In the land of tacos, sunshine, donuts and celebrities, Jewish food also abounds: and I’m not just talking about matzah balls and pastrami, although there is that, too. Los Angeles boasts one of the largest Persian Jewish communities outside of Israel and the food and supermarkets of Beverly Hills and Beverlywood reflect this wonderful (spicy) community. Add in a significant Israeli community and you have a Jewish and kosher food scene that truly rivals its East Coast counterpart.
Here are our top picks for where to get the best Jewish food in LA.
1. Canter’s Deli. If you’re looking for classic deli with one of the most epic matzah ball soups you have ever experienced, look no further than historic Canter’s Deli. They have all the deli favorites you can imagine. But it’s their matzah ball soup loaded with rice, noodles and kreplach that gets me all warm and fuzzy inside.
2. Wexler’s Deli. Wexler’s may be the “new deli on the block” but they are doing it almost better than anyone. They seek to combine tradition with the best craftsmanship, and let me tell you: it’s working. Their homemade pastrami is as good as it gets. But they are also curing their own lox, corned beef and serving up a host of other traditional deli fare. With two locations now, you’ve got no excuse: go get some ASAP.
3. Langer’s Deli. Another iconic deli of Los Angeles, their expansive menu includes all the usual suspects like chopped liver, chicken soup and pastrami sandwiches any way you can imagine.
4. Tel Aviv Grill. Where to eat good Jewish food in the valley? Everyone will tell you it’s Tel Aviv Grill, including LA Weekly which named them one of the 99 Essential Restaurants in Los Angeles. Get excited to assemble your own shawarma or falafel sandwich in fluffy, fresh laffa stuffed with all the toppings you want.
5. Amelia Bakery and Café. Pastry chef Yoav Rogel is not only whipping up perfect, buttery croissants and rugelach, he is also coming up with unique savory rugelach flavors, stuffing homemade bourekas with poached eggs and serving a classic, spicy shakshuka at his charming café. Oh, and there’s some pretty decadent babka too which has been featured by Eater LA.
6. Madcapra. The hippest falafel around can be found at Madcapra. Guests can order red, green, yellow or orange varieties which are uniquely topped with items like walnut-yogurt dill sauce, beets, labneh and even pickled fennel.
7. Jeff’s Sausage. Known for their high-quality kosher sausages and hot dogs which come in 13 different varieties including Italian beef, merguez, chicken apple and chorizo. But don’t stop at sausage–they have some delicious sandwich options including classic schnitzel and even BBQ beef. Visiting from out of town? It’s pretty common to take home some of their housemade sausages to-go.
8. Flame Persian Cuisine. Love Persian food? Never tried it? Either way, head to Flame in Westwood for classic dishes like ghormeh sabzi (my favorite), kabob, fesenjoon and, of course, rice dishes like their tahdig (a crispy rice dish), baked with yogurt and crusted with dried barberries.
9. Atari. Don’t be scared away by lamb brain and tongue on the menu–this is authentic, home-style Persian food at its best. Head there for the sandwiches, stay for the awesome people watching, grab some baklava, and the locals will tell you to order the Ash soup–an herb and barley soup. Even the New York Times says it’s a must-visit eatery.
Pronounced: KOH-sher, Origin: Hebrew, adhering to kashrut, the traditional Jewish dietary laws.
Pronounced: KREP-lakh, Origin: Yiddish, small dumplings, often filled with meat and served in soup.