Is there a better place to celebrate “La Vigilia” — otherwise known as the “Feast of the Seven Fishes” — than in Rhode Island? Our large Italian-American population and nickname “The Ocean State” make us the ideal setting for this expansive, seafood-only meal that is a beloved Christmas Eve tradition.
There are differing stories on how La Vigilia began. Some say that in an effort to abstain from meat and butter, medieval Roman Catholics would instead rely on fried fish. Others say it was due to the fact that fish markets were traditionally closed on Christmas Day, forcing fishmongers to make use of whatever precious fish was left (often little bits of a lot of fish) before it spoiled.
Plenty of local restaurants offer the La Vigilia meal, both on Christmas Eve and throughout the month, but the heart of Rhode Island’s Italian culture is Federal Hill, where Old World traditions meet modern culinary expertise.
Here are five Federal Hill restaurants offering La Vigilia on their menus:
1. Caffe Dolce Vita
Located on DePasquale Plaza, this Federal Hill mainstay is offering their La Vigilia menu every night in December. Check out their menu here.
The La Vigilia menu at Massimo is replete with classic dishes such as baccala (a traditional cod dish). It will be served on Christmas Eve from 11:30 a.m. until 11 p.m., as well as for dinner daily from Dec. 18–24.
This warm and cozy gem will offer La Vigilia on Christmas Eve from 11:30 a.m. until 11 p.m., as well as dinner daily from Dec.18–24.
A popular spot any night of the year, Trattoria Zooma adds the La Vigilia option from now until December 24.
Looking for other options for holiday eats, we've gathered a list of local restaurants open on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year's Eve.