Best Bagels in NYC: 11 Places Worth the Wait

There is no better symbol of a New York City breakfast than a bagel with coffee. Sure, pancakes and egg sandwiches and fun and tasty, but there is something about a thick and dense bun with a hole in the middle that attracts people from all backgrounds and classes. There are all diferente types of bagels in NYC, all with a mixture of classics and house specials that make some stand out.

From savory garlic to Sweet chocolate, New York City produces some of the best bagels in the world.
From savory to sweet, New York City produces some of the best bagels in the world. Photo credit:Vicky Ng

A bagel is a synonym for tasty practicality, and in a city that’s always in a hurry, it only makes sense that it would reach this level of fame. So, here we present the best bagels in NYC. From the everything bagel with ham, cheese, and eggs to a plain bun with butter, find your new favourite bagel venue in the Big Apple.

Tompkins Square Bagels, East Village

Tompkins is the perfect example that we shouldn’t judge a bagel by its cover. Kettle-boiled bagels may not always look perfect, but a bite of the airy, soft dough will make you change your mind.

Fillings can satisfy the cream cheese lovers or those looking for a breakfast sandwich with the classic cheese, bacon, and eggy interior. There are so many options you will have a hard time picking.

Absolute Bagels, Upper West Side

Absolute Bagels (2788 Broadway) is absolutely delicious (pun intended). Their star product is the everything bagel with scallion cream cheese, where sweet, salty, and sour flavours merge inside your mouth. The dough is sweet and malty, and then you encounter that garlicky flavour of an everything bagel, along with mouth-filling, tangy cream cheese.

They also have plenty of other bagels and fillings to pick from. Make sure to try the Thai Iced Tea bagel, which is also pretty popular!

Absolute's famous everything bagel with scallion cream cheese is one of the best bagels in NYC.
Absolute’s famous everything bagel with scallion cream cheese is one of the best bagels in NYC. Photo credit: apasciuto

Bagel Oasis, Queens

Bagel Oasis is a venue in Queens serving bagels that feel more like a thick slice of toast than an actual chewy bagel. This happens because they bake their buns at scorching temperatures, crisping most of the dough and making it light and crunchy.

The venue has been around for over six decades, and it never fails to surprise and delight customers with flavours such as blueberry, everything, and egg-onion.

Insider’s Tip: Looking for more doughy deliciousness? Check out our list of the best croissants in NYC.

Russ & Daughters, Lower East Side

Everyone who knows Russ & Daughters also knows that you need to order something with smoked fish to get the whole experience the place offers. And what’s a better match than a soft, chewy lox bagel?

The staff here slices lox and nova, making it translucent and melt in your mouth. The smoked salmon retains its smokiness and blends with the cream cheese and scallions – deliciousness on a small, chewy bagel.

Russ & Daughters is often considered to make the best bagels in the Big Apple.
Russ & Daughters is often considered to make the best bagels in the Big Apple. Photo credit: Jennifer Burk

Murray’s Bagels, Chelsea

So you’re not sure if you want an omelette or a bagel? Maybe try the mix of both at Murray’s Bagels, where it has become the house speciality.

This is a classic venue for every Chelsea local. Runny eggs with cream cheese between chewy sheets of a well-seasoned bagel run the show. They also have good drinks and pastries, so staying for dessert is also a great idea.

Ess-A-Bagel, Multiple Locations

Ess-A-Bagel should be considered a New York landmark. These wheel-sized bagels (mind the hyperbole) are filled to perfection with cream cheese, and worth every minute in line. Build your own creation, or trust the house experts to prepare one of the best bagels in NYC.

Lox bagel in NYC with tomatoes

Lox bagel with cream cheese at Ess-A-Bagel. Photo credit: Angela N.

Sweet and savoury options are always available, from japlapeño to oreo flavouring and fillings. Ess-A-Bagel are also famous for their vegan cream cheese; made from tofu, it blends perfectly with the toasty outside and chewy inside of the bun.

Insider’s Tip: Looking for more vegan options? Check out our picks for the best vegan restaurants in NYC!

Bagel Pub, Park Slope

You know you’ve reached Bagel Pub when you start to feel its chaotic energy around you. There are servers slicing bagels and others spreading za’atar cream cheese on both halves. Others are talking on the phone and taking the names of all the people who stand in line to order.

Once you reach the counter, find the famous hand-rolled bagels in all kettle-cooked varieties like garlic, everything, or cinnamon raisin. You can also order their cream cheese whipped with flavors like blueberry, guacamole, or bacon and cheddar.

Tal Bagels, Upper West Side

Tal Bagels (977 1st Ave) is your prescription for a quick hangover or carb cravings. The veggie scramble is a runny mix of eggs and lots of different vegetables with jalapeño cream cheese. Try it on an everything bagel, which is airy, perfectly seasoned, and has the ideal chewy to crispy ratio. Super light and flavorful, this is truly one of the best bagels in NYC.

The drool-worthy counter at Tal Bagels in NYC
The drool-worthy counter at Tal Bagels. Photo credit: Eden, Janine and Jim

H&H Bagels, Upper East Side

Serving classic New York bagels that have been featured in famous TV shows like Sex and The City and Seinfeld, H&H is a must in this list of the best bagels in NYC. They’ve been around since 1972, collecting 50 years of affection from clients and exceptional customer service.

With the typical air gaps of every traditional bagel, the delicacies here have well-seasoned exteriors and a chewy interior. Lots of cream cheese are also part of the package.

Shelsky’s of Brooklyn, Coble Hill

Shelsky’s brings together a fish expert and a bagel-loving chef who worked at some of the best kitchens in New York. The result is Shelsky’s, where you can get airy and chewy bagels with nova and scallion cream cheese, pastrami salmon, and many other memorable toppings.

Baskets of different types of bagels
Shelsky’s is the result of two people with lots of expertise who united to create something beautiful. Photo credit: Tessa Wilson

Baz Bagel and Restaurant, Soho

At Baz Bagel, you can order your bagel at the table, with a printed menu and everything, without having to stand by the conter. Eggs, salads, and other options are available if you want to skip the bagel.

The bagels here are far from classic, worked to perfection, and that’s why they are so special. Pumpernickel, a German rye bread with a robust yeasty flavour, runs the menu. Regardless of preference, you should stop by to taste the everything bagel, which is one of the best in the city.