The city that is known for being a mecca of amazing food, is now home to yet another great dining venue. Opened this week, Shaya, a restaurant from Chef Alon Shaya (Domenica and PIZZA domenica) and Chef John Besh will feature Israeli cuisine fused with influences from North Africa, the Middle East, Eastern Europe, Turkey and Greece.
Hailing from Israel himself, Chef Shaya will be presenting traditional dishes found in The Holy Land, while recalling recipes he used to cook with his grandmother. Chef Shaya was born in Tel Aviv but grew up in Philadelphia and at a young age began to grow his passion for cooking. Previously, he trained at the Culinary Institute of America before moving to NOLA in 2001 to work with Chef Besh to open Domenica, a family-oriented, authentic Italian restaurant. In 2014, he traveled back to his homeland and immersed himself in the culture to work on perfecting his menu.
Designed by Curtis Herring Interior Designs, the restaurant is decorated in bright blue hues in homage to Israel and exudes a warm and casual feel. Marble table tops and dark gray accents furnish the interior and outdoors, the courtyard is lined with string lights and a pomegranate tree (another one of the country’s symbols).
Having already opened two other restaurants in the city, Chef Shaya is relying on his relationship with local farmers to stock his kitchen shelves. Shaya will use locally- and responsibly-sourced ingredients and will feature changing seasonal fare throughout the year.
“[Chef Shaya] has waited his whole life to open this restaurant and now really has the opportunity to cook from his heart. When hummus, pita and shakshouka all started cropping up on Domenica’s menu, we knew the time had come for Alon to open a modern Israeli restaurant and share his passion for this food with New Orleans,” said Chef Besh.
As with Domenica and PIZZA domenica, the mosaic-tiled wood-fired oven will be the centerpiece of the menu and will create everything from housemade pita to roasted lamb shanks. And, since many of the dishes are meant to be shared, diners will be able to try a variety of items during each visit.
Shaya is open Sunday to Thursday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Friday to Saturday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.