Food & Drink

The 14 Best Bagel Shops in NYC

From old-school spots to new wave techniques.

Black Seed Bagels
Black Seed Bagels | Cole Saladino/Thrillist
Black Seed Bagels | Cole Saladino/Thrillist

What makes a great NYC bagel? It’s a question New Yorkers have perennially debated (election year or not) since the late 19th century when the dish was first brought to the city by Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe. But after all of these years of arguing, perhaps, it’s the subjectivity of what makes the perfect bagel—and what goes on top or in between it—that makes New York’s signature baked good so outstanding to begin with. 

For Bari Musacchio, founder of Baz Bagel, “the perfect bagel has a crispy crust, chewy inside, and is the right size.” And according to Musacchio, what makes New York’s bagels so incomparable are its five basic, yet specialty ingredients: flour, salt, water, yeast and malt. The malt, Musacchio explains, is essential, and can’t be substituted with a sweetener, like brown sugar, which is a common shortcut outside of New York.

The tradition of bagel making in the city also lends itself to continued bagel success—when Musacchio wanted to open her bagel shop in 2014, she could easily find qualified professionals who had been hand rolling bagels for over 40 years to staff her bakery. “It’s an art and science combined,” Musacchio says of hand rolling bagels. Bagel makers need to constantly adjust their proofing times for changes in weather and humidity, which vary month by month and often day by day.

Craving bagels yet? We’ve got you covered. Here are our 14 top spots in NYC to get your bagel fix.

Edith’s
Courtesy of Edith's

Edith’s

Greenpoint

New to the pandemic dining scene is Edith’s, a pop-up housed at Paulie Gee’s pizzeria (that wood-fired pizza oven is perfect for bagels) that churns out toasty, Montreal-style bagels that often sell out before lunchtime. The poppy or sesame seed coated bagels are twisted all the way around for optimal crunch in each bite, and truly satisfying on their own, or in a sandwich with bacon, egg, cheese, and special ingredient, a latke. 
How to order: Walk up to the ordering window, Thursdays-Sundays, 9am until bagels run out

Black Seed Bagels
Courtesy of Black Seed Bagels

Black Seed Bagels

Multiple locations

Montreal-style bagels may sound divisive to New York bagel purists, but with so many of us vying for a Canadian passport, biting into a Black Seed sandwich gives us reason to stay stateside. Chef Dianna Daoheung’s hand-rolled bagels are baked in a wood oven, and crafted into sophisticated sandwiches with smoked salmon, schmear, and more. Local chef collabs appear on the menu often. 
How to order: Walk in or order takeout online, shipped order are also available on Goldbelly

Baz Bagel and Restaurant

Lower East Side

A seven-year-old bagel shop with chutzpah, Baz is one of New York’s handful of Millennial-run appetizing shops that harken back to prior generations with authenticity and character. Baz’s hand rolled bagels are medium sized, that is, not too intimidating to eat in a single sitting, with a shiny outer crust and the perfect inner surface area when halved. The specialty sandwiches are excellent, like the Pretty in Pink (beet and horseradish cream cheese, Nova salmon, dill), as is the open faced cheesy pizza bagel.
How to order: Walk in or order takeout online

Russ & Daughters
Russ & Daughters | Cole Saladino/Thrillist

Russ & Daughters

Lower East Side

Dating back to 1914, Russ & Daughters’ lower Manhattan legacy kicked off as a pushcart selling herring and, four generations later, is still a go-to for cured fish, and, of course, bagels. The freshly baked bagels are well sized and full of tiny air pockets that make each bite as light as a bagel loaded with cream cheese and lox can be. Pastrami cured salmon is also a speciality here, along with smoked fish and specialty spreads, like caviar cream cheese. 
How to order: Walk in, nationwide shipping via Goldbelly

Tompkins Square Bagels
Tompkins Square Bagels | Cole Saladino/Thrillist

Tompkins Square Bagels

East Village

Aptly named for the park they’re best enjoyed in, Tompkins Square Bagels are hand rolled, kettle boiled, and baked fresh throughout the day. Bagels are large but not dense, with air pockets formed in the 550 degree oven proving to be the perfect crevices to soak up extra schmear. Breakfast sandwiches are delightfully bougie without being over-the-top (like The Dylan with pesto, eggs, roasted peppers, and fresh mozzarella), though specialty cream cheese is another draw here. Flavors change regularly, and include sweet varieties like chocolate chip cookie dough, pumpkin, and espresso, as well as savory and spicy spreads like wasabi, cucumber dill, and olive pimento cream cheese.
How to order: Walk in or order takeout via ChowNow, nationwide shipping available via Goldbelly

Sadelle's
Sadelle's | Cole Saladino/Thrillist

Sadelle's

SoHo

Major Food Group’s (Carbone, Parm, Dirty French) 2015 foray into Ashkenazic comfort food is still a hit, thanks to luxe seafood salad towers, vodka and caviar service, and top notch bagels any bubbe would be proud of. Fresh bagels are served hot, in flavors like everything 2.0, salt and pepper, as well as the classics, to be topped with an array of tomato, onion, cucumber, capers, and an array of cured fish. 
How to order: Walk into the bakery or reserve a table online

Ess-a-Bagel
Ess-a-Bagel | Cole Saladino/Thrillist

Ess-a-Bagel

Midtown East

Boasting one of the heftiest bagels in NYC (we haven’t officially weighed it, just with our mouths), Ess-a-Bagel’s doughy chunker reigns supreme in Midtown. Dating back to 1976, the family-run bakery is rarely quiet, with a line wrapping past the counter with regulars and tourists alike. The plush bagels lend themselves to hearty sandwiches and thick swoops of cream cheese, which is available in specialty flavors like Oreo, sun dried tomato, and apple cinnamon. 
How to order: Walk in or order takeout via ChowNow, nationwide shipping available via Goldbelly

Murray's Bagels
Murray's Bagels | Cole Saladino/Thrillist

Murray's Bagels

West Village

A downtown staple since 1996, Murray’s has cornered the market on excellent traditional bagels, as well as varieties for the health-conscious (not an oxymoron, we know). Flatties and whole wheat bagels are just as crusty on the outside, satisfyingly chewy on the inside, and ready to be decked out as signature sandwiches or topped with a salami omelet. The avocado mash on a bagel is also an excellent morning pick-me-up.  
How to order: Walk in or order online

Bagelsmith

Williamsburg

A necessary pit stop before stumbling down to the L/G train at Lorimer and Metropolitan after a booze-fueled night out in Williamsburg, Bagelsmith’s bagels also hold up for morning hangovers, and really any time of day. Bagels are fluffy and satisfyingly chewy to bite into, the perfect depth for a warm egg and cheese sandwich, or something heftier, like specialty smoked fish.  
How to order: Walk in or order online

Absolute Bagels
Absolute Bagels | Cole Saladino/Thrillist

Absolute Bagels

Upper West Side

Some of the best bagels above Columbus Circle come out of this no-frills shop that’s practically a religion for neighbors. Bagels are slightly sweet and fantastically soft, best enjoyed simply with cream cheese, melted butter on freshly toasted halves, or with Absolute’s caprese-esque tomato and mozzarella combo. 
How to order: Walk in only

Shelsky’s Brooklyn Bagels

Park Slope

Opened in 2011 by Peter Shelsky, a fine dining alum and Jewish New Yorker raised on the city's classic Eastern European delights, Shelsky's has quickly become a staple in Brooklyn's bagel scene. Bagels are plush, fluffy creations, to be topped with specialty spreads like goat cheese cream cheese or spicy Sichuan chili crisp cream cheese. A full array of cured fishess, as well as caviar, is also for sale.  
How to order: Walk in, takeout/delivery via website, or nationwide shipping online

Utopia Bagels

Whitestone

Dating back to 1980, Utopia Bagels make the strip mall they’re located in feel like heaven. Bagels are proudly hand rolled, left to slightly ferment on wooden planks before a dip in the boiling kettle and a round in the oven. The result is a savory, firm yet still soft in the center bagel that won’t yield under the depth of a scoop of flavored cream cheese. Utopia also makes gluten-free bagels and mini bagels. 
How to order: Walk in or order via Grubhub, Uber Eats, Doordash, Postmates, or Goldbelly

Kossar's Bialys
Kossar's Bialys | Cole Saladino/Thrillist

Kossar's Bialys

Lower East Side

The recently revamped Kossar’s dates back to 1936, when Jewish Eastern European immigrants stayed loyal to the best bagel and bialy spot in the neighborhood. Now, the oldest running bialy bakery in the United States churns out excellent, savory vehicles perfect for just a swipe of cream cheese. 
How to order: Walk in or order takeout via Uber Eats or Grubhub, nationwide shipping via Goldbelly

Bagel Oasis

Fresh Meadows

One of NYC’s most beloved bagel shops since opening in 1961, Bagel Oasis is both a neighborhood pilgrimage and destination for bagel enthusiasts on the hunt for some of the city’s best bread with a hole in the middle. Bagels are kettle boiled and then baked for the exact ratio of time that keeps the center doughy and delicious, and the outside sleek and just a bit crisp. Offerings stick to traditional bagel shop specialties, like lox cream cheese and breakfast sandwiches, executed in the best possible way. Open 24 hours, so you never have to go without a bagel. 
How to order: Walk in

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