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Round raisin challah from Wise Sons Wise Sons

Where to Nosh on Jewish Food in San Francisco and the East Bay

From meaty reubens and bagels and lox to creamy hummus and crispy falafel

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The term “Jewish food” means different things to different people — for some, that means “kosher,” so any dishes non-compliant with Jewish law are out of the question. To others, hummus and pita are the food of their people, and still others think that East Coast deli fare is the food expression of their roots. We have great examples of all those aspects of the culture here, from restaurants to delis to bakeries, crispy falafel and meaty reubens to chewy bagels and crumbly babka. In other words, you’ll never lack for options when it comes to complaining that either New Yorkers or your grandma made it better ... then eating every bite with gusto. Read on for 11 sweet spots to find Jewish food in San Francisco, Oakland, and Berkeley.

Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; the latest data about the delta variant indicates that it may pose a low-to-moderate risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial transmission. The latest CDC guidance is here; find a COVID-19 vaccination site here.

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Hummus Bodega

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Hummus Bodega’s housemade hummus only lasts a few days after purchase, something that dismayed purchasers until they learned that tiny consumption window means it’s fresh. The all-kosher spot also serves Frena’s fantastic pita, and a selection of falafel sandwiches and bowls.

Wise Sons Bagel & Bakery

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Evan Bloom’s new school 24th Street Jewish delicatessen has spawned a growing bagel empire that’s now operating in the Fillmore, Hayes Valley, and the East Bay. Would these bagels compete with New York’s finest? Probably not, but in these parts, they don’t have to — and a dozen with schmear or a bodega egg and cheese will do just fine, thanks.

There’s lots to choose from on both the sweet and savory side at SF’s only kosher bakery. There’s various challah, pita, buns, sambusak (pockets), flavored foccacias, bagels, and burekas (puff pastry), plus babka, rugelach, sufganiyot (doughnuts), and more. Israeli owners Isaac Yosef and head chef/baker Yanni (no last name given) use recipes from Yanni’s great grandfather, who owned a bakery in Jerusalem.

Limonnana Glatt Kosher Mediterranean

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Limonnana’s all-kosher menu features Mediterranean favorites like falafel and shawarma as well as wilder options like a hot dog–stuffed pita dressed with hummus and tahini.

Oren's Hummus

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Spun off from Tel Aviv native Oren Dobronsky and his wife Nancy Dobronsky’s Palo Alto original, Israeli eatery Oren’s Hummus is a popular downtown spot for a big bowl of hummus with toppings like roasted cauliflower, lamb, chicken liver, or sabich (with fried eggplant, potato, hardboiled egg, cucumber, tomato, and chopped pickle). More dishes include shakshuka varieties and even schnitzel.

Mark 'n Mike's NY Style Deli at One Market Restaurant

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Mark ’n Mike’s first launched as a New York deli–inspired pop-up during the pandemic, serving 12-hour smoked brisket, pastrami reubens, lox, and matzo ball soup. And fortunately, even when One Market reopened for full service in spring of 2021, the team decided to keep the meaty menu available for takeout, delivery, and on-site dining at the restaurant.

Mark ‘n Mikes at One Market Hardy Wilson

Saul's Restaurant & Deli

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Saul's is your classic Jewish delicatessen. Whether you’re in the mood for a quick nosh, or just want to pick up some chopped liver by the pound, Saul’s has what you need. Pastrami, corned beef on rye, matzoh ball soup, and pickles, lots of pickles, are the stars of the show, though breakfast does have the allure of challah French toast.

Pomella

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Chef Mica Talmor previously owned the popular Ba-Bite, before opening the new Pomella in March of 2020, no less. The Cal-Israeli restaurant celebrates many different Middle Eastern flavors in dreamy hummus, cheese-stuffed falafel, salads and wraps, and chicken and veggie tagines. And she often sets out special seasonal menus for the Jewish holidays.

photo by Lydia Daniller

Boichik Bagels

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Boichik opened its highly anticipated storefront bakery on College Ave in 2019, and immediately drew long lines for Emily Winston’s puffed, chewy, serious bagels. The bakery is all about East Coast style, right down to kosher certification for its menu of bagels, bialys, and smoked fish.

Oakland Kosher Foods

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Longtime supermarket Oakland Kosher Foods has recently expanded, and with that expansion comes a New York–style deli with a menu of sandwiches, shawarma, and a truly epic schnitzel situation.

Grand Bakery

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Oakland’s oldest kosher bakery goes back more than 60 years in Grand Lake, but Sam Tobis stepped in as a young and hungry UC Berkeley grad in 2017, firing up the ovens as a wholesale operation. There’s no official storefront, but you can order the challah and honey cake for pickup and delivery, or find them at the Food Mill or other markets

Bagels and cream cheese at Grand Bakery Oakland Grand Bakery

Hummus Bodega

Hummus Bodega’s housemade hummus only lasts a few days after purchase, something that dismayed purchasers until they learned that tiny consumption window means it’s fresh. The all-kosher spot also serves Frena’s fantastic pita, and a selection of falafel sandwiches and bowls.

Wise Sons Bagel & Bakery

Evan Bloom’s new school 24th Street Jewish delicatessen has spawned a growing bagel empire that’s now operating in the Fillmore, Hayes Valley, and the East Bay. Would these bagels compete with New York’s finest? Probably not, but in these parts, they don’t have to — and a dozen with schmear or a bodega egg and cheese will do just fine, thanks.

Frena

There’s lots to choose from on both the sweet and savory side at SF’s only kosher bakery. There’s various challah, pita, buns, sambusak (pockets), flavored foccacias, bagels, and burekas (puff pastry), plus babka, rugelach, sufganiyot (doughnuts), and more. Israeli owners Isaac Yosef and head chef/baker Yanni (no last name given) use recipes from Yanni’s great grandfather, who owned a bakery in Jerusalem.

Limonnana Glatt Kosher Mediterranean

Limonnana’s all-kosher menu features Mediterranean favorites like falafel and shawarma as well as wilder options like a hot dog–stuffed pita dressed with hummus and tahini.

Oren's Hummus

Spun off from Tel Aviv native Oren Dobronsky and his wife Nancy Dobronsky’s Palo Alto original, Israeli eatery Oren’s Hummus is a popular downtown spot for a big bowl of hummus with toppings like roasted cauliflower, lamb, chicken liver, or sabich (with fried eggplant, potato, hardboiled egg, cucumber, tomato, and chopped pickle). More dishes include shakshuka varieties and even schnitzel.

Mark 'n Mike's NY Style Deli at One Market Restaurant

Mark ’n Mike’s first launched as a New York deli–inspired pop-up during the pandemic, serving 12-hour smoked brisket, pastrami reubens, lox, and matzo ball soup. And fortunately, even when One Market reopened for full service in spring of 2021, the team decided to keep the meaty menu available for takeout, delivery, and on-site dining at the restaurant.

Mark ‘n Mikes at One Market Hardy Wilson

Saul's Restaurant & Deli

Saul's is your classic Jewish delicatessen. Whether you’re in the mood for a quick nosh, or just want to pick up some chopped liver by the pound, Saul’s has what you need. Pastrami, corned beef on rye, matzoh ball soup, and pickles, lots of pickles, are the stars of the show, though breakfast does have the allure of challah French toast.

Pomella

Chef Mica Talmor previously owned the popular Ba-Bite, before opening the new Pomella in March of 2020, no less. The Cal-Israeli restaurant celebrates many different Middle Eastern flavors in dreamy hummus, cheese-stuffed falafel, salads and wraps, and chicken and veggie tagines. And she often sets out special seasonal menus for the Jewish holidays.

photo by Lydia Daniller

Boichik Bagels

Boichik opened its highly anticipated storefront bakery on College Ave in 2019, and immediately drew long lines for Emily Winston’s puffed, chewy, serious bagels. The bakery is all about East Coast style, right down to kosher certification for its menu of bagels, bialys, and smoked fish.

Oakland Kosher Foods

Longtime supermarket Oakland Kosher Foods has recently expanded, and with that expansion comes a New York–style deli with a menu of sandwiches, shawarma, and a truly epic schnitzel situation.

Grand Bakery

Oakland’s oldest kosher bakery goes back more than 60 years in Grand Lake, but Sam Tobis stepped in as a young and hungry UC Berkeley grad in 2017, firing up the ovens as a wholesale operation. There’s no official storefront, but you can order the challah and honey cake for pickup and delivery, or find them at the Food Mill or other markets

Bagels and cream cheese at Grand Bakery Oakland Grand Bakery

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