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monty's deli, london's best bagels

Meet the 12 most badass bagels in London

Stuffed, saucy or schmeared – however you like them, these are the best bagel-based sandwiches in London

Written by
Emma Hughes
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There’s a hole lotta love for bagels in London right now, whether they’re filled with lashings of salt beef or smoked salmon, or they’re rainbow-coloured creations stuffed with cream cheese. Whatever filling floats your boat, be sure to stack those boiled buns tall. Here are our favourite bagel-based sarnies. 

The best bagels in London

Lower East Side at Zobler’s Delicatessen at The Ned
  • Restaurants
  • Delis
  • Bank

£9

The Ned, for the benefit of anyone without a phone, is a kind of Disneyland for Instagrammers: a lushly photogenic hotel-cum-dining destination in the heart of the City. One of its nine (yup, nine) restaurants is Zobler’s, a New York-style deli. This isn’t marketing schtick: the Lower East Side’s filling – hand-sliced smoked salmon, cream cheese, red onion, tomato and capers – is the equal of anything you’d find at Russ & Daughters in NYC, and the bagels come daily from the awesome Carmelli in Golders Green. Unimprovable.

  • Restaurants
  • Brick Lane

£3.70

Never, ever to be confused with its offshoot Beigel Bake, Brick Lane’s Beigel Shop – better known as ‘The Yellow One’ – has been setting the bar high since 1855. The queue snakes out the door, and almost everyone is after the same thing: a bagel stuffed with an unfeasibly vast serving of salt beef, eye-watering English mustard and a pickle the size of a Nokia 3310. Worth dislocating your jaw for.

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Beetroot, potato and coconut curry bagel at Little Ghost Bagels, Peckham Springs
  • Art
  • Peckham

£7.85

If you don’t do meat, fish or dairy, gloriously OTT filled bagels can be tricky to track down. But hark! Here comes Adam Andrews of Little Ghost Bagels to show you some love. His Asian-inspired vegan special – beetroot, potato and coconut curry ladled over pickled beetroot, roasted peanuts and shredded iceberg in a beetroot bagel – looks like one of Prince’s tour outfits and tastes like heaven. You’ll need a fork.

Smoked salmon and cream cheese at Monty's Deli
  • Restaurants
  • Delis
  • Hoxton

£8.50 (eat in)

It may be all bare brick and tiles, but Monty’s in Dalston is no beard-stroking brunchery. The long-awaited permanent home of the Druid Street market favourite is a proper neighbourhood joint, packed with happy punters of all ages. And by crikey, the bagels (which they bake ’round the back) are good. Order the cured salmon fillet and cream cheese, and either eat in or queue up at the dispensary for a takeaway. Or, you can get it on a build-your-own board with all the fixings.

Please note this location is now closed. You can find their amazing bagels at Seven Dials Market, Old Spitalfields Market and Victoria Market Hall.  

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  • Restaurants
  • Middle Eastern
  • Stoke Newington

£8.50

Boiled in honey water and baked in a wood-fired oven, Montreal-style bagels have a mellow, crinkly charm – much like the city’s second most beloved export, Leonard Cohen. Repping them here in London is Stokey’s The Good Egg, and from June they’ll be serving them every Monday. Look out for their world-beating whitefish salad bagel, which features house-smoked sea trout, heaps of dill and burnt scallion schmear (that’s cream cheese, if you don’t speak deli or Yiddish).

The Duke at The Bell & Brisket
  • Restaurants
  • Brixton

£7.50

Peckish? Can’t choose between a bagel and tacos? At The Bell & Brisket, Pop Brixton’s very own salt beef bar, you don’t have to. The Duke marries hand-brined beef with tomato chipotle sauce, pickled onions, melted Monterey Jack cheese and jalapeño sour cream, then sandwiches the whole lot between a baked bagel. New York by way of New Mexico, if you will.

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  • Things to do
  • Borough

£5

It’s all in the detail at Nana Fanny’s. Ivan Lester reverently simmers brisket in aromatic stock (made to a family recipe; and yes, it’s top secret), and the cheese on top is blowtorched rather than just being slapped under the grill. The result? A salt beef bagel that succeeds without trying too hard – it doesn’t need to. If you’ve really been bitten by the bagel bug, pop around the corner to Bread Ahead: Borough’s bakers-in-residence have just launched a New York bagel and pretzel workshop.

  • Restaurants
  • Jewish
  • Brick Lane

£1

A quid won’t get you very far on London public transport. In fact, it won’t get you anywhere at all. Stop by this Brick Lane landmark, though, and it’ll bag you a ticket to bagel heaven. All the classics are up on the board, but wallet-conscious connoisseurs order the cream cheese, which has the perfect stodge-to-spread ratio. Beigel Bake consistently delivers the goods, and it’s open 24 hours a day, seven days a week – which is more than can be said for the Tube.

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  • Restaurants
  • Bakeries
  • Stepney

£3

Fact: no good ever came of eating or drinking anything with purple bits in it. But if you’re determined to clamber aboard the rainbow bagel bandwagon, Rinkoff is the place to do it. Their multicoloured numbers are baked with just as much love and care as the regular ones, which they’ve been handmaking in Whitechapel since 1911. Get it filled with their Oreo-studded cream cheese for the My Little Pony of breakfasts – and the mother of all mid-morning sugar-crashes.

Reuben bagel at Ghetto Grillz, Kerb Camden
  • Restaurants
  • Camden Town

£6

Traditionally, the reuben – a hefty linebacker of salt beef, sauerkraut, Russian dressing and melted cheese – comes on rye bread. But like Johnny Cash doing Depeche Mode, the Ghetto Grillz version might just have the edge on the original. Crispy on the outside and fairly swimming in bubbling cheddar, it’s an inspired mash-up. Even allowing for the fact that at least half of it will end up down your jumper, this is one mighty meal.

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The Fat Bastard at The London Bagel Co.
  • Restaurants
  • Street food
  • London

£8

Yes, it’s a novelty burger. With an oo-er name and cheese dripping all over the place. But this isn’t just street-food showboating: when you’re serious about your grilling game, there are sound reasons for saying bye-bye to brioche buns. A bagel’s denser dough means greater structural integrity, so you can stuff your sarnie to the gills – in this case, with ground steak from nearby Smithfield, a fried egg and (because what the whole endeavour clearly needs is more meat) salt beef.

  • Restaurants
  • North African
  • Seven Dials
  • price 2 of 4

£4

I see you there, shaking your head. ‘That’s not a bagel,’ you say. ‘That is a bicycle tyre, made of dough.’ No. The Barbary’s Jerusalem bagel may be an unfamiliar shape, but it’s the realest of deals, with a textbook chewy crust concealing a still-warm, pillowy-soft interior. Our advice? Go by yourself. Not only do you stand a better chance of bagging a seat (there’s always a queue), you’ll also be able to lick the sesame seeds off your fingers and sigh, Nigella-style, without fear of judgement.

Find more comfort grub in London

  • Restaurants

London has gone a bit nutty for cheese. As street food vendors go even further in their quest to cheese up your lunch and as a restaurant dedicated to cheese opens in Camden, it seems Londoners can’t get enough of the stuff. And who are we to stand in the way? Feast your eyes on this list of stringy, oozy, gooey delights served to addicts across London. Holy cow, these are cheesy. The question is, can you handle it?

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