Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
Food

The Best Bagels In New York

Here are the nominees for Forward Food Choice Award for best bagels in New York City. Learn more about the awards and vote for your favorites here.

Absolute Bagels

People kvetch about the lines. They kvetch about sullen counter help. They kvetch about the blah space. But all kvetching stops once bagel meets mouth. Exceptionally moist, and pleasingly plump, Absolute’s bagels emerge warm from the oven throughout the day, and — miraculously — seem to stay soft longer than the competition’s. This Upper West Side bakery also gets points for generous schmears and cheapish prices — a pillowy poppy bagel with silky cream cheese will set you back a buck seventy-five. Fun fact: Absolute Bagels is Thai-owned, according to reliable sources.

2788 Broadway, Manhattan, 212-932-2052
absolutebagels.com

Black Seed Bagels

You don’t have to fight over whether Montreal or New York has better bagels. At his ultra-cool artisan bagelry, Noah Bernamoff — he of Mile End — has fused the best DNA of both to create a hybrid that might beat both. Methods here are proudly old-school — bagels are hand-rolled and baked in a wood-fired oven — but the atmosphere at Black Seed’s three locations is Brooklyn hip. And a house beet lox sandwich on a poppy bagel is heaven.

176 First Avenue, New York (and two other locations) 646-484-5718
blackseedbagels.com

Ess-a-Bagel

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s an Ess-a-Bagel bagel! It’s just a slight exaggeration. Since 1976, this East Side bakery has cranked out the city’s biggest, brawniest bagels for out-the-door lines of appreciative New Yorkers. Boiled in tap water and baked, they’re irresistibly crunchy outside; soft inside — like some of its famously cranky customers, as the store likes to joke. House-made whitefish salad and seven luscious cream cheeses make worthy companions for these carb bombs.

324 1st Avenue, New York 212-260-2252
essabagel.com

Kossar’s Bagels & Bialys

After 80 years, Kossar’s underwent a reboot https://forward.com/food/332960/behold-kossars-bialys-20/ in 2016, brightening its lovably dingy space and — gulp — adding bialy variations like sun-dried tomato and apple cinnamon. Kossar’s also offered bagels with schmears — something never possible before the rehab. Thankfully, the baking’s as flawless as ever, with irresistibly chewy but feather-light bialys and chewy, compact bagels. Genius sandwiches, too, like the “Cool Katz” — a deli tribute with pastrami salmon, horseradish-pickle cream cheese, and caraway seeds.

367 Grand Street, New York 212-473-4810
kossars.com

Zucker’s Bagels & Smoked Fish

Wall Street refugee Matt Pomerantz runs New York’s fanciest bagelry — restaurant designer Glen Cohen created the retro-chic space — but hisproduct keeps it real. Hand-rolled and kettle-boiled, bagels here emerge just crispy enough, with a satisfying chew. Zucker’s also operates a full-blown appetizing store, with smoked and cured fish, soups and spreads by the pound, from hummus to (gasp!) maple-walnut cream cheese. Bonus: Realer-than-real black-and white cookies from Brooklyn’s Israel Beigel are available here.

146 Chambers Street, New York (and two other locations) 212-608-5844
zuckersbagels.com

Michael Kaminer is a contributing editor at the Forward.

Engage

  • SHARE YOUR FEEDBACK

  • UPCOMING EVENT

    SKY & SCULPTURE

    Hybrid: Online and at the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan

    Oct 2, 2022

    6:30 pm ET · 

    A Sukkah, IMKHA, created by artist Tobi Kahn, for the Marlene Meyerson JCC of Manhattan is an installation consisting of 13 interrelated sculpted painted wooden panels, constituting a single work of art. Join for a panel discussion with Rabbi Joanna Samuels, Chief Executive Director of the Marlene Meyerson JCC of Manhattan, Talya Zax, Innovation Editor of the Forward, and Tobi Kahn, Artist. Moderated by Mattie Kahn.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.