clock menu more-arrow no yes
Pastrami latke kit items (six latkes; Russian dressing; sauerkraut; pickles; Swiss cheese; and thinly sliced pastrami) laying atop a wooden table.
Pastrami latke kit from Wise Sons in Culver City, California.
Wise Sons

Filed under:

A Guide to Hanukkah 2021 in Los Angeles

Where to fete and feast for the eight nights of Hanukkah — in-person or at home in Los Angeles

If you buy something from an Eater link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics policy.

Hanukkah falls early this year, beginning on November 28 and ending on December 6 — a fortuitous calendar development that makes it less likely for holiday enthusiasts to contrast or conflate the eight-day festival with Christmas in December. While not the most religiously significant holiday within Jewish culture, Hanukkah is often one of the most fun: marked by festive games, oil-fried foods, and gift-giving. It will no doubt feel different in Los Angeles in 2021 by virtue of families being able to gather again safely indoors or outdoors together, provided that everyone is vaccinated.

Los Angeles, with its large diasporic Jewish community, has a number of restaurants, bakeries, and delis across the county that answer the call of the holiday’s golden-fried food traditions: from doughnut shops turning out takes on puffy, powdery, jelly-filled sufganiyot to crispy potato latkes served with fatty sour cream and applesauce. The pandemic construct of fully realized to-go dinners for individual family celebrations continues with catering menus tailored for at-home gatherings of all sizes. And if you want to observe with the reliability and comfort of a dine-in restaurant menu and experience, there are spots across the city offering Hanukkah dishes — or dishes fit for Hanukkah — that can be savored within a warm space or on a (probably heated) outdoor patio.

Here are your best bets for Hanukkah 2021 in Los Angeles.


Make a Reservation

In 2021, some restaurants are offering special Hanukkah menus; others offer dishes that, while not marketed for the holiday, still fit the spirit of it: oil-fried and joyful. (Deli diehards can jump to the end of this piece for Hanukkah menus in the delicatessen genre.)

Dining room at Kismet in Silver Lake. Wonho Frank Lee/Eater LA
Kismet

Silver Lake’s Kismet is doing a special Hanukkah menu on November 30 from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.; reservations are recommended. For $85 per person, dinner will include latkes and schmear, duck with horseradish, carrots braised in Manischewitz (a genius use for the requisite holiday bottle), kasha mushrooms, bitter greens, and buckwheat sufganiyot. Diners can book a table — stake a place now, since seating is limited — for this event on Resy.

Bavel

Bavel, the Arts District restaurant from husband-wife team Ori Menashe and Genevieve Gergis, offers sharply plated, seasonal dishes that take influences from countries in the Middle East and North Africa. Its menu, while not reshaped for the holiday, would nonetheless be a perfect choice for a Hanukkah celebration: from a pan-fried sweet potato dish featuring burnt vegetable puree, haloumi, and sesame, to “tulumba churros” (an Angeleno’s take on a deep-fried Turkish dessert) served with lavender-inflected labneh to satisfy the fried pastry itch. Reservations can be made on OpenTable.

Playa Provisions

A seafood restaurant for Hanukkah? While not serving a Hanukkah menu, Playa Provisions is a good choice for those in the mood for something like a latke, but not quite a latke. The “two-bite” crispy hash brown, topped with trout roe, shaved egg, shallot, and chives, will sate — even temporarily — the latke craving for those not ready to pull out the grater and cheesecloth at home. Reservations can be made on Resy.


Order Ahead

To-go menus became a sustaining force for both diners and restaurants during the height of the coronavirus pandemic, and the new-normal tradition continues in 2021 with a robust slate of takeout dinners that are ready to heat and eat in the warmth of home.

Slab

Slab, the cool-kid barbecue joint on West Third in Fairfax from Israeli pitmaster Burt Bakman, is offering a Hanukkah to-go package from November 8 through December 6. The meal, priced at $195, serves four and includes half a brisket, latkes, a mixed green salad, matzo ball soup (the Easter egg of broad-swing Hanukkah menus), and roasted green beans. Pre-orders can be made 24 hours in advance on Tock.

A sheet pan with a layer of parchment paper; atop it sits four dreidel shortbread cookies, a piping bag filled with blue icing, and four bags of sprinkles in various colors, textures, and sizes.
A Hanukkah cookie decorating kit from Huckleberry in Santa Monica.
Lindsey Huttrer/Huckleberry
Huckleberry

This Santa Monica stalwart is offering its usual Hanukkah bounty, with to-go main courses like herb-roasted whole chicken and onion-braised brisket as well as sides like carrots roasted in honey date butter and herbs, potato latkes, and homemade applesauce. Desserts include cinnamon-dusted brioche doughnut holes (served by the dozen), chocolate olive oil cake, and a kid-friendly Hanukkah “cookie decorating kit” featuring shortbread dreidels and a piping bag with blue icing. Orders after November 28 must be placed 72 hours in advance on Tock, by phone, or by email.

Atop a wooden table with menu board in the background sit a bottle filled with a bright blue cocktail and a salted tumbler filled with the same drink.
“Light the Menorah” to-go cocktail from Akasha in Culver City.
Akasha
Akasha

Akasha is making its annual “Vodka and Latkes” dinner in a to-go format for the second year in a row. Starters include faux vegan “liver” (made from blended peas, walnuts, and caramelized onions), pletzel (its take on the Jewish onion board bread: challah baked with onions, poppy seeds, and salt), and winter chicory salad; entrees feature slow-cooked brisket and tangerine braised chicken. The headliners, of course, are the latkes and vodka: Akasha’s Yukon Gold potato latkes can be ordered by the half-dozen for $10 and paired with homemade local applesauce; a premium upgrade includes smoked salmon, sour cream, and chives. Drinks, which run for $25 each, are equally festive, including a sufganiyot cocktail riff: cranberry-infused vodka mixed with apricot jam, lemon, and mint. Delivery and pick-up pre-orders can be made now on Tock.

A table with four latke kits (latkes packed in either gold or blue tulip boxes).
Milky Way latke kits for Hanukkah.
The Milky Way
The Milky Way

The kosher restaurant, owned by the Spielberg family (yes, those Spielbergs), will offer sleekly packaged latke kits for $36 that feature a dozen latkes, apple compote, sour cream, and instructions for reheating to their intended crispiness. Orders can be made for pickup (at its Pico-Robertson location) and delivery via Doordash.

A white oval plate with Birdie G’s brand logo written in blue under a blue Staub casserole dish holding blistered noodle kugel.
Noodle kugel topped with sage brown butter.
Jeremy Fox/Birdie G’s
Birdie G’s

Birdie G’s, a Santa Monica restaurant with an airy indoor space, expansive outdoor patio, and stellar bar program, will have a Hanukkah delivery and to-go menu available for pre-order. Available from November 28 to December 5, the menu includes its year-round matzo ball soup, tangy sauerkraut latkes served with creme fraiche and applesauce, ricotta noodle kugel, corned beef short rib in smoked tomato gravy, spiced carrots, and apple-sunchoke cake. Orders, which can be made on Tock, must be placed 72 hours in advance; orders for beef short rib have closed.


Save Room for Something Sweet

Sufganiyot, jelly-filled doughnuts that have North African and Eastern European origins, have become an iconic Hanukkah dessert — a sweet oil-fried counterpart to savory oil-fried latkes. While many mom-and-pop doughnut shops around Los Angeles usually serve up some form of jelly doughnut (raspberry or strawberry jelly filling are ubiquitous), some restaurants go to the next level for the holiday, offering sufganiyot with artisanal ingredients and even yeasted sprinkle doughnuts shaped like the Star of David.

Two powdered, jelly-filled sufganiyot.
Sufganiyot at Primo’s Donuts in Sawtelle Japantown.
Erica M. Allen/Primo’s Donuts
Primo’s Donuts

The Sawtelle Japantown doughnut shop will offer three renditions to mark Hanukkah: traditional jelly-filled sufganiyot, mini sufganiyot, and yeast-raised “Star of David” sprinkle doughnuts. The doughnuts are available from November 26 to December 6 for pick-up in store or pre-order on Primo’s website.

Sidecar Doughnuts

This artisanal doughnut favorite with locations across the Southland, including in Santa Monica, Fairfax, Torrance, and Manhattan Beach, serves up sufganiyot with a twist each year. While in previous years, Sidecar’s sufganiyot have been available for pre-order, this year it will be serving its “holiday jam malasadas” — a Portuguese take on traditional sufganiyot with a mixed berry jam, warms spices, and citrus — on Mondays and every day during Hanukkah; online ordering available.

A tilted view looking up at a white building with blue letters and sky beyond. Wonho Frank Lee
Diamond Bakery

This Los Angeles institution, which has operated for more than 75 years, will offer sufganiyot throughout Hanukkah at its Fairfax location. Large-sized sufganiyot can be ordered for $27.50 a dozen; small-sized orders run for $15 per dozen. Orders can be made over the phone, by email, and in-person; supply is limited, so visit the website for more information.

Schwartz Bakery

For those who keep kosher, Schwartz Bakery offers pastries and desserts, including sufganiyot for Hanukkah, prepared under rabbinical supervision. Offerings on the website include traditional sufganiyot filled with vanilla custard, chocolate custard, caramel, or jelly, and decidedly non-traditional dishes like maple doughnuts pocked with “candied facon” and a monster fried chicken breast sandwiched between two (ostensibly dairy-free) glazed doughnuts. Orders over $100 can be placed online for delivery; items can also be picked up in-store.

Red ice cream pint on a red- and green-decorated banquet table surrounded by glass dessert dishes filled with gold foil–covered gelt and wooden Hanukkah dreidels.
Genghis Cohen’s ice cream flavor collaboration with Coolhaus and Valerie.
Genghis Cohen
Genghis Cohen x Coolhaus and Valerie Confections

Genghis Cohen, Fairfax’s iconic Chinese American restaurant with a Jewish American lens, is again partnering with ice cream brand Coolhaus on a Hanukkah pint. Last year’s collaboration with DK’s Donuts brought Los Angeles a sufganiyot-inspired flavor with vanilla cake ice cream and jam; this year, Genghis Cohen and Coolhaus are taking a chocolatey approach with the help of Los Angeles–based confectionery Valerie. The flavor, punnily called “Gelt-y Pleasure,” features dark chocolate ganache ice cream with an iridescent gold swirl — perfect for pairing with an actual round (or few) of dreidel. The $10 pint is available in-house and to-go at Genghis Cohen through December 6; orders can be placed online.

A close-up of jelly doughnut holes dusted in cinnamon sugar and piped with red strawberry jam.
Jelly doughnut holes from Erin McKenna’s Bakery.
Erin McKenna’s Bakery
Erin McKenna’s Bakery

The vegan/gluten-free bakery, tucked on a tony stretch of Montana Avenue in Santa Monica, will offer jelly doughnut holes dusted in vegan sugar and cinnamon and plumped with strawberry jam. Orders can be placed by the dozen for $30 — certainly worth it for those with specific dietary needs who don’t often get to partake in the sufganiyot tradition. Visit the website to place a pick-up or local delivery order.


When in Doubt, Trust a Deli

The option for those who don’t want to think too hard about where to ring in Hanukkah is clear: one of Los Angeles’s many Jewish American delis, which usually feature family gathering–appropriate spreads throughout the year, although sometimes without the specificity of the holiday and an Ashkenazi-centric lens. Still, the deli is an icon of Jewish culture in America, a place of comfort whose survival usually speaks to stories of family resilience.

Art’s Deli

The Studio City delicatessen will serve a potato latkes menu for dine-in, takeout, delivery, offering full orders (eight for $19), half-orders (four for $12), and side orders (two for $7) accompanied by — what else — sour cream and applesauce. Takeout and delivery orders can be made by phone; find more details on the website.

Wexler’s Deli

The Los Angeles delicatessen, with locations in Santa Monica and at Grand Central Market in Downtown LA, will offer a Hanukkah menu for pick-up and delivery from the Santa Monica store. Dishes include Wexler’s whole-braised brisket, potato latkes served with creme fraiche and applesauce, roasted heirloom carrots, matzo ball soup (again, it’s a deli), a farmers market salad, and, for dessert, six individual chocolate babka loaves. The whole dinner, which can serve four to six comfortably, runs for $295 and can be ordered via email; full details are on the website.

A group of dishes on a wooden table featuring pomegranate- and blood orange-glazed chicken; seeded challah bread; a winter vegetable salad; and latkes with sour cream and applesauce.
Hanukkah dinner for four from Wise Sons.
Wise Sons
Wise Sons Jewish Deli

The beloved Bay Area deli chain recently expanded to Los Angeles, opening a store in the former Amacita location in Culver City, and with it brought an array of deli sandwiches and sides that spell comfort for Angelenos seeking stacks of pastrami on seeded rye and heaping bowls of matzo ball soup. For Hanukkah, its broad catering menu offers much to choose from: a roasted brisket or whole chicken dinner (a split sous vide bird bathed in a blood orange and pomegranate glaze) served with challah, winter vegetables, and latkes; “latke bar” sets of either latkes with Wise Sons’ signature pastrami and fixings, latkes with smoked salmon and pickled onion, or latkes with the classic sour cream and applesauce; and desserts — although its sufganiyot were only available in the Bay Area this year. (Next year in Los Angeles, hopefully.) Orders can be made ahead of time on its website.

LA Restaurant Openings

A New LA Food Hall Takes Up Residence Inside a 72-Year-Old Former Masonic Lodge

Eater Inside

Hollywood’s New Ka’teen Captures the Essence of the Mexican Coast

AM Intel

It’s About to Get Even Easier to Go Lose All Your Money in Las Vegas

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Eater Los Angeles newsletter

The freshest news from the local food world