The 11 Best Bagels in New York City


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If you’ve ever been to New York City, you know that there are certain foods that are synonymous with the Big Apple. Big, cheesy, NYC-style pizza slices, for example; or hot pastrami from a Jewish deli or a mustard-topped hot dog. But no trip to New York is complete without a visit to a bagel shop. A freshly baked bagel slathered with cream cheese and topped with smoked salmon is the perfect New York breakfast, but for most of us, New York isn’t exactly around the corner.

Image Credit: VeselovaElena/istockphoto.

Why Are New York Bagels Different from Other Bagels?

Bagels have been a quintessential New York nosh for well over 100 years, since they were brought over by Eastern European immigrants. Classic NYC bagels are boiled in water that contains a bit of sweet barley malt before being baked, and locals swear that the New York water makes them taste better than any other. The ideal bagel has a chewy crust that gives way to a soft, fluffy interior that’s perfectly complemented by cream cheese, lox, smoked whitefish salad and other “appetizing” (which translates to, basically, “things that go with bagels”).

You can find bagels all across America these days (and in Canada, where sweeter Montreal-style bagels, like the ones sold at the iconic St-Viateur, are popular), but there’s nothing like a real New York bagel to take your brunch to the next level.

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Who Makes the Best New York Bagels?

Russ & Daughters

A Houston Street staple since its 1914 founding, Russ & Daughters is today New York’s most legendary appetizing shop, selling a wide variety of smoked & cured salmon as well as harder-to-find bagel toppers including:

  • Kippered salmon
  • Delicate sturgeon
  • Peppered mackerel

They all partner up perfectly with their chewy house-baked bagels.

Image Credit: Russ & Daughters.


For more than 35 years, New Yorkers and tourists alike have lined up at Ess-a-Bagel for their signature chewy, crusty bagels, which are cut and rolled by hand. They sell their bagels by the dozen, with lox & cream cheese, and as part of a signature brunch kit for 6.

Image Credit: Ess-A-Bagel.

Utopia Bagels

A Queens landmark since 1980, Utopia Bagels individually hand-rolls its bagels, kettle-boils them, and bakes them in an oven that was originally built in 1947.

They’re slightly chewy, a little crusty on the outside, and soft on the inside, with a satisfying maltiness that just can’t be faked. They’re shipped by the baker’s dozen in a wide variety of flavors and alongside creative cream cheeses including:

  • Walnut raisin
  • Cinnamon apple
  • Tofu Lox

Image Credit: Utopia Bagels.

Tompkins Square Bagels

A true neighborhood bagel shop, the East Village’s Tompkins Square Bagels is run by Christopher Pugliese, who started making bagels at age 16 and uses a recipe from the 1950s. His bagels are available by the dozen, and the shop is also renowned for its irresistible French toast bagels.

Image Credit: Tompkins Square Bagels.

Zucker’s Bagels And Smoked Fish

Zucker’s makes their bagels the old-fashioned way, but doesn’t shy away from the new & creative, like skinnier Bagel Flatz and par-baked bagels that finish baking in your home oven. Their classic Bagels & Schmears are not to be missed, especially when complemented by lox that’s been everything- or pastrami-seasoned.

Image Credit: Zucker’s Bagels.

Kossar’s Bagels & Bialys

Since 1936, Kossar’s has been New York’s most iconic destination for bialys, the bagel’s flatter, chewier, onion-stuffed cousin. Their bagels are unsurprisingly just as spectacular, as are their babka and lox.

Image Credit: Kossar’s Bagels & Bialys.

Baz Bagel

Classic NYC bagels meet the 21st century at Little Italy’s Baz Bagels, where owners Bari Musacchio and Saralyn Feinberg are upholding the traditions of NYC bagel baking. All of Baz’s bagels are hand-rolled, kettle-boiled, and baked in a special rotating deck oven, the old-fashioned way. The modern touch? Rainbow bagels!

Image Credit: Baz Bagel.

Pick A Bagel

A daily go-to for countless New Yorkers, Pick a Bagel has several locations throughout the city and is famous for their big, chewy, handmade bagels and wide variety of cream cheeses. You also can’t go wrong with their bagel sandwiches, like a hot pastrami Reuben.

Image Credit: Pick A Bagel.

Black Seed Bagels

Black Seed is unlike any other bagel shop in New York; they’re a unique hybrid between NYC and Montreal-style bagels. Each bagel is hand rolled, boiled in honey water, and baked in a wood-fired oven for a crisp, smoky crust. 

Image Credit: Black Seed Bagels.

Orwashers Bakery

A New York institution since 1916, Orwashers is one of the city’s most legendary bakeries, famous for their:

  • Babka
  • Black & white cookies
  • Artisanal breads
  • Bagels

These bagels stand apart from the pack thanks to their use of sourdough, which gives them a slightly tangy flavor.

Image Credit: Orwashers Bakery.

Sable’s Smoked Fish

As the name implies, the 30 year-old Sable’s Smoked Fish isn’t just famous for its bagels, which are made by renowned bakery H&H. The appetizing selection is also second-to-none, with standouts including:

  • Scottish smoked salmon
  • Whitefish salad
  • Smoked sable

This article originally appeared on GoldBelly and was syndicated by

Image Credit: Sable’s Smoked Fish.

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