Where to get Jewish food for the High Holidays in the East Bay

Everything you need to celebrate Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur in Berkeley, Oakland and beyond.

Rosh Hashana, the celebration of the Jewish new year, is approaching quickly. In 2021, the holiday begins at sunset on Monday Sept. 6, and ends at nightfall on Sept. 8. Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement and the holiest day of the Jewish year, begins at sundown on Wednesday, Sept. 15, and ends that following evening. 

The High Holy Days are occasions to celebrate, reflect, and gather — albeit, with great caution and awareness that the delta variant remains highly prevalent in our community. Somehow, families will find a way to mark the occasion together, perhaps just in smaller numbers, or with seats taken outdoors. 

Here’s a list of East Bay restaurants and caterers that are serving up special meals for the holidays, including delectable sweets for Rosh Hashana, as well as kugel and latkes to enjoy around the traditional fasting day of Yom Kippur. While this year’s celebrations might be more subdued than those in pre-pandemic times, there are still plenty of delicious dishes to enjoy.

Bishulim SF

Bishulim SF’s carrot, sweet potato and squash soup. Credit: Bishulim SF

This East Bay catering company is the brainchild of kosher Israeli chef Aliza Grayevsky Somek. For the holidays, she’s offering a special Rosh Hashana menu, with a la carte offerings including carrot, sweet potato and squash soup ($10); Moroccan fish balls ($13); quinoa salad with butternut squash and pomegranate ($12-$18); spinach and chickpea stew ($13); beef tagine ($21-$80, large portion serves 3-4 people); apple, honey, and cinnamon compote ($6-$10); and more. Items are cooked at Temple Beth Abraham’s kosher kitchen (no mashgiach) and a part of the proceeds are donated back to the temple.

Bishulim SF meals will be delivered the morning/afternoon of Monday, Sept. 6 (delivery fee is $10-$20 depending on amount ordered) or can be picked up in Oakland at Temple Beth Abraham between 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.: 327 MacArthur Blvd. (between Adams Street and Van Buren Avenue), Oakland

Market Hall

Meema’s noodle kugel from Market Hall. Credit: Market Hall

Rockridge Market Hall
5655 College Ave. (at Shafter Avenue), Oakland
Market Hall on Fourth Street
1786 Fourth St.  (at Delaware Street), Berkeley

Popular with shoppers year round, Market Hall has been a Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur standby for local shoppers for years. Both locations have everything from chopped liver ($14 for a pint) to noodle kugel ($14 for a large tray) to matzoh ball soup ($14 a quart; $1.50 for two extra balls). 

Rosh Hashana entrees, available for pick up Sept. 4-8, include chicken with honey, saffron and almonds ($18.95 for one serving, discounts on more than one serving) and grilled salmon with preserved lemon and herb yogurt sauce ($14.95 for one serving). Yom Kippur entrees, available for pickup Sept. 14-15, include chicken marbella (braised chicken with prunes, green olives and capers; $18.95 for one serving) and the same grilled salmon available for Rosh Hashana. 

Finish off your holiday meal with a sweet treat for a sweet new year like a brown butter almond tarte ($30) or apricot rugelach ($16.95 for a dozen). Order by noon two days before your preferred pickup/delivery date or even earlier to guarantee availability; limited pick ups Monday, Sept. 6 due to the Labor Day holiday.

Mägo

Mago
3762 Piedmont Ave. (near MacArthur Boulevard), Oakland

This California-Colombian spot run by chef Mark Liberman is offering a full Rosh Hashana meal to pick up Saturday, Sept. 4. The spread includes potato and charred jalapeño knish; salad with beans, peppers, feta, and tomato; ajiaco soup with chicken and matzoh balls; squash and carrot dishes; short rib pastrami; and challah bread pudding ($50 per person). Items will be packed cold with heating instructions. Place your order before Sept. 1 to ensure availability.

Oakland Kosher Foods

Oakland Kosher Foods
3419 Lakeshore Ave. (at Longridge Road), Oakland

This butcher/grocer/deli and hummus bar/caterer has been serving up kosher meals in the East Bay since 1962. It’s the only independent kosher butcher in the Bay Area, operates under the supervision of Vaad Hakashrus of Northern California, and even offers kosher catering to hotels that otherwise wouldn’t be able to accommodate an observant guest. 

For the holidays, Oakland Kosker is offering favorites like chicken soup ($8.99); sliced brisket ($29.99 per pound); pulled BBW brisket ($29.99 per pound), and sides like herbed rice, roasted vegetables and roasted potatoes ($6.99-$7.99 per pound); along with a variety of cakes and challah. Order at least three days in advance for pickup or delivery.

Olive

Olive’s apples and honey chicken. Credit: Olive

Arkadi Kluger and Elinor Nahmani’s East Bay-based catering company Olive SF delivers Israeli-California fare. Their a la carte Rosh Hashana menu includes beet tahini ($10); apples and walnut bourekas ($22-$40); Moroccan chard and chickpeas ($16-$30); silan and harissa carrots ($15-25); Lubia harira soup with black-eyed peas, garbanzo, lentils, and egg noodles ($17-$29); salmon shraime ($34-$57); apples and honey chicken ($26-$45), and Moroccan-style dried fruits lamb tagine ($35-28). Items will be delivered cold with heating instructions.

Olive’s minimum order per delivery is $175; deliveries will be made Sept. 6 between 12-4:30 p.m. or pick up on Sept. 6 between 12-1 p.m. at 865 Marina Bay Parkway (near Meeker Avenue), Richmond, unit 33 and 34 (full instructions on website).

Pomella

Pomella’s honey apple cake. Credit: Pomella

Pomella
3770 Piedmont Ave. (near MacArthur Boulevard), Oakland

Pomella’s Mica Talmor creates modern California-Israeli dishes that combine Levantine, Maghrebi, North African, Mediterranean, Eastern European and Middle Eastern culinary traditions. She is offering up a selection of a la carte menu items for Rosh Hashana, (pre-order for pickup on September 4 or 5).

Options include matzah ball soup (traditional and vegetarian, $16, serves two), cod cakes with tomato sauce ($30 for four), brisket tagine with dried fruits and preserved lemons ($36), Potato Shallot Kugel ($26), and Mica’s beloved honey and apple cake, made with apple compote, mascarpone and wildflower honey ($8 a slice).

Saul’s Restaurant and Delicatessen

A plate of latkes from Saul’s. Credit: Saul’s/Facebook

Saul’s Restaurant and Delicatessen
1475 Shattuck Ave. (at Vine Street), Berkeley

A favorite of East Bay East Coast-philes who appreciate the diner’s blend of old school New York and contemporary California, Saul’s is serving in-house Rosh Hashana and break-the-fast meals, as well as offering pick up holiday feasts. 

Dine inside or out on Monday, Sept. 6 (no reservations, first come, first served), with starters like herring in wine ($9, serves up to three), faux chopped liver ($6, serves up to two), and baked gefilte fish ($7); entrees like chicken dukkah with peaches and figs ($26, serves up to two) or brisket with apples and prunes ($36, serves up to two); and sweets for a sweet new year like apple noodle kugel ($5/slice) or poppy babka ($5/slice). Visit again Sept. 16 until 8:30 to break your fast. To order ahead, go to Saul’s pickup online menu and scroll down for the Rosh Hashana 5782 (the year in the Jewish calendar) takeout menu; pickups are only available on Sept. 6. Order by Friday, Sept. 3.

Wise Sons Deli

Babka from Wise Sons. Credit: Wise Sons/Facebook

Wise Sons Deli
1700 Franklin St. (at 17th Street), Oakland
At Beauty’s Bagel Shop Temescal
3838 Telegraph Ave. (at West McArthur Boulevard), Oakland

The wildly popular Wise Sons serves traditional Jewish comfort foods with a California flair. They are offering a huge range of items, including sides, sweets and full meals for the High Holy Days. Their special holiday menu includes potato latkes ($22 for a half dozen); roast brisket ($60, serves 6); cinnamon or chocolate babka ($15); a smoked salmon platter ($85); a full Rosh Hashana dinner with challah, chicory salad, roasted potatoes, roast chicken and honey cake ($88 serves 3-4); and a break-the-fast feast with latkes, bagels, smoked salmon, egg salad, and rugelach ($132 serves 6). 

Items must be ordered by noon two days prior to your preferred pickup or delivery … and be sure to order early to get your preferred date! Delivery starts at $26.

Want to share the holidays with someone you can’t be with in person? Wise Sons will ship their “Rosh Hashana Package” nationwide ($34). It consists of a honey cake, a round raisin challah and wildflower honey for a sweet new year. Order before Sept. 3. Items will be cold with reheating instructions provided.

More places to find challah or honey cakes

Challah from mariposa Baking Company. Credit: Mariposa
  • Fournee Bakery 2912 Domingo Ave. (at Russell Street), Berkeley
  • La Farine 6323 College Ave. (at Alcatraz Avenue), Berkeley; 4094 Piedmont Ave. at 41st Street, Oakland; and 3411 Fruitvale Ave. (at Bienati Way), Oakland
  • Nabolom Bakery 2708 Russell St. (at College Avenue), Berkeley
  • Mariposa Baking Company 5427 Telegraph Ave., D3 (at 55th Street), Oakland
  • Grand Bakery 3033 MacArthur Blvd. (between Maple Avenue and Laurel Avenue), Oakland
  • Afikomen Judaica 3042 Claremont Ave. (near Prince Street), Berkeley