Hanukkah lands a little bit early this year, meaning the eight-day festival of lights kicks off on Sunday, November 28 — just a few days after Thanksgiving — and runs through Monday, December 6. If you’re celebrating both holidays this year, then you likely have multiple get-togethers to look forward to in the coming weeks, as this year health experts say it’s relatively safe for groups of family and friends to gather if everyone is vaccinated.
But if you’re tight on time, just not psyched up about cooking, or interested in supporting small businesses, there’s good news: plenty of Bay Area restaurants and bakeries are ready to help fill your table during Hanukkah. From ready-to-reheat brisket dinners to special menu items like a chicken schnitzel sandwich on fresh-baked challah, here are a handful of options for Hanukkah feasting from San Francisco and the Bay Area.
Canela Bistro and Bar is once again rolling out a prix fixe menu for Hanukkah from Friday, December 3 through Sunday, December 5. For $69 the meal includes roasted winter veggie salad, chicken soup with pickled veggies and bagel chips, seared sea bass with Spanish tortilla of tzimmes and greens, and cinnamon apple churros with caramel sauce. Reservations are available on OpenTable.
Or head to Meso Modern Mediterranean on San Jose’s Santana Row for a $75 four-course prix fixe that will be available for dinner for all the eight nights of Hanukkah — from Sunday, November 28 through Monday, December 6. Featured dishes include potato latkes and cured salmon with creme fraiche, rice and lemon dolmas, and grilled rack of lamb with apricot risotto. Dessert brings sufganiyot, those traditional jelly-filled doughnuts, stuffed with raspberry jam. Each course will also be available a la carte.
With a tent on the street and klezmer music throughout the Hannukah, it’s bound to be a good time at Berkley stalwart Saul’s Restaurant & Deli. Pre-orders open on Sunday, November 28 for everything from latkes and sufganiyot (filled with either raspberry jam or custard) to pans of kugel and ready-to-reheat brisket. Check the Saul’s website for the full menu and to place an order for pick-up.
Over in Oakland, Pomella has partnered with names including Mark ‘n Mike’s, Bishulim SF, Boichik Bagels, and Covenant Wines to offer a days-long Hanukkah celebration. The festivities kick off on the first Sunday of Hanukkah, November 28 when there will be a chicken schnitzel sandwich on house-made challah up for grabs. Made in coordination with Bishulim SF, known for offering Israeli-California cuisine, the sandwich includes matbucha, fried eggplant, and hummus. On Tuesday, November 30, Mark ‘n Mike’s will serve reuben latkes; Wednesday, December 1 brings absinthe tastings with Absinthia; and Thursday, December 2 means wine tasting with Covenant, California’s premier kosher winery. To close out the season on Sunday, December 5, Pomella is bringing in Boichik for brunch: Mark your calendar for a merguez bagel sandwich with fried egg, feta aioli, and harissa on a sesame bagel or a gravlax platter with pastrami spices, dill cream cheese, and all the toppings. Pre-orders will be posted soon at pomellaoakland.com.
Dine-in or takeout
Fiorella will celebrate the Festival of Lights with a number of a la carte specials at its multiple San Francisco locations. The star of the show is pollo frito per Chanukah — or Jewish-Italian Hanukkah fried chicken — made with heirloom Cooks Venture chicken, fried lemons, and served with sweet and spicy fennel, orange, and olive salad. But there’s also classic potato latkes with house-made apple butter and crème fraiche; gravlax citrus and beet salad; and chicken matzo meatballs in chicken broth with pastina. All special dishes are available for dine-in or takeout.
A three-course prix-fixe menu from One Market Restaurant covers the classics: Mark ‘n Mike’s matzo ball soup, smoked beef brisket, and sufganiyot. There’s also an option to add on three potato latkes with sour cream and house-made apple sauce for $11.95. The Hanukkah menu will be available from November 28 through December 6 for $49. All dishes are available for dine-in and takeout or delivery.
Che Fico Alimentari has a take-and-heat Hanukkah feast for four this year. The $200 brisket meal includes 16 latkes with Rainbow Orchard heirloom apple sauce and Che Fico sourcream; a market salad with roasted beets, Fuyu persimmons, poached Bosc pears, and chestnuts; roasted carrots with almonds, dates, and honey; sesame challah; gelt; and a choice of a bottle of red wine or a non-alcoholic beverage. Some items are available a la carte, with optional additions including gianduja babka and butternut squash lasagna. Orders open now on Tock.
As anticipated, Wise Sons Deli has a full menu available for Hanukkah. The popular bagel-maker not only has holiday classics including challah, matzo balls and broth, latkes, and roasted brisket available but there’s also the option to have them bundle it up for you. The $118 brisket dinner feeds four with braided challah, roasted brisket, potato latkes with applesauce and sour cream, and winter vegetables. And don’t forget to add on some sweets; there’s frozen sufganiyot, plus a box stuffed with cinnamon or chocolate babka, assorted rugelach, and chocolate chip cookies. Orders can be placed on the Wise Sons website and will be available for pick up at various locations throughout the Bay Area.
Oren’s Hummus is celebrating Hanukkah with a meal for two that offers all the essentials: matzah ball soup, beet salad, a one-pound brisket with roasted potatoes, latkes with creme fraiche and apple sauce, and sufganiyot. Pre-orders for the $80 Hanukkah meal close on Wednesday, November 24 at 6 p.m. and are available on the Oren’s Hummus website.
Claremont Club & Spa is taking all the fuss out of hosting a Hanukkah feast with family-size dinners packages including the $225 beef brisket dinner that feeds 4 to 6 people. It includes a slow-braised brisket, of course, plus matzo ball soup, apple cider glazed roasted vegetables, and sugar-dusted sufganiyot filled with strawberry jam. The meal kit is available Sunday, November 28 through Monday, December 6, and should be pre-ordered on the East Bay Provisions website.
And if you’re looking for some sweet gifts, try Afikomen in Berkeley’s Elmwood district. The Judaica shop has “guilt-free gelt,” or golden chocolate coins made with fair trade cocoa grown by family farmers in Ghana, plus candles, menorahs, and toys.