10 Standout Jewish-Deli Dishes Around Boston

From smoked bagels shellacked with next-level schmears to treifed-up knishes stuffed with Wagyu bacon.

jewish deli dishes boston

Photograph by Nina Gallant, styling by Monica Mariano/Ennis

Smoked bagels shellacked with next-level schmears, treifed-up knishes stuffed with Wagyu bacon, and peppery pastrami served with a side caddy of Manischewitz barbecue sauce. There’s a new wave of Jewish-deli fare infiltrating Boston, and it’s the farthest thing from Bubbe’s chopped liver—although there’s plenty of that as well.

Moody’s Delicatessen

At Joshua Smith’s temple to all things cured and meaty, offerings of whitefish salad, pickled herring, and other normcore Jewish standbys were initially met with indifference. But that was two years ago. This spring, thanks to baker Luke Fetbroth, the not-so-kosher deli is rethinking the classics with wood-fired bagels; crackly knishes filled with Wagyu bacon ( 1 ); and a bourbon-vanilla noodle kugel with smoked cinnamon, house-made ricotta, and egg noodles ( 2 )—all of which the chef field-tested at Pats tailgates in Foxboro.

468 Moody St., Waltham, 781-216-8732, moodyswaltham.com.

Exodus Bagels

When he started making New York–style bagels ( 3 ) for his itinerant pop-up brand, Adam Hirsh settled on a name inspired by the urban-to-suburban flight of Boston’s Jewish community. Now the L.A. transplant is close to settling down in a brick-and-mortar hub where he can showcase his full gamut of chewy rounds and schmears (bacon, horseradish-herb); a tripleta-inspired bagel sandwich; and his riff on matzo ball soup ( 4 ): kettle-bloomed, schmaltz-enhanced bagel-meal balls bobbing in rich chicken broth.

Saturdays, Egleston Farmers’ Market, 29 Germania St., Boston, exodusbagels.com.

Mamaleh’s Delicatessen

For years, the restaurant team behind the much-eulogized Hungry Mother has been looking to open a deli/soda shop that paid homage to the corned-beef sandwiches and phosphate sodas ( 5 ) of their youth. At Mamaleh’s—their reimagined version of New York’s pantheon delis—grab a house-made celery soda ( 6 ) at the bar, then peruse display cases stocked with hot- and cold-smoked fish, a veggie-packed take on kasha varnishkes ( 7 ), and a rotating selection of baked goods from pastry chef Rachel Sundet, such as these buttery rugelach ( 8 ).

Opening this spring, One Kendall Sq., Cambridge, mamalehs.com.


After countless real estate hiccups, chef Nookie Postal’s long-awaited Jewish-deli-meets-Texas-barbecue mash-up—in the works since 2012—is finally nearing reality. Expect peach-wood-smoked, pickle-brined chicken thighs, flaky hot-smoked salmon ( 9 ), and mounds of meltingly tender pastrami ( 10 ), all piled on schmaltz-laden “everything” challah rolls. Slather on the chef’s trio of barbecue sauces built from classic kosher quaffs like syrupy Manischewitz and Dr. Brown’s black cherry soda to complete the ultimate nosher experience.