This year, Hanukkah will be celebrated from sundown on December 18 to sundown on Monday, December 26. Thankfully, with new weekly COVID cases at the lowest they’ve been in San Francisco through all of 2022, it’s okay to have a party with your people (granted, it still doesn’t hurt to continue to take COVID- and flu-season safe measures during the holiday celebration season). All this to say: the festival of lights, and the accompanying feast of dedication, is on in a big way in the Bay Area this year.
No matter how you’re celebrating in the Bay Area, there are myriad options for dining out, taking food home, or having your latkes delivered. Especially given the last few years, coming together around familiar dishes and friendly faces feels more important than ever.
Make reservations at these restaurants
In the Marina, Maybeck’s is under relatively new ownership and offering a robust dine-in dinner for Hanukkah. The menu — available Tuesday, December 20 through Friday, December 23 — costs $85 per person and includes chicken matzo ball soup, latkes with smoked salmon, pickled beets, and shaved fennel brisket pot-au-feu, plus cinnamon apple cake with Calvados ice cream for dessert. A special Manischewitz Spritz will be offered throughout the holiday. Reservations are available online or by calling the restaurant at 415-400-8500.
Over in the Castro, a Spanish-inspired Hanukkah tradition continues with Canela’s prix fixe menu. The four-course menu costs $69 and includes mixed vegetable latkes full of potato, chard, zucchini, and butternut squash with sides of apple compote and labneh — they’re vegetarian and gluten-free with the option to remove dairy. Other courses include a poached sea bass filet, chopped salad with chickpeas, and an almond and olive oil cake with Meyer lemon syrup. An optional fifth course of duck with onion and potatoes costs an additional $45. For those looking to go out, the menu is featured at Canela from Sunday, December 18 to Friday, December 23. You can also get the whole deal to-go on Sunday, December 18 with pick-up from 3 to 5 p.m.
On Piedmont Avenue, Pomella will offer dinner on the first night of Hanukkah, Sunday, December 18, from 6 to 8 p.m. Situated on the heated patio, the kick-off dinner will feature a ceremonial menorah lighting, latkes, and doughnuts.
Order ahead from these spots
Wise Sons Delicatessen will offer its challah, matzo balls and broth, latkes, and roasted brisket, not unlike in years past. A four-person brisket dinner and a four-person roast chicken dinner are both available, as is a 12-person pastry box including chocolate babka, rugelach, and chocolate chip cookies. There are plenty of a la carte options ranging from apple sauce sides to a half-dozen latkes to braided challah to chicken broth. This year, the pick-up locations include the Mission District, SoMa, Fillmore, and Temescal stores between December 18 and December 24. Delivery is available starting at $26, and all orders must be placed by 9 a.m. two days prior to pickup or delivery.
In Berkeley, Saul’s will have, as of December 18, a candle-lighting party with a klezmer band in the street. The shop’s annual latke tent will be on-site, an opportunity to walk right up and buy latkes without having to pre-order, on December 18, 19, and 24. The store sells latkes every day of the year, yes, but its latke batter and Hanukkah candles will be available as of December 17, too. The shop’s house-made sufganiyot this year are available starting December 6 and for pre-order. Its routine offerings of Jewish fare — brisket, matzo ball soup, and everything in between — will be available for dine-in, to-go, and catering. Going to Saul’s website to place an order is the best move, or just call the restaurant during business hours.
Grand Bakery, one of the Bay Area’s favorite kosher bakeries, pumps out sufganiyot just for Hanukkah: all fully kosher, pareve, and made from scratch each year. Those will be available for pre-order from its website and a few retail partners including Mollie Stone’s, Afikomen Judaica, and Andronico’s. Hanukkah sugar cookies will be available to order, too.
Where to go for dine-in or takeout
At the Embarcadero’s One Market, temporary New York-style Jewish delicatessen pop-up Mark ‘n Mike’s has gone permanent. Though available every day, One Market is offering eight latkes in honor of the eight days of Hanukkah. The Festival of Latkes runs from December 1 to December 23 and will be available for lunch and dinner. A few options include the Philly cheesesteak latke of roast beef, caramelized onion, and provolone; a Florentine latke with a poached egg, sauteed spinach, and hollandaise; and a wild mushroom latke with Emmental cheese, creme fraiche, and chives. Pastrami Reubens and matzo ball soups are on deck, too.
In Noe Valley, Brad Levy holds it down with his Hanukkah menu at Firefly every year — specifically, the gluten-free latkes and brisket are always in high demand. And not far away there’s Delfina, recently retrofitted to combine the main restaurant and the pizza outlet. The stellar latkes will be for sale ($38 for a dozen) starting December 1, with pre-orders starting November 20, for pickup from Delfina Restaurant, all Pizzeria Delfina locations, and Mill Valley Market. Delfina fries their latkes in duck fat and sells them in packages with a pear quince conserva ($16) made in partnership with the (somewhat notorious) jam makers at Sqirl plus creme fraiche ($8). The full package — the latkes, conserva, and creme fraiche — is available for $58, and another option is available with all the aforementioned items plus candles and a dreidel for $79.
Take these meals home
Che Fico is doubling down on its stunning offerings from last year with a robust set of offerings, all to-go. The Hanukkah brisket dinner, which feeds four, costs $250 and includes 16 potato latkes with heirloom apple sauce and house-made sour cream, braised brisket, a winter salad, roasted carrots, sesame challah, Hanukkah gelt — and a choice of a bottle of Lambrusco or nonalcoholic beverage. And that’s just one of the deals; the vegetarian Hanukkah dinner, also for four, runs $225 and includes the same items listed above but with a butternut squash lasagna rather than brisket.
You can also buy just the braised brisket for $95, just the butternut squash lasagna for $75, just the salad for $42, the 16 latkes and sides for $56, or just the sesame challah for $18. Last, though certainly not least, is the gianduja babka, a chocolate hazelnut riff on the dish, for $35. Orders go live on November 18 via Tock with the last date to order on December 13 (or until sold out) and a pick-up date on December 18.
Though a few favorite local businesses have yet to release this year’s deals, there will certainly be classic offerings at a number of Bay Area perennial favorites. The Mission District and Inner Sunset staple Arizmendi’s Bakery will offer sufganiyot for pre-order, the jelly-filled treats a staple for so many’s yearly celebrations. Donut Savant in Oakland is a must-try for sufganiyot, too, and is well-loved by its die-hard fans in the East Bay; the same goes for Pomella’s renditions of the treat. Afikomen in Berkeley, which offered “guilt-free gelt” last year, will no doubt have some offerings; at the beginning of November, the Elmwood district outlet just released a tart cherry halva.
And when it comes to bagels, there are truly dozens of options. A few highlights include decade-old Beauty’s kettle-boiled bagels in Oakland, available for pickup and delivery. For a more modern twist, Midnite Bagels, which is on its way out but still available on the weekend for the time being, offers sourdough bagels with all kinds of shmears. This year, Market Street will offer a knotty babka, with chocolate ganache and black sesame seeds. Call or email to place an order for the holidays.