Every year, San Francisco diners flock to local restaurants for Hanukkah dinners with juicy brisket and crispy latkes topped with creme fraiche or apple sauce. High-end restaurants, cozy neighborhood favorites, and longtime bakeries are all lighting the menorah this year because sometimes gathering with loved ones for an edifying meal can feel like the most important thing in the world.
Plus, Jewish food in the Bay Area has never been so exceptional. Hadeem has taken the region by storm with inventive babka and fine dining sensibilities, while Loquat serves halwa with espresso and myriad decadent pastries from the diaspora. Bagel makers from Daily Driver to Boichik to Poppy are reaching new heights every day, as longtime classics such as Saul’s and Grand hold it down in the East Bay.
Here are a whole host of ways to celebrate Hanukkah in the Bay Area this holiday season.
Make Hanukkah reservations at these restaurants
There are plenty of options for a celebratory Hanukkah dinner in San Francisco, but something a bit ritzier is always a plus. At Market Street’s Canela, owner and chef Mat Schuster will prepare a fixed menu of timeless homestyle Hanukkah classics from December 7 to December 15. Think potato latkes, soupy arroz caldoso, white fish filet, poached potatoes, and labneh and sesame. Dessert is a black and white challah bread pudding, tres leches, and a medley of dark and white chocolate. An optional fifth course of slow-cooked beef brisket and veggies is available, too. The menu costs $59 per person plus $12.95 for three latkes with sour cream and apple sauce; vegetarian substitutions are available.
In Oakland, Pomella chef Mica Talmor will partner with local food makers and musicians to offer various specials for every day of Hanukkah, in addition to the regular menu. Come to the heated outdoor patio on the first night of Hanukkah for the ceremonial lighting of the menorah — plus donuts from Donut Savant. More details and a full listing of pop-up vendors will be posted in the coming weeks on the restaurant’s website.
Order your Hanukkah meal ahead here
Berkeley’s Saul’s, now under new ownership, will sell its usual spread for the holiday — but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t order ahead, as this longtime business gets flooded with orders every year. Latke batter and Hanukkah candles will be available for sale alongside seasonal latke bundles. Dine-in, to-go, and catering are all options, and going to Saul’s website to place an order is the best move, or simply call the restaurant during business hours.
San Francisco-raised Wise Sons is teaming up with Beauty’s Bagel Shop this year to create titanic offerings throughout the Bay Area. From December 7 to December 15, a huge combo menu of a la carte items including sufganiyot, matzo balls, rugelach, and more is available for delivery, starting at $26. A brisket dinner for four costs $142.50 and a roast chicken dinner costs $105.50. Orders must be placed at least two days in advance online.
Grand Bakery, a staple East Bay kosher bakery, will sell all the usual items, even if the bakery is up for sale for a buck. Orders of challah, sufganiyot, Hamentashen cookies, and more can be picked up on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Here are options for dine-in or takeout
While no less elegant, Bay Area restaurants also offer dinners for taking home or enjoying in a bit more of a casual setting. In Noe Valley, Brad Levy of Firefly continues his Hanukkah tradition with a full Hanukkah menu including gluten-free latkes and brisket as the business celebrates its 30th birthday. The restaurant is open Tuesday through Saturday and the holiday offerings begin on December 8.
The Financial District’s One Market Restaurant will highlight caviar. Chef Mark Dommen’s caviar latke aims to be a hit alongside items like the amuse latke served with avocado. The restaurant’s Hanukkah Festival of Latke offerings include both items, alongside a three-course dinner featuring the signature Mark ‘n Mike’s Matzo Ball Soup — a blend of chicken consommé, celery, carrot, and fresh parsley. There’s a 12 hour-smoked brisket for the main course and sufganiyot for dessert. This menu costs $59 per person and is available for dine-in or takeout, unrelated to the Festival of Latke offerings.
These restaurants are serving Hannukah at home
Divisadero Street’s Che Fico remains a thunderously good deal for Hanukkah in the city. The restaurant’s brisket dinner — a cornucopia of 16 potato latkes with apple sauce and sour cream, braised brisket, winter salad, roasted carrots, sesame challah, and Hanukkah gelt — costs $275, including a bottle of Lambrusco or a nonalcoholic beverage. A vegetarian rendition, subbing butternut squash lasagna for brisket, goes for $250. A la carte ordering, including brisket for $105 and butternut squash lasagna for $85, amongst other items, is available, too. Everything is available to order via Tock through December 4, with pickup on December 7 from 2 to 5 p.m.
Mission District staple Delfina is selling one dozen flash-frozen latkes for $38. There’s also a $54 offering of one dozen flash-frozen latkes, an eight-ounce tub of creme fraiche, and a pear quince conserva. Most festively, the $75 option includes the same fare plus 45 beeswax Hanukkah candles and a dreidel. In addition, “Gingrass Smoked” Steelhead Lox by David Gingrass can be purchased for $12. Pre-orders are already up online and will be available until they sell out.
When it comes to ordering lighter fare, Midnite Bagel, the San Francisco favorite for sourdough bagels, is selling its slate of doughnuts and granolas — and a new sourdough challah — for 15 percent off using the company’s website for preorders. In the East Bay, Donut Savant keeps things steady with maple bars and cinnamon rolls.