The Jewish deli was once something of a cultural icon, a unique expression of American Jewish identity – matzah ball soup, heaping pastrami sandwiches, egg creams and knishes. Those are getting harder to find in America, but do we have any hope when traveling to Europe?
Late last year, people were dismayed to see a historic Jewish deli in the UK announce its closing. The founder was a Holocaust survivor and created Titanics, a historic kosher deli in Manchester, England. Ultimately, after decades, it went down as well.
These days, Jewish delis are hard to come by in Europe, but if you look hard enough, you’ll find some great options. (Unsure what some of these dishes are? Check out our Guide to Jewish Food Terms!)
You can still score piping hot bowls of matzah ball soup at Harry Morgan’s deli in St John’s Wood and Monty’s Deli at Maltby Street Market is known for their overstuffed sandwiches just like in NYC. When in Bristol, don’t miss Aron’s deli, a hybrid of North American, Eastern European and primarily Jewish traditions. Also in London is the famous Beigel Bake, which features “salted beef” filled bagels! The new kid on the block is Zoblers Delicatessen operating out of The Ned, whose matzah ball soup is “bloody brilliant” and bagel-and-lox brunch is killer.
Located in Warsaw, Pod Samsonem features traditional Jewish favorites such as herring, matzah ball soup and stuffed cabbage. You’ll be wise to wash it all down with a cold Polish beer. Also in Poland, check out Kosher Delight, where you can enjoy traditional chopped liver and a good old-fashioned hot dog. Even pair it with tzimmes if you so desire!
When in Berlin, stop by Mogg for as authentic a Jewish deli as you can get. The drool-inducing menu includes classic pastrami, matzah ball soup, chopped liver brulee (YUM) and even one of our Israeli favorites, shakshuka. Warning: This spot is not kosher, so do not be surprised if you see pork on the menu as well. Like, there is definitely pork on the menu.
Sure, Paris has some unbelievable falafel and even kosher Tunisian food. But if you’re hankering for deli food then Schwartz’s Deli is your go-to. There are multiple locations, and yes, you can get a pastrami sandwich and a side of fries. In Paris. You know those frites are on fleek.
If you find yourself in this picturesque city make sure to visit Sal Meijer, often rated the top kosher deli in all of Europe. This is a casual and laid back atmosphere – as a kosher deli should be! And the perfect spot to score a classic overstuffed sandwich.
Visit Venice not only for the canals, but for the Jewish food at Gam Gam Kosher Restaurant. There’s Italian fare here too (and we wouldn’t have it any other way!) but you’ll also find old-school deli favorites like matzah ball soup and latkes. When in Rome, visit the kosher Ba Ghetto, a beautiful spot that pays tribute to the rich Jewish history of Rome. Here, you’ll find traditional Jewish style artichokes – a Roman favorite – but also a variety of “salted meats” served on Yemenite bread! Another spot in the Tuscan countryside is helmed by Gianluca Tonelli, deemed “the pastrami king of Italy.” He operates out of a bright red food truck (how hipster is that?) but all agree his meats are the real deal.
Spain was excited to get a Katz’s Deli popup earlier in 2017, but it was promotional and short lived. Otherwise, in this land of seafood and pork, Jewish-style food is pretty hard to come by. However, you can still stop by La Escudilla in Madrid, a kosher meat restaurant that even operates its own butcher shop. Spain has a large Sephardic population so many restaurants veer more toward hummus and falafel than overstuffed on rye, but hot piping matzah ball soup is on the menu!
Pronounced: seh-FAR-dik, Origin: Hebrew, describing Jews descending from the Jews of Spain.
Pronounced: KOH-sher, Origin: Hebrew, adhering to kashrut, the traditional Jewish dietary laws.