Best of Bagels

By Allison Russo

In the bagel capital of the world, you have to go out of your way to find a bad bagel in New York City. That being said, some stand out more than others and these are the ones that should be sought out. Here are some of the most delicious and unique bagels I have found within the five boroughs.

1. Bagelsmith – Williamsburg
This Brooklyn spot earned a place on the list not only because of its insane bagels, but because it’s open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. So whether you’re on your way home from a warehouse party at 2 a.m. or en route to Brooklyn Flea on a Sunday morning, you can stop in at Bagelsmith for a snack.
What to order: Everything bagel with scallion cream cheese.
How to get there: Take the 4 train to Union Square, then switch to the L and get off at Bedford.

2. The Bagel Store – Williamsburg
This straight-forwardly named bakery has recently become Instagram famous for its magical rainbow bagels. It also is the original creators of the “cragel,” a croissant-bagel hybrid. The Bagel Store has crazy homemade cream cheese flavors including Funfetti, Nutella and bacon and cheddar, along with all of the regular New York standards.
What to order: Rainbow bagel with Funfetti cream cheese or a cinnamon cragel with cannoli cream cheese.
How to get there: Take the 4 train to Union Square and then the L to Bedford.

3. Absolute Bagels – Upper West Side
Because this is one of the most popular bagel spots in town, don’t be surprised if there’s a line around the block when you get here. Meet up with your friends from Columbia or take a stroll down to the Museum of Natural History after stopping in for a brunch-time bagel. Make sure you have cash for this no-frills dive, and stick to a basic variation of bagel and cream cheese—its pastries and coffee are subpar.
What to order: Salt bagel with jalapeno cream cheese or lox spread.
How to get there: Take the B train to 110th Street and walk over to Broadway.

4. Ess-a-Bagel – Gramercy and Midtown East
Limited seating inside this NYC staple means their bagels are best enjoyed in Central Park on a sunny day. Ess-a-Bagel is a little pricier than the other bakeries on the list, but I’ve yet to meet anyone who regretted spending money here. They have some pretty unique cream cheese flavors like Oreo and Pumpkin, and are famous for the Nova lox/scallion cream cheese combo that costs approximately $10.
What to order: 9-grain bagel with apple cinnamon cream cheese.
How to get there: Take the 4 train to 59th Street (Midtown location)

5. Murray’s Bagels – Greenwich Village
Murray’s has gotten a lot of flack in the past (from me, at least) about their bagel-toasting policy. I like my bagels to be borderline burnt, regardless of how fresh they are. Until last summer, they refused to toast bagels for customers, but they are now willing to accommodate. This is a great breakfast spot because they have delicious coffee and freshly-squeezed juices in addition to their perfectly chewy bagels. Fun fact: Murray’s was opened by a former Vice President of Merrill Lynch, proving that you don’t need a finance degree to become an NYC legend.
What to order: Cinnamon raisin bagel with maple raisin walnut cream cheese.
How to get there: Take the D train to West 4th Street.