Dec 12, 2023 - Food and Drink

Food Fight: 10 spots serving latkes in the Chicago area

Potato pancakes on plate with cups of sour cream and applesauce with plastic fork next to plate.

Latkes from Schneider's. Photo: Justin Kaufmann/Axios

Hanukkah's Festival of Lights began last Thursday and continues through the week.

  • To celebrate, Jews worldwide are feasting on special fried foods, including latkes, or potato pancakes. We're sharing some of our favorite local places to get them, also with readers' recommendations.

Magic Jug

6354 W. Irving Park Road— Portage Park

Monica's pick: Portage Park's cozy Ukrainian Magic Jug, where the delicious potato pancakes ($8.95) are crisp on the outside, tender sweet and oniony on the inside, with just the right amount of sour cream.

A plate of three latkes with sour cream on the side.
Magic Jug's potato pancakes. Photo: Monica Eng/Axios

Schneider Deli

600 N. La Salle Drive — River North

Justin's pick: If we're talking about potato pancakes, I love me some Max & Benny's in Northbrook. But I couldn't get up there last week, so instead I visited the new kid on the block: Schneider Deli attached to the Ohio House Hotel in River North.

  • The latkes weren't greasy — a huge plus — and came with the requisite sour cream and applesauce ($6).
  • Get the Reuben or a bagel when you go.

Steingold's

3737 N. Southport Ave. — Lakeview

Carrie's pick: I first fell for their bagels, but Steingold's has some fluffy, crisp, round pancakes ($4.50).

  • The green onion flavor is subtle, and you can't taste the grease. I'm not a fan of sour cream or applesauce, so I rock mine with the superior condiment — spicy mustard.
Three round potato pancakes on green plate with cup of applesauce.
The applesauce was just for the photo shoot. Photo: Carrie Shepherd/Axios

Reader recommendations

  • Schmaltz Deli in Lisle. Its latkes are made from a "combination of shredded and mashed potatoes, finished with a crisp outside and a creamy center," writes reader Michael G.
  • Manny's Deli in the South Loop has the very best latkes, according to Sue B. "Fluffy and just the right mix of flavors."
  • Walker Brothers, with locations in Wilmette, Glenview and Schaumburg.
  • Max & Benny's in Northbrook. "Their noodle soup is a close second," says Henry M.
  • The Onion Roll in Oak Park. "Crispy on the outside, moist, tender, and flavorful inside. Heavenly," Connie B. writes.
  • Eleven City Diner in the South Loop.
  • Sideshow Gelato in Lincoln Square serves potato and sour cream gelato, topped with an applesauce swirl and crunchy potato sticks. "Nothing else like it in the city," writes Anne G.
deli plate
Latkes get eaten fast at Manny's, which is why Monica could only take the picture of this half when she visited with her family recently. Photto: Monica Eng/Axios
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