The best bagels in NYC

Looking for the best bagels in NYC? These shops serve everything from a classic lox-and-shmear to composed sandwiches.
BLACK SEED everything bagel beet-cured salmon horseradish cream cheese radish herbs
Photograph: Courtesy Paul Wagtouicz
By Jake Cohen, Christina Izzo and Time Out contributors |
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Of all its signature foodstuffs—pastrami sandwiches, New York pizza—bagels are arguably the most synonymous with Gotham. We take these baked beauties and schmear them with cream cheese concoctions, layer them with smoked fish galore and even occasionally throw an egg on top. That's why there is never a day that we don't want to load up on dozens from the city’s best delis or bakeries. After careful deliberation and plenty of schmear we've settled on this list of our favorites. Here’s where to get the best bagels in NYC.

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Where to find the best bagels in NYC

1
SADELLE'S fish tower
Restaurants, American

Sadelle’s

icon-location-pin Soho

Ushered from the oven on oak dowels by the waitstaff, fresh bagels are annouced to the dining room with a shout of “hot bagels!” as they come through. The glossy, boiled-then-baked rounds, with toppings like salt and pepper or everything seasoning, are smaller than the average bagel making it perfectly acceptable to have more than one.

2
Classic brunch board at Russ & Daughters
Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz
Shopping, Specialist food and drink

Russ & Daughters

icon-location-pin Lower East Side

Russ & Daughters has been New York's pinnacle Jewish deli since 1914, serving lox, herring, bagels and other specialty foods out of their shop on the Lower East Side. Not only are the bagels stellar, but the bagel sandwiches are just as impressive like the Super Heeb with horseradish cream cheese, wasabi-flavored roe and sublime whitefish salad.

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3
Absolute Bagels
Photograph: Filip Wolak
Restaurants, Bakeries

Absolute Bagels

icon-location-pin Upper West Side

This neighborhood gem has been one-upping popular Upper West Side bagel establishments for years, serving freshly boiled bagels in their most perfect form. A respectable array of toppings includes cream cheeses (blueberry, sun-dried tomato, walnut-raisin), Tofutti, deli meats, salads and silky smoked fish—though we can happily tear into one of their bagels as is.

4
Ess-A-Bagel
Photograph: Courtesy Laura Gallant
Restaurants, Bakeries

Ess-a-Bagel

icon-location-pin Midtown East

Large, crusty bagels with pillowy insides are hallmarks—along with an extended wait on their long lines—at this beloved shop, which launched in 1976 on 21st Street before expanding to Midtown East. Come prepared to choose between their 18 varieties of house-made cream cheese, from sweet (apple cinnamon, blueberry) to savory (sundried tomato, jalapeño).

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5
BLACK SEED poppy-seed bagel with scallion cream cheese cucumber watermelon radish capers
Restaurants, Bakeries

Black Seed

icon-location-pin Nolita

This Nolita bagel shop has been getting a ton of buzz and not just for their hand-rolled and poached Montreal-style bagels and house-made spreads (scallion cream cheese, smoked mackerel). While they're menu is great as is, frequent collaborations with NYC's best chefs and restaurants have New Yorkers flocking for their inventive breakfast creations.

6
Zucker's Bagels
Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson
Restaurants, Bakeries

Zucker’s Bagels

icon-location-pin Financial District

This Tribeca standby has been hand-rolling and kettle-boiling bagels since 1994 (they've even now expanded with locations on the UWS and in Grand Central). Choose between 18 types of smoked and pickled fishes from Acme, 16 cream cheese varieties (including four tofu-based ones) and 11 flavors of bagels.

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7
Bagel Oasis
Photograph: Laura Gallant
Restaurants, Delis

Bagel Oasis

icon-location-pin Queens

The five-decade-old Fresh Meadows bagel maker offers firm, old-fashioned bagels that are kettle-boiled and then baked for a crunchy outer crust and moist inner chew. You can get this Queens landmark's hand-made rounds in flavors like egg-onion, everything and blueberry.

8
Barney Greengrass
Photograph: Filip Wolak
Restaurants, Delis

Barney Greengrass

icon-location-pin Upper West Side

This legendary deli is a madhouse at breakfast and brunch and there's a good reason why. Their bagels are tender vesseks for the smoked fish platters, that are pricey but gargatuan. Same goes for the sandwiches that give you the option of packing it all on a bagel or a bialy.

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9
Murray’s Bagels
Photograph: Laura Gallant
Restaurants, Bakeries

Murray’s Bagels

icon-location-pin Greenwich Village

This West Village standby—opened in 1996 by former Merrill Lynch VP Adam Pomerantz—turns out superlative bagels in 15 varieties (poppy, cinnamon raisin, sesame). The lines can be overwhelming but luckily the spot is able to crank through customers getting you a bagel and shmear faster than you can say Nova Scotia.

10
Bagel Pub
Photograph: Laura Gallant
Restaurants, Delis

Bagel Pub

icon-location-pin Park Slope

The Park Slope bagel counter specializes in hand-rolled, kettle-cooked bagels in 17 varieties (cinnamon raisin, pumpernickel, garlic), which you can trick out with a vibrant array of flavored cream cheeses (mixed berry, guacamole), smoked fish or with the bodega-breakfast-of-champions, bacon, egg and cheese.

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