Where to Find the Best Bagels in North America

Photography courtesy of Aaron Leitz.

Split whole, smeared with cream cheese or stuffed with smoked salmon, the bagel is the ringed baked good to rule them all. From sea to shining sea—and a brief detour up north to Canada—these are the bakeries serving up the best bagels in North America. 

Photography courtesy of Sadelle’s.

Sadelle’sNew York, New York

Sadelle’s—and more important, their bagel spread—is a SoHo brunch mecca. Their specialty is an everything bagel that boasts fennel seeds and caraway seeds as the topping, packing a particularly aromatic punch.

Photography courtesy of David DeStefano.

St-Viateur BagelMontreal, Quebec, Canada

If you’re going for a true Montreal-style bagel, you might as well start with the longest-operating bagel shop in Montreal, St-Viateur Bagel. In business since 1957, the bagels are served 24-7, with bakers using wooden planks to ferry bagels directly from oven to display case. In case you need a refresher, Montreal-style bagels are petite bagels boiled in a honey-sweetened water rather than barley malt and water, then baked in a wood-fired oven. They’re sweeter and denser than New York-style bagels, but no less delicious.

Photography courtesy of Philly Style Bagels.

Philly Style BagelsPhiladelphia, Pennsylvania

What makes these bagels “Philly style”? They’re fermented in small batches, boiled in a mix of water and beer from Yards Brewing Company (a local brewery that’s been operating in Philadelphia since 1994), and baked on wood planks in a high-powered oven, the same way many restaurants bake their pizzas.

Photography courtesy of David DeStefano.

Eltana Wood-Fired Bagel CafeSeattle, Washington

Hand-rolled and baked in a wood-fired oven, Eltana’s bagels are modeled on the classic Montreal-style bagels but with a faintly sourdough-like flavor on the interior and a smoky, slightly charred exterior.

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  1. Oh you missed the very best bakery for bagels: Scratch Bakery in South Portland, ME. Made the old fashioned way with crispy crusty and soft centers. Go get some – early. the lines are long to snag these gems!

  2. Sadelle’s are good bagels, but they don’t compare with Absolute’s. Just ask any New Yorker. And be prepared to stand in a long line!


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