The Jewish holiday of Hanukkah begins the evening of Sunday, December 18, and runs through Monday, December 26. The holiday has its share of treats, including sufganiyot, or jelly doughnuts, but latkes, or fried potato pancakes, are arguably the centerpiece of any Hanukkah meal. As with most things, the holiday delights are the subject of spirited debate among Jewish families, and many have strong opinions on the matter. Mashed potatoes or grated? Apples, potatoes, leeks, or scallions? Sour cream or applesauce? In the end, there’s a perfect latke out there for everyone.Read More
Where to Find Fun Latkes for Hanukkah in Chicago
It’s dark, it’s cold, so why not enjoy some fried potato pancakes?
Sam & Gertie's
Chicago’s pioneering vegan Jewish deli Sam & Gerties has all the Hanukkah goods for patrons with various dietary preferences and requirements. Named for owner and chef Andy Kalish’s grandparents, the deli is a family affair and thus features Aunt Elaine’s Chanukah Latkes, a traditional version with sour cream and applesauce.
Steingold's of Chicago
This Lakeview deli and bakery got a head start on the season by bringing back latkes in September, and as Hanukkah grows closer, it’s gilding the lily with a platter that pairs the crispy potato pancakes with smoked salmon, sour cream, and all the standard lox-and-bagel toppings.
Table, Donkey and Stick
The team at Table, Donkey and Stick is well known for its ultra-crispy bite-size version of latkes that reconceive the dish into an addictive, snackable form. Bubbe and zayde may not recognize them on sight, but just one bite will get them on board.
Summer House Santa Monica
They have Hanukkah in California, too, or at least the imaginary California of Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises’ Summer House Santa Monica, which is serving potato latkes throughout the Hanukkah season. Here on the West Coast of Halsted Street, patrons can expect three versions: a traditional take with applesauce and sour cream, braised leek latkes for a gourmet twist, and mini-latkes with smoked salmon and chive cream.
Quirky, playful, and Scandinavian-influenced, this Humboldt Park brewpub has a compelling option latke fans with its trio of crispy potato pancakes topped with dill sour cream and smoked roe.
The Goddess and Grocer
Goddess and Grocer’s Hanukkah menu spreads the latke love around with two versions to try: a traditional take with sour cream and applesauce, or a dozen fun-size potato pancakes crowned with smoked salmon, sour cream, and caviar.
Heritage Restaurant & Caviar Bar
Perched on the border of Ukrainian Village and Humboldt Park, Heritage gives latkes an extra boost and helps patrons skip a step by frying grated apple right in there with the potatoes. Those looking for more of a good thing can top ’em off with creme fraiche and black garlic applesauce. They’re available exclusively for pickup alongside riffs on classics like pickled herring with beets and potato chips and turkey confit matzo ball soup.
Star chef Zoe Schor and crew have added latkes as an optional addition to its popular breakfast sandwich and other dishes, but for the holiday they’re also bringing back a traditional family-style Hanukkah feast on Monday, December 19 with tickets ($75) available via Resy. Crisp potato latkes are, naturally, on the menu alongside braised brisket, noodle kugel, and more.
Both of chef C.J. Jacobson’s Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises’ restaurants found a creative niche in 2021 with unusual Parmesan and Brussels sprouts latkes. Douse them in scallion crema and applesauce for even more surprises.
A neighborhood restaurant and bar with noteworthy Jewish deli influences, Half Sour adds a festive kick to its latkes by including hot honey among its topping options alongside more conventional offerings like scallions, sour cream, and applesauce. Or, go all and get them with salmon dip for a slight up-charge.
Eleven City Diner
This New York-style South Loop deli offers potato latkes all year round, but there’s no reason why they shouldn’t be included in any Hanukkah celebrations, especially when loaded with lox-and-bagel toppings or a pile of corned beef. The latke platter comes with two new-school and two old-school pancakes, with sides of applesauce and sour cream: something for everyone.
Manny's Coffee Shop & Deli
A homing beacon for local Jews of Eastern European origin, Manny’s Deli in South Loop has loyally served Chicago since 1942. Its latkes are of the large, hefty variety — no thin, lacy pancakes here — and are available year-round. For Hanukkah, the team features a heart-stopping sandwich of sliced pastrami and cheese loaded between two crispy golden disks. “Very popular this time of year,” fourth-generation owner Danny Raskin attests.
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