood feast serves four people and comes with a selection of oysters on the half shelf, shrimp cocktail, lobster butternut squash bisque, tuna crudo, baked clams, frito misto, linguini vongole, and cod livornese. For dessert, it’s house-made tiramisu. This menu is for takeout only and priced at $300 for a “school” of four.
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, when they’ll offer seven fishes seafood pappardelle for takeout only. It will feed four and costs $100.
63 Main St, Irvington; 914.591.1300
Northern and Southern Italy are in the house at this Rivertown fave where Genoa’s Arturo Marrou and Dominic Russo from low down on “the boot” lure diners with à la carte offerings of mussels fra diavolo, charred grilled octopus with cannellini beans, linguini with white clam sauce, risotto with shrimp and Dungeness crab broth, Nantucket cod, a broiled lobster tail, and frutti di mare that, on its own, boasts five different swimmers. The menu can be enjoyed a la carte or family style for both in-house dining or takeout.
49 N Riverside Ave, Croton-on-Hudson; 914.271.0702
This casual New England-style eatery is offering holiday platters to-go with oysters, clams, shrimp, and mini crab cakes priced by the piece, along with chilled seafood salad, New England clam chowder, and chilled or steamed lobster (market price).
100 Titicus Rd, North Salem; 914.617.8380
After nearly a decade of night-before-Christmas fish fests, this northerly bastion of farm-to-table eating is making waves with a Peruvian-flavored four-course prix-fixe menu ($75 pp) that showcases seven fish and begins with crab and caviar causa, and street cart ceviche of Nantucket Bay scallops, Florida shrimp, and crispy calamari. Wild bass and clams accompanied by carrots, leeks, and fried Yukon Gold potatoes is the main course with traditional Buche de Noel for dessert. This menu can also be enjoyed a la carte and is for dining in only. A seafood-heavy takeout menu is available (Christmas Eve and/or Christmas Day) and features seven fish contained in Frutti di Mare and Zuppa di Pesce; $129 for two people.
211 Main St, New Rochelle; 914.235.4595
Way more than seven delicacies from il mare will grace the menu at this family-run establishment where “farm to table isn’t a trend, it’s just what comes naturally,” according to the website. Selections will be à la carte, consisting of seafood salad with traditional scungille, fried baccalà, scallops, lobster tails, and risotto with shrimp scampi, to name a few. COVID-related dining guidelines will determine if this menu is available for dining in or takeout only.
214 Main St, Eastchester; 914.361.1119
Nearly a dozen different fish will come to the table at this old-world Italian mainstay, with seven marine treasures in one Mediterranean-style bouillabaisse alone. Additional offerings run the gamut from baccalà fritto and calamari and mussels arrabbiata to branzino with shrimp and scallops, baccalà puttanesca, and squid-ink risotto with scallops. COVID-related dining guidelines will determine if this menu is available for dining in or takeout only.
578 Anderson Hill Rd, Purchase; 914.997.4113
Christmas Eve dinner will be “as classic as classic can be,” says Chef Giuseppe Fanelli, who will whip up more than seven à la carte underwater delights including: sushi-grade tuna tartare, fried shrimp, crab cakes, baked clams with oregano from his garden, the freshest whole fish he can hook that day, and seafood salad, which he says will be a standout: “In a typical Italian family, one just throws all the fish in one pot so it ends up tasting all the same. But at Tredici, it’s all about the prep. You will taste every fish based on [each] being cooked separately.” The menu will be available for dining in or taking out.
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273 Halstead Ave, Harrison; 914.732.3333
Small plates and stiff drinks are the thing at this hip and cozy meze and ouzo eatery where Chef Constantine Kalandranis is putting together a to-go box of seven fish featuring, red caviar tarama and pita, shellfish ceviche, salmon gravlax, tuna tabbouleh, white anchovy dolma, steamed mussels and orzo, and grilled branzino and greens, along with a meal-ending sweet on the house. The box is priced at $200 and it will feed four.
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