It’s the next best thing to being there: The Jewish Arts Collaborative (JArts) launches Boston’s first Taste of Israel from Sunday, Feb. 24, through Saturday, March 2.

Twelve local restaurants will present Israeli dishes, concocted by pairs of (mostly) Jewish chefs.

The idea springs from an Israeli food tour that Michael Leviton (formerly of Lumière and Area Four) and Passover master Tony Maws (you know him from Craigie on Main and Kirkland Tap & Trotter) went on last year. The group toured the country sampling food and wine in restaurants, markets and in Israeli homes.


According to a press release, Leviton said the tour was inspired by a meeting he had several years ago with Gil Hovav, a top Israeli food writer and critic. Hovav spoke about the “idea of Israel as the ultimate culinary melting pot. What struck me most about our trip was exactly how right he was,” Leviton says. Moved by his philosophy, they planned this event, with food that goes way beyond falafel.

Here’s the (partial) lineup:

Mamaleh’s & Galit’s Treats

  • Bourekas with matbucha, egg and fresh cheese
  • Cauliflower salad
  • Sabich sandwich
  • Knafeh

Café Landwer & Area Four  

  • Roasted cauliflower (served on a bed of tzatziki)
  • Chicken shawarma hummus (served with focaccia bread)
  • Lahmajoun (spiced lamb and beef, tahini and pumpkin seeds)
  • Sinia shakshuka (two poached eggs in a spiced tomato sauce with kebabs, tahini and labneh, served with a choice of bread)
  • Mediterranean sundae (vanilla ice cream, silan (date honey), nuts and halva)

BonaPita (West Roxbury) & Central Café

  • Sirloin skewers (sirloin cut cubes grilled with crushed cumin, coriander, salt, pepper and oil, served with ciabatta, fresh chives, roasted vine tomato and parsley coulis)
  • Deconstructed baba ghanoush (roasted eggplant mashed in skin, with crushed garlic, salt, raw tahini, honey and parsley)

Other participating restaurants include Craigie on Main, with dishes from chef Michael Leviton; Allium Market with Liora’s Catering; and Simcha, the latest from The Chubby Chickpea‘s Avi Shemtov.

Learn more here. Happy eating!