What Makes a Restaurant Kosher?

Kosher restaurants – not to be confused with “kosher style” restaurants – comply with Jewish dietary laws. They’re operated under rabbinical supervision to ensure that kosher laws (kashrut) are observed.

Most kosher restaurants, especially small establishments, are limited by kashrut to serving only dairy or only meat. However, some establishments maintain separate kitchens. Foods commonly served at dairy (milchig) kosher restaurants include falafel and other Middle Eastern cuisine, lox and other fish, and – perhaps surprisingly – pizza. Bagels and salads are also popular, as is Chinese cuisine. Kosher Chinese restaurants are usually either vegetarian or meat-only. Fleishig or meat-serving kosher restaurants typically serve shawarma, hot dogs, and hamburgers. Fish may also be served on separate plates.

The most varied options are available in cities with large Jewish communities, such as New York, Toronto, and Montreal. Kosher versions of Sbarro, Dunkin Donuts, and other fast food restaurants can even be found in Israel. At the other end of the spectrum, communities with very small Jewish populations sometimes lack kosher restaurants but make kosher meals available through synagogues and community groups.

Kosher restaurants under Jewish ownership are closed during Shabbat and other Jewish holy days.

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