Listen, a bagel a day does keep the doctor away — and don’t let anyone tell you differently. Everything about the chewy, round halos of glutenous heaven deeply nurtures our food-loving souls. Sweet bagels, savory bagels — even damn rainbow-colored bagels — we accept them all with open mouths and tubs of scallion cream cheese.
I definitely won’t be the first to say it, but if you haven’t had an NYC bagel you haven’t ever really had a bagel — and what’s more, perhaps you haven’t ever really lived either. But don’t worry, we’re here to help! Scroll ahead for our ultimate boiled-and-baked hit list.
Zucker’s Bagels, 146 Chambers Street (at West Broadway); 212-608-5844.
Photo: Via @onehungryjew.
Looking for a bite of history alongside your morning lox spread? Kossar’s is here to serve you a lesson or two in serious schmears. This LES spot spans back all the way to the 1930s and offers up the trifecta of bread collections: babkas, bagels, and bialys (the bagel’s less-dense cousin).
Kossar’s, 367 Grand Street (at Essex Street); 212-473-4810.
Photo: Via @hanniebanny.
La Bagel Delight
This Brooklyn establishment is as the name would suggest. The bagels are hand-rolled to ideal fluffy-chewiness, providing an ample vessel for melty cheese, crispy bacon, and runny eggs (or just a good smear of scallion cream cheese).
La Bagel Delight, Multiple locations in Brooklyn.
Photo: Via @onehungryjew.
Tompkins Square Bagels
Tompkins Square Bagels, 165 Avenue A (at E. 11th Street); 646-351-6520.
Photo: Via @amyschulmaneats.
A NYC institution, Absolute is absolutely the reliable boiled-and-baked dough joint that you simply must visit. This UWS institution serves up fat, fluffy, and just the right ratio of chewy-crunchy bagels. Make sure you arrive early in the morning when the bounty is fresh and the lines not yet gargantuan.
Absolute Bagels, 2788 Broadway (at W. 108th Street); 212-932-2052.
Photo: Via @childblock.
Smith Street Bagels
Smith Street does not yet hold legend status in the world of NYC bagels — but it very well should. This unassuming Carroll Gardens café has some truly delectable smears, spreads, and breakfast sandwich combos. The bagels are big, golden, and chewy perfection.
Smith Street Bagels, 202 Smith Street (at Baltic Street) in Brooklyn; 718-858-6000.
Photo: Via @dianaeatsnyc.
Black Seed Bagels
Black Seed is to bagels as SoHo is to Manhattan: the street-chic spot. These bagels are almost too hip to be consumed — except they’re not, because I’ve definitely gobbled mine up before you could say Instagram. Pop by for a thinner, crisper, take and be prepared to wait in line with the trendiest of crowds.
Black Seed Bagels, Multiple locations in Manhattan.
Photo: Via @caylaz.
The Bagel Store
Ah, yes, the infamous rainbow bagel. Call it heresy, call it cute —regardless of what you want to call it, it exists in all it’s multicolored sprinkled excess glory and it isn’t going anywhere soon. So stop by The Bagel Store (aptly named) and maybe give it a try, just to say you did.
The Bagel Store, 754 Metropolitan Avenue (at Graham Avenue) in Brooklyn; 718-782-5856.
Photo: Via @unesudiste_fit.
Brooklyn Bread Cafe
We’re going out on a limb here and assuming that most have not heard of or frequented this BK spot — simply because the bagels are not NYC traditional. The consistency is airy and thin, making for a lighter experience altogether. So if you haven’t been by, it’s worth the visit. At least for the next-level French toast filled and chocolate bagel offerings.
Brooklyn Bread, 436 Court Street (between 2nd and 3rd Place) in Brooklyn; 718-403-0234.
Photo: Via @kjcfalcon.
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