Historically, Jewish-American and vegan foods haven’t mixed. While Sephardic and Mizrahi cuisines have long offered delicious plant-based options, the heavy influence of Ashkinanzi culture on Jewish food in America means meat often dominates the menu. But that’s changing with restaurants like Ben and Esther’s in San Diego.
Named after the founder’s grandparents, this 100% vegan deli serves up plant-based versions of the classic sandwiches you’d find at places like Canter’s, as well as a variety of Jewish staples like latkes and matzo ball soup. If you’re lucky, you may catch one of their amazing specials like a challah “egg” and “cheese.”
The number of people eating vegan and vegetarian diets or just trying to cut back on meat has skyrocketed. Given Judaism’s commitment to environmental issues and mindful eating, it’s no surprise that the trend pertains to our community as well. But that’s no reason to give up the foods that are such a major part of the Jewish-American experience. Ben and Esther’s also has locations in Portland and Seattle, and the owners have expressed interest in opening a location in Los Angeles.
Check out their menu here: