Eli’s Kosher Deli moving from Dupont to West End

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1253 20th Street, NW

Eli’s Kosher Deli is located at 20th and N St, NW. We judged them back in 2010. You can see their menus here.

They’ll be moving a few blocks away to the West End soon:


Future home:

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2142 L Street, NW

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Looking east towards the new Stoney’s and Bourbon coffee

23 Comment

  • In general “kosher” is a scam – really, it’s meaningless. Even so, Eli’s was a cesspool and shameful.

    • I agree that Eli’s wasn’t good, but kosher most certainly isn’t a scam. “Kosher-style,” on the other hand…

    • Is halal also a scam? What about not eating meat during lent? Or, if you don’t believe in any of these things and think it is all a scam as well, I can only say that I am so glad you are a minority and that this city is full of more tolerant, non-bigoted, open minded people who are open and accepting to other people’s cultures and ways of life.

      With that said, Eli’s is pretty terrible and is not at all a proper example of good kosher food.

      • Yes, they are all scams. And given that the church, temple, etc. wants “more lambs to the slaughter” – with an ‘open mind’ of course (“god” forbid that the lambs are startled or the knives aren’t sharp enough) – nothing beats a willing sacrifice (much tenderer that way).

        Critical thinking is a bitch isn’t it?

    • Dude, it’s someone’s religious practice. I don’t care for 99.9% of the religious practices in the world (including keeping kosher), and have a rather skeptical view of religion in general. That said, I avoid referring to the practices of others as “scams” because it’s damn rude. There are plenty of legitimate scams in the world to call out; why be an asshole about something that is simply a personal/cultural/religious practice in which you have no interest?

  • Eh. I love Kosher Deli’s, so I really wanted to like Eli’s. But they’re just not very good.

  • Eli’s has only survived because it was one of two kosher options in the city. It has nothing else going for it. Mediocre food, mediocre service, depressing atmosphere.

  • For people who do not keep kosher, I can understand that it might seem meaningless and a scam. For people who do keep kosher including myself, your statement is completely wrong for a couple of reasons.

    First and foremost, keeping kosher is a divine commandment and connection with G-d. For that reason alone not only is it not meaningless, it is just the opposite. In that respect, feel the same way about Christians not eating meat on Friday during lent or Muslims following the fasting laws during Ramadan. I am Jewish so I follow Jewish Laws written in the Torah but I do not disrespect the laws of other religions.

    Second, kosher food has been prepared and cooked differently than non kosher food. One of the biggest differences comes with meat. The laws dictate how the animals are raised, killed and processes. The process of draining the blood, packing it is salt and cleaning afterwords has a big impact on the meat itself. I converted so I used to eat not kosher meat. In my opinion, most kosher meat taste much better to the non kosher counterpart. I am referring to the same cut of meat. With that said, you will always have exceptions due to many factors so just because the cut of meat is kosher does not mean it will definitely taste better. For most of the meat I have eaten, it does taste better to me.

    Kosher meat is a lot more expensive because of the amount raised vs. non kosher meat and because of the process, it can not have the hormones and other things added for the quick growth. The processing is more time consuming and labor intensive.

    As for Eli’s itself, I have eaten there many times. My experience with the food has been favorable most of the time. As with any restaurant, some nights are better than others. I feel I have been to other kosher meat restaurants that have some items better than Eli’s but in my opinion it is still a good restaurant and I will go to the new location.

    • clevelanddave

      Well then it is a shame that in spite of what you’ve said, it seems that most kosher kitchens I’ve been in are no cleaner that most non kosher kitchens I’ve been to from a health inspection standpoint. They might be kashered in the sense that only kosher killed meat from the animals that can be eaten are used and ingredients are separated and the kitchen has been at one point or another cleaned in a proper way under proper supervision, but still they are dirty and ingredients aren’t stored properly and the places I’ve been in more often than not are a mess. And while we’re at it, why oh why do almost all the kosher restaurant and catering that I’ve ever had in Washington taste mediocre to bad (and at prices that are no bargain)? There is no excuse for this, but consistently the kosher events I’ve been to and places I’ve eaten are ineptly prepared and served.

    • Let’s say you have two kitchens, each are equally clean (spotless) with all else (sourcing, cleaning, prepping of all food items, slaughtering, etc.) being equal. In one kitchen a person of the Jewish faith turns on the equipment while in the other a person of another or no faith turns on the equipment.

      One kitchen is kosher one is not.

      The “kosher” label (it is just a “label”, i.e. marketing tool) has been purposely cultivated to mean “cleaner” than others. Clearly that is not the case.

      It’s not about religion, it’s about marketing.

    • “(K)osher food has been prepared and cooked differently than non kosher food”


      So you wash you dishes and boil your potatoes in a different manner than other folk? Guess I’ve got to get me some kosher boiled potatoes – they sound delish!

    • In reference to the replies, I never said the kosher kitchen are any cleaner. Cleanliness is up to the person running the Kitchen .The laws dictating what is kosher and is not was written way before the modern kitchen. I was also stating from eating both kosher and non-kosher meat, I have found more kosher meat taste better to me because of the process and obviously that is not always the case. Most people who are not Jewish do not know what Kosher means so I was just trying to give some insight and my opinion on the subject. I also never said Eli’s is great but what I ate there was good. I didn’t eat everything on the menu because I know I can grill a better steak than most restaurants. It’s true if DC had more kosher restaurants Eli’s would have to get better but is not the case. Bottom line, it is not a scam if if you chooses to not eat at kosher restaurants that is your choice but to say kosher is a scam is wrong.

      • The vast majority of people who purposefully buy kosher are not of the Jewish faith. Why do they choose to buy kosher “designated” products over those which are not when each are likely of equal quality?

  • I really hope they up their game. A good kosher market and take away deli would be huge for a lot of people in the city.

  • Eli’s is the only kosher joint in town, right?

    My office used to order from Eli’s all of the time because one of the guys on my team kept kosher. So, it was just easier to order from Eli’s for everyone. Too bad, it was pretty awful. If someone would just open a good kosher place, I would probably make a killing.

    • The JCC has a kosher restaurant. I’ve heard it’s better than Eli’s, but not great. Soupergirl also just opened on M at 19th, but it’s carry out only. I think that’s the entire universe of kosher food in the city. Max’s in Wheaton is kosher (and has the best schwarma/falafel in town), but it’s in Wheaton.

      • There is a kosher place in the GWU food court (only when school is in session) and I think Soupergirl’s eat in place is in Tacoma on the DC side of the line, so technically in DC. (Her supervision was from a conservative rabbi before she opened her eat in place – I am not all that familiar, Ive never eaten there)

        I have eaten at Eli’s a couple of times, and it wasn’t that bad. I didnt go expecting a gourmet experience. Pricey, but thats what a kosher meat place is. (dairy places are less pricey, but have more limited appeal, as many conservative jews and a few Orthodox jews who eat only kosher meat will eat non kosher supervised dairy or vegetarian)

        Agree the atmosphere could have been much better – this is DC, not Borough Park. Hope the new place has better decor.

  • Their small little shwarma shop (separate entrance directly to the south on 20th) is actually delicious.

  • nightborn

    Let’s hope their service improves with the new location. And their food. They really got away with treating their customers terribly at times because some of us have no other kosher options in the city.

  • I really, really hope they reopen that shwarma takeout place on the side. Can’t speak for the actual restaurant–have not heard good things–but that was miles away the best shwarma in the city!

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