New York City has a number of iconic foods – New York Pizza, hot dogs, pastrami sandwiches – but among the most famous is the bagel. A round bread with a hole in the middle, the humble bagel came from eastern European immigrants and is now synonymous with New York’s Jewish community. The ideal bagel is vastly different from what you are likely to find in grocery stores: the dough should be made with only the necessary ingredients and have a distinctly chewy texture. The best way to experience the perfect bagel is to head up to the Big Apple to try it out yourself. Fortunately, I’ve made it easy for you with this roundup of some of the best places to grab a bagel in New York City.
Ess-a-Bagel, Midtown East
Ess-a-Bagel is known for bagels with an interior best described as “pillowy,” and the long lines (which some would say are notoriously long) outside this joint are a testament to its popularity. In business since 1976, there is no shortage of options here, whether it be for cream cheese (18 varieties!) or bagel sandwiches.
Black Seed, Nolita
I feel a little guilty for including Black Seed’s Montreal-style bagels on this list, but once you take a bite out of these, all bad feelings will disappear. Montreal bagels are a little smaller, flatter, and denser than the New York version. Black Seed rolls theirs out by hand before poaching them. What’s more, their house-made spreads are to die for, and their collaborations with some of NYC’s best chefs keep things fresh with inventive culinary creations.
Russ & Daughters, Lower East Side
Russ & Daughters has been a New York staple since they opened in 1914. From their quaint shop in Lower East Side, they serve a variety of specialty foods including bagels, herring, and lox. Their bagels are stellar, as are the bagel sandwiches.