Long considered one of L.A.’s most elusive breakfasts, Belle’s Bagels started as a pop-up that blinked in and out of the city’s dining scene. Fortunately it came back by popular demand, and set up a permanent home in Highland Park. Today, it operates out of the small window on the street-facing side of the Hi Hat (you’ll usually spot the line out front). Somewhat unique in style, Belle’s serves smaller, denser bagels than what some aficionados may be used to, but the golden crust and unique high-end ingredients (like caraway and fennel on the everything bagel) will easily win over skeptics. Equally impressive are the massive sandwiches and myriad schmear and topping options, including beet and vegan cream cheeses, tangy tomato jam, crispy salmon skin and hot pastrami.
OK, listen: Bagels are considered the purview of the East Coast, and Angelenos supposedly have no business rolling, baking and boiling our own bagels. Happily for the residents of this great city, that assumption is dead wrong. Though not as ubiquitous as those in NYC and Philly, some of L.A.’s bagels are world-class—despite the jibber-jabber of clueless tourists and East Coast transplants. Our city’s deep-rooted Jewish community has paved the way for bagel shops to thrive here, ensuring that we all have access to these circular, yeast-risen breakfast breads, whether served plain, toasted, schmeared or as the bookends of a sandwich. From a roving food truck serving bagel sandos to a cult favorite operating out of a window in Highland Park, here are our favorite bagels in the city.