Al’s Deli isn’t the first of its kind - there are more fast-casual restaurants in San Francisco than there are athleisure startups. Probably. But even if restaurants like this offshoot of Al’s Place already exist, we’re still happy it’s here, and we like this Israeli restaurant for the same reasons we like a good pair of Levi’s - it’s affordable and comfortable. And in the case of Al’s Deli, it’s the perfect spot to go for delicious and convenient food whenever we need it most.
A lot of the menu is good for sharing, but if you’re ordering just for yourself, there are really only four main options - there’s tender Shawarma spiced chicken, smoky brisket, crispy falafel, and rich blistered eggplant and cauliflower you can get as a pita sandwich or salad. And everything is good, including the crunchy cucumbers and tomatoes, schug sauce, creamy hummus, and pickled cabbage they come with.
If you’re getting food to share like a platter of their smoky brisket, we like the bite-sized corn dogs wrapped in falafel, or the tomato salad with smoked watermelon and chili oil that’s so good we would go out of our way for this alone. There’s also a delicious latke stuffed with salmon and cheese that’s heavy and best if split with a friend. By the end of the meal, your table will look like your bed when you’re packing for a trip - but instead of being covered in clothes, it’ll be crowded with too many tiny plates, trays, and bowls to handle.
All the plate shuffling aside, you’ll appreciate Al’s Deli most when you’re biting into their pita sandwich instead of attempting to make dinner from whatever’s left of your last Trader Joe’s run. So the next time you find yourself about to microwave that spaghetti squash that’s been sitting in your fridge for a month, go to Al’s Deli instead. Like your favorite pair of jeans, it’s there anytime you need it.
This chicken has a lot of paprika and a little bit of heat to it. This goes great in a pita sandwich, and is large enough to split with someone.
We would eat a bunch of these on their own if it was an option.
You can fully taste the smokiness of the meat when you get it as a platter, and it goes great with the crunchy slaw it comes with.
The eggplant is tender and the cauliflower is rich and almost buttery. If we’re getting a pita sandwich, we sometimes like this better than the meat. Order with confidence.
These latkes are either stuffed with avocado and citrus, or smoked salmon and cream cheese. Either way you have them, know that they’re the heaviest thing on the menu. Order this if you have a friend to split it with.
These falafels are more dense than the plain falafel thanks to the corn dog, but they’re good. They also feel like food you’d find at a carnival, and are fun to split with a few friends.
The hummus here is creamy and good, and the lightly-pickled cucumbers are a nice addition. This is a good side.
The french fries are dense and slightly greasy, and go great with the smoked meat.
We want this on the beach. We want this at our picnics. We want this for breakfast and dinner.
The soft serve is pretty good, but even better if you add the spiced peaches. Get some on your way out the door for your walk home.