Discovering the 10 Best Bagels in NYC: A Quest Through Bagel Scene From Manhattan to Queen

Discovering the 10 Best Bagels in NYC: A Quest Through Bagel Scene From Manhattan to Queen


In the bustling heart of New York City, the iconic bagel stands as a culinary emblem of the city’s rich and diverse food culture. Renowned for its chewy texture and distinct flavor profile, the New York bagel has transcended mere breakfast fare to become a symbol of the city’s vibrant culinary scene.

From classic plain to innovative artisanal creations of bagel varieties, the city’s bagel shops offer a delectable journey through the Big Apple’s unique fusion of tradition and innovation. As quintessential as the skyline itself, the New York bagel is a must-taste experience for locals and visitors alike.

What makes a great bagel?

A great bagel is a harmonious blend of simple yet high-quality ingredients, with a chewy interior, a crisp, golden crust and good texture. The key lies in the dough, typically made from high-gluten flour, water, yeast, salt, and sometimes a touch of malt or sweetener. The perfect bagel achieves a delicate balance: dense enough to provide a satisfying chew, yet light and airy on the inside. The crust, when properly baked, should offer a delightful crunch, creating a textural symphony with the soft interior.

To taste test a bagel sandwich, one should start by savoring the outer crust—listening for that satisfying crackle as you bite into it—before enjoying the doughy goodness within. Fantastic bagels are a culinary masterpiece that captivates the senses with every bite, leaving a lasting impression of craftsmanship and flavor.

Historical significance of bagel sandwich in New York

Introduced to New York City by Eastern European Jewish immigrants in the early 20th century, the bagel quickly became a symbol of cultural assimilation and a staple of the city’s culinary landscape. As these immigrants settled in neighborhoods like the Lower East Side, bagel shops proliferated, creating a thriving industry. The bagel’s round shape, with a hole in the center, is believed to represent the cycle of life in Jewish tradition.

Over the decades, bagels evolved from an ethnic specialty to a mainstream phenomenon, ingrained in the city’s daily life. Today, New York’s bagel culture reflects a dynamic fusion of tradition and innovation, contributing to the city’s diverse and celebrated food scene.

Best Bagels in NYC

If you’re in New York and looking for the best bagel in the city we can help you with that. Below are the top bagel spots that have been serving New Yorkers their favorite bagel sandwich with lox, schmear or bacon. They are the perfect place if you want to enjoy a bagel and coffee.

1. Tompkins Square Bagels: A bagel institution in Square Park

Tompkins Square Bagels stands as a cherished institution in New York City, celebrated for its commitment to crafting authentic and delicious bagels. Located in the East Village, this iconic bagel shop boasts a diverse menu featuring an array of classic and inventive flavors.

Renowned for their traditional hand-rolling and boiling process, Tompkins Square Bagels captures the essence of the city’s bagel-making heritage.  Their sourdough bagels are a must try.With its welcoming ambiance and consistently exceptional quality, the establishment has earned a loyal following, making it a must-visit destination for bagel enthusiasts in the heart of Manhattan.

2. Absolute Bagels: A local favorite


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Absolute Bagels has carved a niche in New York City’s bagel scene, offering a distinctive taste that has captured the hearts of locals and visitors alike. Known for their unparalleled freshness and impeccable texture, the bagels are a testament to craftsmanship and attention to detail.

The perfect combination of a crunchy exterior and a delightfully chewy inside makes these bagels a culinary delight. With a loyal following, it’s the commitment to quality and flavor that keeps people coming back for the unique and satisfying experience that Absolute Bagel Store consistently delivers.

3. Ess-a-Bagel: A must-visit for chewy, airy bagels


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Ess-a-Bagel, an iconic establishment in New York City, has earned a devoted fan base thanks to its exceptional bagels that offer a true taste of tradition. Renowned for their larger-than-life size and unparalleled freshness, Ess-a-Bagel’s creations boast a perfect balance between a crispy exterior and a soft, doughy interior. Also, you will find one of the puffier bagels in NYC here!

Their bagels are big, rich in flavors, have a distinctive texture, and a variety of toppings, which contribute to an unforgettable experience that keeps patrons returning. It’s the dedication to quality and the timeless appeal of Ess-a-Bagel’s offerings that have solidified its place as a beloved institution in the city’s culinary landscape. The city’s best bagel shop is 10 blocks south of Time Square.

4. Brooklyn Bagel & Coffee Company: A taste of a variety of cream cheese options

Brooklyn Bagel & Coffee Company has become a cherished destination in New York City, celebrated for its exceptional bagels that boast a perfect blend of flavor and texture. Notably, their cream cheese collection complements the bagels beautifully, offering a diverse range of flavors that elevate the entire experience.

It is voted by The Daily Meal for “Crazy Cream Cheeses,” which includes plain, vegetable, bacon scallion jalapeno asiago, strawberry, blueberry, cinnamon walnut raisin, cannoli, garlic, and herb, and pimento olive. They also have other spreads like lox spread, lox scallion spread and their fan-favorite weekly rotating flavors. It has solidified its reputation as a go-to spot for those who love bagel with scallion cream cheese, blueberry bagel or cinnamon raisin bagel. They also serve salads and smoked fish!

5. Midtown Bagel Oasis: A bustling bagel hub

Bagel Oasis has become a beloved haven for bagel enthusiasts in New York, celebrated for its outstanding taste and quality. The signature allure of their bagels lies in the perfect balance of a crispy exterior and a soft, doughy interior, creating a texture that captivates the palate. What sets Bagel Oasis apart is their exquisite cream cheese collection, featuring flavors like scallion, strawberry, and blueberry. This unique assortment adds a flavorful twist to the classic bagel experience, making it a destination cherished by those who appreciate the artistry of a well-crafted and innovative bagel. They serve bagel with lox spread cream cheese, bacon scallion cream cheese and more.

6. H&H Bagels: A go-to bagel pub in upper west side


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H&H Bagels has been making bagels in Manhattan since 1972, has become a cornerstone of the city’s bagel legacy.  It’s one of the city’s most popular store due to its commitment to time-honored craftsmanship, H&H Bagels has perfected the art of bagel-making, delivering an authentic and delicious experience. Among their notable offerings are the beloved cinnamon raisin bagel, boasting a sweet and aromatic profile, and the rich and flavorful pumpernickel bagel. With decades of dedication to quality, H&H Bagels stands as a cherished institution, satisfying the cravings of bagel enthusiasts throughout Manhattan.

7. Utopia Bagels: Get a taste of everything bagel in Queens


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Utopia Bagels distinguishes itself in the crowded landscape of bagel shops with its exceptional commitment to tradition and taste. What sets them apart is the perfect fusion of quality ingredients and expert craftsmanship, resulting in bagels that are both flavorful and satisfyingly textured.

A standout among their offerings is the everything bagel, crowned with a flavorful blend of seeds and spices, capturing the essence of a classic New York bagel. Utopia Bagels’ dedication to delivering an authentic and superior bagel experience has made them a sought-after destination for those who appreciate the epitome of bagel perfection.

8. Black Seed Bagels: Redefining the best bagels in New York City


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Black Seed Bagels has carved a name in the market with a distinctive approach that combines the best of Montreal and New York styles. What sets them apart is their unique wood-fired baking process, resulting in a bagel that boasts a crisp exterior and soft, chewy interior. For those looking for Montreal-style bagels, this store is a must visit.

Among their bestsellers is the classic “Everything” bagel, a harmonious blend of seeds and spices that has become synonymous with their brand. Black Seed Bagels’ commitment to quality, innovative baking techniques, and memorable flavor combinations make them a standout choice for those seeking a modern twist on the traditional plain bagel.

9. Bagel Hole: A haven for bagel connoisseurs


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Bagel Hole distinguishes itself with a reputation for producing some of the finest hand-rolled, kettle-boiled bagels in Brooklyn. What sets them apart is their dedication to simplicity and authenticity, crafting traditional New York-style bagels that prioritize texture and flavor.

A standout favorite among their offerings is the classic plain bagel, celebrated for its perfect balance of crispness on the outside and a delightfully dense, chewy interior. Bagel Hole’s commitment to time-honored methods and a focus on the essence of a quality bagel experience make them a beloved choice for bagel aficionados seeking a genuine taste of Brooklyn.

10. Pop-Up Bagels: Exploring innovative bagel concepts

Pop-Up Bagels is the place if you want a shop with a unique concept that fuses the convenience of a pop-up model with the timeless allure of authentic bagel craftsmanship. The store is committed to innovation, often introducing unconventional and exciting flavor combinations that captivate customers.

A customer favorite and bestseller at Pop-Up Bagels is the “Sriracha Honey Bacon” bagel, showcasing their willingness to push flavor boundaries while maintaining the core essence of a quality bagel. The blend of creativity and tradition makes Popup bagels a dynamic and sought-after destination for those seeking a fresh and distinctive bagel experience.


Bagels are a staple in NYC, you will find a lot of bagel stores all over the city. Aside from our top picks above, there are a lot of bagel cafes and restaurants worth visiting like Russ & Daughters, Bo’s Bagels, Murray’s Bagels, Leo’s Bagels, Park Slope Bagel Pub, Terrace Bagels and Cafe, Tal Bagels, Kossar’s Bagels & Bialys and David’s Bagels, Bagel Place, Bagels & Schmear and Shelsky’s.

The New York City bagel scene is a huge part of the community, so you should try them. You can pair these bread rolls with a variety of spreads and schmears and your favorite coffee, especially if you are taking a break from exploring the city that never sleeps.

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