Where to find Passover meals and specials in the East Bay

Where to find dishes for your Pesach seder (including some kosher options) in Berkeley and Oakland.

Pomella’s “everything but the plate” seder plate. Credit: Pomella

The invite list is set. The perfect seder plate selected. And the perfect wine — kosher, palatable — has been selected. But what about dinner? For those of you who have neither the strength to drain shredded potatoes for the crispiest latkes (made with matzo meal, don’t @ me) nor the patience needed to braise a brisket to achieve maximum tenderness, Nosh has you covered. 

From caramelized onion-flecked chopped liver to a layered casserole of sautéed cabbage and beef, we’ve found the best takeout and dining options for Passover in the East Bay. We even have the greatest dessert known to humankind, which you can easily prepare at home! 

Please note: This list doesn’t cover every single East Bay market, deli and restaurant that is offering holiday fare. Consider this a vetted guide to our favorites, or a jumping off point for your Passover shopping.

Berkeley

Afikomen Judaica, though mainly a retail staple, includes a handful of Passover delectables, like a whimsical dairy-free dark chocolate seder plate, red and white bottles of Mensch California wine and Ba-Tampte horseradish. Order online or stop by. Afikomen Judaica, 3042 Claremont Ave. (near Prince Street), Berkeley

Boichik Bagels is open during the holiday for the first time this year, and their kosheriffic spring herb cream cheese is great when spread on leavened and unleavened breads, packed with green garlic, tarragon, dill and chervil. They are also a great conversation igniter: The East Bay bakery’s bagels were controversially crowned the best of the best in the country by the New York Times, making them ideal discussion fodder for any Passover gathering. Boichik Bagels, 3170 College Ave. (near Alcatraz Avenue), Berkeley

Market Hall’s Pavlova, available as a kit for your Passover table. Credit: Market Hall Foods

Market Hall Foods isn’t futzing around: In addition to classic seder plate offerings — which include roasted lamb bone, long-cooked eggs and a savory vegetable kugel — the specialty food store, with locations in Oakland and Berkeley, has Pavlova kits. Few things in life are as thrilling as witnessing — and tasting — this dainty meringue cake, beloved for its crispy exterior and soft marshmallow interior, arrive at your table. You don’t even have to make the fragile meringue base yourself; Market Hall Foods’ kit comes with a premade pavlova shell, as well as lemon curd, passion fruit puree, whipped chantilly cream and assorted berries to anoint your cloud-like confection. Buy two if you can swing it. Rockridge Market Hall, 5655 College Ave. (at Keith Avenue), Oakland; Market Hall on Fourth Street, 1786 Fourth St. (between Hearst Avenue and Virginia Street), Berkeley

Saul’s Restaurant and Delicatessen, a North Berkeley institution, stands apart from the rest by making their own homemade matzo. Grab a few boxes to accompany the “seder plate bone kit” consisting of roasted lamb bone, parsley, egg haminados (roasted eggs steeped overnight in coffee, onion, and spices) and two types of chicken liver, one for carnivores and one for vegans. Word to the wise: Order at least 24 hours in advance before pickup. Saul’s Restaurant and Delicatessen, 1475 Shattuck Ave. (at Vine Street), Berkeley

Three Stone Hearth’s Passover menu, available for online ordering for delivery or pickup at their brick-and-mortar store beginning Wednesday, April 13, will feature an array of seder plate mainstays, including chicken vegetable soup made with vegetables and herbs from local farms, organic chicken and their own signature homemade bone broth; DIY matzo ball dough that uses schmaltz pulled from roasted bones used for the aforementioned broth; an umami-rich chopped chicken liver; and a slow-cooked, carrot-studded beef brisket. But the menu’s highlight has to be the eatery’s deconstructed stuffed cabbage rolls: a layered casserole of sautéed cabbage and ground beef mixed with a touch of pureed beef liver, a dish that comes topped with a sweet and sour sauce. For the vegetarian and vegan celebrant, check out the beet borscht or the lemony white bean and asparagus soup. Three Stone Hearth, 1581 University Ave. (at Sacramento Street), Berkeley

Oakland 

A Passover spread from Wise Sons. Credit: Wise Sons/Instagram

Bishulim’s chef Aliza Grayevsky Somekh culls inspiration from Jerusalem food markets, the Jewish diaspora and the Golden State to create her signature fusion of Israeli-California cuisine. Her roasted salmon features poached early spring asparagus and her slow-cooked brisket, braised with onions, honey, and tomato sauce come with sides of sweet potatoes and vegetable antipasto. To cut the richness of the meaty dishes, grab an order of the lemony carrot cabbage slaw for a dose of puckery brightness. Pickups are between 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Bishulim, Temple Beth Abraham, 327 MacArthur Blvd. (between Adams Street and Van Buren Avenue), Oakland

Grand Lake Kitchen’s matzo ball soup, proudly featured in James Beard-award winning food writer Carolyn Jung’s East Bay Cooks cookbook, can be found at both Grand Lake Kitchen locations. Grand Lake Kitchen, 576 Grand Ave. (at Euclid), Oakland; 2042 MacArthur Blvd. (at Dimond Avenue), Oakland

Pomella’s “everything but the plate” seder plate comes with one cup of charoset, one cup of hazeret, a lamb shank bone, four hard boiled eggs, and one pound of matzah. Chef Mica Talmor also creates more contemporary California-Israeli cuisine like cod cakes in tomato sauce, brisket tagine with dried fruits and preserved lemons, and potato shallot kugel. Also of great importance: their pavlova kit with rose cream and berries. Available April 14 – 16 only. Pomella, 3770 Piedmont Ave. (at West Oakland Boulevard), Oakland 

Oakland Kosher Foods is here for anyone who wants to prepare their dinner from scratch. Under supervision of Vaad Hakashrus of Northern California, this store comes packed with kosher meats, hummus, bakery goods, candy, drinks and more. But if you prefer to steer clear of the kitchen, they can also cater your party, whether it be for an intimate gathering of 10 or a bacchanalia of 500. Oakland Kosher Foods, 3419 Lakeshore Ave. (at Mandana Boulevard), Oakland

Proposition Chicken’s year-round crispy matzo ball soup, tomato cucumber salad, and free-range rotisserie chicken offerings make perfect pairing for your seder dinner. Proposition Chicken, 3260 Lakeshore Ave. (at Lake Park Avenue), Oakland

Wise Sons serves up a meal kit for the holiday, which can include either a brisket dinner or a roast chicken dinner, both of which serve six to eight people. Meals come with spring vegetables, Nana’s potato kugel, matzo ball soup, charoset, a box of matzo and chocolate-caramel matzo. Pick up an order of the deli’s famous chopped chicken liver, replete with caramelized onion, while you’re at it. Orders must be placed two days in advance. Wise Sons Jewish Delicatessen, 1700 Franklin St. (at 17th Street), Oakland; Beauty’s Bagel Shop, 3838 Telegraph Ave. (between 38th and 40th streets), Oakland

Brock Keeling is an award-winning writer who covers California.