Written by 9:45 am Dining & Wine, FOOD & DRINK

15 Best Bagel Shops in New York City

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A wonderful meal is bagels. They provide food for everyone, from morning commuters to marathon runners, and are simple and durable. A decent bagel can unquestionably improve your morning since they are available in a wide range of sweet or savoury varieties with many toppings or spreads. On the other hand, a poor bagel might ruin it.

Depending on whoever you ask, New York City’s finest bagel may be in Queens or on the Lower East Side, making it almost as contentious as the famous national pizza argument (story twist: New Jersey has the best pizza). It could be softball-sized and fluffy or thin and crusty. Perhaps it’s all about the schmear selections, the sourdough starter, the inside seats, and the atmosphere overall. However, sometimes all you want is a sausage, egg, and cheese. Since everyone has different bagel preferences and demands, and since we’re practical, we’ve selected the top 15 bagels in New York City to make it easier for you to focus your search. There is a perfect bagel for you, that much is sure.

15. Bagel Pub

Photo: Bagel Pub

For years, Bagel Pub has regularly produced the neighbourhood’s best bagels. They have earned a position on our list because their devoted following just won’t stop sharing the love. Most people use their bagels as a vehicle for their astounding variety of more than 20 different cream cheeses. From a hot-pink strawberry cream cheese to the perennial favourite scallion cream cheese, everything is available.

This is a wonderful choice if you want a softer, dryer feel since the bagels are fresh. Bagel sandwiches are unpredictable in terms of how generous or conservative the filling is, while the actual bagel bread is bland and chewy. Everything about the bagel, including the amount of seed coverage, is significant given the intense rivalry in New York City. This is an excellent place to stop because it has four sites in Brooklyn and is easily accessible from Prospect Park, the Brooklyn Museum, and the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.

14. Bagelsmith

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Set your course for Bagelsmith in Williamsburg for a strong, thick bagel that veers away from chewy and leans more toward the bready side. There isn’t much seating here since it is geared at those who want to get lunch on the move, but you will find everything you need for a filling meal.

Don’t be deterred by the limited choices when you finally enter the little store after standing in line outside; it has everything you need for a satisfying meal. The Tripadvisor bagel-goers claim that there is something special about the place that keeps them coming back. The bagels themselves are generously sized, thick in texture, and barely chewable. You can miss the taste of the crust that has been well-browned since they spend so little time in the oven. In actuality, the bagel’s outer layer, which forms when it is boiled before baking, is hardly there. These bagels should certainly be loaded with sandwich ingredients or a delicious cream cheese since the taste is relatively light and they don’t offer any competing flavours on their own.

13. Bergen Bagels

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Bergen Bagels, which has three locations in Brooklyn and one of the fluffiest bagels on our list, is the place to go if you want to devour a whole dinner in one bite. Bagels are “freshly baked around the clock” at this delectable restaurant, and it shows! Your paper bag with a baker’s dozen will always feel cosy in your arms as you make your way home after a visit. Average skin and a spongy, but not too so, body characterise the texture.

This location is the best to go to for a traditional bagel and schmear since it has a decent range of cream cheeses. Bergen Bagels is more expensive, has variable seed coverage, and often serves meager sandwiches when compared to several other city bagels on this list. You’ll need to get up early or go during the off-peak hours if you’re coming here on the weekends to avoid large lines.

12. Orwashers Bakery

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Orwashers Bakery has been making some of the most famous breads in New York City for almost a century, so they know a thing or two about bagels. They have the first bagel on our list that is thin and small. Don’t discount the smaller bagels just because the puffy, heavy ones are alluring due to their size. The skin of an Orwasher’s seeded bagel is tasty and obviously chewy, and the seeds are evenly distributed throughout.

The absence of a fluffy centre is a benefit for taste since other bagels’ overabundance of a bready core often results in more of that bland bread. Every morsel of food here is flavorful to the brim. The lack of selection is the only drawback for bagel enthusiasts. As far as the eye can see, there aren’t any baskets of bagels and jugs of cream cheese. They specialise in a variety of breads as a bakery. Stop over if you have a hungry party that may be interested in anything other than a bagel since their cases and shelves are stocked with exquisite sandwiches, black-and-white cookies, focaccias, and pastries.

11. Tompkins Square Bagels

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Visit Tompkins Square Bagels if you’re in the mood for a unique bagel deli sandwich or a filling breakfast meal. Naturally, the bagels steal the show, but practically every fan gushes about their favourite TSB bagel sandwich, which has become a staple in their daily diet. Where else can you get The Brooklyn Gino, a savoury bagel with pepper-crusted sirloin, cheddar, onion, and roasted peppers that will make you nostalgic for your youth while simultaneously registering your present glow-up?

It is unnecessary to worry about whether your bagel can support a chicken cutlet sandwich or juicy sausage, egg, and cheese since thick bagels with an edge toward a thicker crumb and a mild taste are available. Speaking of, stop here for an afternoon BEC that will exceed even the hungriest expectations, since they cook breakfast sandwiches in the rear of the store from opening till closing.

10. Black Seed Bagels

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Some bagels are just rolls for sandwiches; others are enhanced by a required cream cheese stripe; and yet others have been artfully prepared to taste tasty on their own. Yep. Simply take a bite out of the unadorned, basic bagel for a filling snack. That is what you’ll find at Black Seed Bagels. The greatest tastes frequently come from dough that has had time to ferment, and the makers of these bagels have added delicate flavours at each stage. A Black Seed bagel is all about texture, from the dough through the boil to the wood-burning oven. 

A distinctive texture is produced by combining elements from a traditional New York-style bagel with its thinner, airier relative from Montreal. In fact, the toasted exterior that is produced by the honey-water boil and the intense heat from the wood-fired oven is one of the greatest aspects of this bagel. The chewy inside of the bagel, which has a crisp shell, demands quick biting force. Excellent seed distribution and a smaller size make this bagel ideal for individuals with modest appetites.

9. Bo’s Bagels

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Visit Bo’s Bagels in Harlem for a bag of bagels that seeks to satisfy everyone at the brunch gathering you’re organising. These bagels are the ideal all-purpose size and texture that will suit a variety of tastes. They have exactly the right amount of chewiness on the inside and crispiness on the exterior without being crunchy. They are neither small nor bulky. You’ll be pulled in by the aroma billowing out onto the street, which is a favourite of both patrons and critics. 

The bagel variety they provide is great because it is particular, despite the fact that the alternatives aren’t unlimited. Try their Pumpernickel Cranberry or Za’atar Blueberry bagel if you’re feeling a bit daring. They provide all the standard fare plus a few deli sandwich choices on their menu, but for a genuine treat, try one of their specialties like the Nacho Camacho or Bo’s Chopped Cheese. Get some napkins since they don’t scrimp on the sandwich ingredients here, word of advice.

8. Murray’s Bagels

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You could begin to believe that any bagel shop would do in a city where there are as many bagel shops as there are gelato shops in Italy. You start to see why every New Yorker has “their” bagel store when you come upon an establishment like Murray’s Bagels. As soon as you enter, the space has an old-school New York flavour thanks to the aged wood flooring, brick walls, and yet insufficiently large tables that can fit three big individuals. Even the typography on their monochromatic menu serves as a reminder that they are working with time-honoured practices. 

The bagels are hand-rolled, and after baking, they have a lovely twisting groove. The texture is spongy without being overly dense, and the flavour is mild but just barely sweet. This bagel may not be for you if you want a bubbly, chewy crust. However, if a thick bagel and picking from a dizzying array of flavoured cream cheese mountains sounds appealing to you, you should drop by.

7. Utopia Bagel

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With regard to delectable cuisine, Queens already has a lot to offer, and now word has spread about one of their best kept secrets: Utopia Bagel. The distinctions between these notable bagels become clear as we move to the second half of our list. Now, they’re all astonishers.

The people have spoken, and Utopia Bagel is leading the charge because their bagels are magnificent. You’ll immediately realise how hefty they are. You might wonder if you should take half of one of their specialty sandwiches home for later if you decide to order one (which we highly recommend you do). Our advice is to take a seat at one of the many tables there and start eating. After a break, continue with the second half. You’ll want to consume your hand-rolled, freshly boiled sandwich as soon as it is made because it takes time to make.

6. Bagel Hole

Photo: The Bagel Hole

For this location, the expression “a hole in the wall” was coined. Bagel Hole bagels are small but mighty and not afraid to stand out. The only bagel shop on our list—and, dare we say, in all of New York City—that brazenly opts for a well-done bagel is this one. Don’t be misled. By no means does this imply burnt, but rather that something has been thoroughly baked to a toasty brown. This smaller, crusty, and chewy husk is a welcome change after so many of the bulky, undercooked, doughy variety.

Because these treats are so crisp and fresh, they are renowned for not even owning a toaster. Surprisingly, after breaking through the crunchy exterior, you are met with a fine crumb that is ideal for cream cheese that is neither too soft nor too dense. Only the bottom side of the bagels with seeds are covered, and the dough is slightly chewy. Stop here if you only need one bagel and schmear or if you require a dozen or two. As it is only a little establishment with no seating, and a refined menu (there’s no enormous deli counter or 20-foot-long cream cheese display), you won’t want to come here with a party.

5. H&H Bagels

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There aren’t many places better than H&H Bagels to get a top-notch bagel in New York City. These bagels are wider than they are tall due to the obvious and large hole in the centre, which aids in maintaining their chewiness and prevents them from getting too mushy or doughy. There is a school of thought that holds the centre with the exposed filling to be the best, despite the fact that some may think a bagel with a closed-up centre is better suited for cream cheese or an egg sandwich. 

An H&H bagel has a shiny, smooth exterior and a chewy-airy texture that somehow manages to coexist. They serve bagel sandwiches with precisely balanced ratios of bagel to filling, and any of their cream cheese options are sure to please. The lack of seeds and other toppings is the only thing keeping them from making the top three. This is a great place to stop after a stroll because it lines either side of Central Park.

4. Pick A Bagel

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Since 1988, Pick A Bagel has been hand-rolling delicious rings of dough. When a bagel is as substantial, flavorful, soft, and chewy as every Pick A Bagel is, you make exceptions to your meal schedule whenever you’re in the area. The bagels have a nicely baked crust, a dense yet soft texture, excellent chewiness, and a light malt flavour in the dough itself. You’ll be happy to know that the coverage is excellent if you enjoy your bagels topped with seeds or other ingredients. 

Every location has a large counter with a variety of cream cheeses, spreads, and tasty (different bagel toppings like smoked and cured fishes) on display. Because your bagel will be completely stacked with whatever you decide to fill it with, make sure to arrive here without any food in your stomach. Pick A Bagel is the ideal place for you to stop during your morning commute and lunch break because the deli sandwiches are enormous and the hot breakfast sandwiches are no exception.

3. Ess-a-Bagel

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Even though they are all delicious, it can be challenging to distinguish the minute variations among the top 15 most famous and delicious NYC breakfast breads. The best bagels plus bagel experience had to be the last of our top three bagel shops. Ess-a-Bagel wants you to carry a memory of your bagel experience with you when you leave. The bagel experience is 90% bagel + 10% bagel store vibe. 

Sure, there will be a queue when you enter one of the three full-service Ess-a-Bagel sites sprinkled across the East Side of Manhattan (they also have a station at the Time Out Market), but you’ll also notice a little bit more structure. So that you don’t have to wait in line behind the deli counter to pay if you’re just stopping in for a paper bag full of excellent bagels, they’ve cleverly isolated the bagel pick-up station from the deli counter. Each store includes seats, and the decor maintains the informal deli counter appeal while being welcoming like a restaurant. The bagels are outstanding. They have outstanding chewiness without being rough, and they are large and tall. They are all individually hand-rolled without compromising the completed product’s discernible twist. 

You’ll like the pull-apart nature of them if you want to break off chunks of your bagel before eating it. If you choose the Everything bagel, even the seed mix is amazing. The taste is seductive and has a delicate pretzel flavour. Get a complete sandwich or keep it basic; either way, you’ll be storing them in your maps for next time.

2. Tal Bagels

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Even if you believe you already know your favourite bagel in the land, you need to give Tal Bagels a go. Not that we want to sway your mind, but we’d hate to see you deny yourself of a mood-altering culinary experience. With various sites dispersed across the mid to upper regions of Manhattan, you may stop by any one of them and enjoy the comfort of thinking, “I made the right choice.” 

From the cosy lighting to the tempting fragrance of fresh yeast breads and courteous service, you’ll find yourself intuitively purchasing six to freeze at home when initially you had intended on just one fast bagel sandwich. We’d want to urge you to trust your intuition. The bagel has an extraordinarily crispy, bubbling outside, is delightfully chewy, and has superb seeding coverage. Not the thickest or most gigantic of the bagel choices in NYC, but actually, the soft, somewhat sweet dough has been made with just enough thickness to support any topping without making you feel like you just ate an entire loaf of bread. Tal Bagel takes our number two slot with a bagel that reassures you all of your life decisions have been perfect.

1. Shelsky’s

Photo: Shelsky’s

Finding the very finest bagel in the city that offers the nation’s best bagels looked like a big challenge … until we experienced Shelsky’s. Suddenly the ranking fight shifted to a struggle for number two. Shelsky’s offers everything you expect from a typical NYC Jewish deli: many cream cheese types, smoked salmon, cold salads, and a good-looking coconut macaroon. It’s the type of restaurant you go to daily for years, move to Oregon, and when you go back to visit four years later, the same two old closest friends are still having their favourite two-top argument over the Yankees pitching rotation.

Let’s get down to business: Shelsky’s is known for its exceptional bagels. Underneath the delicious crust is a clearly airy but toothsome inside. The perfect amount of chew is provided by this freshly baked bagel skin. A small swipe of salted butter to a full cream cheese, lox, tomato, and red onion sandwich may all be enjoyed with the dough’s yeasty and delicately sweet flavour. It should come as no surprise that the three-day sourdough ferment they utilise in their dough is what gives it its unrivalled taste. The action that completes the deal? a confident seed covering applied everywhere! Although you could certainly eat this bagel while without wearing clothes, we advise you to also treat yourself to a schmear. a knish, too. And maybe another dozen bagels for home. After all, these are New York City’s top bagels.

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