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You Asked, Locals Answered: 15 BEST Bagels in New York City

best bagels in New York City

A fresh-baked bagel is a beautiful thing. I probably don’t have to tell you that perfecting a bagel is no easy feat, so over the past few years, I’ve tried 40+ bagels in search of New York City’s best. This personal list shines a light on the NYC bagels worth a detour.

Visiting New York City? If you haven’t decided where to stay (yet) check out our helpful guide on Where to Stay in New York City (The 10 Best Neighborhoods for First Timers + 3 to Avoid). Don’t have time? Here’s my favorite hotel in NYC, hands down.


Best Bagels in New York City

(Table of Contents)


best bagels in New York City, Frankel's Bagels

Frankel’s Deli

What can I say about Frankel’s Deli that hasn’t been said before? Locals have long declared these some of the best bagels in New York City, and I can’t say I disagree. Offering all the standard fixings of a typical Jewish deli, Frankel’s velvety lox sets them apart from the competition.

The family-owned business makes some of the most popular bagel sandwiches in Brooklyn and is always worth the trek. Hand-rolled and soft as a pillow, I’d gladly commute an hour to get my hands on these bad boys.

Website: Frankel’s Deli
Neighborhood: Greenpoint
Address: 631 Manhattan Ave, Brooklyn, NY


best bagels NYC, Bo's Bagels

Bo’s Bagels

The masterminds behind Bo’s Bagels, Ashley Dikos and Andrew Martinez, opened this charming bagel shop when they weren’t finding viable options after moving to Harlem. Fermented for 24 hours, hand-rolled and boiled before baking, Bo’s is all about mastering traditional methods. This results in that shiny, crispy crust and chewy center New Yorkers love.

Offering all the classic flavors, don’t sleep on the pumpernickel. The shop’s warm, community-focused vibes, coupled with the widespread enthusiasm from foodies earns Bo’s Bagels a spot on our list of the best bagels in New York City.

Website: Bo’s Bagels
Neighborhood: Harlem
Address: 235 W 116th St, New York, NY


best bagels New York City

Absolute Bagels

Most locals will tell you that Absolute Bagels makes the best bagels in New York City. The hype around this place is widespread, and I was worried it wouldn’t live up to the hype (spoiler alert: it did).

Served smoking hot straight from the oven, these bagels are fresh and chewy upon order (definitely don’t get these toasted!). Sticking to traditional baking methods, the bagels are hand-rolled and boiled before baking (like Bo’s).

The shop is tiny and there’s usually a long line out the door (especially on weekends). Try to swing by around 10am on a weekday for a better chance of avoiding a long wait. If you do get stuck in line, fret not — the aroma of freshly baked bagels will been you content while you wait.

Note: Absolute Bagels is CASH ONLY. Bagel + schmear will run you around $5, a bagel sandwich clocks in at $10+.

Neighborhood: Upper West Side
Address: 2788 Broadway, New York, NY 10025


Brooklyn Bagel & Coffee Company

Brooklyn Bagel & Coffee Company

Based on the name, I naturally assumed this bagel shop would be located in Brooklyn, but — surprise, surprise — they only have locations in Manhattan and Queens.

Kettle boiled, the bagels are airy on the inside and crusty on the outside. Of all the NYC bagels we tried, these were some of the largest (and some of our favorite). In fact, we returned to Brooklyn Bagel & Coffee Company for my husband’s birthday bagel a few weeks later.

What impressed me most though was the incredible spread selection. Tempted by several flavors, we landed on the kalamata olive and feta spread (holy cow, the best spread in NYC!). Overall top-notch experience, can’t recommend them highly enough!

Website: Brooklyn Bagel & Coffee Company
Neighborhoods: Greenwich Village & Chelsea
Address: 286 8th Avenue & 63 E 8th Street


best bagel and lox in New York City
Russ & Daughters salmon bagel

Russ & Daughters

Russ & Daughters, a beloved Jewish Deli that dates back to 1914, is unparalleled for traditional Jewish fare. A family-run business spanning four generations, it’s the age-old story of resilience and the immigrant experience for many Jewish Americans.

Know for high-quality, hand-sliced lox, herring, and other delicacies, this deli typically has a line that wraps the block. It’s not uncommon for folks to wait 1+ hours for a bagel with lox.

It seems that Russ & Daughters attracts mostly tourists these days (the lines are too long for locals), but not without reason. Offering some of the best bagels and lox in New York City, Russ & Daughters is worth going out of the way for (I still enjoy it enough to wait on line every now and then).

Local’s Tip: Russ & Daughters has expanded over the years but I suggest visiting the original store on the Lower East Side. Nothing beats the original. 😉

Website: Russ & Daughters
Neighborhood: Lower East Side
Address: 179 E Houston St, New York, NY
Featured in: 10 Iconic New York City Restaurants Every Local Needs to Try


New York City best bagels
Bagel Bob's

Bagel Bob’s

In business for more than 21 years, Bagel Bob’s is a New York City staple for NYU students (the university is nearby) and savvy locals. This cash-only, no-frills shop offers traditional bagels in an unpretentious environment that makes it clear the focus is on making the best bagels in NYC.

Hand rolled, kettle boiled, Bob’s uses a trademark mix of high-gluten flour that makes their bagels extra chewy. They offer 14 variety of Kosher bagels at both locations (West Village & the Upper East Side).

Bagel Bob’s is CASH ONLY. I ordered a plain bagel with olive schmear and the total was around $5.

Website: Bagel Bob’s
Neighborhoods: West Village & Upper East Side
Address: 51 University Place & 1641 York Avenue


best bagels in New York City

Tompkins Square Bagels

Tompkins Square Bagels is a stone’s throw from its namesake, Tompkins Square Park. Baked fresh until 1pm daily, this is the place to go if you have a hankering for a bagel sandwich during your lunch break. Opened in 2011 (relatively newer shop compared to some of the historic bagel shops mentioned on this list), Tompkins Square Bagels has made a significant mark on the city’s bagel culture in short time.

Shortly after opening, they became a favorite among locals for large, airy bagels. Made in the traditional style, the bagels are downright irresistible. Expect long lines but they move quickly, the bagel is worth the wait.

Website: Tompkins Square Bagels
Neighborhood: East Village & Union Square
Addresses: 165 Avenue A, 184 2nd Avenue & 23 East 17th St.


best bagels in New York City

Best Bagels & Coffee

Let’s get real, how often does a place called “best” anything live up to the hype? It’s like asking for respect, you either have it or you don’t. No need to sell me on being the best, right? Well, enter Best Bagels & Coffee, a NYC bagel shop that has finally proved me wrong. The aptly named bagel shop serves up some of the best bagels in New York City.

The bagels are big and chewy inside with a perfectly toasted exterior. What more can you ask for? I suggest ordering the lox bagel, it’s delicious.

Website: Best Bagels & Coffee
Neighborhood: Midtown
Address: 225 W 35th St A, New York, NY


Ess a Bagel NYC, best bagels nyc

Ess-a-Bagel

Ess-a-Bagel is the bagel that inspired this entire post. My husband and I were randomly wandering down 3rd Avenue and couldn’t resist popping in (the smell was intoxicating). Holy cow, within one bite, we looked at each other and nodded in approval, this is easily one of the best bagels in New York City.

In my opinion, Ess-a-Bagel sets the standard for all NYC bagels. The interior is perfectly airy and chewy while the exterior satisfies with a crunchy texture few bagel shops have mastered to this level of perfection. The long lines at Ess-a-Bagel are warranted, arrive after 2pm to skip the lines (like we did). Although in all honesty, I’d happy wait 30+ minutes for this bagel most days of the week.

Website: Ess-a-Bagel
Neighborhood: Midtown
Address: 831 3rd Ave, New York, NY


popular places to get bagels in NYC

Bagel Pub

Bagel Pub to me, seems like the epitome of a true New York bagel shop. Offering a variety of fresh baked bagels and ample cream cheese options, you won’t leave disappointed. The texture is perfect, and the spread is always generous.

Website & Locations: Bagel Pub


Best bagels in New York City, black seed bagels

Black Seed Bagels

At face value it may seem like Black Seed Bagels has two strikes against them: They’re the newish kids on the block (opening in 2014) and they serve Montreal-style bagels (hand-rolled and then poached). However, they really do make some of the best bagels in New York. Black Seed Bagel’s signature recipe was created by their James Beard-nominated executive chef, Dianna Daoheung. And dang, she knows her stuff.

Montreal bagels are thinner than tradition New York bagels, but it works. Better still, the house-made spreads are worth writing home about, especially the dill and lox spread (my favorite on the menu). What I love most about Black Seed is the amount of spread they provide (the perfect amount — not too much and not too little).

Website: Black Seed Bagels | Locations


New York City Best Bagels (Post Summary)

In sum, these are the best bagel spots in New York City:

  1. Ess-a-Bagel
  2. Absolute Bagels
  3. Bo’s Bagels
  4. Tompkins Square Bagel
  5. Russ & Daughters
  6. Black Seed Bagels
  7. Bagel Bob’s
  8. Bagel Pub
  9. Brooklyn Bagel & Coffee Company
  10. Best Bagels & Coffee
  11. Leo’s Bagels
  12. Orwasher’s
  13. Bagelworks
  14. Zucker’s
  15. Frankel’s Deli

Map of the Best Bagels in NYC


NYC Bagels FAQ

(FAQ: New York City Bagels)

What is the most popular bagel in NYC?

The award for most popular bagel in NYC goes to Ess-a-Bagel in Midtown. In my opinion, Ess-a-Bagel sets the standard for all NYC bagels. The interior is perfectly airy and chewy while the exterior satisfies with a crunchy texture few bagel shops have mastered to this level of perfection.

Why are New York bagels different?

The million dollar question: What exactly makes New York bagels so damn good? I can regale you with all the conspiracies theories I’ve heard over the years, but — simply put — I think it’s the water (and that’s the hill I’m ready to die on). The water in NYC has a low mineral content (like calcium and magnesium), making it “soft.” Since water is a key ingredient in bagels, the soft water affects the gluten in the dough, creating a chewier, and fluffier bagel than anywhere else. The math checks out to me but hell, what do I know. Look, I’m not a scientist, merely a hungry local.

What is a true New York bagel?

A New York–style bagel must always be boiled in water that has had barley malt added to it, which gives a bagel its signature texture and glossy skin.


East Village: 20 Memorable East Village Restaurants (Foodie’s Guide)
Bagels & Lox: 5+ Best Bagels & Lox in New York City (Hungry Local’s Guide)
Brooklyn Bagels: The 10 Best Bagels in Brooklyn (The Local Foodie)

And there you have it- a quick roundup of the best bagels in New York City. I hope you enjoyed the post!

Cheers!

Steven S

Monday 12th of June 2023

I TOTally agree with you about Best Bagels and Coffee. I moved out of the area and boy do I miss it. I also miss H&H from the West Side. Oh well.

Antonina

Tuesday 13th of June 2023

Hey Steve, Best Bagels & Coffee is so good, love that place! Believe it or not, I think H&H reopened on the Upper West Side!

Carol Navin

Friday 8th of April 2022

Try Bagel Talk on Amsterdam between 77 and 78 (corner 78 and Amsterdam.

Antonina

Saturday 9th of April 2022

Hi Carol, I've had Bagel Talk before (I live 2 blocks away). It's a good bagel, but doesn't grace the list of best bagels in NYC. Great neighborhood staple though!