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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.

Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson
Zucker's Bagels

Of all its signature foodstuffs—pastrami sandwiches, New York pizza—bagels are arguably the most synonymous with Gotham, and the best bagels in NYC are great proof.We use them as the base for sandwiches, layer them with smoked fish, and load up on dozens from the city’s best New York delis. Here’s where to get the best bagels in NYC.

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Best bagels in NYC

1

Absolute Bagels

This neighborhood gem has been showing up better-known 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—but trust us, all 16 bagel varieties here taste just fine by themselves.

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Upper West Side
2

Ess-a-Bagel

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

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Midtown East
3

Barney Greengrass

Despite decor that Jewish mothers might call “schmutzy,” this legendary deli is a madhouse at breakfast and brunch. Enormous egg platters come with the usual choice of smoked fish (such as sturgeon or Nova Scotia salmon). Prices are high but portions are large—and that goes for the sandwiches, too. Or try the less costly dishes: matzo-ball soup, creamy egg salad or cold pink borscht served in a glass jar.

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Upper West Side
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4

Bagel Pub

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 flavored cream cheeses (mixed berry, guacamole), smoked fish or with those corner-deli staples, bacon, egg and cheese.

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Park Slope
5

David’s Bagels

Some bagel shops are in the business of wacky flavors—not this Gramercy storefront, which earned its ways into the upper echelons of New York bagels for its traditional rounds (salt, sesame, poppy), sporting crowd-pleasing chew factor and expert seasoning.

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Midtown
6

Russ & Daughters

Russ & Daughters has been serving lox, herring, bagels and other specialty foods since 1914, and its Super Heeb of horseradish cream cheese, wasabi-flavored roe and sublime whitefish salad form a holy trinity with an unholy name.

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Lower East Side
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7

Bagel Oasis

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 those hand-made rounds in flavors like egg-onion, everything and blueberry.

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Queens
8

Kossar’s Bialys

Bialys may be the namesame at this historic Lower East Side Jewish bakery, which opened back in 1936, but the bagels are nothing to sneeze at. Made in three stages—kettled boiled, baked on burlap boards and finished on stone—the bagels have a natural sweetness courtesy of pure malt syrup.

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Lower East Side
9

Terrace Bagels

The hand-rolled bagels at this Windsor Terrace favorite make up for their slight bloatedness with a nice snap that gives way to a tender chew.

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Windsor Terrace
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10

Zucker’s Bagels

This Tribeca standby has been hand-rolling and kettle-boiling bagels since 1994. 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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Financial District
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By: Christina Izzo

Comments

12 comments
Z H
Z H

Bagel Hole in Park Slope missing? Are you crazy?

Erica L
Erica L

Hot Jumbo Bagels in midtown is the best. Fresh bagels at 2AM + sooo much cream cheese.

Shawn G. C
Shawn G. C

LOL no Tompkins Square Bagels? Maybe By Christina Izzo couldn't get in because of you know, THE LONG LINES due to the fact its the best bagel in Lower Manhattan. 


Ellen S
Ellen S

maybe this should be called "the five best and 15 meh bagels" Also, the interns missed the hidden gems, like Daniel's on 3rd in Murray Hill, or Leo's (Wall Street) or the Zuckers on the east side. Interns, chew harder!


Josh B
Josh B

Wait..how is Tompkins Square Bagels not on this list? This is a travesty. Please stop Drinking Time Out NY. :?

Steve L
Steve L

WAIT, WAIT, WAIT!!! How is Leo's (in FiDi)- probably the best in NY- not even included???

Major article fail!

Dina A
Dina A

the best bagels ever

Pearl S
Pearl S

Love Terrace Bagels!  Love Murray's as well, but agree w/ the opinion that the bagels are on the dry side.  I sometimes have jaw pain after eating/chewing their bagels. 

Romualdo G
Romualdo G

I agree with Gersh. 

But Absolute Bagels is my favorite.

Gersh K
Gersh K

This is not journalism. There are more bad bagels on this list than good ones. Push your interns harder! Or hire New Yorkers.