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Oct 3, 2011 06:24 AM

Excellent Jewish Deli?

I'm having a friend who will be visiting from London this week and will be in need of proper Jewish food to eat over Yom Kippur. Given that I am (a non-practicing) Catholic, I am in need of guidance.Can anyone help me out with some Jewish delis where I can pick up some appropriate food for him? Thanks!!

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  1. You are in luck, there are no excellent Jewish delis around but that's a good thing because Yom Kippur is a fast day. :-)

    6 Replies
    1. re: wolfe

      I'm sorry, I should have specified that it's for his meal when he breaks the fast (?? - again, I'm not Jewish so am not sure if that is the correct term )

      1. re: ccmurieta

        My informants have advised me you meant when Yom Kippur is over( Not over YM). Miller's East West Deli or Moishe Pippic in San Francisco or Saul's in Berkeley while not excellent may work.
        What ever you do not David's.

        1. re: wolfe

          Do you need kosher food? Or just looking for more traditional eastern European-type break-the fast food? (A big big difference).
          If not kosher - the Pasta Shop (Rockridge and 4th St. Berkeley) has a special order menu for pickup.

          1. re: wolfe

            Never...ever....evvvverrr go to a deli that serves pizza. Forget about Millers...never been, but that just doesnt sit right with me. Granted, I am a bit of a deli snob having been raised on Queen Blvd's best...but, if you are looking for authentic jewish deli food...I wouldn't expect to find it at Millers.

            1. re: wolfe

              Strongly recommend Miller's on Polk Street in San Francisco for outstanding deli food, particularly pastrami and corned beef. If you are in the Berkely/East Bay, Saul's is phenomenal. Both are as good as anything in New York.

              1. re: gwings

                Where exactly have you been in NY that you are comparing these places to?

        2. Sorry to tell you there is nothing excellent, or even approaching excellent in these parts. That said, I would put Miller's in the acceptable category.

          There is also a pop-up Jewish deli, Wise Sons, that's open on Saturday from 9-2. I've only been once, and thought they had good intentions, but it was definitely a work in progress. The rye bread was very good.

          1. I always love the salads and soup at Holy Land in Berkeley and Oakland. Only the Oakland branch is Kosher, and it's a restaurant rather than a deli.

            For takeout appetizing, Paulie's Pickling in the Cortland marketplace has delicious, inexpensive chopped liver, cole slaw, pickles, and whitefish salad. They also cure their own salmon, which I haven't tried. While you're there, pick up a borsht and a couple of piroshki from Anda Piroshki across the way.

            Bi-Rite has pricier salmon and whitefish salad.

            I had a lovely dinner recently at Old World Food Truck, a popup at La Victoria. The pierogies were a bit dense for me, but the borscht couldn't have been better and their modern take on whitefish salad was great.

            They just did a dinner for Rosh Hashanah. It's a work in progress:

            I liked Wise Sons tongue better than their pastrami, but you'd have to wait for Saturday.

            Lots of local bakeries make good challah on Fridays and presumably they will make it for Yom Kippur.

            Holy Land Restaurant
            2965 College Ave, Berkeley, CA 94705

            Paulie’s Pickling
            331 Cortland Ave, San Francisco, CA 94110

            La Victoria Bakery
            2937 24th St, San Francisco, CA 94110

            6 Replies
            1. re: Windy

              I like the food better at the Berkeley non-kosher Holy Land. It's primarily Middle Eastern / Israeli though they have a few Eastern European Jewish dishes such as stuffed cabbage.

              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                I've never tried the Oakland branch. It's worth a drive over the bridge just for the mint lemonade.

                A note that their hours are odd. The one on Telegraph is closed Saturdays, in theory for the sabbath. But open Friday nights and closed Saturday night.

                1. re: Windy

                  Don't both Holy Lands close by sunset on Fridays?

                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                    It looks like Berkeley is closed Friday nights too.

                    I ate dinner there on a Friday in April though--daylight savings?

              2. re: Windy

                Windy, did you notice if the Holy Land Restaurant in Oakland serves borscht? My understanding is that they don't serve it. So far, the only borscht in Oakland that I've found is at four restaurants in Chinatown: Cafe 88 (located just underneath Peony) , 8th Street Cafe, Saint Anna and Shooting Star Cafe (on Webster near 10th Street). My favorite versions were the ones at Cafe 88 and Shooting Star.

                Melanie and rworange have previously posted threads about borscht at Hong Kong-style cafes (cha chaan teng) at and

                Saint Anna
                326 8th St, Oakland, CA 94607

                Shooting Star Cafe
                1068 Webster St, Oakland, CA 94607

                1. re: zippo

                  Hi Zippo, I've only been to the Holy Land in Berkeley, but Robert is correct: their food is Middle Eastern Jewish rather than Ashkenazi. They do have either chicken noodle or matzo ball. I could use a bowl right now.

                  For old style Jewish soups, I like Cinderella Bakery on Balboa in the city. They reconfigured the store so it's mostly takeout, but the poppyseed rolls, pelmeni, pickles, and mushroom barley soup are just as good.

                  Cinderella Bakery
                  436 Balboa St, San Francisco, CA 94118

              3. My two visits to Wise Sons have been inconsistent - the first time the pastrami was almost at Katz's level, while the second time it fell short. My hunch is that the variability mostly comes from temperature, so if you can heat it yourself at home you should have more control.

                1. Thanks for all of the input. We are in the City now but will be driving to Los Gatos for dinner on Thursday and then have to drop off someone in Berkeley Friday a.m. My plan, initially, was to drive back into SF to pick up something to serve him Sat night but it sounds like the East Bay has some very good places. I really, really appreciate the help as this was way out of my field of expertise :))