When it comes to bagels, I don’t think there’s a better place in the world than NYC. It often gets a bit hectic inside the bagel stores, so come prepared and know what you’re after, because a bagel isn’t just a bagel. Do you want a plain bagel? An onion bagel? Or maybe an everything bagel?
Some places would offer you to toast it, but most New Yorkers would tell you that you never toast a fresh bagel. There’s usually a bunch of different spreads to choose among, as well as different kinds of meat and fish. If in doubt, a plain bagel with Nova (salmon from Nova Scotia) is always right.
Russ & Daughters
My all-time bagel favorite in NYC. I love the amazing selection of smoked salmon and, well, everything else on the menu. It doesn’t matter whether I stop by the deli on Houston or the café on Orchard Street, there’s always a line, but I promise you, it will be all worth the wait.
Russ & Daughters (the deli), 179 E Houston Street, Lower East Side, New York
Murray’s Bagels Chelsea
I stumbled upon Murray’s Bagels by coincidence more than 10 years ago when I was walking around in Chelsea, and I’ve been back many times since then, because their bagels are amazing. It gets busy in the morning and at lunch time but if you avoid peak hours, you might be able to walk right in and even get a seat and one of the tables near the window.
Murray’s Bagels Chelsea, 242 8th Avenue, Chelsea, New York
Kossar’s might be better known for their bialys than their bagels, but that doesn’t mean that their bagels are bad. Not at all. The Classic Sandwich comes with nova, tomato and everything cream cheese and trust me, this is what you want, what you really, really want.
Kossar’s, 367 Grand Street, Lower East Side, New York
When I want a lox & cream cheese bagel the two first places that pop up are Barney Greengrass and Russ & Daughters. The selection of salmon might be slightly better at Russ & Daughters, while Barney Greengrass is mostly known for sturgeon (Barney’s also goes under the nickname The Sturgeon King). Compared to Russ & Daughters, Barney Greengrass is usually more quiet, probably because less tourists make their way up to the Upper West Side Location.
Barney Greengrass, 541 Amsterdam Avenue, Upper West Side, New York
The bagels at Ess-a-Bagel are a little denser than most other bagels I’ve tried in NYC, but I like them a lot. The selection of different spreads (both savory and sweet) are deliciously overwhelming and makes you want to come back and try the rest. When I was at Ess-a-Bagel’s old location a couple of years back, I was lucky to meet their “mascot” which you can read more about in my blog post on Ess-a-Bagel
Ess-a-Bagel, 831 3rd Ave, Midtown East, New York (there’s also a location on 1st Ave)
The Bagel Store
The rainbow-colored bagels might seem like an odd addition to this list, but they’re fun, aren’t they? They taste just like ordinary bagels, and most people have them with Funfetti cream cheese. I also wanted to try that, but it was too sweet to me, so if I go for a rainbow bagel again, I think I’ll have it with ordinary cream cheese.
The Bagel Store, 349 Bedford Ave, Brooklyn, New York (the main store is on Metropolitan Ave)