New York is arguably home to the best bagels in the world.*
*Albeit in the New York bagel VS Montreal bagel debate, I’m definitely team Montreal.
Modern mythology attests the baked goods’ superiority to the state’s local water supply, but whatever the reason may be as to why their bagels are so delicious, I support it wholeheartedly. When visiting NYC, my favourite way to start each morning is to grab a bagel from a local deli.
With so many bagels shops in the city, it can be hard to know which are worth the hype, so I’ve compiled a list of some of the city’s best bagels.
Warning: Once you try one of these, you’ll never be able to eat a grocery store bagel again.
Liberty Bagels – multiple locations (Midtown, 5th Ave, & Jackson Heights)
What to order: For the ‘gram, order one of their rainbow bagels with birthday cake cream cheese. For the stomach, order any one of their bagels with scallion or herb cream cheese.
FYI: Despite how busy Liberty Bagels is, they are definitely one of the most efficient. With separate areas to order, pick up in-person and online orders, and pick up delivery orders, the small wait is definitely worth getting your hands on their bagels.
Best Bagel & Coffee – 225 W 35th St A (Midtown)
What to order: Sesame bagel with butter or cream cheese. The bagel speaks for itself.
FYI: Be prepared to wait for your order. Best Bagel is often regarded as one of the best bagels (living up to its name) in the city, so expect a queue.
Tompkins Square Bagels – 165 Avenue A & 184 2nd Ave (East Village)
What to order: Come for the breakfast bagels. Get “The Weezer” with bacon, chorizo, egg, cheese, cream cheese if you’re feeling hungry.
FYI: In complete transparency, I haven’t visited Tompkins, but rather the bagel shop was recommended by my favourite food vlog, TOPJAW, whose recommendations I respect immensely (and I’ll be sure to visit it the next time I’m in the city). Reading Tompkins touching About page, I can tell including them in the list is the right call.
Kossar’s Bagels & Bialys – 367 Grand St (Lower East Side) & 536 W 30th Street (Hudson Yard) + Upper East Side location on the way!
What to order: Sesame bagel with scallion cream cheese. If you’re feeling fancy, opt for one of their lox options.
FYI: Their OG location in the Lower East Side is NYC’s oldest bagel shop. How they’re still in business to this day which makes sense with how good their bagels are. What makes this spot extra fun is that down the street is a pickle shop – grab a dill to pair with your bagel for the perfect DIY combo.
Bagel Market – multiple locations (Midtown, Hell’s Kitchen, Financial District, & East Village)
What to order: Opt for one of their breakfast sandwiches creations, or create your own.
FYI: Bagel Market is far more modern than your average deli/bagel shop on this list. When visiting their Midtown location, all I could think about was how clean and bright the space was – it’s a great spot to grab-and-go or dine-in near Times Square.
Pick A Bagel – 891 8th Ave (Hell’s Kitchen) & 785 Lexington Ave (Lenox Hill)
What to order: Your bagel of choice with one of their experimental cream cheeses (pictured: pumpernickel bagel with caper jalapeño cream cheese).
FYI: More than just your typical bagel spot, this deli offers a variety of vegetarian/vegan options (hello tofu cream cheese!), as well as baked goods for those craving other carbs.
Ess-a-Bagel – 831 3rd Ave (Midtown)
What to order: Everything bagel with cream cheese and lox.
FYI: Along with their flagship in Midtown East, this bagel shop has made its way to NYC’s Time Out Market – an eatery that showcases a curated lineup of the city’s best food and drink spots.
Zucker’s Bagels & Smoked Fish – multiple locations (Financial District, Chelsea, Central Station, Flatiron, Tribeca, Bryant Park, Upper West Side)
What to order: One of their egg or signature sandwiches. I got the Latke BEC.
FYI: It is easy to get overwhelmed by the range of options at Zucker’s and you can’t go wrong with a majority of them, but my word to the wise: avoid their coffee.
Black Seed Bagel – multiple locations (Nolita, Battery Park City, East Village, Nomad, Bushwick, Midtown, Chelsea, Williamsburg, Boerum Hill)
What to order: Sesame bagel with butter or cream cheese.
FYI: Montreal style bagels in NYC! Or more accurately, a hybrid between a Montreal & New York bagel. This made the Canadian in me very happy.
Utopia Bagels – 1909 Utopia Pkwy (Queens)
What to order: One of their specialty sandwiches, grilled.
FYI: This spot serves what is regarded as “the greatest bagel on earth” by gourmet chef and rapper Action Bronson. Enough said.