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America's 10 Best Jewish Delis

America's 10 Best Jewish Delis


Corned beef, pastrami, matzoh ball soup, and chopped liver are just a few staples on any Jewish deli menu. While these menu items might appear on all menus in the Jewish deli food scene — not all delis get it right.

America's 10 Best Jewish Delis (Slideshow)

Many quality Jewish delis throughout the United States are family-run and operated restaurants that have stood the test of time. Their meats are homemade, their matzoh ball soup draws crowds, and their overall attention to quality and detail make them standouts in the American food scene and often the most sought out places to grab a sandwich while traveling to a new city. Another defining factor of a great Jewish deli is a very large, very extensive menu with what seems like endless combinations and offerings.

While Meg Ryan’s infamous scene in When Harry Met Sally might be a bit of an overstatement, the food at Katz’s Delicatessen in New York City is something worth screaming about. The charm of this landmark deli, that’s been the backdrop for many a movie scene, is the complimentary slice of corned beef or pastrami while you order, in case you’re swayed either way due to their intense, yet different flavor profiles.

In Ann Arbor, Mich., crowds have been flocking to Zingerman’s Deli, opened by Paul Saginaw and Ari Weinzweig in a historic building near the Ann Arbor Farmers’ Market in 1982. The delis widespread sandwich menu might seem overwhelming to new visitors, but also encourages guests to sample the products before purchasing — it even allows a sampling of its $200 olive oil. All of its bread is homemade in its bakery, creating a freshness for its sandwiches that is hard to beat.

Shapiro’s Kosher-style Deli in Indianapolis, Ind. has been open for 107 years and delights customers with its matzoh ball and chicken noodle soup as well as its smoked pickled tongue. Their corned beef comes from Vienna Beef in Chicago and the pastrami is shipped in from the Universe in Brooklyn, New York.

New Jersey’s Harold’s Delicatessen brings the traditional aspects of the Jewish deli to life and then super-sizes everything and anything. Meals and sandwiches are meant to be shared here and it is home to the world’s largest pickle bar. It also has a stellar cold smoked fish menu including sandwiches and platters to share.

The Daily Meal compiled its list of America’s Best Jewish Delis by taking into account the popularity and overall importance of how each restaurant impacts the food scene in their respective towns, as well as the quality of the homemade deli meats and specialties it serves to its loyal constituents.

Have a favorite U.S.-based Jewish deli that didn’t make the cut? Email The Daily Meal to let us know.


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100 years ago, American cities were teeming with bakeries, many of them Jewish-owned. You can still find some of these classic bakery counters in certain corners of the US, and they’re truly worth a visit. What’s more, with renewed interest in made from-scratch baked goods, some of the best Jewish bakeries today aren’t more than 10 years old.

We knew we couldn’t make this list alone, so we asked our fellow foodie friends and fellow bakery-lovers to share their favorites with us. We sifted through their thoughtful recommendations to find the best 11. Let us know if you’d like to see your favorite on the list — we’re always looking for recommendations!

Zak The Baker, Miami

This rainbow-painted bakery and deli makes fresh breads and pastries daily, and offers a kosher and locally-sourced deli menu. It smokes local fish, make trays full of challahs for Shabbat (sold Friday at noon) and is always trying something new!

Breads Bakery, NYC

Israeli baker Uri Scheft and his talented NYC-based team opened Breads Bakery in 2013, becoming famous for what many call the best babka in NYC — which is made with croissant-like dough and swirled with Nutella. The bakery also makes intricately braided challahs (watch the how-to video we made together!) and sweet and savory hamantaschen for Purim. Buy a loaf of bread and then head across the street to the farmer’s market for the perfect cheeses and fruits to pair with it.

Mansoura Bakery, Brooklyn

Mansoura Bakery is the best place for Sephardic Jewish favorites like baklava, kataifi, ma’amoul and basbousa. The family business began hundreds of years ago in Syria, where it was known as the best bakery in Aleppo. In 1961, it opened its doors in Brooklyn after living in Egypt and Paris (read the whole story on Mansoura’s website!). Today, Mansoura bakers still roll out phyllo by hand, and rumor has it that their baklava has 70 layers. Try it — it’s truly life-changing.

Ostrovitsky’s Bakery, Brooklyn

This old-school, kosher bakery counter is one that Brooklynites have been visiting for generations. At Ostrovitsky’s, you can find babkas, challahs, rugelach, hamantaschen for Purim, and sufganiyot (jelly donuts) for Hanukkah.

Chocolate #babka (I already want more)

A post shared by Peggy Gertner (@pegertner) on May 8, 2016 at 2:29pm PDT

Oneg Heimische Bakery, Brooklyn

Head off the beaten Williamsburg trail and wander south down Lee Avenue to take in the sights and sounds of the mom-and-pop shops that line this busy corridor of Hasidic Williamsburg. Oneg Heimische Bakery is known by many for making the best babka in Brooklyn. It’s intricately swirled and filled with dark chocolate in every bite.

from Butterflake.com

Butterflake Bakery, Teaneck, NJ

This old-school bakery has been a kosher standard for decades. Its lemon chiffon cake, meltaways and challah (braided and twisted into intricate shapes) are not to miss.

Tatte Bakery, Boston

Tatte Bakery is one of the “new school” bakeries on the list, which pushes the bakery menu into more innovative, multicultural directions. There’s hand-rolled Jerusalem bagels (with an egg baked into the middle!), glazed pistachio-filled tartlets, pistachio-filled croissants, challah and shakshuka. Take your time noshing in one of their beautifully designed cafes, or take a loaf to go!

Image from Star Bakery’s Google.com profile

Star Bakery, Southfield, MI

Star Bakery has been a Detroit-area favorite since 1915. This might be one of the only places where you can find kichel, a pastry made of egg, flour and sugar that’s baked until puffed. They’re crunchy and sweet and can be eaten as a cookie, or served savory-style with pickled herring.

Three Brothers Bakery, Houston, TX

This old-school bakery might be based in Houston but its roots are in 19th-century Chrzanow, Poland, where the original family bakery was founded. The three Jucker brothers grew up in the 1930s helping out with the family business until the family was sent to a concentration camp in 1941. The three brothers were miraculously liberated in 1945, and they opened their Houston bakery exactly four years later. Today, the bakery still makes traditional Polish Jewish cookies, breads and pastries, which are generally less sweet than American baked goods. Its rye bread is a must-try.

Canter’s Bakery, LA

Since 1931, Canter’s has been perhaps one of the busiest Jewish bakery counters (and deli!) in the US. Twice a day, it bakes babka, apple strudel, sour cream coffeecakes, rugelach, mandelbrot, black-and-white cookies, bagels, rye bread, pumpernickel, challah and more. Its chocolate chip rugelach is award-winning.

Family jewels

A post shared by evan (@schwatz_evan) on Oct 29, 2016 at 3:25pm PDT

Schwartz Bakery, Los Angeles

In 1954, Schwartz Bakery became the first kosher bakery in LA. It’s still rolling out poppy seed strudels, challahs, borekas and danishes every day. This old-school institution is not one to miss if you’re in LA. Like Canter’s (above), it balances the sweet things with classic deli sandwiches on (of course) house-made bread.


America’s 20 Best Jewish Delis

Even though it can trace its roots to the cuisine of Eastern Europe, the Jewish delicatessen is a purely American invention, refined over decades in cities where large populations of Jewish immigrants landed, especially New York City. Today, the Jewish deli canon is set in stone, and certain menu items are mandatory: corned beef, pastrami, brisket, tongue, matzo ball soup, potato pancakes, chopped liver, hot dogs, pickles, knishes. Truly great Jewish delis aren’t too easy to come by outside of a handful of major cities, but these 20 are the best in America.

Jewish deli fare is by and large unabashedly artery-clogging, so its popularity tends to ebb and flow, but two characteristics remain constant: timelessness and deliciousness. As new generations discover the salty, smoky, fatty, briny culinary masterpiece that’s called pastrami for the first time, they claim it as their own and run with it. Legendary establishments like New York’s famed Carnegie Deli close while new restaurants like Atlanta’s The General Muir open, but the Jewish deli, like baseball, endures.

Many of the best delis have changed little since first being opened more than a half-century ago some are more than 100 years old and still family run. Many still make their corned beef and pastrami the old-fashioned way, using recipes handed down by their great grandparents. In the ever-shifting sands of the American culinary landscape, the Jewish deli soldiers on, past the fads and trends. Because at the end of the day, a corned beef sandwich with a pickle and a Dr. Brown’s is still one of the most delicious things you’ll ever eat.


10 New-School Jewish Delicatessens and Eateries

David Sax’s book Save the Deli sounds the alarm about the decline of Jewish delicatessens. But a lot has happened since the best-selling book’s 2009 copyright. There’s new energy — delis are drawing lines that rival ramen spots — and it expands beyond the Big Apple. But one thing that hasn’t changed is how intimidating it can be to open and operate a Jewish deli, because you’re competing with both every deli that came before you and everyone’s bubbe. It’s crucial then to have a point of view and stick to it — whether that’s modernizing menus with nontraditional twists, folding in ethnic fusion, or embracing trends influencing restaurants more broadly, including a back-to-basics attitude. In other words, the hand rolling of bagels is being done not by our ancestors but by 30-somethings in plaid with espresso breath and beards who have trained under the likes of Andrew Carmellini and Joël Robuchon.

Photo courtesy of Wexler's Deli

Atlanta: The General Muir

Flashes of the South find their way into Chef-Owner Todd Ginsberg’s cuisine, which helped earn him consecutive Southeast semifinalist nods from the James Beard Foundation. Take his field pea salad for example — a staple of every neighborhood restaurant with Southern-accented servers. Ginsberg’s version is filled with herbs, salmon roe and creme fraiche, so it simulates a lox platter. Then there are his fried chicken dinners on Fridays that locals throw elbows over. They often feature pastrami-braised collard greens. Ginsberg cites one of the biggest links between Jewish and Southern cuisine as preserving meat, and more specifically, the less prized cuts of meat. While the Emory Point restaurant is pushing the envelope, its name honors the past, as The General Muir is named for the ship that carried partner Jennifer Johnson’s family from Europe to New York in 1949, including her grandparents — Holocaust survivors — and her mother.

Photo courtesy of The General Muir

Brooklyn: Shalom Japan

To know that Jewish and Japanese cuisines are sewn together with care at Shalom Japan, one needs only to dip a spoon into the restaurant's signature dish: matzo ball ramen with foie gras dumplings. This soulful bowl embodies the spirit of the Williamsburg eatery. Married chef-owners Sawako Okochi and Aaron Israel helm the kitchen, which also cranks out wonders such as challah made with lees from the sake brewing process tuna tataki with a Sephardic smear of black tahini and okonomiyaki with all the trappings of a Reuben. General Manager Thierry Mopurgo leads the drink program, which is equally whimsical. Take his Oy Vey Iz Kir for example, which floats Manshevitz instead of a predictable liqueur, or his selection of shochu. “Our cuisine is unique, so most customers are willing if not wanting to experiment with things they don’t know, and shochu is one of those things,” Mopurgo says.

Chicago: Eleven Lincoln Park

Sweet-toothed diners shouldn’t hesitate to order Eleven Lincoln Park’s black-and-white challah French toast with two chocolate sauces and a pretzel dusting. The homage to a black-and-white cookie is proprietor Bradley Rubin’s reluctant hat tip to New York delis. “It’s not really a Chicago thing, but it’s what people came to expect, so I finally broke down,” Rubin says. “The world doesn’t revolve around the New York deli,” he adds. “Everyone does it differently, but New Yorkers think they’re the only ones with street cred.” There are abundant references on Eleven Lincoln Park’s mammoth menu, including the indulgent #43: The behemoth between bread, complete with corned beef, a latke, sour cream and onion strings, is a callback to the #19 at Langer’s in Los Angeles. It’s a signature dish, along with the open-faced Rubin’s Reuben and matzo ball soup. Nostalgia, and a little love, is paramount at Eleven Lincoln Park, hence the retro candy counter.

Photo courtesy of Eleven Lincoln Park

Los Angeles: Wexler's Deli

Wexler's Deli has only 10 stools to serve definitive pastrami sandwiches and bagels layered with silky lox. Fortunately, the deli's location in Downtown LA’s Grand Central Market provides room for the masses to experience these deli staples injected with fine-dining attitude. Chef and co-owner Micah Wexler cooked in primetime kitchens like Tom Colicchio’s Craft and L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon, which gifted him a lust for perfection. “It doesn’t matter if you’re searing foie gras or making pastrami, the experience you’re putting out should be the best,” he says. “We want you to have the best pastrami, the best bagel and lox, not the most interesting or creative." That’s why the sandwich shop smokes its own meat and fish and hand slices it to order. Keep it simple and order the Macarthur Park — a tribute to Langer’s — piled high with pastrami, coleslaw, Swiss cheese and Russian dressing on rye paired with a Chocolate Phosphate, a fizzy throwback drink of seltzer, chocolate syrup and phosphoric acid.

Photo courtesy of Wexler's Deli

New York City: Sadelle's

This SoHo hotspot is so new you could probably still smell fresh paint if it weren’t for the heady wafts of freshly baked bagels and bear claws that embrace you like a hug upon crossing the threshold. Sadelle's serves breakfast and lunch (and soon, dinner), but co-owner Jeff Zalaznick says not to label them a deli. “We’re much more about New York classics than deli staples, although they are often interchangeable," he says. “We think of it as a bakery and New York cafe.” The Leo at breakfast, a juicy patty melt, and triple-decker sandwiches inspired by Town Hall Delicatessen keep customers lining up. The cuisine at Sadelle’s also playfully swings high to low. There’s everything from a $48 lunch salad containing a whole lobster and textbook steak tartare to pigs in blankets, but even those are refined. “We wrap cocktail franks in salami and then housemade puff pastry,” Zalaznick says.

Philadelphia: Abe Fisher

If Yehuda Sichel keeps it up, he’ll turn a city that runs on Cheez Whiz into schmaltz addicts. The executive chef of Abe Fisher folds the chicken fat he’s deemed “as good as gold” into everything from rugelach and chopped liver to the steamed buns and rice that accompany his Chinatown-inspired duck dish. While the duck platter leaves lasting memories thanks to its sticky hoisin made from Polish plum butter and reduced Manischewitz, it’s Sichel’s Montreal short ribs served family style that have sprouted a cult following. Other signature dishes at the small-plates restaurant inspired by the Jewish diaspora include veal schnitzel tacos, a corned pork belly Reuben and salmon gravlax. Be sure to end every meal with a kosher-waiving bacon and egg cream that gets piped onto a pile of Oreos and maple custard, then stay for the bar scene.

Photo by Clay Williams

Pittsburgh: Nu Modern Jewish Bistro

Nu Modern Jewish Bistro serves a side of education with its fried kreplach and Jewish Penicillin, known to most as chicken soup. The schooling is in Yiddish. Flip your menu over for cheeky explainers, and always glance at the blackboard for the Yiddish word of the week. The name of the restaurant, after all, means “so?” in the language. In addition to serving family recipes and overstuffed sandwiches spilling with housemade Montreal smoked meat, Chef Risè Cohen has dreamed up some ethnic twists — contributing to the bistro’s newness such as a Jewbano sandwich or banh mi (Jewish style). The latter gets a generous slather of chopped liver. “The non-Jewish, younger crowed seems to appreciate our succulent meats, comparing them to pork belly, which they know,” says co-owner and sister to the chef Pamela Cohen. Since Nu is in the Steel City, don’t escape brunch without trying the Yinzer Hash with Montreal-smoked meat, cabbage, carrots and torn latkes.

Photo by Jacob Somogye

Portland, Ore.: Kenny & Zuke's

The City of Roses discovered it was missing pastrami in a big way when Ken Gordon started selling his oak-smoked meatsterpiece at the Hillsdale Farmers' Market. It was instantly craved, causing Gordon to shutter his former restaurant and launch Kenny & Zuke's in 2007. While the toothy hand-rolled bagels and house-baked rye also shine, pastrami remains the North Star. Diners find it piled atop burgers, dogs and benedicts — and printed on “Body by Pastrami” T-shirts. While Gordon admits he’s not stuffing foie gras into matzo balls, he does take some liberties. “When Moses brought down the tablets, I’m pretty sure there were no Jewish deli menus printed on them updating and playing around is fine,” he says. For example, Gordon is about to put smoked seitan vegan pastrami on the menu, despite jokingly calling it Satan. “Put it on the Reuben with all the gunk and it’s acceptable — it’s not pastrami, but it’s pretty damn close.”

Photo courtesy of Kenny & Zuke's

San Francisco: Wise Sons Deli

Wise Sons Deli has humble beginnings as a backyard BBQ experiment by co-founders Evan Bloom and Leo Beckerman. Today, it thrives as a modern deli in The Mission focused on from-scratch cooking, and what Bloom calls the pillars of deli food: matzo ball soup, potato salad, pickles and pastrami. They also take some liberties such as the Deli Burger with beet-horseradish spread, deli mustard, iceberg, relish and red onion on grilled challah. The catch? The patty. “It’s a combination of ground raw beef and pastrami,” Blooms says. He’d had patties similarly boosted by bacon and started playing around. “Sometimes the best things are unplanned.” Wise Sons can be many things to many people — a hallmark of a good deli. They don’t phone in vegetarian options (smoked trumpet mushroom Reuben anyone?), and a small but mighty beverage program means you can have a local beer with your pastrami cheese fries.

Photo courtesy of Jason Dixson Photography

Washington, D.C.: DGS Delicatessen

When co-owner Nick Wiseman opened DGS Delicatessen, he didn’t anticipate the chopped liver flavor blasted with juniper and rosemary would be so popular. But the savory scoop served with chicken cracklings is symbolic of the deli’s vision of moving food forward. “Our motivation comes from when delis stagnated in the ‘50s during industrialization,” Wiseman says. “That’s when big brands made all the pastrami in the country, rather than selling quality, they sold kitsch.” DGS follows through by curing, pickling and brining in-house. They also slip in spins such as smoked salmon nachos, latke poutine and Reuben egg rolls. The last dish, Wiseman says, incorporates the Chinese takeout element of his Jewish upbringing. Though a sophisticated bar program might bump with your childhood memories of a deli, don’t ditch the cocktail list with drinks like the Prosecco-based Mazel Tov Cocktail and the classic New York Sour.


Strawberry & Cream Croissant French Toast For Your Weekend Brunch

Those with a creative eye know firsthand that inspiration is all around us. Whether you're energized by the earth tones of nature, a color-filled walk through a local farmer's market, or even by a quick scroll through Instagram, you never know what might spark a new creative project.

In the spirit of inspiring your next masterpiece, we're excited to partner with Bounty to fuel the next generation of artists and designers forward by launching a national design competition. We're calling on graphic designers to apply for a chance to see their work featured on a new Brit + Co and Bounty paper towel collection, set to launch in 2022.

Aside from the incredible exposure of having your illustrations on paper towels that'll be in stores across America next year, you'll also receive $5,000 for your art a scholarship for Selfmade, our 10-week entrepreneurship accelerator to take your design career to the next level (valued at $2,000) and a stand alone feature on Brit + Co spotlighting your artistry as a creator.

The Creatively You Design Competition launches Friday, May 21, 2021 and will be accepting submissions through Monday, June 7, 2021.

APPLY NOW

Who Should Apply: Women-identifying graphic designers and illustrators. (Due to medium limitations, we're not currently accepting design submissions from photographers or painters.)

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How To Enter: Apply here, where you'll be asked to submit 2x original design files you own the rights to for consideration. Acceptable file formats include: .PNG, .JPG, .GIF, .SVG, .PSD, and .TIFF. Max file size 5GB. We'll also ask about your design inspiration and your personal info so we can keep in touch.

Artist Selection Process: Panelists from Brit + Co and P&G Bounty's creative teams will judge the submissions and select 50 finalists on June 11, 2021 who will receive a Selfmade scholarship for our summer 2021 session. Then, up to 8 artists will be selected from the finalists and notified on June 18, 2021. The chosen designers will be announced publicly in 2022 ahead of the product launch.

For any outstanding contest Qs, please see our main competition page. Good luck & happy creating!


#16 Zaftigs, Brookline and Natick, Mass.

Locals line up around the block to get into the two locations of Zaftigs, the best deli in the Boston area. It's most famous for its breakfast (which is thankfully served all day), with standouts like ham and cheese Benedict, pastrami scramble, chocolate French toast with raspberry sauce, buttermilk pancakes, smoked fish platters, and potato pancakes. But the sprawling lunch and dinner menu isn't to be missed, either specialties like chili and Cheddar “loaded” latkes, homemade borscht, stuffed cabbage with cranberry-tomato sauce, chicken pot pie, and slow-cooked brisket “Bolognese” with egg noodles are also must-trys.


Chef-partner Ziggy Gruber is a third-generation deliman, plying his trade for literally his whole life, with a stop at London's Cordon Bleu along the way. He's run delis in both New York and Los Angeles, but today he calls Houston - and Kenny & Ziggy's - home. Houstonians pack into his deli for housemade pastrami, corned beef, softball-sized matzo balls, knishes, smoked fish flown in from New York, blintzes, stuffed cabbage, and other traditional Jewish favorites, all made with love to Gruber's exacting specifications.

Every sandwich packs in nearly a pound of meat at Manny's, which has been going strong for more than 70 years. Crowds pack into the cafeteria-style restaurant on a daily basis for said sandwiches (Barack Obama is a fan of the corned beef), Reubens, brisket, short ribs, meatloaf, and other hearty and comforting fare. No visit is complete without a slice of homemade pie.


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Pandemic anxiety alternately renders me hungry as a horse, ready and willing to eat everything in sight, or nauseated to the point of having total uninterest in food. When the latter mood strikes, I turn to food memoirs to whet my appetite by reminding me what&rsquos still good and edible in this world. Here are my five favorite Jewish food memoirs that will nourish your soul and body in these uncertain times.

Acclaimed food writer Patricia Volk chronicles her culinary remembrances growing up in a large Austrian-Jewish family, many of whose members became seminal figures in the New York food and restaurant scene (her great-grandfather is credited with introducing pastrami to the mainstream). Each chapter conveys in vibrant detail the significance of a series of dishes (chopped liver, sturgeon, butter cookies) in her life and the colorful cast of characters associated with their production.

In this culinary retrospective, former New York Times critic Mimi Sheraton shifts her analytical gaze inward to examine those eating practices and celebratory foods that served as hallmarks of her childhood. Sheraton&rsquos warm and inviting accounts are paired with actual recipes, making it wonderfully easy for readers actually to taste for themselves the mohn kichel (onion biscuits), matzah meal pancakes, and scrambled eggs with nova she cherished in her youth.

Stir, (Jessica Fechtor, 2016)


America's Best Jewish Delis

Corned beef, pastrami, matzoh ball soup, and chopped liver are just a few staples on any Jewish deli menu. While these menu items might appear on all menus in the Jewish deli food scene -- not all delis get it right.

Many quality Jewish delis throughout the United States are family-run and operated restaurants that have stood the test of time. Their meats are homemade, their matzoh ball soup draws crowds, and their overall attention to quality and detail make them standouts in the American food scene and often the most sought out places to grab a sandwich while traveling to a new city. Another defining factor of a great Jewish deli is a very large, very extensive menu with what seems like endless combinations and offerings.

While Meg Ryan's infamous scene in When Harry Met Sally might be a bit of an overstatement, the food at Katz's Delicatessen in New York City is something worth screaming about. The charm of this landmark deli, that's been the backdrop for many a movie scene, is the complimentary slice of corned beef or pastrami while you order, in case you're swayed either way due to their intense, yet different flavor profiles.

In Ann Arbor, Mich., crowds have been flocking to Zingerman's Deli, opened by Paul Saginaw and Ari Weinzweig in a historic building near the Ann Arbor Farmers' Market in 1982. The delis widespread sandwich menu might seem overwhelming to new visitors, but also encourages guests to sample the products before purchasing -- it even allows a sampling of its $200 olive oil. All of its bread is homemade in its bakery, creating a freshness for its sandwiches that is hard to beat.

Shapiro's Kosher-style Deli in Indianapolis, Ind. has been open for 107 years and delights customers with its matzoh ball and chicken noodle soup as well as its smoked pickled tongue. Their corned beef comes from Vienna Beef in Chicago and the pastrami is shipped in from the Universe in Brooklyn, New York.

New Jersey's Harold's Delicatessen brings the traditional aspects of the Jewish deli to life and then super-sizes everything and anything. Meals and sandwiches are meant to be shared here and it is home to the world's largest pickle bar. It also has a stellar cold smoked fish menu including sandwiches and platters to share.

The Daily Meal compiled its list of America's Best Jewish Delis by taking into account the popularity and overall importance of how each restaurant impacts the food scene in their respective towns, as well as the quality of the homemade deli meats and specialties it serves to its loyal constituents.


Love Jewish food? Sign up for our Nosher recipe newsletter!

Melbourne is a global smorgasbord, a culinary mosaic of tastes and flavors. In the west of the city, it&rsquos Ethiopian and Vietnamese in the north, it&rsquos Turkish and Lebanese in the east, it&rsquos Chinese and Indian and in the south and southeast, among the Greek and Italian and Thai, is the heartland of Australian Jewish food.

The Jewish community has long been a part of colonial Australian life. In fact, Jews were among the first convicts transported from England to Australia in 1788, followed by waves of free Jewish settlers in the 1820s. By the turn of the century, the Jewish population in Australia had already reached 15,000. These numbers jumped once again after the Second World War, as displaced refugees sought a new life down under. Many survivors opened up beloved bagel shops and bakeries that remain in business to this day. While the first Jewish communities set up in the inner-north working class suburb of Carlton, the community shifted its axis in the post-war era. The southeastern suburbs of Caulfield South and Caulfield North, Ripponlea, East St Kilda, and Balaclava are now the center of Melbourne Jewish life, with more than half of Melbourne&rsquos Jewish population living in the area.

In many ways, Melbourne&rsquos Jewish community reflects the polyglot, multi-ethnic community around it. It is comprised of the largest group of Holocaust survivors and their descendants anywhere outside of Tel Aviv. The community is also populated by South African and Zimbabwean transplants, North African, Middle Eastern, and Indian-Jewish families, as well as a large population of immigrants from the Former Soviet Union. Over the last 20 years, there&rsquos also been a huge surge in the number of Israeli-born Jews living in Australia, as well. That sabra influence has specifically converged with the strong Lebanese flavor among Melbourne cafes and is reflected in the proliferation of bistros and eateries featuring local takes on classic Middle Eastern recipes and flavors. Together with a young wave of bagel bars, bakeries, and cafes, Jewish food has entered Melbourne&rsquos colorful culinary mainstream.

At the end of the day, some of the best Jewish dishes in Melbourne &mdash Iraqi-Singaporean fish stew and Tunisian slow-cooked hamin, for example &mdash are still only available in Melburnians&rsquo homes. Luckily, there are countless incredible eateries to explore (and flat whites to drink!) while you&rsquore making friends with the local balaboostas.

Mile End Bagels

Melbourne&rsquos bagel culture is blossoming. Glick&rsquos, the first (and many say the best), is the flagship of the Caulfield borscht belt. Founded in 1969 by Mendel Glick, a Holocaust survivor, Glick&rsquos is credited with bringing European-style boiled bagels to Melbourne. They also serve challah, rugelach, blintzes, and more. The good folks at 5 & Dime boil and bake their self-described &ldquotraditional(ish)&rdquo bagels at their City-Centre HQ. Start your weekend with one of their cinnamon crunch bagels or a Vegemite and cheese bagel. They also bake naturally leavened sourdough bialys. In nearby Fitzroy, Mile End Bagels hand rolls, then boils their Montreal-style bagels before baking them in Australia&rsquos first wood-fired bage1l oven, purpose-built by the same Canadian stonemasons responsible for the ovens at Montreal&rsquos famous bagel bakeries. The smoked salmon with dill and capers bagel is the standout customer favorite.

Glick&rsquos
330 Carlisle Street
Balaclava VIC 3183
(and other locations)
03 9527 2198
Neighborhood: Balaclava
* This bakery is kosher.

5 & Dime
16 Katherine Pl
Melbourne VIC 3000
03 9621 2128
Neighborhood: City Centre (CBD)

5 & Dime
Shop 44, Collins Place
45 Collins Street
Melbourne VIC 3000
Neighborhood: City Centre (CBD)

Mile End Bagels
14-16 Johnston Street
Fitzroy VIC 3065
email: [email protected]
Neighborhood: Fitzroy

Aviv Cakes & Bagels

At Baker in the Rye, try a piroshki or slice of honey walnut cake, or grab one of their 12 varieties of rye-based sourdough breads to go. Lichtenstein&rsquos Bakehouse (across the street from Glick&rsquos) is the first kosher bakery in the area to offer a gluten-free range of breads. They are also known for their opera cake, cheesecake, donuts, and challah. Enjoy the aromas of cinnamon and toasted almonds at Dana Patisserie, a family-owned pastry and cake shop with an Israeli twist. A pilgrimage to Acland Street, St. Kilda (the next neighborhood over) is a must. This pedestrian mall was the center of the Melbourne Jewish community from the end of the Second World War through the 1990s. Most of the continental cake shops, delicatessens, and kosher butchers in this bustling bayside suburb are now gone, but Monarch Cakes holds its own amidst the chic bars, restaurants, and artisanal gelato purveyors. Their Polish baked cheesecake, based on a 100-year-old recipe, never fails to deliver. Their plum cake and chocolate kugelhopf are also to die for (they also sell individual-sized kugelhopf).

In nearby Elsternwick, take a number at the celebrated Aviv Cakes & Bagels for your jam-filled ponchkas, or paczki (Polish-style donuts), poppy seed horseshoes, and Israeli babka. Some say this is the best cake shop in the city. Come for the bagels (they make minis as well as regular sizes), stay for the bureka. Also in Elsternwick is Baker Bleu, one of the new wave of bakeries fusing traditional methods with modern artisanal styles, such as their vegan cinnamon raisin challah (which is made on Fridays and usually sells out before 10 a.m.). They also bake delicious bagels and a light caraway rye. They work exclusively with sourdough, fermenting it for 18 hours, a process that gives their crusts an arresting, swarthy earthiness.

Pro-tip: For a new school kosher bakery experience, checkout Maaryasha Werdiger&rsquos booming garage business, Five Grains Bakery, for sourdough breads, sour ryes, Danishes, rugelach, and other pastries. Right now she only bakes on Fridays. For an old school kosher bakery that locals frequent, visit Haymisha in Balaclava for cookies, cheese turnovers, and babka.

Baker in the Rye
185 Carlisle Street
Balaclava VIC 3183
03 95256744
Neighborhood: Balaclava

Lichtensteins Bakehouse
287 Carlisle St
Balaclava VIC 3183
03 9530 3366
Neighborhood: Balaclava
*This bakery is kosher.

Dana Patisserie
175 Carlisle St
Balaclava VIC 3183
03 9531 3198
Neighbourhood: Balaclava

Monarch Cakes
103 Acland Street
St Kilda VIC 3182
03 9534 2972
Neighborhood: St Kilda

Aviv Cakes & Bagels
412 Glenhuntly Road
Elsternwick VIC 3185
03 9528 6627
Neighborhood: Elsternwick

Baker Bleu
119-121 Hawthorn Rd
Caulfield North VIC 3161
email: [email protected]
Neighborhood: Caulfield North
*This bakery is kosher.

Danish Nosh

D&rsquoLish is where diner meets café, with the homey feel of your bubbe&rsquos kitchen. This is the place for traditional favorites like cholent and kugel, or a bowl of matzah ball soup served up by a friendly staff who treat everyone like family. At Danish Nosh, tomato braised beef brisket is on the menu, along with cheese blintzes, challah French toast, and strudel. Bowery to Williamsburg, fashioned after the Bowery subway station in New York City, offers Jewish standards such as bagels, eggs with lox, and latkes, as well as American-style drip filter coffee. Miss Ruben adds a gourmet touch to the ready-made (though you can also dine in). Pick up some potato latkes and house-cured pastrami. They also preserve their own pickles and sauerkraut.

Pro-tip:For classic Polish-Jewish dishes, Eshel Fine Kosher Catering is an old school institution in Ripponlea.

D&rsquoLish
269 Bambra Road
Caulfield South VIC 3162
03 9523 0245
Neighborhood: Caulfield

Danish Nosh
983 Glenhuntly Road
Caulfield VIC 3162
03 9563 6578
Neighborhood: Caulfield

Bowery to Williamsburg
16 Oliver Lane
Melbourne VIC 3000
03 9077 0162
Neighborhood: City Centre (CBD)

Miss Ruben
76 Glen Eira Road
Ripponlea VIC 3185
03 9042 5933
Neighborhood: Ripponlea

Turquoise Eatery

Cafes are a competitive sport in Melbourne, where casual eateries treat coffee with the same reverence as the food. Trunk Diner is located on the site of a synagogue established by Melbourne&rsquos first rabbi and shochet (kosher slaughterer). Trunk pays homage to its Jewish heritage with the Rintel room (after Rabbi Rintel) and is a perfect place to kick off the day with shakshuka. Spout Cafe adds Middle-Eastern flair to popular cafe standards (smashed avocado with chilli harissa, green tahini mushrooms, Egyptian bean stew with dukkah, and shredded cabbage, etc.). At Spot On cafe, a kosher favorite in Elsternwick, try a green open omelette or a spicy cauliflower salad. The team at Turquoise Eatery brings a world of experience to its cafe in Caulfield South. Bright zesty Israeli salad, charred eggplant with tahini, and zucchini and cauliflower fritters share the billing with poached eggs and avocado on toast in this Mediterranean and Middle Eastern-influenced eatery with an Australian cafe twist. If you&rsquove got a sweet tooth, the award-winning chocolate babka French toast at Salad Sisters in Malvern is a &ldquomust eat&rdquo dish. For the more savory inclined, try their sabich breakfast bowl, the shakshuka, or the chicken schnitzel ciabatta with pickles, sumac slaw, and matbucha.

Pro-tip: If your grandmother comes from Yemen or Iran, you&rsquoll feel at home with the spicy stews served buffet-style at Hilulim, but be sure to schedule your lunch plans ahead of time as they&rsquore only open from 9-3 p.m. on Fridays (eat in or take away).

Trunk Diner
275 Exhibition Street
Melbourne VIC 3000
03 9663 7994
Neighborhood: City Center (CBD)

Spout Cafe
48 Glen Eira Road
Ripponlea VIC 3185
03 9523 8155
Neighborhood: Ripponlea

Spot On
132 Glen Eira Rd
Elsternwick VIC 3185
03 9523 6614
Neighborhood: Elsternwick
* This cafe is kosher.

Turquoise Eatery
451 Hawthorn Road
Caulfield South VIC 3162
03 9530 0005
Neighborhood: Caulfield

Salad Sisters Café
11 Station Street
Malvern VIC 3144
03 9500 0609
Neighborhood: Malvern

Hamsa

Melbourne&rsquos dry Mediterranean-style climate and adventurous dining culture makes the city an obvious destination for Israeli chefs eager to test their culinary mettle in the Antipodes. New Jaffa in Collingwood (Melbourne&rsquos answer to Brooklyn) fits right into this food-forward neighborhood, with its focus on quality ingredients showcasing flavors from Israel, Lebanon, Turkey, Syria, and northwest Africa. In nearby Northcote, Tahina Bar is an audacious plant-based hole in the wall, serving home-style vegetarian Israeli street foods and desserts &mdash think roasted vegetable-filled pita pockets, tahini ice cream, and baklava. The Green Man&rsquos Arms in the lively Carlton precinct (a hub for Jewish immigrants in the 19th and 20th centuries) refashions traditional Aussie &ldquopub grub&rdquo with a creative vegan and vegetarian menu with Israeli notes (their first chef was Israeli). Try the chickpea pancake or eggplant schnitzel, followed by halva ice cream for dessert. Servicing the city&rsquos south side is The Left-Handed Chef, a cafe by day, restaurant by night, where dukka, harissa, and za&rsquoatar elevate a homestyle cuisine &mdash including green shakshuka, malawach, and laffa on a plate &mdash made with passion and love (Chef Ehud Malka wakes at 3 a.m. every morning to bake the bread himself). Miznon (&ldquokiosk&rdquo in Hebrew) also transforms from casual eatery by day to restaurant by night. This satellite of the popular Israeli restaurant serves seasonally inspired Israeli street food with a culinary flair that emphasizes local ingredients (the Australian ocean trout, for example, in pita with avocado, which Chef Afik Gal insists is a superior fish to salmon). Danny&rsquos in Elsternwick is all about atmosphere, with so much hubbub, you&rsquoll believe you&rsquore dining in Tel Aviv.

Pro-tip: For a kosher Israeli spot, Laffa Bar makes solid falafel and shwarma, as well as plenty of vegan options.

New Jaffa
32 Stanley Street
Collingwood VIC 3066
03 9419 9224
Neighborhood: Collingwood

Tahina Bar
223 High Street
Northcote VIC 3070
03 9972 1479
Neighborhood: Northcote

Tahina Bar
362 Brunswick Street
Fitzroy VIC 3065
03 9417 4510
Neighborhood: Fitzroy

Green Man&rsquos Arms
418 Lygon Street
Carlton VIC 3053
03 9347 7419
Neighborhood: Carlton

The Left-Handed Chef
219 Park Street
South Melbourne VIC 3205
03 9645 5800
Neighborhood: South Melbourne

Miznon
59 Hardware Lane
Melbourne VIC 3000
03 9670 2861
Neighborhood: City Centre

Danny&rsquos
525 Glenhuntly Road
Elsternwick VIC 3185
03 9530 0059
Neighborhood: Elsternwick

Australia does takeaway, rather than takeout. Falafel Omisi in Caulfield and Mama Falafel in Elsternwick regularly have lines trailing out the door. This is called putting your falafel where your mouth is (also known as voting with your feet). You can stay or go at Tavlin (Hebrew for &ldquospice&rdquo) whose menu is inspired by diverse Middle Eastern flavors. Hamsa is a traveling hummus and vegan shwarma bar that takes their tucker (that&rsquos Australian for food) to the streets. Their shwarma and sabich is served with beetroot hummus, green tahini dressing, and zesty homemade zhug. Dana&rsquos Falafel Food Truck, affectionately nicknamed &ldquoShimon&rdquo (look for his distinctive red truck at festivals and markets), doles out delicious falafel made fresh before your eyes. Dana&rsquos recipe is jammed with fresh herbs and locally sourced chickpeas and fava beans. As Shimon says, &ldquoGive Chickpeas A Chance.&rdquo

Falafel Omisi
359 Hawthorn Road
Caulfield South VIC 3162
03 9523 8882
Neighborhood: Caulfield
*This restaurant is kosher.

Mama Falafel
344 Glenhuntly Road
Elsternwick VIC 3185
03 9078 5595
Neighborhood: Elsternwick
*This restaurant is kosher.

Tavlin
302 Carlisle Street
Balaclava VIC 3183
03 7016 6669
Neighborhood: Balaclava

Hamsa
Neighborhood: Check Facebook for location (changes daily).

Dana&rsquos Falafel Truck
Neighborhood: Check Facebook for location (changes daily).

Photo credit Bonnie Savage

As the week draws to a close, the city&rsquos bagel belt resembles a set from The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel &mdash stores are crammed with shoppers preparing for Shabbat. Join the throng at Solomon butchers, Continental Kosher Butchers, Melbourne Kosher Butcher, Kleins Gourmet Foods, the Balaclava Deli, Daneli&rsquos, and European Flavour for meats and traditional Ashkenazi fare such as brisket, chopped liver, gefilte fish, and kreplach. Old school meets new school at Smith & Deli, a plant-based haven where you can have your &ldquofake&rdquo and eat it too, with vegan takeout versions of deli foods: like pastrami, a vegan Reuben called the Rubenstein, curried egg and faux tuna salad sold by weight, as well as pies and pastries, like challah sticky buns. Kosher Kingdom is like a smaller, kosher Whole Foods with floor-to-ceiling shelves laden with every Jewish foodstuff under the sun. Yumi&rsquos, known for its smoked fish and dips, will transform any picnic basket. Lenny&rsquos Deli, a Melbourne institution with an exterior full of character, could be described as a suburban, alcohol-free, Jewish bodega (think bagels, dips, pickles, and herring as well as milk, bread, and other staples). If you need to stock up on items like rosewater, orange blossom sugar syrup, or berbere (a quintessential Ethiopian spice), look no further than Oasis.

Pro-tip: Most of these markets cater for events and Jewish holidays, so call ahead and place an order for any special occasion.

Solomon Kosher Butcher
140-146 Glen Eira Road
Elsternwick VIC 3185
03 9532 8855
Neighborhood: Elsternwick
*This store is kosher.

Solomon Kosher Butcher
21 Pipe Road
Laverton North VIC 3026
03 9369 8717
Neighborhood: Laverton
*This store is kosher.

Continental Kosher Butchers
155 Glenferrie Road
Malvern VIC 3144
03 9509 9822
Neighborhood: Malvern
*This store is kosher.

Melbourne Kosher Butcher
251 Inkerman St
St Kilda VIC 3182
03 9525 5077
Neighborhood: St. Kilda
*This store is kosher.

Kleins Gourmet Foods
47 Glen Eira Road
Ripponlea VIC 3185
03 9528 1200
Neighborhood: Ripponlea
*This store is kosher.

Balaclava Deli
267 Carlisle Street
Balaclava VIC 3183
03 9527 2202
Neighborhood: Balaclava

Danelis
328a Carlisle St
Balaclava VIC 3183
03 95277014
Neighborhood: Balaclava
*This store is kosher.

European Flavour
823 Glen Huntly Rd
Caulfield VIC 3161
03 9523 8005
Neighborhood: Caulfield

Smith & Deli
111 Moor Street
Fitzroy VIC 3065
03 9042 4117
Neighborhood: Fitzroy

Kosher Kingdom
482B Glenhuntly Road
Elsternwick VIC 3185
03 95236019
Neighborhood: Elsternwick
*This store is kosher.

Yumi&rsquos
29 Glen Eira Rd
Ripponlea VIC 3185
03 9523 6444
Neighborhood: Ripponlea
*This store is kosher.

Lenny&rsquos Deli
636 Inkerman Rd
Caulfield North VIC 3161
03 9527 5349
Neighborhood: Caulfield

Oasis
9/993 North Road
Murrumbeena VIC 3163
03 9570 1122
Neighborhood: Murrumbeena

Oasis
96 Station Street
Fairfield VIC 3078
03 9489 6399
Neighborhood: Fairfield

With input and insight from local experts: Michal Saben (Managing Director, Eleven Out Of Ten Events), Stephen Singer (foodie and businessman), Andrew Harris (local expert), Naomi Gilbert (local expert), and Maaryasha Werdiger (Five Grains Bakery).


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