Where to Eat Latkes in NYC Right Now
Hanukkah season is here.
New York has a long and proud history of Jewish food makers and lovers. Bagels, challah, babka (we like our carbs!), lox, and latkes have become ingrained in NYC’s food map, with devoted fans from across cultures. With Hanukkah coming up (it starts early this year, right after Thanksgiving weekend on the eve of November 28), it’s time to indulge in some latkes, potato (or sometimes other vegetables) pancakes fried in oil until golden.
Jews eat oily foods on Hanukkah to commemorate the miracle of a day’s supply of menorah oil lasting eight nights after a battle to reclaim the Holy Temple in Jerusalem from the ancient Seleucid people (fried jelly-filled doughnuts called sufganiyot are another beloved tradition). Whether they’re made from shredded or fully blended tubers (or a combination of the two), regular potatoes or sweet potatoes or another root vegetable entirely, or served with applesauce or sour cream, New Yorkers are lucky enough to have plenty of restaurants serving latkes all year long, or as specials during Hanukkah. From the traditional spots like Katz’s and Russ & Daughters to unexpected interpretations at Empellon to new restaurants like Agi’s Counter, you’re sure to find a latke that you’ll love.
Here are our favorite places for getting latkes in NYC.
This new Crown Heights destination celebrates Hungarian food and is led by chef Jeremy Salamon (The Eddy, Hungarian pop-up Fond, Buvette) and named after his grandmother. The breakfast, lunch, and pastry shop serves Jewish and Eastern European cuisine that’s influenced by local produce and has traditional items like Lebarkase (pork pate) and Palascinta (rolled crepes) plus sandwiches and other bites on the regular menu—and Sacher Torte on Fridays. For a few days during Hanukkah, Salamon is offering a Latke Soiree menu, which includes a build-your-own latke plate with four latkes served with salmon roe, sour cream, apple jam, and herbs.
The much-anticipated and extremely stylish Zou Zou’s from the Quality Branded team has just debuted in Manhattan West, serving Eastern Mediterranean fare from chef Madeline Sperling (previously of Gramercy Tavern and The NoMad). On the inaugural menu are crispy latkes with frizzled thyme, perfect for the holiday.
Who’s Jac W.?
Recently opened by Joel Reiss (The Odeon, Orsay) and Frank and Pietro Pecora (Delizia 73), this modern American restaurant will have a latke special during the holiday. Scallion latkes topped with braised short rib, horseradish sour cream, natural jus and chive oil are more than just a side here, although you can order to complement the Crispy Bird fried chicken sandwich.
The classic grated potato latkes at this Levantine-influenced restaurant by chef Ari Bokovza (previously of Claudette) come with a choice of out-of-the-box toppings and accompaniments: choose from horseradish-za’atar yogurt, smoked salmon, silan and ginger applesauce, pastrami-spiced short rib marmalade, harissa ketchup, tahina and amba, roasted bone marrow, or splurge on American paddlefish caviar. Dagon, which opened during the pandemic in a chic vintage-Tel-Aviv-inspired space, is from the team behind Nice Matin, Barbounia, and Nizza.
While it might be less famous than Katz’s and Second Avenue Deli, this Upper East Side classic Jewish deli deserves a seat at the counter. PJ’s has been serving deli sandwiches, matzo ball and kreplach soup, and smoked fish since 1965 to the likes of Lucille Ball, Mayor Ed Koch, and Liza Minnelli (whose photos line the walls), plus plenty of neighborhood regulars. On the robust menu all year long are classic potato latkes served with sour cream and applesauce or for something different, order the Lucky Latke: Brisket or pastrami between two crunchy latkes.
How to book: Walk in or order pick-up or delivery via website or by phone at 212-879-0914
Alex Stupak’s Empellón Taqueria has a taco of the week special each week and for the week of Hanukkah the masses will be blessed with, you guessed it, a latke taco. This genius invention consists of a golden-fried shredded potato pancake topped with crema, apple salsa, and fresh chives and bundled into a freshly made tortilla.
Founded in 1908, this timeless restaurant’s hearty latkes were once a whispered-about off-menu item, but Barney Greengrass now has its latkes on full display to take center stage. Nicknamed the “The Sturgeon King,” the spot has been serving latkes with a smooth interior and golden and crispy outside for more than a century now, so stop by for six packs with sour cream and applesauce to start your own new tradition.
Baz Bagel and Restaurant
Just as the name suggests, this shop is known for its bagels. But after starting off your morning with one made by chef and owner Bari Musacchio, make sure you return for her latkes. This year, Musacchio is serving up two options: her grandmother’s classic recipe, dubbed Joyce’s Famous Latkes, and a version she likes to call the Fancy Pants, which comes dressed up with sour cream, smoked salmon, and salmon roe caviar.
This quintessential NYC bakery known for its chocolate babka rolled out a new Hanukkah menu stocked with must-order treats. It features latkes in regular and sweet potato versions that come with sour cream and homemade warm cinnamon applesauce. And because we’re all deserving of a sweet end to the year, add on some fantastic sufganiyot available in yuzu basil, coconut lime, strawberry, and chocolate.
This casual daytime food spot from Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group may be known for its cruller doughnuts, sandwiches, salads, and pastries, but don’t skip the latkes if you stop by for a Hanukkah visit. Grab a set of five golden latkes with sour cream or opt for a sweet jelly-filled Sufganiyot cruller to celebrate.
After operating as a pop-up out of Paulie Gee’s, this Jewish deli-inspired spot finally has a permanent space in Greenpoint. Edith’s slings bagel sandwiches and challah buns piled high with brisket, and they’ve got you covered with latkes, too. You can stop in and buy latkes for $3 each or add roe for an extra dollar.
For the holiday, order ahead from all-day cafe, Gertie, and your prize will be a bounty of special Hanukkah offerings in a special “jackpot” box. At this hip Brooklyn spot, choose from traditional golden latkes with sour cream and onion dipping sauce; pillowy sufganiyot; gelt; and an assortment of riffs on Jewish pastry like babka, schnecken, and lemon poppy rugelach. There are also optional add-ons including trout roe, whitefish salad, and apple cake.
An institution in the Lower East Side since 1888, Katz’s is the oldest Jewish deli in NYC, and in addition to its iconic pastrami on rye sandwich, the restaurant serves up steller latkes as well. Options to enjoy them include visiting the eatery to order them onsite any day of the year, getting takeout and delivery, or shipping them to extended family that you aren’t able to spend Hanukkah with this year.
Mile End Delicatessen
Mile End Delicatessen is a Montreal-style Jewish deli known for its smoked meats and Montreal-style bagels. Come Hanukkah, the deli does traditional latkes in packs of six or 12 for pick-up or delivery (remember to pre-order!). You can add on toppings by the half pint like the basic sour cream and applesauce, plus lemon-herb or caviar creme fraiche, whitefish mousse, and chopped liver. Sufganiyot, brisket, matzo ball soup, and more can also be added to any order.
Russ & Daughters
You can’t discuss New York Jewish delis and appetizing spots without including Russ & Daughters, the iconic shop that’s been on the Lower East Side since 1914. Of course the smoked and cured fish are renowned, but the latkes are nothing to sneeze at. Sold as singles or in packs of five or 12, you can nab them at the original E. Houston Street location, the Orchard Street café (no indoor seating), or at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. The outpost at the Jewish Museum remains closed.
How to order:website or national shipping via Goldbelly
Sami & Susu
This Mediterranean spot found a home on Orchard Street after popping up during the pandemic. In addition to pita and baguette sandwiches and a pantry shop, during Hanukkah it has large latkes with sides of crème fraiche and trout roe available.
Shelsky's of Brooklyn
When native New Yorker Peter Shelsky opened his Brooklyn bagel shop in 2011, it became an instant classic. Now, a decade later, its loyal neighborhood following will come out in droves for the shop’s golden fried latkes. Shelsky’s offers a traditional and gluten-free version of its classic potato latke, in addition to its sweet potato and celery root latke—because, you know, residents of this town are all about having options.
Beloved Ukrainian diner Veselka serves crispy, golden latkes year-round, but come Hanukkah the restaurant significantly ramps up its potato pancake frying production to satisfy the masses. Supplement it with a classic bowl of borscht or some of the famous pierogis.
How to order: Order for pickup or delivery via website or nationwide shipping via Goldbelly
If you like your latkes extra large, look no further than the pita-sized shareable latkes at both locations of this Israeli restaurant. There are two versions of potato latkes: one with creme fraiche, lox, and trout roe, or one that’s topped with a fried egg, bacon, and maple syrup on the side. This year there are also sweet potato latkes served with cucumbers, tomatoes, and crème fraiche in homage to the version made at beloved Tel Aviv restaurant Orna & Ella, which closed a few years ago.