Devout readers of Time Out Seoul might remember when Bageloo’s first location near Wonhyo Bridge opened. It marked the start of an era where New York-style bagels would no longer be a scarcity in Seoul and late last year, Bageloo, which is run by the Oh family, opened a second location near Sookmyung Women’s University. The Oh’s have tweaked their bagel recipes just a bit and say they’re constantly working on slight changes to make their bagels more delicious (recently, they’ve decided to extend the boiling time just a tad). Following the same recipe that has the soft texture combined with a crisp crust; Bageloo’s second location has the same collection of fresh bagels and hot bagel sandwich options. While our favorite continues to be their classic lox bagel (served with a side of jalapeños), the most popular items at this branch are the cranberry and blueberry bagels. Soups (broccoli, corn and potato) have also been added to the menu, allowing for more of a “dining” experience than your average bagel spot. Bagels aren’t just for breakfast anymore.
Looking for a crispier alternative to the famous New York bagel? Watch out for its strong competitor from the West Coast—the San Francisco bagel now available at this corner store in Yeonnam-dong. Made without yeast or sugar, these bagels are smaller in size, have a bit more of a crunch and, of course, have a sour tang. Cream cheeses are also available. Be sure to check out the bagel shop’s aromatic baked goods—their cinnamon roll is to die for!
This was the first New York bagel chain to open a branch in Seoul and the first Pick A Bagel to open in Asia. While this location doesn’t offer as many options as the original chain, they can actually lay claim to being the only bagel shop in Korea that has dough made with New York water. Using the original Pick A Bagel recipe, the bagels are parbaked in the States, shipped over and brought to the Apgujeong location where they’re heated fresh. Served to you by native New Yorker and bagel expert, Abe Ryu, a range of classic bagel flavors are on the menu. While Pick A Bagel scores for their densely packed interior, our favorite point had to be the cream cheese. Perfectly creamy whilst remaining structured and light, each different flavor we tried had its own unique character and we’re definitely going back for the sundried tomato cream cheese. Be on the lookout for their pop-up in the Gyeongridan area! We have a (good) feeling you’ll be seeing a lot more of Pick A Bagel in the near future.
Actually, The Great Bagel is about more than getting a great bagel, it’s about the experience of going to an atmospheric place, sitting down and enjoying a great bagel along with some good coffee. That concept was inspired by Brooklyn Bagel & Coffee Company when the owners of the store Seo Youngsoo spent time in New York. With the dancing chandelier and the luxurious seating facing the counter when you walk into the shop, it’s clear that “eating” isn’t the only focus at The Great Bagel. Hand-rolled bagels made and baked directly in the kitchen are on the softer side and served with a variety of cream cheeses. While the availability of the cream cheese can differ based on the season, options tend to range from honey-vanilla to herbs and olives. The sweet cream cheeses have a soft-serve ice cream feel to them and pair well with the tender, golden bagels. Salmon sandwiches and salads are also available. While we say sitting down and staying a while is a must, there are those who choose to call in advance and pick up large orders of bagels to go.
Taking cues from Utopia Bagel in Queens, New York City; the bagels at Queens Bagel shine at you from the moment that you walk into their small corner location across from Ewha Woman’s University. (An insider bagel tip? A bagel’s shine is one way to tell how good it’ll be.) Perhaps it’s something that owner Park Sang-yong picked up from his training at Utopia Bagels. Shiny and firm on the outside, dense and chewy on the inside—the line for Queens Bagel is out the door during the school year and somewhere from 1,000 to 1,200 bagels are rolling by hand, sold and sold out daily. Paired with one of their interesting cream cheeses (flavors range from bacon-mushroom to Oreo), this three-year old shop is a veteran in the bagel scene. Try the shop’s popular multi-grain bagel with honey walnut cream cheese and even if you’re not a fan of sweet flavors, this just might make you a convert. A major kudos to Queens for leading the Bagelucion!
Created by the same interior design team that did Anthracite, 3 Sam Partners could at first pass as merely an aesthetically pleasing café. However, their secret’s not their coffee beans but the New York claim to fame—bagels. Made in more of a Montreal style (softer and chewier), they offer a range of flavors including plain, strawberry, cinnamon raisin, chocolate and the Volcano, which seems to have become a neighborhood bagel. Flavored cream cheese (a difficult feat to come by in Korea) comes in olive and tomato. Recently reopened after a ten month renovation, an ajumma peeped in with glee. “Are you back? I’m definitely coming back later for a bagel.”