The Feast of the Seven Fishes at Spotos Oyster Bar

The Palm Beach Gardens restaurant is keeping the beloved Italian-American Christmas Eve tradition alive with festive flair.

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Spotos’ glazed yellowtail snapper. Photo by Alissa Dragun
Spotos’ glazed yellowtail snapper. Photo by Alissa Dragun

The Feast of the Seven Fishes is an Italian-American tradition celebrated on Christmas Eve. While the menu varies from region to region and family to family, typical items include oysters, shrimp, scallops, and calamari, with the main course typically consisting of a whole roasted fish. Locals who want to honor the tradition this year might want to pay a visit to Spotos Oyster Bar in Palm Beach Gardens.

“Our comprehensive seafood menu contains most of the seven traditional dishes,” says Chef Jeff Mueller. One entrée that fits the bill is the sweet tamari-glazed yellowtail snapper. “I started offering the snapper when I came here over a year ago,” says the chef. “It’s a perfect holiday dish and so popular that it’s now become a permanent special.”

The preparation is simple: The fresh fish is scored, brushed with a tamari glaze, coated with seasoned flour, and deep-fried. When served, the meat flakes easily off the bone. Originally designed as an entrée for one, Mueller is now ordering larger fish for tables to share family-style. “We’ll typically sell 15 or 20 each night, and many of those are pre-orders taken over the phone,” he says. “When servers parade a three-pound snapper through the dining room, it usually sets off a wave of new orders—it has a real ‘wow’ factor.”

An institution on PGA Boulevard since 2002, Spotos was sold in 2017 and received a complete makeover that includes a firepit, a covered outdoor bar, and comfortable outdoor seating. While the menu is extensive, it focuses on pristine North Atlantic oysters such as Bluepoints and Cotuits. “Our oysters are packed in ice and shipped to us daily,” says Mueller. “We’re shucking and serving them two days after harvest.” 4560 PGA Blvd., Palm Beach Gardens; 561.776.9448

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