Some people love to host a seder on Passover… and some don’t. Luckily, many restaurants around the country — both Jewish and not — offer festive and culinarily exciting Passover seders that are perfect for small groups looking to be part of a larger community, reluctant cooks, and those who find themselves away from home on Passover. A restaurant seder can also provide a unique opportunity to try different Jewish cuisines from around the diaspora. The Nosher has put together a list of unusual, inventive, and just plain delicious seders in cities from Miami to San Francisco and everywhere in between.
Please note: This is not a full listing of every seder across the country, just some of the most unique offerings we could find this year.
Restaurants in Multiple Cities
Mexico is home to some 40,000 Jews, so it is fitting that East Coast-based Rosa Mexicano will offer a special Mexican Passover menu on April 19 and 20 at its Boston, New Jersey, and four New York locations. The four-course menu is $55 per guest and must be ordered by the entire table. Enjoy a Mexican-style haroset made of dates, coconut, tangerine, pomegranate, almonds, and apple flavored with cinnamon. Diners can choose a first course of cream of chicken and guajillo chile soup or chicken liver with hard-boiled egg, salsa verde, chicharrones de pollo, and matzah-corn tortillas. The main course choices include roasted half-chicken with Mexican ratatouille, barbecue beef brisket wrapped in banana leaves, or a pepita-encrusted salmon with sweet potato, pineapple, and salsa verde. For dessert, there is a warm date cake with spiced pecans and orange whipped cream. You can even enjoy a special Passover margarita for an additional $15. Seder plate available upon request. Click here for reservations.
A few weeks before Passover begins, City Winery locations around the country put on the City Winery Downtown Seder. Guests sit family-style at long tables, set with seder plates and matzah, to enjoy a vegetarian, kosher-style menu. The approximately two-hour program begins at 7 p.m. and includes all the customary parts of the seder service: drinking four glasses of wine (produced by City Winery, natch), discussing the four different children, and reciting the four questions. The twist? Professional performers who are seated with guests throughout the room offer their unique interpretation of the important lessons from the timeless Exodus story — the universal message of the journey from slavery to freedom. City Winery offers its Downtown Seder prior to the holiday itself in the hopes that it might inspire guests to bring some of the spirit into their own homes. Performers and menu vary from city to city. Tickets range from $70-$145. You can make reservations in New York City, Boston, and Chicago.
At The General Muir — Atlanta’s answer to the classic Jewish deli — families can come with their own haggadahs and conduct a seder at their table while restaurant staff times their meal accordingly. The restaurant will even provide the seder plate. For those less familiar with the holiday, The General Muir offers a small booklet to each guest with explanations of the elements of the seder plate as well as an excerpt from a speech given by Dr. King in Atlanta that reflects the holiday’s theme of bondage and freedom. The menu is traditional with regional influences. Starters include chopped liver, smoked trout spread — the South’s answer to whitefish salad — and apple-walnut haroset served with house-made matzah. (In the past, Chef Todd Ginsberg, a James Beard award semi-finalist, has also made a special seasonal haroset inspired by Sephardic flavors.) Of course, matzah ball soup and gefilte fish are included, and diners can choose a main course of red wine-braised brisket, lamb shank, or kippered salmon. Sides include a traditional tzimmes, celery root and parsnip puree, and marinated mushrooms. Dessert? Flourless chocolate cake of course! No wonder many families return year after year. Dinner is $55 a person/$75 with wine pairings and kids under 12 are $18. Seder plates can be ordered for $20. Email email@example.com by April 12 to make a reservation for April 19 or April 20.
Italian restaurant L’Oca D’Oro is well-known for championing the rights and well-being of restaurant workers and for celebrating community. So no wonder L’Oca D’Oro hosts an annual seder. Adam Orman, the restaurant’s GM and one of its owners, had previously managed a restaurant in New York that hosted an annual seder and it was one of his favorite nights of the year, so it was always his intention to host a seder at L’Oca D’Oro. This year, the dinners will occur on April 23 and 24 and will be hosted by a local rabbi and cantor, respectively. Orman created his own haggadah that is used for the “traditional but idiosyncratic” service. The chef is still working on the menu, but last year’s dinner, which is served family-style, included a Sicilian version of haroset made with chiles and dried fruit, matzah ball soup, an Italian twist on gefilte fish consisting of preserved hake rillettes with fried sage and pickled red onion, new potato and smoked tomato terrine, sweet potato and carrot tzimmes, and, this being Texas, a smoked brisket with mustard. For dessert, diners enjoyed macaroons, strawberry jellies, and chocolate toffee matzah. Dinner is $75 for adults and $30 for children, not including tax and 20% service charge. Call (737) 212-1876 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for reservations.
Cambridge’s Craigie on Main is known for rustic French cuisine by Food and Wine’s Best New Chef and Boston magazine’s Best Chef Tony Maws. In Boston’s Jewish community, it is also known for its annual seder dinner with a menu inspired by the chef’s grandmother, Baba Hannah, whom he calls his culinary muse. This year, Chef Maws is also drawing inspiration from his 2018 trip to Israel. The special Passover menu will be available throughout the holiday. The restaurant is still working on this year’s menu, but in the past, dishes have included matzah meal lasagnette, spring green soup with Persian-spiced lamb meatballs, Sephardic chicken, and Baba Hannah’s braised beef. Reservations available here or by calling (617) 497-5511.
Chicago’s white-hot Mediterranean restaurant Aba — home to one of the finest rooftop patios in the city — is offering a special Passover menu created by Top Chef-alum CJ Jacobson, who lived in Israel during his stint as a professional volleyball player. Jacobson’s Passover Mezze Feast features smoked salmon spread with dill harissa, classic hummus and haroset with house-made matzah, parmesan, potato, and Brussels sprout latkes, roasted beef brisket, and for dessert, a flourless chocolate tahini tart. Dinner is $46.95 per person not including tax and gratuity. Available April 19 and 20. For reservations call (773) 645-1400 or head to Aba’s website. Several other restaurants from the Lettuce Entertain You restaurant group, which owns Aba, will be offering special Passover menus as well. Click here for more information.
Maxwell’s at the Club is located inside Chicago’s tony East Bank Club, but you do not need to be a member to make reservations for the lavish Passover buffet, which is an annual tradition for many Chicago families. The buffet will feature starters of chopped liver and house-cured salmon with dill-mustard sauce, several green salads, zucchini-potato latkes, saffron quinoa with dried cranberries and toasted almonds, and a carving station with beef brisket, garlic-rosemary leg of lamb, and roast turkey with pomegranate and cranberry relish. Desserts and kosher wine are also included. Each table with be set with its own haggadah. The buffet is available April 19 for parties of six or less and April 20 for private parties of four or more. Seatings at 5:30, 6, and 6:30 p.m. on Friday and 5:30 and 6 p.m. on Saturday. Cost is $50 for adults and $20 for children 10 and under. For reservations, contact Maxwell’s at (312) 527-5800.
DC fine dining standby Equinox Restaurant, owned by Chef Todd Gray and his wife Ellen Kassoff — co-authors of the cookbook The New Jewish Table — will host its annual community seder on April 19 with both traditional and plant-based menus available. Cost is $70 for three courses, including tax and gratuity, with an optional $20 wine pairing. The evening begins with canapés of Israeli-style pickled vegetables, chopped liver crostini with quail egg, and kale tempura with lemon tahini. The community seder service kicks off at 7:45. Participants will enjoy an upscale menu that combines Ashkenazi and Sephardic flavors. Starters include a lettuce and endive salad — with or without smoked whitefish — and caramelized cipollini onions with candied fennel. The main course is matzah-crusted black cod or green garlic falafel on the plant-based menu, and a roasted garlic potato kugel. Dessert options include a bittersweet chocolate macaroon cake with halvah crumble, coconut sorbet with candied orange peel, and a rhubarb and ginger gelato. Reservations are available on OpenTable.
Beloved LA restaurant Jar will offer its annual seder dinner on April 19 at 5:30 p.m. The service led by Rabbi Ellen Nemhauser begins at 6 p.m. Passed hors d’oeuvres include house-cured salmon, chopped liver, and an English pea puree. The menu includes a first course of matzah ball soup and a butter lettuce salad in a pickled leek vinaigrette; the main course is a choice of Jar’s signature pot roast with carrots, onions, and prunes or sautéed Alaskan halibut with fava beans and mashed celery root. Among the desserts, look for ice cream sandwiches, lemon cheesecake with fresh strawberries, and chocolate-covered matzah. Dinner is $120 per person, $65 for children 12 and under, not including tax and tip. Reservations can be made on OpenTable or by calling (323) 655-6566.
Famed designer and restauranteur Barbara Lazaroff will host Spago Beverly Hills’ 35th annual seder on April 20th at 5:30 p.m. The service will be led by Cantors Rachlis and Braier and diners will enjoy entertainment from the West Los Angeles Children’s Choir. As always, proceeds from the meal benefit Mazon, The Jewish Response to Hunger. Dinner is $195; $80 for children under 9, not including tax and service charge. Reservations are available on Tock.
Akasha in Culver City will host a Second Night Passover Seder on April 20 at 6:15 p.m. with a service led by Rabbi Mark Borovitz from Beit T’Shuvah beginning at 7 p.m. During the cocktail hour, snack on chopped liver and vegetable-walnut “faux” liver with matzah. This being LA, gluten-free matzah will also be available. For the first course, enjoy Sephardic fish balls with Tunisian tomato sauce and Meyer lemon horseradish as well as matzah ball soup. Entree choices include red wine braised brisket, chicken tagine with olives and preserved lemon, or eggplant melanzane with almond milk ricotta. Dessert will be served family-style and will include flourless chocolate pistachio cake, chocolate-dipped coconut macaroons, and other Passover cookies. The meal is dairy-free and kosher for Passover. The cost for dinner is $110 including Israeli wines, $55 for children under 10, not including tax and service charge. Reserve in advance; seating is limited. Call (310) 845-1700 or make a reservation on OpenTable:
On April 22, The Wynwood Yard in partnership with OneTable will host a seder under the stars that is geared toward young professionals ages 22-39. Diners will enjoy cocktails while listening to the story of Passover and network over the four cups of wine and a light-hearted search for the afikomen. A welcome drink will be served with mezze of stuffed squash blossoms, grilled okra, pickled vegetables, carrot tahini, and charred eggplant dip served with matzah. The plant-focused menu includes a first course of grilled beets with charred citrus, tahini-almond yogurt, pistachios, herbs, and za’atar, and warm Brussels sprouts with kolrabi, onion, parsley, sunflower, and hemp seeds in a lemon vinaigrette. The main course will be roasted fish with sofrito purée and a selection of sides including roasted whole cauliflower with green tahini and pomegranate, quinoa succotash, and roasted pumpkin with a sweet and sour orange glaze, pumpkin seeds, and herbs. The dinner is $48. Reservations must be made by April 15.
The Bouley Seder, hosted in the Bouley Test Kitchen, is billed as a “biodynamic Passover celebration of freedom and liberation.” Rabbi Deborah Hirsch guides participants through the traditional ceremony featuring a custom haggadah, a feast created by Chef David Bouley, and kosher for Passover wine pairings. The evening begins with passed hors d’oeuvres and Passover music played on a Steinway grand piano by Jewish music educator Carole Rivel. The seder begins at 7 p.m. The price is $225 plus tax. Tickets are available here.
Midtown kosher standby Talia’s Steakhouse offers two seatings for its seders on April 19 and 20: one at 5:00 p.m. and the second at 8:00 p.m. The pre-fixe menu offers several choices for each course, including starters of Chef’s special micro greens salad, salmon croquettes or vegetarian beet cakes, a choice of matzah ball or vegetarian potato leek soup for the second course, and seven different possible entrees ranging from salmon to chicken to beef. Desserts include chocolate mousse, fruit cocktail, and a Passover cake. Dinner is $140 plus tax; $100 for children under 10. Be prepared to pay in advance by credit card and select entrees at the time of reservation. Talia’s also offers a kosher-for-Passover buffet for lunch and dinner during the remainder of the holiday. Call (212) 580-3770 to make a reservation.
NYC restaurant and pie shop Bubby’s will host seder dinners on both April 19 and 20 at its Tribeca location beginning at 5 p.m. The fixed-price family-style menu will include starters of chopped liver with Everything Matzah parsley salad, apple walnut honey haroset, dill pickles, and deviled eggs. Also on the menu, you will find matzah ball soup, tzimmes, roasted vegetables, pot roast with horseradish, and, for dessert, three berry pie with a matzah crust! Reservations are encouraged but not required, so this is a good option for families who are not sure of their plans. Price is $75 per person, not including beverages or gratuity. Email email@example.com for reservations.
One of the finest Israeli restaurants in the country, Shaya also offers two options for Passover dining. Similar to years past, the restaurant will have Passover specials in the main dining room as well as a ticketed dinner in its private dining room with a full seder menu. In the private dining room, the reimagined seder plate also serves as a first course with wood-fired matzah, haroset made with apricot and figs, eggs stuffed with leek and caviar, celery root and parsley salad, lamb chops with za’atar chimichurri, and romaine with tomato vinaigrette. The remaining courses include matzah ball soup, a fava bean salad with herbs and green garlic in a sumac dressing, and a confit brisket tagine with couscous, fennel, artichoke, and tahini. Dessert is a selection of little sweets including coconut and almond macaroons, chocolate matzah bark, and pistachio halvah. The full seder is priced at $85 for adults and $35 for children 12 and under, including tax and gratuity. Get tickets for the full seder here.
San Francisco and the Bay Area:
Perbacco will host its 12th annual Italian seder on Monday, April 22. Chefs Staffan Terje and Umberto Gibin will collaborate on the menu inspired by traditional Jewish-Italian cuisine — the famous Cucina Ebraica. Diners will enjoy a selection of antipasti served family-style including smoked trout with cucumber radish and roasted beets with horseradish vinaigrette, a choice of matzah ball soup or asparagus for the first choice, a choice of entrees including brisket with salsa verde, braised chicken with citrus, fish alla Livornese, or meatloaf, a selection of vegetable sides, and sweets including caramelized strawberries with zabaglione, hazelnut sponge cake, and lemon marzipan. Dinner is $58 per person, including tax and gratuity. Call (415) 955-0663 for reservations.
How about a seder in a museum? Wise Sons will host its 8th annual seder on April 19 and 20 at its restaurant inside The Contemporary Jewish Museum — a stunning space designed by Daniel Libeskind — in downtown San Francisco. This event sells out every year. While the setting may be novel, the menu is as traditional as they come: haroset and chopped liver, housemate gefilte fish with chrein (horseradish), matzah ball soup, red wine-braised beef brisket with potato kugel and tzimmes, and flourless chocolate torte. A vegetarian menu is available with advance notice. Dinner is $80, tax and gratuity included, with optional wine pairing for $45; children under 10 are $45. Purchase tickets here — seats are limited.