Let's assume you planned ahead this year and won't be squirreled away in your spare room on December 24, frantically wrapping presents until the wee hours of Christmas Day. You might even want to get out of the house and celebrate the season before the gift-giving frenzy begins. Here are ten options for diners who aim higher than noshing on cookies and milk all night, including five restaurants offering the Italian-American tradition the Feast of the Seven Fishes.
Atelier by Radex
2011 East 17th Street
Chef Radek Cerny isn't calling his Christmas Eve meal a Feast of the Seven Fishes, but diners can easily revel in seven different seafood items; a cursory glance at the menu reveals shrimp, lobster, mussels, salmon, snapper, scallops and tuna — many of them in several presentations. This isn't a prix fixe offering; it's an elevated version of the regular menu, so you can mix and match for the perfect feast — whether it's full of fish or not. Take a look at the menu and make your reservation on Atelier's website.
Black Sky Brewery
490 Santa Fe Drive
If you are so sick and tired of lame, repetitive Christmas carols you're gonna punch the next dude who puts on that Wham! song, Black Sky's metal Christmas Eve brunch is where you want to be from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Show up for beer (of course), a special brunch menu, $3 Bloodys and mimosas and some music that doesn't make your ears bleed.
Beast + Bottle
719 East 17th Avenue
Seafood not your thing? You can still have a celebratory meal at Beast + Bottle's annual duck dinner, which this year is dubbed Duck the Halls (we wonder if there's a change in protein coming when the puns run out). The meal serves two for $99 and consists of duck two ways — honey-glazed breast and anise confit leg — with sides. Make your reservations by Friday, December 21, by calling the restaurant.
400 East 20th Avenue
Coperta is offering its Feast of the Seven Fishes not only to Christmas Eve diners, but also to all busy people looking to get their omega-3 fatty acids in from Tuesday, December 18, through Monday, December 24. The $59 prix fixe menu will be offered for lunch and dinner alongside the regular menu, and even though it's just three courses, don't fret: The always creative kitchen has crammed seven different kinds of seafood into the meal. Reservations are recommended; call or visit copertadenver.com to make yours.
Frasca Food and Wine
1738 Pearl Street, Boulder
For a luxurious and very, very fancy Christmas Eve feast, head north of Denver. For this meal, Frasca's kitchen is forgoing its Friulian fare in favor of the Italian-American tradition of the Feast of the Seven Fishes. The tasting menu ($155) doesn't include wine, but a trip to Frasca is always a splurge, so we recommend springing for the wine pairing, too, which is sure to be excellent. Find more details and make reservations, starting at 4 p.m., on the restaurant's website.
Hearth & Dram
1801 Wewatta Street
Hit one of the comfiest, coziest dining rooms in town for your Christmas Eve dinner. Hearth & Dram is offering a three-course prix fixe menu with options like prime rib, prime filet, duck or scallops for $55 from 5 to 9 p.m. Even better are the kitchen crew's dessert offerings: pistachio éclair, Black Forest cake, orange granita with candied fennel, and fig macarons. Call to ensure that you don't miss out on one of the very stylish seats.
Jax Fish House
650 South Colorado Boulevard
Jax Fish House knows its seafood, so it's no surprise that it's rolling out a family-style Feast of the Seven Fishes. Bring the little ones, too, because a special kids' feast is also on the menu. Reservations are required for the $60 candlelight dinner, so make sure you call ahead — and plan ahead, too, as this location is so far the only Jax outpost in Denver to offer the Christmas Eve tradition.
Mario's Ocean Club
560 South Broadway
The Broadway seafood house is doing what it does best on Christmas Eve: a Feast of the Seven Fishes. The menu promises traditional favorites (linguine and clams, fritto misto) as well as local touches like mussels with tortillas and housemade green chile and rainbow trout. Seven courses will run you $54, and a small à la carte menu will be available for those who can't quite commit to all seven fishes. Find the entire menu at mariosoceanclub.com, then call to book your table.
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3033 Brighton Boulevard
You'd think a restaurant named after tuna would put on a seafood feast on Christmas Eve, but no; it's making a meal for the rest of us. Practice your Feats of Strength (you'll need to be tough in order to nab a parking spot) and brave Brighton Boulevard for Mister Tuna's Festivus dinner. The five-course meal will cost you $88, and it includes bites like a caramelized quince terrine and a fruits de mer cassoulet. Seatings start at 4 p.m. and reservations are a must; call to guarantee your seat at the table.
1441 Larimer Street
If your Christmas Eve traditions include a trip to take in twinkling lights, you definitely won't want to miss seeing Larimer Square, which is lit up prettier than a tree this time of year. You'll need sustenance, of course, so stop in for this $68 prix fixe menu starting at 4 p.m. Offerings include lobster with foie gras sabayon, rabbit porchetta with bacon and mole, and steak with soy-ginger jus. Reservations can be made by phone, and the full menu is up on TAG's website.