This year, Hanukkah will be celebrated from sunset December 18 to sunset Monday December 26. Luckily, with new weekly COVID cases at the lowest they’ve been in San Francisco throughout 2022, it’s okay to party with your folks (okay, it still doesn’t hurt to continue to take COVID and flu safety measures during the holiday season). All that to say: the Festival of Lights, and the accompanying autograph party, are going big in the Bay Area this year.
However you celebrate in the Bay Area, there are myriad options to dine out, take food home, or have your latkes delivered. Especially in recent years, gathering around familiar dishes and friendly faces seems more important than ever.
Book at these restaurants
In the marina, Maybeck’s is under a relatively new owner and offers solid on-site dining for Hanukkah. The menu — available Tuesday, Dec. 20 through Friday, Dec. 23 — costs $85 per person and includes chicken matzo meatball soup, smoked salmon latkes, pickled beets and a pot-au-feu of shaved fennel breast, as well as a cinnamon apple cake with Calvados cream ice cream for dessert. A special Manischewitz Spritz will be offered throughout the holiday. Reservations are available online or by calling the restaurant at 415-400-8500.
At Castro, a Spanish-inspired Hanukkah tradition continues with Canela’s prix fixe menu. The four-course menu costs $69 and includes mixed vegetable latkes full of potatoes, chard, zucchini and butternut squash with sides of applesauce and labneh — they’re vegetarian and gluten-free with the option to eliminate dairy products. Other dishes include poached sea bass fillet, chopped salad with chickpeas, and almond and olive oil cake with Meyer lemon syrup. An optional fifth course of duck with onions and potatoes is an additional $45. For those looking to go out, the menu is presented at Canela from Sunday December 18th to Friday December 23rd. You can also get the whole thing to go on Sunday, December 18 with pick-up from 3-5 p.m.
On Piedmont Avenue, Pomella will be offering dinner on the first night of Hanukkah, Sunday, December 18, from 6-8 p.m. Located on the heated terrace, the launch dinner will include ceremonial lighting of the menorah, latkes and donuts.
Order ahead at these locations
Wise Sons Delicatessen will offer its challah, matzo dumplings and broth, latkes and roast brisket, just like a few years ago. A brisket dinner for four and a roast chicken dinner for four are both available, as is a box of pastries for 12 including chocolate babka, rugelach and chocolate chip cookies. There are plenty of a la carte options ranging from sides of apple sauce and half a dozen latkes to braided challah and chicken broth. This year, pick-up points include Mission District, SoMa, Fillmore and Temescal stores between December 18 and 24. Delivery is available from $26 and all orders must be placed by 9:00 a.m. two days prior to pickup or delivery. .
In Berkeley, Saul’s will organize, from December 18, a candlelight evening with a group of klezmer music in the street. The shop’s annual latke tent will be on site, an opportunity to pitch and buy latkes without having to pre-order, on December 18, 19 and 24. The store sells latkes every day of the year, yes, but it’s Latke batter and Hanukkah candles will also be available from December 17th. The shop’s homemade sufganiyot this year are available from December 6 and for pre-order. Its usual Jewish fare offerings — beef brisket, matzo dumpling soup and everything in between — will be available for dine-in, take-out and catering. Going to Saul’s website to place an order is the best solution, or just calling the restaurant during office hours.
Grand Bakery, one of the Bay Area’s favorite kosher bakeries, produces sufganiyot just for Hanukkah: all completely kosher, pareve, and made from scratch every year. These will be available for pre-order on its website and at a few retail partners, including Mollie Stone’s, Afikomen Judaica and Andronico’s. Hanukkah sugar cookies will also be available to order.
Where to eat in or take away
At the Embarcadero’s One Market, the temporary New York-style Mark ‘n Mike’s Jewish deli pop-up has become permanent. Although available daily, One Market offers eight latkes in honor of the eight days of Hanukkah. The Latkes Festival runs from December 1 to December 23 and will be available for lunch and dinner. A few options include the Philly cheesesteak latke of roast beef, caramelized onion and provolone; a Florentine latke with a poached egg, sautéed spinach and Hollandaise sauce; and a wild mushroom latke with emmental cheese, fresh cream and chives. Pastrami Reubens and matzo dumpling soups are also on deck.
In Noe Valley, Brad Levy holds his own with his Hanukkah menu at Firefly every year – in particular, the gluten-free latkes and brisket are always in high demand. And not far from there is Delfina, recently refurbished to combine the main restaurant and the pizzeria. Stellar latkes go on sale ($38 for a dozen) starting Dec. 1, with pre-orders starting Nov. 20, for pickup at Restaurant Delfina, all Pizzeria Delfina locations, and Mill Valley Market. Delfina fry their latkes in duck fat and sell them in packages with a can of pear and quince ($16) made in partnership with the (somewhat notorious) jam makers at Sqirl plus crème fraîche ($8 ). The full package — the latkes, conserva, and creme fraiche — is available for $58, and another option is available with all of the aforementioned items plus candles and a dreidel for $79.
Take these meals home
Che Fico is doubling down on its amazing offerings from last year with a set of robust, all-to-go deals. The Hanukkah brisket dinner, which feeds four people, costs $250 and includes 16 potato latkes with heirloom apple sauce and homemade sour cream, braised brisket, a winter salad, roasted carrots, sesame challah, gelt of Hanukkah – and a choice of a bottle of Lambrusco or soft drink. And that’s just one of the deals; the vegetarian Hanukkah dinner, also for four, is $225 and includes the same items listed above, but with butternut squash lasagna rather than brisket.
You can also buy just the braised brisket for $95, the butternut squash lasagna for $75, the salad for $42, all 16 latkes and sides for $56, or just the sesame challah for $18. Last, but certainly not least, is the gianduja babka, a fried chocolate and hazelnut riff, for $35. Orders will go live on November 18 via Tock with the last order date on December 13 (or while supplies last) and a pickup date on December 18.
While a few favorite local businesses have yet to release this year’s deals, there are sure to be some classic deals at a number of perennial Bay Area favorites. Arizmendi’s Bakery, a Mission District and Inner Sunset staple, will be offering pre-order sufganiyot, the jelly-filled treats are a staple for so many’s annual celebrations. Donut Savant in Oakland is also a staple for sufganiyot, and is well-loved by its die-hard East Bay fans; the same goes for Pomella’s interpretations of the treat. Afikomen in Berkeley, which offered the “guilt-free gelt” last year, will no doubt have offerings; In early November, the Elmwood District outlet just released a tart cherry halva.
And when it comes to bagels, there really are dozens of options. Highlights include Beauty’s decade-old kettle-boiled bagels in Oakland, available for pickup and delivery. For a more modern twist, Midnite Bagels, which is on its way out but still available on weekends for now, offers sourdough bagels with all kinds of shmears. This year, Market Street will be offering a knotty babka, with chocolate ganache and black sesame seeds. Call or email to place an order for the holidays.