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St-Viateur Bagel & Café
Photograph: © Alice Gao/Commission Canadienne du Tourisme

Where to find the best bagels in Montreal, ranked

If you need to know which shops and bakeries are making the best bagels in Montreal, you've come to the right place

Written by
Marissa Miller
&
JP Karwacki
Contributor
Tommy Dion
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Ask anyone what you need to eat when you want a true taste of the city, and you'll be pointed straight to the best bagels in Montreal. They're right up there at the top of our list of iconic Montreal food alongside the best delis for Montreal smoked meat—followed closely by diners dishing out the best poutine and best hot dogs in Montreal, of course—and they're a cornerstone offering on the best brunch menus while ranking high among the best cheap eats in Montreal. What humbly started with Jewish immigrants bringing hand-rolled, wood-fired rings of sweet, thin, and dense dough in the early 20th century is become a distinct, world-famous dish today that's put Montreal on the map.

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Where to find the best bagels in Montreal

With a wood-fired oven that’s been burning since 1957, St-Viateur is a veritable keystone in Montreal’s history of bagels. From its original ownership to today’s, this shop’s never forgotten its roots in the Mile End while garnering international acclaim and multiple bakeries and cafés. From a mountain of fresh dough, to being tossed hot off the sheeba, to a delicious bite of a hot and fresh one, it’s a place of beauty open all day every day.

Make no mistake, Fairmount is the original bagel baker of the city, having stood at its location since 1949. The same century-old recipes, traditions and techniques have been used throughout generations to create internationally famous bagels. Open 24 hours a day, eating from here is one of the essential meals of Montreal: A bag of six fresh sesame bagels, a container of cream cheese (plus smoked salmon if you’re feeling luxurious) and that’s it. Dig in and be amazed.

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Open since 2014, the Verdun-based Bagel St-Lo is a more-than-respectable flag bearer of the Montreal tradition. Husband and wife duo Philippe St-Laurent and Isa Lora Messier are doing things right with fresh varieties daily, especially when considering they do something the OGs seldom do: Their bakery is also an amazing restaurant doling out eggs benedict on bagels. That’s a true New York-Montreal combo.

It didn't take long for Le Trou to charm both Griffintown and Old Montreal; though the couple behind the project had never rolled a bagel before, it's safe to say that after a few days, it's clear that they had the hang of it. Completely hand-rolled, pre-baked in water with honey, dipped in the topping of your choice and baked—all before your eyes—your bagel rarely gets this good and fresh so often. Make sure to try the Charlevoix cream cheese and smoked salmon bagel.

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Serving up the best bagels in Côte-des-Neiges is this curio shop of a bakery, located right off the Décarie. Setting out to deliver the most unique menu, R.E.A.L. Bagel’s doing your essential poppy and sesame seed varieties in addition to wilder takes like Oreo and French Toast. Their site mentioned they serve up “award-winning” bagels; we’re not exactly sure which award they mean, except for the award that matters most: Our respect. Keep it weird, er, R.E.A.L.

The best bagels in the city won’t always be found on the Island proper. Greater Montreal’s town of Brossard on the southern shore is no exception, considering they’re importing all the traditional trappings of a good Montreal bagel. There’s just something about the way they do it and how it tastes that’s converted many-a locals and visitors to their side of the Saint-Lawrence. You’ve been warned: You may become the devil’s advocate in the room saying “uh, actually, Brossard Bagel’s making the best.”

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While the Mile End has historically been the regular recipient of local love, the southwest side of town is starting to catch up. On top of a selection of wood-fired goods, other baked treats from pastel de natas to strudels and knishes are available as well, though most folks are happy to just grab their smoked meat bagel sandwich for an ultimate Montrealer snack. Drop in for a bagful of the rotating flavour of the week.

A city within a city, the wealthy suburb of Westmount’s always got to do its own thing. It’s got its own city hall, its own police force, its own plumbing; heck, it’s even got its own bagels, but is still cast from the same Montreal mould. A bakery and deli rolled into one, locals populate its tables just as much for its lunches and “fusion menu” of Indian and Italian dishes as they do the handmade baked goods.

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Two decades and counting is the wind in the sails of Glen Spence’s bagel shop, as it’s accrued a loyal following in Côte Saint-Luc. Served as single or by the dozen, MTL Bagel’s cutting and rolling out over 5,000 pounds of dough to create over 2,000 bagels a day. That’s saying a lot when considering the crazy amount of flavours available here. Care to try a jalapeño pepper, spicy all-dressed or coconut bagel? Don’t eschew it, chew it; Spence’s stuff is quality.

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There’s a lot of good and cheap breakfast spots in Saint-Henri, and Bagel St-Henri’s one of them. Off the beaten path of its neighbourhood’s main strip, this spot’s an outlier in the city for how it serves up a fatter, fluffier German version of bagel. While it’s not your century-old bagle bakery, credit’s to be given where it’s due, and this one has earned a spot in our hearts for the excellent prices and love its owners give.

After decamping from their experience at R.E.A.L. Bagel, Steve Dizgun & his father Irwin took opened a shop of their own in 1995. Taking aim at the limited range of food available at bagel shops—baked goods, cream cheese, lox—they created a café that’s boasting one of the biggest menus of its kind in town; that includes a small menu of Chinese dishes and kosher sides on top of wraps, salads, desserts and breads. They’re also flying the colours of being Montreal’s home to the rainbow bagel.

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Lest we forget anything across the northern shores of Montreal, consider Bagelmania: If you find yourself forlornly stuck in Laval and pining for the city’s classic goods, they’ve got what you need, and it’s not just a placebo. With more than ten years in the bagel biz, it’s grown to be a reliable standby for Lavalians with a recipe that’s a bit more pumped up in size, but with all the same flavours.

What started with a downtown bakery serving the hungry office-bound crowds of the 1000 de la Gauchetière tower is a reliable bite that's now found in five locations (with a sixth on the way at the time of this writing). They serve traditional-style bagels, however without using a wood-fired oven. It’s hard to disagree, however, with the grab ‘n’ go combination of a bacon, cheese and egg, the prosciutto and brie cheese combo sprinkled with balsamic, or the bacon and maple cream cheese option.

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An upstart on the bagel scene, Hinnawi Bros. can be found in four different locations in Montreal with few signs of stopping. Like the name implies, it’s more of a lunching/grab-and-go kind of spot—a good one at that—with over a dozen sandwich combinations to pick from, ranging from the straightforward Petit Québec egg and cheese to the Milanais, an escalope of fried chicken with swiss cheese and spicy mayo.

West-end natives remember Nosherz when it consisted of a single dedicated man named Solly selling bagels door to door. The demand for bagels and all their accouterments became so high that its reinvention saw enough soups and sides and sweets to cater everything from a bris to a Bar Mitzvah. Consider the cheese bagel—unfairly omitted from bagel-centric discourse—that Nosherz puts back on our radar.

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A bare bones operation in La Petite-Patrie, it’s a bagel option primarily serving anyone in the immediate area with success and satisfaction. No bells or whistles, only bagels: Beaubien’s got 11 flavours and a handful of sandwiches on their menu. Some say they’ve a slightly fluffier texture not found at establishments with household names, which we’d venture is slightly more conducive to good sandwich structure.

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