There’s no question that food plays a major part in Jewish culture. From Shabbat challah to Hanukkah latkes to any number of Passover-friendly matzah creations, it seems like every special day in Jewish life is marked by food (or lack of it). And it goes so far beyond our holidays. Judaism has a rich culinary history, and partaking in it is a great way for Jews by Choice to feel connected.
If you live in Southern California, you’re in luck. There’s no shortage of delicious Jewish eateries, including delis, Israeli restaurants, and even a few plant-based options. Here are some of our favorites.
Disclaimer: Not all of the options on this list are Kosher.
When you think of Jewish-American food, you think of the classic deli. Reubens, pastrami, and matzo ball soup are all on the menu at Canter’s, which has been an LA institution since 1931. While it’s not a kosher restaurant, it will hit that comfort-food craving.
- Bo.Re.Kas - Sherman Oaks - OK Certified
Far too often, Ashkenazi food captures the spotlight for Jewish cuisine. Bo.Re.Kas, a newer restaurant exclusively serving bourekas, is changing that. Bourekas are a Sephardic pastry filled with anything from cheese to chocolate. This spot is open from 9am to sell-out, so get there early.
- Ta-eem Grill - West Hollywood - RCC Certified
TimeOut magazine put it best when they said “It’s not hard to find falafel in Los Angeles…but man, is it hard to find great falafel…Enter Ta-eem Grill.” Many different cultures lay claim to falafel, but there’s no doubt that it’s a well-loved dish is Jewish cuisine. Of course, you can also order other Mediterranean classics like chicken shawarma and beef kabobs.
- Ben and Esther’s - San Diego w/ an LA location on the way
Historically, Jewish-American and vegan cuisines haven’t mixed, but that’s been changing. Ben and Esther’s is a 100% vegan Jewish deli with several locations in California and the PNW. From brisket sandwiches to challah egg n cheese, they’ve brought the classic NYC experience to a plant-based crowd. While not certified kosher, there is no meat or dairy in the kitchen.
- Maury’s Bagels - Echo Park/Silver Lake
If you’ve spent any time online in Jewish spaces, you will likely see people from the east coast teasing California about our bagel situation. I will give them one concession: We do not have a cheap bagel shop on every corner. But that doesn’t mean we don’t do bagels! Maury’s has some of the best bagels the Golden State has to offer, plus other classics like challah and noodle kugel. While it’s not kosher certified, the kitchen only serves dairy and fish.