The San Francisco Bay Area region plays host to wonderful, indulgent restaurants and bakeries well-suited for Jewish diners. That means kosher food for the day-to-day and specialty items for the holidays, like sufganiyot for Hanukkah. But, there are restaurants that celebrate Passover, the Jewish holiday honoring the plight of Israelites leaving ancient Egypt. This year, Passover is observed from April 5 to 13. But this is the Bay Area, after all, which means it’s not just run-of-the-mill matzoh ball soup and brisket on the table — though there are also standard bearers like Saul’s in Berkeley, Oakland Kosher Foods, and Noe Valley’s Firefly who hold it down year after year. Here are just a few of the ways to celebrate Passover in the Bay Area in 2023.
Che Fico Alimentari, little sibling to upstairs’ Che Fico, has abundant meals to go. The restaurant has the classics covered, including braised brisket, chicory salad, roasted potatoes, braised cabbage, and matzoh crackers. There’s even a citrus almond cake and choices of red wine or a non-alcoholic beverage to round out that seder dinner. There are three ways to order: a $250 dinner for four, a $225 vegetarian dinner for four, or a la carte options. Make sure to place an order for any of the meals or dishes before Sunday, April 2 through Tock.
Chef Mica Talmor opened this Cal-Israeli restaurant in Oakland at the beginning of 2020 and is now hosting its first community seder to begin the Passover celebration, where guests will sit at communal tables with family-style food. San Francisco chef Aliza Grayevsky Somekh from Bishulim will join Talmor in guiding diners — including non-Jewish diners, too — through the script and story of the holiday. The menu will include matzoh ball soup, lamb meatball tagine, potato kugel, and vegetarian stuffed artichoke bottoms. Pistachio pavlova with rose cream and fruit compote comes last for a decadent dessert. The event is on Thursday, April 6 at 5:30 p.m. and costs $85 per person, wine included.
Reservations can be made online, and meanwhile, the restaurant will also offer pick-up Passover meals, too. Items include an “everything but the plate” Seder plate, Moroccan-style salmon, lamb meatball tagine, and more. Pre-orders end on Thursday, March 30 and pickup is on April 4 and 5, so place those orders online sooner rather than later.
Back in San Francisco, One Market Restaurant will offer its four-course dinner for dine-in, pick-up, and delivery between April 4 and 8. The $65 meal begins with matzoh ball soup, pickled king salmon, 12-hour smoked brisket with onion jus, and ends with a flourless chocolate cake. There’s an optional chopped chicken liver appetizer, too. For kids, the dinner is half-price with half-portions. All those dishes are available a la carte, as well. The eponymously named business is located right by the BART station for anyone coming from outside the city. Reservations can be made online.
Also on Market Street, Canela always has something to offer for Jewish holidays. For Passover, the restaurant is offering a $69 four-course meal, with an optional $45 wine pairing. The first dish is a Passover plate featuring pecan charoset, followed by a matzoh ball soup, then a fish filet with fried artichokes. The final course is a flourless chocolate cake with a roasted pineapple coulis, and there’s an optional lamb chop course for an additional $25. Reservations can be made through OpenTable.
Now that this Mission District restaurant is reopened in a big, beautiful way, co-owners Annie and Craig Stoll will host the 24th Passover menu at their almost-25-year-old business. There are 13 different items on the prix fixe menu, though the restaurant won’t serve each item every night. Just a few of those dishes include a Seder plate antipasti misti, cream cheese-everything arancini, burnt flour radiatore with lamb and peas, poppyseed pavlova with rhubarb conserva, and the Stoll family’s matzoh ball soup. Delfina Pizzeria locations will serve the matzoh ball soup, too, which comes frozen and ready to reheat. These dishes are available from April 5 to 8, from 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. each night, and reservations are required.
According to Craig, his riff on matzoh ball soup is actually thanks to mistranslation from the back of a prepackaged matzoh box. His grandmother’s housekeeper, and in turn his mother, made the soup with walnut — not a traditional ingredient. When the restaurateur was living in San Francisco, he asked his mom for the recipe. She told him, “I don’t know, look on the box.” Their family’s reliable matzoh box tells customers to form balls into the size of a walnut; his grandmother’s housekeeper thought to add the walnut itself. But, all these years later, the cook thinks the walnuts are well-worth adding, so he kept the recipe as it was.