If you want a really good bagel, you know you need to come to New York. But once you get here, you’ll find the bagel possibilities are endless. Even the most seasoned bagel connoisseurs have not eaten EVERY bagel in NYC, so we are here to help you narrow it down. The first thing to look out for is old-fashioned bagels, specifically the hand-rolled, kettle-boiled, brick-oven-baked bagels (as opposed to the fluffy, stale machine variety that you can find in Everywhere, America). So without further ado, these are, hands down, the top five bagels in our lovely metropolis:
1. Hot Bagels
4805 13th Ave, New York, NY
This hole-in-the-wall bagel shop is an undiscovered treasure in the heart of Hasidic Borough Park. Two brusque grey-haired ladies serve dense, hand-rolled, rustic bagels, boiled the old-fashioned way. You just know the recipe hasn’t changed since 1936. Hot Bagels tops our list because not only is it the most delicious bagel in New York, but it’s also dirt cheap. A sesame bagel with a schmear of lox spread, or the neighborhood favorite, “tuna with schug,” will run you around $2.50. It doesn’t get any better than Hot Bagels. But keep it on the down-low, because it’s still an unexplored corner of New York and we don’t want everyone else to our secret…
2. Bagel Hole of Park Slope
400 7th Ave, Brooklyn, NY
This spot looks like your run-of-the-mill Brooklyn bodega with its nondescript storefront and sign, located in prime Strollerville (Park Slope), but behind the counter is an impressive bakery. It’s a no frills sort of place (i.e. no spreads, no toasting, just bread) but the bagels do come in 11 different flavors, such as egg, pumpernickel, and salt. Bagel Hole’s crispy, chewy old-fashioned bagels do not disappoint.
3. Black Seed Bagel
70 Elizabeth St, New York, NY
The brainchild of Mile End’s Noah Bernamoff and The Smile’s Matt Kliegman, Black Seed gives credence to the theory that Montreal-style bagels reign supreme. The shop opened last year and quickly became a hipster magnet. The doughy goodness is well worth the trek to Nolita (which stands for “NOrth of Little ITAly,” for you tourists). Their food is on the pricier side; expect to throw down $8 to $15 on one of their signature sandwiches. We actually brought Black Seed bagels into the office at Kveller once, and they were devoured within the hour. Baked in a wood fire oven, the bagels are equal parts chewy, sweet, and savory, and taste great with nothing on them.
4. Zucker’s Bagels & Smoked Fish
146 Chambers St., New York, NY
Zucker’s has everything. It is part bagel shop, part bakery, and part kosher-style deli. It has endless varieties of smoked fish, deli meats, cookies, and even chicken fingers for kids. Located in the heart of Tribeca, Zucker’s also boasts a gorgeous vintage décor and lovely ambiance in one of Manhattan’s hippest neighborhoods.
359 1st Ave. New York, NY
831 3rd Ave. New York, NY
These bagels are fat and hearty and brimming with whatever your stomach desires. Ever since the much-loved H & H on the Upper West Side closed its doors, Ess-a-Bagel has been one of the last remaining iconic kosher bagel shops in Manhattan. Ess-a-Bagels are consistently rated among the best in New York. And they’re kosher. Did we mention that they’re kosher?