Celebrate the Feast of the Seven Fishes in Los Angeles

Branzino | Photo courtesy of Drago Centro, Facebook

The Feast of the Seven Fishes, aka La Vigilia (The Vigil), is a traditional Italian-American Christmas Eve celebration that commemorates La Vigilia di Natale, the wait for the midnight birth of the infant Jesus. The feast typically features at least seven different seafood dishes, which are served before midnight Mass. The custom of eating seafood on Christmas Eve comes from the Roman Catholic tradition of abstinence - i.e., no meat or milk products - on the eve of certain holy days. 

Although La Vigilia’s true origins are unknown, the custom is said to have begun in Southern Italy. The number seven may refer to the seven sacraments, the Seven Hills of Rome, or perhaps the idea of completion - according to Genesis, God rested on the seventh day. Baccalà (salted cod fish) is a traditional favorite of the sumptuous meal, along with a myriad of other seafood dishes.

From traditional family-style menus to modern twists, restaurants across Los Angeles are celebrating the Feast of the Seven Fishes.

Photo courtesy of Drago Centro, Facebook

Drago Centro

Celestino Drago’s sleek Downtown L.A. Italian restaurant is offering its Feast of the Seven Fishes for $85 per person with an optional $60 wine pairing. The Christmas Eve dinner begins with the Quartet of the Sea: kusshi oyster, sturgeon caviar, octopus and smoked salmon. Next is a hearty lobster cioppino with black cod, mussels and clams. The pasta course is fresh tagallini with jumbo lump crab and spicy marinara. Seared yellowfin tuna is served with barolo risotto and crispy sage. For dessert, cherry and pistachio clafouties with whipped cream.

Lobster logo

The Lobster

Boasting some of the most romantic restaurant views in L.A., The Lobster in Santa Monica will serve a traditional Feast of the Seven Fishes on Christmas Eve. Highlights from the prix fixe menu include baked littleneck clams, fritto misto and salmon rillette bruschetta; grilled branzino; crab and sea urchin squid ink linguini; Fisherman's Stew with American lobster, day boat scallops, blue king prawns and Weiser Farms potatoes; crispy lemon meringue with grapefruit sorbet; and spiced mascarpone mousse. The Feast of the Seven Fishes is priced at $90 with optional wine pairing for an additional $25.

The Restaurant at Mr. C | Photo courtesy of Mr. C Beverly Hills, Facebook

The Restaurant at Mr. C

Paying homage to the Feast of the Seven Fishes celebration, The Restaurant at Mr. C is featuring a variety of seafood dishes on its Venetian-style Christmas Eve menu. Highlights include a trio of marinated halibut, shrimp and tuna tartar; black squid ink risotto alla Cipriani; choice of wild branzino or beef medallions; and torta caprese. The four-course prix fixe menu is priced at $89 per person.

osteria mozza

Osteria Mozza

Gather friends and family for the Feast of the Seven Fishes served in the Primo Ministro Room at Osteria Mozza. Taking place at 7 p.m. on Christmas Eve, the annual Mozza tradition features a five-course meal prepared by Executive Chef Elizabeth Hong and Executive Pastry Chef Dahlia Narvaez. Highlights include a crudo trio; mozzarella di bufala with cetera anchovies, bagna cauda, charred broccolini and crispy beans; farfalle aglio e olio with bottarga; salt-baked sea trout with condimenti and garlicky wilted spinach; and a bûche de Noël (Yule log). The Feast of the Seven Fishes is priced at $85 per person with an optional $50 wine pairing.


La Vigilia is a beloved annual tradition at Providence, Chef Michael Cimarusti’s acclaimed sustainable seafood-focused restaurant. On Christmas Eve, Cimarusti presents an upscale interpretation of the traditional Feast of the Seven Fishes, featuring dishes inspired by his Grandmother Josephine and Great Grandmother Domenica. Courses include: crispy polenta and caviar Bolognese; Maine lobster grilled in the shell and smoked puree of chestnut; Nancy’s hand-harvested sea scallop with black truffle vinaigrette, scallop nage, crispy buckwheat; and grilled striped bass with roasted winter squash. The Christmas Eve menu is available only on Thursday, Dec. 24 from 4–8 p.m. The eight-course menu is priced at $140 per person, $200 with wine pairing. Reservations and credit card confirmation are required.