Like most celebrations, the Jewish High Holidays sneak up on the calendar before anyone can notice the (slight) temperature drop. Rosh Hashanah starts September 15, with Yom Kippur following closely on September 24.
Each has its own food traditions, from the apples and honey meant to bring sweetness into the New Year, to the kreplach breaking the fast after the Day of Atonement. Unfortunately, some beloved dishes are easier to find than others. And not every celebrant has the luxury of living near family.
Fortunately, San Antonio offers a range of spots offering Jewish favorites — from a fine dining sensation innovating Sephardic cuisine to a stylish diner serving Ashkenazi comfort food. Not every place keeps Kosher, but all provide the comforting taste of home.
Chicago Bagel & Deli
Though not a true Jewish restaurant, this North Side shop still makes mean bagels and lox. Other deli standards include a stuffed tuna salad sandwich and an exemplary pastrami on rye. All the breads are made in-house. Visit on Fridays for the freshest challah.
The two locations of this diner riff on traditional Jewish fare throughout the year, serving waffle iron latkes topped with beet-cured lox and herby matzo ball soup. Rosh Hashanah, however, calls for more festivities. The Broadway location is pulling out all the stops on September 17 with a jubilant prix fixe. Guests will enjoy caramelized onion and potato pierogis and honey cakes topped with cinnamon crème anglaise. An optional wine package gives diners unlimited pours of house red or white.
Though billed as a “modern Mediterranean grill house,” this pearl stunner is specifically rooted in the Jewish-Balkan cuisine of chef Berty Richter’s youth. Don’t miss the impossibly creamy hummus made with purple hulled peas or the featherlight karpuz y feta showcasing watermelon and sumac. Or, for a full feast, let the kitchen staff make all the decisions. The mezas de alegría, a shared dining experience for the table, showcases the greatest hits from the menu.
Max & Louie’s New York Diner
As close as San Antonio gets to a Brooklyn diner, this long-running favorite still echoes with the vision of its founders — one a Kosher butcher, and one, well, not so much. While an Asian chopped salad may not scream tradition, the outliers are mixed with Ashkenazi standards like Coney Island knishes, kugel, and crispy latkes served with apple sauce and sour cream.
Nibblits & Nosh
This 100-percent Kosher food truck travels about town, most frequently stopping at the Congregation Rodfei Sholom. The menu is an assortment of all-American classics like hot dogs, fried chicken sandwiches, and burgers. Try the loaded brisket fries with a pickle on the side.
Yummy Kosher Grill
A newish Kosher eatery inside the Israeli Chabad Center, Yummy specializes in Mediterranean specialties like shakshuka and falafel, with a few menu items like chicken nuggets thrown in for the kids. Closed weekly for Shabbat, it will dish out plenty of pita on September 1.