If you’re looking for traditional Jewish food, you certainly won’t go hungry in the capital. London has so many great kosher restaurants, Jewish delis, and street food spots that you’ll feel like you’re dining in Tel Aviv.
Food is a huge part of Jewish culture. Different dishes are eaten at different times in the Jewish calendar and the recipes have been passed down through the generations. Whether you’re an Ashkenazi or Sephardi Jewish person, the likelihood is that you have your personal favourite Jewish comfort foods. No matter what life is like, there are certain meals that immediately make you think of home and good times. These restaurants can help you find just that, right here in London.
Electric Bar & Diner at The Ned
This American-style diner at The Ned is reminiscent of a Jewish-American deli. As well as the usual diner classics such as burgers and hot dogs, this modern diner also offers matzo ball soup, chicken liver toast, and breakfast bagels. Bagels are actually a traditional Jewish food; they were created by Jewish communities in Poland. The restaurant also serves indulgent desserts and classic cocktails, so if you’re looking for a bit of a bougie (and boozy) meal, this is the place for you.
You can’t write an article about Jewish food without including Tish. Situated in Belsize Park, this kosher restaurant has perfected the art of Jewish dining. The owner learned to cook from his Hungarian mother and grandmother and many of their traditional Jewish dishes are on the menu, or have been incorporated into another dish. Once you’ve tried their chicken schnitzel and the challah brioche pudding, you’ll soon be planning a return visit. They also have a bar that is open until 11.30pm, so you can really make a night of it.
The Brass Rail at Selfridges
When you think of Selfridges, the first thing to come to mind is probably high-end fashion. However, don’t be fooled. The Brass Rail has a number of Jewish dishes on the menu that you might normally eat at a family Friday Night Dinner. Opened in 1966, The Brass Rail is the oldest restaurant at Selfridges and it’s famous for its Brass Rail Reuben – a hot salt beef sandwich with sauerkraut, Swiss cheese and gherkins. Fun fact: sauerkraut was introduced to Western Europe and the United States by the Jewish population.
There’s nothing better than leaving school or work after a long day and going to your favourite burger place. If you’re looking for a good burger, made with fully kosher meat, then Burger Bar is the place to go. Located in Temple Fortune, it serves a range of burgers, including vegetarian options, plus wraps, salads, and excellent milkshakes. How can it get any better, I hear you ask? They also offer specials, including everyone’s favourite: shawarma and hummus. Burger Bar is the ideal spot if you’ve got kids to feed or can’t face cooking.
If you’re a Jewish person living in or visiting London, you should definitely check out the traditional cuisine that Reubens has to offer. A London institution for over 45 years, they serve a matzo ball soup that could rival your grandmothers. All of their food is kosher and they offer a massive variety, from steaks and chicken shawarma to their famous salt beef sandwiches. There’s something for everyone at Reubens.
Deli Ninety Eight
Everyone loves traditional kosher food; it’s delicious, homely and comforting. Deli Ninety Eight has put a bit of a spin on it, combining traditional recipes with dishes that have a contemporary twist. Their menu has everything you could want, from fully loaded deli sandwiches to latkes and pastrami pizza. With a menu that encompasses the new as well as the old, this Stamford Hill spot is definitely worth a visit.
This is a guest post from Luke Levine, a Jewish writer currently studying English Literature and Creative Writing through the Open University. Luke’s primary focus is on Jewish and LGBT+ issues and rights, as well as speaking about how both the religious and LGBT+ community can coexist.
Photo Credit: The Brass Rail image courtesy of Selfridges.