Post overview: Local’s list of the best bagels in New York City
A perfect bagel is a beautiful thing. I probably don’t have to tell you that perfecting a bagel is no easy feat, but if anyone’s going to rise to the occasion I’d put my money on New York City.
New York City has mastered, with incredible precision, the culinary scene. Home to 69 Michelin-Starred restaurants, this city is a mecca for foodies.
In a city like New York, there’s no reason to eat mediocre meals, and bagels are no exception.
Over the past year I’ve tried 40+ bagels in search of New York City’s best. As you know, this is no easy task since NYC has so many great bagel shops to choose from.
I’m confident that the bagels that made it on this list are bound to impress you too.
With that said, let’s jump right in.
Best Bagels in New York City
“I don’t need an inspirational quote. I need a bagel.”
Empire Bagels | The Bronx
An overlooked gem by far too many unfortunate tourists, Empire Bagels are not only the best bagels in the Bronx, but arguably some of the best bagels in NYC.
The cream cheese is flavorful and lights, the swollen bagels are soft and moist and the exterior is glazed to perfection. They sell out of bagels quickly, so come before noon if you have a particular flavor in mind.
Location: 3101 Westchester Ave, Bronx, NY 10461
Baker’s Dozen Bagels
My favorite thing about this great NYC bagel shop is that you can watch the bagels get made in real time as you place your order, trust me when I tell you it doesn’t get fresher than this!
Beloved by locals, Baker’s Dozen Bagels dons a line most weekend morning, full of New Yorkers in need of airy bagels with great spread options.
Arrive early if you want to avoid the long lines, these plump kettle cooked bagels are popular for a reason.
- 81-09 Lefferts Blvd, Kew Gardens, NY 11415
- 6608 Fresh Pond Rd, Ridgewood, NY 11385
- 788 Manhattan Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11222
Baz is a Millennial-run bagel shop that offers authentic traditional New York bagels.
The bagels are hand-rolled, kettle boiled and baked on site — no shortcuts, and it shows. The crust is perfectly toasted and the interior is airy and chewy, exactly what a bagel should be.
Whether you order a specialty sandwich or a bagel with spread, you can’t go wrong.
Location: 181 Grand St, New York, New York 10013
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.
Location: 225 W 35th St A, New York, NY 10001
There’s a reason this place boasts long lines practically any given hour of the day — many consider Murray’s the best bagels in New York City. In fact, you’ll find it mentioned on practically every “best bagels in NYC” list because it deserves the hype.
This iconic New York City bagel shop has been pleasing New Yorkers since 1996. The bagels are large and fresh and delicious. Expect a satisfying crusty exterior and perfectly chewy interior. Dress the bagel with spread and call it a day, you’ll be full for a while.
Location: 500 6th Ave, New York, NY 10011
Bagel Pub | Brooklyn
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, airy inside with a satisfying exterior and the spread is always generous.
Can’t decide the right combo? Ask the friendly staff for suggestions, they always seem happy to help.
And since the bagels are made onsite, you know you’re getting something fresh when you order a bagel here.
- 775 Franklin Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11238
- 57 7th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11217
- 287 9th St, Brooklyn, NY 11215
- 313 36th St, Brooklyn, NY 11232
Bagel Bob’s is a New York City staple for NYU students and pretty much everyone else too. The no frills bagel shop offers traditional NYC bagels in an unpretentious environment that makes it clear the focus is on taste.
If you’re looking to mix things up, try the flat bagel or get a traditional bagel with spread. There’s two locations to choose from, I suggest visiting the flagship shop by NYU.
Location: 1641 York Ave, New York, NY 10028 & 51 University Pl, New York, NY 10003
Bagel Bob’s is CASH ONLY. I ordered a plain bagel with olive schmear and the total was around $4.
Brooklyn Bagel & Coffee Company
Before embarking on this (important) mission, we reached out to some locals to get their recommendations about the best bagels in New York City. Brooklyn Bagel & Coffee Company kept coming up time and time again, so we decided to give them a go.
Naturally assuming the bagel shop was located in Brooklyn, I was surprised to find that they don’t have any locations in Brooklyn. Rather, there are four shops peppered across Manhattan and Queens.
Regardless of the location you choose, you’ll probably find yourself in line. Thankfully it moved quickly.
The reason? These are some of the best bagels in New York City. Airy on the inside with a crusty outside. What impressed me most though was the spread we ordered (I know, shame on me — judge away).
We got the kalamata olive/feta spread and it was SO good — easily one of the most memorable spreads we had during our mission to find the best bagels in New York City.
Suffice it to say, you can’t go wrong with the spread you choose, they have a great selection and everything looked fresh during our visit.
In operation since 1961, Bagel Oasis has mastered bagels in Queens. I don’t know what the secret is but the texture and flavor of these delicious bagels stand a mile above the rest.
Baked at high temperatures, these bagels come out very airy and light and pair perfectly with the spreads offered. The air bubbles collect the spreads perfectly and create a heck of a memorable experience.
Location: 183-12 Horace Harding Expy, Queens, NY 11365
Russ & Daughters
A moment of silence for my favorite lox bagel in New York City. Russ & Daughters has a gravitational pull on yours truly and I oblige without hesitation.
I enjoy Russ & Daughters so much that my husband and I once taxied into the city during a layover for a quick bite before catching a connecting flight. Worth it? Worth it.
The bagels at Russ & Daughters are exceptional, as you would expect, but the smoked fish is where they shine. That’s why I strongly recommend the lox bagel here (it’d be a shame to pass it up, seriously).
This particular delicatessen stands a mile above the rest and is worth going out of the way for. Russ & Daughters has expanded over the years but I suggest visiting the original store on the Lower East Side. Nothing beats the original. 😉
Location: Lower East Side, 179 E Houston St | NYC 10002
Black Seed Bagels
At face value it may seem like Black See 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, within one bite, my husband instantly proclaimed these as the best bagels in New York City.
As you know — these are fighting words.
But in a way, it’s hard to disagree. 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. What’s more, the house-made spreads are worth writing home about — especially the dill and lox spread (I’m still dreaming about it).
What I love most about Black Seed, apart from their perfected bagels, is the amount of spread they provide (the perfect amount — not too much and not too little).
It’s not hard to see why Black Seed Bagel has risen to the top in such a short span of time. The lines are out the door but the wait is worth it. I’d go back in a heartbeat.
Tip for you: Black Seed Bagels often collaborates with local chefs to expand their menu seasonally. For example, they’re currently offering pizza at their Brooklyn Location.
- 176 1st Avenue, New York, NY 10009
- 30 Rockefeller Plaza Concourse Level, New York, NY 10111
- 1188 Broadway, New York, NY 10001
- 170 Elizabeth St, New York, NY 10012
Tompkins Square Bagels
Tompkins Square Bagels is named for the park a stone’s throw away. The divine bagels churned out at this beloved bagel shop are hand rolled and kettle boiled.
But if that’s not enough, they’re also baked fresh until 1pm. So if you have a hankering for one of NYC’s best bagels at lunch time, they have you covered.
The bagels are hefty in size but the plethora of air pockets makes them light, chewy and downright irresistible. I couldn’t put mine down!
These bagels are the perfect canvas for the plethora of specialty spreads offered. Although let’s get real — it’s hard to beat classic cream cheese with lox.
Expect long lines but they move quickly. I can assure you that the bagel is absolutely worth it. These bagels are easily some of my favorite in New York City.
Locations: 165 Avenue A., New York, NY 10009 & 184 2nd Ave., New York, NY 10003
The masterminds behind Bo’s Bagels, Ashley Dikos and Andrew Martinez, opened one of the best bagel shops in New York City in 2017 when they weren’t finding viable options in Harlem. Bless them!
Most New Yorkers will agree that Bo’s Bagels has perfected the texture of the bagel in ways most foodies dream of. The exterior is crispy to the bite while the interior remains chewy.
Can we all agree that this is clearly the definitely of a perfect bagel?
So what makes these bagels so special? They’re fermented for 24 hours before being boiled and baked right in front of you while you place your order.
As such, I suggest letting the bagel shine. I mean, sure, order your schmear but don’t let it suffocate the masterpiece.
Location: Harlem, 235 W 116th St, New York, NY 10026
If you have the time, I suggest visiting Riverside Park and plopping down on a nearby bench with your bagel in hand. Read the paper or simply people-watch. Hard to think of a better way to spend an easy-going weekend morning.
You know how sometimes you read about a great place and worry it won’t live up to the hype? That’s how I felt about Absolute Bagels. It’s been mentioned on so many “best bagels in New York City” listicles and has a devote fan base from locals too.
Well, I am so happy to report that Absolute Bagels completely lives up to the hype. In fact, shortly after taking my first bite, I promptly made plans to return during the following weekend.
The bagels are served hot from the oven and have a perfectly chewy texture. In fact, I didn’t even notice that our bagels weren’t toasted. And yet, they were so satisfying!
I know there’s a whole school of thought that bagels should not be toasted. These folks are called purists. The argument is that the bagel should be so good there’s no need to alter the texture or taste by further toasting it.
Honestly, after having my first non-toasted bagel from Absolute Bagels, I feel like I understand the logic completely. The bagel was perfect without aid, no small feat.
Location: Upper West Side, 2788 Broadway, New York, NY 10025
Note: Absolute Bagels is CASH ONLY. Bagel + schmear will run you around $5, a bagel sandwich clocks in at $10+.
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. Considering we’re always in the mood for a good NYC bagel, we popped in for a quick bite and soon realized we were ill prepared for the experience.
This is easily one of the best bagels in New York City.
We had no idea we stepped foot into our soon-to-be favorite bagel shop in New York City. Ess-a-Bagel sets the standard for all NYC bagels.
The interior is perfectly airy and chewy while the exterior satisfies a bite with a crunchy texture few bagel shops have mastered to this level of perfection.
Be forewarned! 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 on the reg.
Location: Midtown East, 831 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10022 e
Before I get any hate mail, let me assure you — my taste buds made this decision. Your taste buds may disagree and that’s alright! Let me know in the comments below if your number one doesn’t match mine. We can taste off, I’m always open to trying more bagels! 😉
New York City Best Bagels (Post Summary)
In sum, these are the best bagel spots in New York City:
- Absolute Bagels
- Bo’s Bagels
- Tompkins Square Bagel
- Russ & Daughters
- Black Seed Bagels
- Bagel Bob’s
- Bagel Pub
- Murray’s Bagels
- Brooklyn Bagel & Coffee Company
- Best Bagels & Coffee
- Baz Bagels
- Baker’s Dozen
- Bagel Oasis
- Empire Bagels
Map of the best bagels in NYC
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And there you have it- a quick roundup of the best bagels in New York City. I hope you enjoyed the post!
Carol Navin says
Try Bagel Talk on Amsterdam between 77 and 78 (corner 78 and Amsterdam.