Philadelphia restaurateurs love a reason for a special menu. Be it a collaboration with another area chef, the celebration of a favorite ingredient or, as the case is this time of year, a culinary expression of a holiday, they are on their game. With Christmas Eve just around the bend, many a chef is thinking seafood, a nod to the traditional Italian vigil meal: the Feast of the Seven Fishes. Often including more than seven and much more than just simple fillets, this over-the-top indulgence is full of fun, cheer and, of course, food. If you are a regular in search of a new menu or a novice trying to upgrade from the usual pizza and It’s a Wonderful Life, check out one of these area eateries hosting their own holiday happenings.
Starting today, December 20, and running through Christmas Even, seafood savvy Fish will be serving up seven courses of modern-meats-marinara goodness. Dishes are set to include shrimp with piperade and polenta and kale galette and octopus with chickpeas and artichokes. Dig in for $60, or add in the optional wine pairings for $80.
1708 Lombard St., Philadelphia, 215.545.9600, www.fishphilly.com
Trax Café & Restaurant
This cozy BYOB in the old Ambler train station is also kicking off the festivities early, offering their rendition of the Feast December 21 through December 24. Their four-course meal with feature crab and shrimp mornay and flounder stuffed with salmon mouse, for $45.
27 West Butler Pike, Ambler, 215.591.9777, www.traxcafe.com
Positano Coast Restaurant, Crudo & Wine Bar
A taste of the Italian seaside just off the Delaware River, fresh catches are the norm here. To celebrate the season, they’ll host their Seven Fishes Feast a few days early on December 21 with a hopping holiday event that is said to include some big name table mates, like Cardinal Justin Rigali. Buffet-style and featuring the restaurants signature crudos, the meal is going for $75.
212 Walnut St., Philadelphia, 215.238.0499, www.positanocoast.net
The West Chester favorite focuses on Italian year-round, so its no surprise they will be indulging their regulars and new visitors with a serious seafood spread. Five courses will be served family style and include dishes like linguini with shrimp and crab and fluke piccata. The feast goes for $45, $15 for those 12 and younger, and is also available for take-out.
312 South High St., West Chester, 610.436.4100, www.avalonrestaurant.net