Ultimate Christmas Dining Guide for Philadelphia

December 9, 2013
by Danya Henninger

From seafood-laden Christmas Eves to special meals on December 25, here’s where to celebrate the season this year in Philadelphia. You don’t even have to give your Advent calendar the side eye as you count down the days - there are also several feasts you can take advantage of throughout the month.

Seven Fishes Feasts

The Feast of the Seven Fishes is an Italian-American Christmas Eve tradition consisting of seven (or more) fish dishes (go figure). Here's where to get your salt cod fix.

Davio’s: Make a reservation on December 24 to enjoy three courses overflowing with seafood for $75 at this Rittenhouse Italian steakhouse (215-563-4810).

The Saloon: Take your seven fishes in the style of “la famiglia” at this Bella Vista standby. Dinner runs $70 per person; call for reservations (215-627-1811).

Pepperoncini: Dine at home but enjoy a traditional seven fishes feast with the take-home option from chef Paul DiBona. Choose from a dozen seafood dishes and place your order in advance, then stop by this Conshohocken Italian between 11 AM-5 PM on December 24 to pick up your haul (610-941-7783).

Trax Restaurant & Cafe: Get your seafood in early with Steven Waxman’s preview Seven Fishes feasts, offered for $50 per person at the Ambler BYO on Friday-Sunday, December 20-22 (215-591-9777).

Ristorante Panorama: A three-course, seven-fish dinner can be yours for $45 on any evening between December 1-30, with the exception of December 24-25. Add wine pairings for $18.75 additional (215-922-7600).

Le Virtu: Although a Seven Fishes dinner isn't officially on the menu at this East Passyunk Abruzzese, chef Joe Cicala will be offering lots of extra fish specials, so you can easily create your own feast (215-271-5626).

Bistro St. Tropez: If you’re looking for a Christmas Eve repast with more meat, chef Patrice Rames is offering a five-course French spread full of ham, foie gras and lamb for $48 per person or $78 including wine pairings (215-569-9269).

Christmas Day Dining

If you’re not celebrating, by all means, head to Chinatown. However, if you are, there are a handful of restaurants where you can get in the Christmas spirit while enjoying a special meal.

R2L: Daniel Stern will open his 37th floor dining room from 3-8 PM and serve a family-style Christmas supper with choice of prime rib, fish stew, roast pork, baked flounder or roast turkey for $65 per person (215-564-5337).

Vernick Food & Drink: Julie and Greg Vernick are opening the doors at their Rittenhouse New American from 3-9 PM on December 25 and serving the full regular menu (267-639-6644).

Lacroix: The Rittenhouse Hotel’s dining room will be open normal hours, offering the famous brunch buffet all day long (215-790-2533).

Paramour: At the Wayne Hotel, a four-course prix fixe dinner full of seasonal dishes (think chestnut soup and chocolate ginger cake) is offered from noon onward for $65 per person. Add $30 for wine pairings (610-977-0600).

Ongoing Specials

Don’t want to wait to begin your yuletide eating? There are plenty of holiday feasts offered throughout the month.

Brauhaus Schmitz: Chef Jeremy Nolen wants to show Philadelphians how well Germans celebrate, so he’s offering a classic German Christmas dinner any evening from December 9-23. The main course is a 10-lb. roasted goose, served family-style with accompaniments, an appetizer and dessert for $60 per person (267-909-8814).

Bistrot La Minette: While the French eat modestly most of the year, chef Peter Woolsey is channeling their Christmas decadence with a dîner de Noel. Between December 13-23 and 26-30, reserve a seat at the Bella Vista bistro for a rich, five-course feast for $65 per person ($100 with wine pairings; 215-925-8000).

The Victoria Freehouse: For the next two Saturdays (December 14 and 21), this Old City British pub is offering a “Dickens Christmas Roast.” Available between 5-10 PM, the changing three-course feasts run just $25. Opt for a $20 wine pairing or a $15 beer pairing (215-543-6089).