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A Private Lunch at Sababa: Israeli Cool

Daytime Program with Lunch

Friday, September 21, 2018 - 12:00 p.m.
Code: 1W0038
Israeli food at Sababa (Photo: Greg Powers)

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Sababa is Hebrew slang for great or cool, and expresses enthusiasm and satisfaction. It’s rooted in the word tzababa, which means great or excellent in spoken Arabic. Sababa is also the name of a new contemporary Israeli restaurant in Cleveland Park.

Like the restaurant’s name, Israel’s food has its roots in both Jewish and Arab cuisine. Sababa’s menu mirrors the melting pot of Israel’s culinary traditions—foods that encompass influences of more than a hundred cultures that have been in Israel and Palestine, or moved from the Diaspora to modern-day Israel. There are dishes from Bulgaria, Romania, North Africa, Yemen, Ethiopia, Georgia, the Balkans, Lebanon, Syria, Cyprus, and Turkey, just to name a few.

In a unique lunch experience, Sababa opens exclusively to Smithsonian guests for an afternoon of food and culture. In a setting that evokes the port of Tel Aviv with a Mediterranean-tiled floor and sails floating on the ceiling, enjoy a family-style meal and a glass of wine as author and culinary expert Joan Nathan places the region’s food in cultural and historical context.

Nathan is the author of 11 cookbooks, including The Foods of Modern Israel and King Solomon’s Table: A Culinary Exploration of Jewish Cooking from Around the World. A three-time James Beard Award winner, she is a regular contributor to the New York Times and the digital magazine Tablet.

Limited street parking available.


Salatim and Hummus Tahina
Carrot salad with dates and mint
Beetroot relish with tahina and pistachio
Roasted red pepper and feta with lemon thyme
Cucumber, dill, and pickled red onion
Garlic labne with dukkah seasoning

Charred Eggplant
Herbed labne, pomegranate, and pistachio

Roasted Halumi
Dates, honey, and charred lemon

Fried Cauliflower
Tahina, golden raisins, dill, and lemon

Harissa-Marinated Chicken Thighs Kebab
Hawaij-spiced rice, roasted chilli, and tomato

Market Fish of the Day
Whole fish roasted in grape leaves

Lamb Shank
Braised red cabbage with dates and citrus


Konafi Cake
Shredded filo, apricot labne filling, pistachio, whipped cream

Milk custard, strawberry-rose syrup, strawberries, pistachio brittle

Menu subject to change

Sababa Restaurant
3311 Connecticut Ave NW
Metro: Cleveland Park