The History Behind the Feast of the 7 Fishes

Back by popular demand this Christmas Eve is our take on the Feast of the 7 Fishes – Cioppino served in a bread bowl. This delicious Italian seafood stew is our way of celebrating the holiday season with the traditions of our family and culture.

Feast of the 7 Fishes - Cioppino served in a bread bowl

Interestingly enough, the Feast of the 7 Fishes comes from a blended Italian-American culture and isn’t celebrated in Italy. Various regions in Italy celebrate Christmas Eve differently depending on their local traditions – many with seafood dishes given their close proximity to the sea, but some whose main dishes feature meat. In fact, many people who live in Italy may say that they’ve never heard of it!

The popularized feast that we enjoy today is said to stem from 20th-century Italian-Americans who were homesick for their former home close to the sea. On Christmas Eve, they served seven dishes of seafood to feel the connection to their old traditions.

Even though the tradition itself is only a little over a hundred years old and had its beginnings in America, the number seven is a connection to ancient biblical references. Roman Catholics find the number seven in various parts of their religion. Since this was a core part of who they identified as, they chose the number seven as the number of dishes to serve.

Feast of the 7 Fishes - two people cook shrimp and vegetables together at the table

The most special thing about the history of this tradition is that it continues to live on today as a shared moment with loved ones. This meal looks different in every home, whether it’s one dish or seven, and is a day that the whole family looks forward to all year long.

Join Us on Christmas Eve

Join us around the table for our Christmas Eve on Saturday, December 24th!

Our Feast of the 7 Fishes dinner will feature our Cioppino, a delicious mix of mussels, clams, calamari, cod, shrimp, halibut, and scallops in a tomato broth served up in a toasted bread bowl from Giuliano’s Gardena. This dish will be served dine-in only from 4:00 – 10:00 p.m.

Or, join us for brunch! Our special Christmas Eve Betto Box will be served from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and features fresh fruit with whipped mascarpone and granola, bomboloni (Italian donuts), our crab benedict, and braised short ribs with diced potatoes.

Either way you choose, we recommend reserving your table today! We can’t wait to celebrate the holiday season with you.

Image of Bettolino Kitchen's dining area

Hours of Operation

Monday: 11:00 AM – 9:00 PM
Tuesday: 11:00 AM – 9:00 PM
Wednesday: 11:00 AM – 9:00 PM
Thursday: 11:00 AM – 9:00 PM
Friday: 11:00 AM – 10:00 PM
Saturday: 10:00 AM – 10:00 PM
Sunday: 10:00 AM – 9:00 PM

Come experience a modern, but authentic taste of Italy. Reserve your table today!