Where to Get Jewish & Kosher Foods

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Best challah?

November 2003

We are relatively new to North Berkeley and are looking for a reliable source for challah. I know it's a personal thing, taste-wise, but what do you recommend?

Try the challah at the Bread Workshop on Addison/Bonar street, 649-9735. They are a smaller bread company. They also sell bread at Berkeley Bowl (but I don't know if they sell the Challah there or only in their shop). It's got a lovely touch of rose water and saffron. My kids love it and will eat one each (if allowed)! challah lover

I vote for Semifreddi's as the best challah! They sell it in Andronico's or from their retail store in Kensington. Probably also from their production facility in Emeryville, which I think has a little store attached. Pam

Grand Bakery has the best challah. They may be a little far from Berkeley, but well worth the trip. Also many schools in the area do a fundraising project with them to have challah and other baked goods delivered to the school every Friday. -challah enthusaist

I absolutely LOVE the challah from Great Harvest Bread Co. 5800 College Ave. Technically, it's in Oakland, but at the border of Berkeley. They bake it on Fridays, so it may not be ready early in the morning. Check a little later in the day. I like it because it chewy, not tough, sweet, and moist. Semifreddie's challah is available in many markets and is pretty good. And the Grand Bakery in Oakland on Grand Ave (above the Grand Lake Theater) is also very good and kosher. The Grand Bakery closes about 3pm on Fridays to get ready for Shabbat, so you can't be too late! Enjoy! Barbara

My 2 favorite challot in the area are the Grand Bakery in Oakland and Nabolom in Elmwood, Berkeley. They are perfectly doughy and delicious! martha

My personal fave for challahs is Semi Freddie's. You can go to their bakery in Kensington, or get them at Andronico's and Trader Joes and probably lots of other stores.(they also make cinnamin/raisin challah..mmmmm). The Grand Bakery in Oakland also makes fabulous Challah's. Semi Freddies is more convenient for us though. June

Short of making it yourself, I say Semifreddi's. It's readily available at many stores, as well as their bakeries. It's also kosher, in case that matters to you. If you get it at the store, be sure to check dates - it doesn'tstay fresh forever! (it also makes great french toast if it's not too fresh) R.K.

You have tapped into one of the great Berkeley debates! As you say, it is a matter of personal preference. My personal favorites are the challah from Grand Bakery (which is in Oakland, but you can get Grand Bakery challah at Andronicos) and Cheeseboard. Semifreddis is also very popular (can be bought either at Semifreddis in Kensington, or in Oakland, or also at Andronicos), but I find it too eggy. Good luck on your quest! Fellow challah lover

I think the best and moistest is made by the Grand Bakery in Oakland; it's available at their bakery (if you get there early) or Andronico's (where I get mine). Heidi

I always go to The Grand Bakery on Grand Avenue in Oakland, right by 580. They have great cookies too. I've also heard Arizmundi on Lakeshore is good but haven't tried their challah yet. Suzanne

My family's favorite challah is from Hopkins Street Bakery, just up from Monterey Market. Don't know whether they still make small ones, but my kids used to love getting the little ones just their size. I think they only make them on Fridays. Judy

How brave you are to raise this controversial issue! I think the best challah in the whole wide world is the challah from Grand Bakery - the kosher bakery on Grand Ave in Oakland. Bob, the owner is also a great guy and this family owned business deserves support. But in addition, Bob maked the BEST CHALLAH! Lots of stores carry it. I know Afikomen on Claremont in Berkeley has it on Fridays. You can call Grand Bakery at 465-1110 and ask who gets those bulk deliveries on Fridays. Shabbat Shalom! Challah lover

Nabolom Bakery on Russell near College in Elmwood. nadja

ACME Bakery. There is one on San Pablo and Cedar. They sell challah on Fridays and Saturdays. It is delicious! (So is all of their other breads for that matter.) bread addict

The Best Challah around is at Grand Bakery on Grand Ave. in Oakland. It's a little bit of a drive from where you are but well worth it. All of their Challah is Parve. Shabbot Shalom!

We really like Semifreddi's Challah, available at many grocery stores. Anonymous

Hands down, the best challah in the Bay Area is baked by the Grand Bakery, the kosher bakery on Grand Ave. in Oakland (same block as the Grand Lake Theater on the same side of the street.) It is chewy, soft, golden brown, sweet like Shabbat, and tastes better than any I've ever had in many metropolitan areas that are home to many kosher bakeries (including NYC, Philadelphia, & Los Angeles.) Bob Jaffe, the baker at the Grand, bakes plain, sesame seed, poppy seed, & whole wheat every week. He also will bake large challot for weddings and other special occassions. If you can't make it to Oakland every Friday, you can buy the Grand Bakery Challah at Piedmont Grocery, the Berkeley Bowl, and Andronico's. Call the bakery to find out where else the challah is sold. But you may want to visit the Bakery on a Friday morning. It's a great place to meet & schmooze with other people getting ready for Shabbat, and Bob may be playing one of his live Grateful Dead or Neil Young concert tapes. Check out his amazing vintage concert posters on the walls! (510) 465-1110 3264 Grand Ave., Oakland PS: The Grand's chocolate babka is to die for. My mother takes it home to New Jersey whenever she & my father come visit. Grand Fan

Nabolom Bakery on College Avenue at Russell Street is our favorite. Zoe

Semifreddies and Acme make good challah. But in my opinion, the absolute BEST challah around is from Grand Bakery in Oakland, near the Grand Lake Theatre. It is really outstanding! (Although some grocery stores sell Grand Bakery challah, it is never quite as fresh as getting the challah from Grand Bakery.) Jen F.

Best Matzo Ball Soup in the East Bay?

Oct 2006

Where can we get it - delicous and healthy? We like the one made at Holy Land (near College and Ashby), but would like to explore other versions Thank you.

The matzo ball soup at Saul's (Shattuck @ Vine) is not bad. But I've gotten the best results by making it at home from a package. I think I get Manichevitz (sp?). Be sure to make the matzo balls SMALL (the size of grapes) because they expand massively when you cook them. Also, use Swanson's canned chicken broth rather than the powdered kind that you can (optionally) get along with the matzo ball mix. I add pearl onions, baby carrots, celery, and bits of chicken meat to the soup. It's really not hard to make, and is better than anything you'll find in a restaurant Lotsa Matzo

Yum! Oakland Kosher Foods on Lakeshore-- AMAZING matzo ball soup! My kids, husband, parents, friends, everyone loves it. I even served it for the high holidays at my home this year, instead of making my own. They also have lots of cool Israeli products like falafel mix, chocolates, candies, not to mention kosher meat, and other foods... Enjoy! matzo ball soup fan

Did you check: http://www.yelp.com/ or http://www.chowhound.com/ ??? They are GREAT resources for restaurant/food (and various other) recommendations. ''B'tai Avon'' -Love NYC kosher

Saul's on Shattuck across from Safeway! Yum!