We all get a hankering for a good bagel with a healthy slab of cream cheese every so often. If you’re in New York and on the lookout for the best bagels in NYC, stick around for a minute. We’ve compiled a list of 15 places you won’t want to miss out on anytime you’re in need. Even better, we’ve included a few that ship nationwide, so if you’re salivating from someplace like California, order up!

Best bagels in NYC #1: Ess-a Bagel

Smell the Doughy Paradise! 

  • Must Try: Everything Bagel with Scallion
  • Neighborhood: Midtown East Side

If your list of best bagels in NYC includes a New York classic, look no further than Ess-a Bagel. Bagels here may not have a hole in the middle, but the oversized balls of dough smell like paradise. Best of all, it’s a homely spot for an everything bagel smeared with scallion. Just remember not to ask them to toast a fresh bagel, and keep in mind this wouldn’t be the best place for those on the hunt for a bacon, egg and cheese sandwich.

In case you need help convincing yourself you can find some of the best bagels in NYC here, they now deliver all over NYC, including some spots in Connecticut and New Jersey. This Austrian-run family business has been around since 1976, and had acquired its first #1 bagel in the Tri-State area within two years. So, yeah, it’s that good.

Best Bagels in NYC

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Best bagel in NYC: Russ & Daughter

Photo Courtesy New York Times 

Best Bagels in NYC #2: Russ and Daughters

Bagels with a dash of Jewish Heritage! 

  • Must Try: Nova, Cream Cheese, 4 Bagels of Your Choice
  • Neighborhood: Lower East Side (The Shop)

Those looking for the best bagels in NYC would benefit from checking out Russ and Daughters. This historical Lower East Side store knows how to deliver when it comes to the appetite. Their focus remains just as much on preserving NYC Jewish heritage as it does on maintaining the perfect lox bagel sandwich. We recommend walking in, getting yourself a ticket, and coming back in about 20 minutes. It’s also fun if you make the sandwiches yourself at home! Order a pound of nova, a bissel of cream cheese, and four bagels of your choice!

One thing that’s great about R&D, especially during COVID times, is that they ship nationwide. That way, if you’re craving the best bagels in NYC from anywhere in the country, they’ve got you covered. They even cover the shipping on package deals.

Best Bagels in NYC #3: Frankel’s

Dip Your Bagels in Some Matzo Ball Soup! 

  • Must Try: Matzo Ball Soup
  • Neighborhood: Greenpoint

A list with the best bagels in NYC wouldn’t be complete without including Greenpoint’s bagel mecca: Frankel’s. Frankel’s takes on a more modern approach to their bagel-making craft. Those of you interested in bagel sandwiches should look no further. Plus, while you’re waiting in line, you might even see a famous face or two. Pro tip: Never sleep on their matzo ball soup and half sour pickles. Ever.

Frankel’s has been pumping out some of the best bagels in NYC since 2016. It’s owned and operated by brothers Zach and Alex, whose native New York background shows in the product. Their focus on deli sandwiches and small batch cooking push this closer to a restaurant than a bagel shop, but you won’t find us complaining about that.

Best bagel in NYC: Frankel's

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Best Bagels in NYC: Black Seed

Photo Courtesy Google My Business 

Best Bagels in NYC #4: Black Seed

Get Down on a Montreal-Style Bagel! 

  • Must Try: A Montreal-style Bagel
  • Neighborhood: Nolita (First One)

You might not have Montreal-style bagels at the top of your options for best bagels in NYC. They might not be everyone’s style, but they’re amazing. These bagels come with their own set of rules: namely smaller, thinner, sweeter, denser, and with a much larger hole. And, oh yeah — they’re always baked in a wood-fired oven. Here at Black Seed, we recommend veering away from the sandwiches and trying out the rip and dip method with a bissel of cream cheese.

Besides, you can’t look for the best bagels in NYC without adding a little culture, so trust us: These Montreal-style artisan bagels are worth it. If catering is your thing, they’ve got your covered there, too. If you’re reading this from anywhere in the country and feeling a little jealous, don’t worry! Like Russ and Daughters, they ship nationwide!

Best Bagels in NYC #5: Shelsky’s

Bite Into the Best Whitefish Spread! 

  • Must Try: The Whitefish Spread
  • Neighborhood: Downtown Brooklyn

Fine, we’ll say it: Downtown Brooklyn desperately needed Shelsky’s. We’re not mad about it, either, because this is a classic appetizing store that definitely features some of the best bagels in NYC. Like our recommendation at Russ and Daughters, we say take some of that incredible whitefish spread home and build your own lox sandwich.

Owner Peter Shelsky found his inspiration growing up on two other spots found on our best bagels in NYC list: Kossar’s and Zabar’s. He’s certainly turned his inspiration into a dream come true. Together with Lewis Spada, of Cobble Hill’s Fish Tales notoriety, these two have pumped out an expansive menu since 2011. This is another prime location to take advantage of nationwide shipping and catering options.

Best bagel in NYC : Shelsky's

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Best Bagels in NYC #6: La Bagel Delight

The best kept secret in Brooklyn! 

  • Must Try: Mr. Bagel, Chicken Salad, Egg Salad 
  • Neighborhood: Brooklyn

Psst. We heard you were on the lookout for the best bagels in NYC. We got you, and we’re gonna let you in on a little “if you know, you know” secret from the locals: La Bagel Delight. Those lucky enough to live within walking distance to any of the locations rely on these oversized fluffy bagels. Thankfully, they’re still open for takeout during COVID.

Their signature sandwich, the “Mr. Bagel,” is actually one of the best bagels in NYC. Although technically a sandwich, we crave this classic honey-roasted ham, bacon, egg, and melted cheese deliciousness smothered between a bagel sent from above in the middle of the night sometimes. It’s not like we’re jealous of the people who live within walking distance and can grab one at 5:30 AM, but… we kind of are.

Best Bagels in NYC #7: Tompkins Square Bagels

Taste the seasons! 

  • Must Try: One of Their Seasonal Specialties
  • Neighborhood: East Village

It’s always a good idea to have some cash on hand when you’re visiting shops with the best bagels in NYC. That would certainly come in handy if you stopped in at Tompkins Square Bagels, that accepts nothing else. “Cash only” doesn’t prevent the lines, especially on rough mornings following fun nights. Their doughy approach always proves worth the wait, and we’re also prone to getting a sandwich every so often, too.

If we’re looking for some sugar in our search for the best bagels in NYC, we know we’re going to grab ourselves one of the blueberry chocolate chip bagels while we’re here. Better yet, maybe we’ll take advantage of one of their seasonal offerings. French toast bagel? You got it, we’ll take it. But, if we’re looking for something savory, we’re totally here for the mac and cheese on a bagel thing, too.

best pizza in nyc

Photo Courtesy of Yelp  

Best Desserts in San Francisco - Baked Bear

Photo Courtesy of Murray’s

Best Bagels in NYC #8: Murray’s Bagels

Enjoy the classics! 

  • Must Try: Pastrami Omelette on a Bagel
  • Neighborhood: West Village

Okay, so, let’s talk about Murray’s Bagels for a second. This little bagel institution here has managed to produce some of the best bagels in NYC that somehow oscillate between firm and old school and this new school “fluffy and hole-less” trend. Trust us, they still stick to the classics here, so you’d be wise to come early before they run out of your favorite style.

We hear a pinch of salt adds mounds of flavor to your coffee, so grab yourself a cup of Joe and a salted bagel here and test the theory for yourself. This bagel joint has provided some of the best bagels in NYC since 1996. You can also take advantage of some of their catering offerings and mow down on one of their specialty platters.

Best Bagels in NYC #9: Sadelle’s

The Fanciest bagels around! 

  • Must Try: A bagel with an Aperol Spritz
  • Neighborhood: SoHo

We get that your budget probably isn’t huge when you’re looking for the best bagels in NYC. However, some people like some high-end dining experiences, and we’re here for that, too. If you are on the lookout for a bagel and lox sandwich that’s actually luxurious, Sadelle’s is your spot. Just remember to dress for the occasion.

Besides, who doesn’t want to enjoy some of the best bagels in NYC alongside a nice Bellini or Aperol Spritz? Their little cocktail bar here definitely makes it a good brunch spot. They even landed themselves a spot on Cosmopolitan’s Best Brunch Spots in NYC list back in 2017. If it’s the Sunday after payday, we’re always down to give it a go.

Best Desserts in San Francisco - Craftsman and Wolves

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best dim sum in nyc

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Best Bagels in NYC #10: Zabar’s

Take a Stroll Down Memory Lane! 

  • Must Try: A classic bagel with their own specialty-roasted coffee
  • Neighborhood: Upper West Side

Every Jewish grandma in the five boroughs knows Zabar’s pumps out some of the best bagels in NYC. This New York City landmark offers bagel catering platters that push the boundaries from your everyday fruits and finger foods. They’ve got you covered for everything from bar/bat mitzvahs to trying to impress the in-laws for the high holidays. This is more of an experience than a bagel joint.

In addition to producing some of the best bagels in NYC, Zabar’s also roasts their own coffee. Anyone who knows us knows we’re never mad at some specialty roasted coffee, so we’re definitely here for that. As mentioned with the influence on Shelsky’s, this has been a staple since 1934, and we wouldn’t change a thing. In fact, we’ll take a top off on our coffee, please.

Best Bagel in NYC #11: Absolute Bagels

Freshest and Warmest Bagels Around Town! 

  • Must Try: The bagels straight out of the oven
  • Neighborhood: Upper West Side

A nice stroll above 96th street on the west side would land you on Absolute Bagels. If your idea of the perfect bagel consists of nothing but good ol’ cream cheese, the cream cheese selection found here will make you feel like you slipped into a dream. We might even dare to say, should you get these at their hottest and freshest… they may just be the best bagels in NYC.

We know it’s hard to say that with all the options for the best bagels in NYC. A scroll through their Facebook page, however, shows we’re not alone in whisper-making that claim. With round-the-block lines and eager crowds, jealous onlookers always live vicariously through the pictures others post of their experiences.

Best Desserts in San Francisco - Craftsman and Wolves

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best dim sum in nyc

Photo Courtesy of Google My Business 

Best Bagel in NYC #12: Flatbush Bagels

The New Kid on The Block! 

  • Must Try: New school lox sandwich
  • Neighborhood: Prospect Lefferts Gardens

It may be a little early to call Flatbush Bagels out among the best bagels in NYC since they’re still a newcomer in the grand scheme of the bagel world. That being said, they’re a welcome staple to the PLG area. The soft and inviting new school bagels make way for a fresh lox sandwich in league with its competition. Plus, at a way better price point.

In fact, its affordability is part of what lands it on our list of best bagels in NYC. Everyone knows New York can be a bit pricey sometimes, and in times like these when money can be hard, it’s nice to have a spot that doesn’t completely burn a hole in the wallet but still provides some quality product.

Best Bagel in NYC #13: Kossar’s

Give a Bagel’s Cousin a Try! 

  • Must Try: Bialys
  • Neighborhood: Lower East Side

We know that you’re looking for the best bagels in NYC, but if you’re willing to branch out and try their incredible cousin, bialys, hear us out for a minute. First of all, come to Kossar’s. Second of all, we get that you probably have no idea what bialys are. You won’t find a better spot to try them out in the Lower East Side. They’re comparably healthier with a completely different texture, and they’re awesome. 

Another 80-year stable like Zabar’s, Kossar’s has maintained a solid work ethic throughout their run and has also now survived two depressions. Besides their bialy selection, their actual bagels are also some of the best bagels in NYC, as well. With their nationwide shipping option, feel free to try them out for yourself anywhere you are.

Best Desserts in San Francisco - Craftsman and Wolves

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best dim sum in nyc

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Best Bagels in NYC #14: H&H Bagels 

A Legendary Recipe! 

  • Must Try: Build Your Own Sandwich
  • Neighborhood: Upper East Side (First One)

If the word “legendary” sends a shiver down your spine when you’re considering the best bagels in NYC, let’s talk about H&H Bagels. This Upper East Side classic brings local generational gaps together as they rub up against each other for their daily bagel fix. It’s not hard to see why, either. You really can’t go wrong with a single thing.

Those of your racking up nationwide shipping options for best bagels in NYC can also add this one to your list. They’ve used the exact same artisanal water bagel method since 1972, and we’d never ask them to modify it. Those familiar with shows like Sex and the City and How I Met Your Mother that take place in NYC may also note that these bagels have been featured in those and many other films.

Best Bagels in NYC #15: Leo’s

The Perfect Grab and Go Bagel! 

  • Must Try: Anything Gluten Free
  • Neighborhood: Financial District

Last up on our list of best bagels in NYC lands us at none other than Leo’s. We know the Financial District isn’t exactly known for their list of food options, and as such, there’s usually always quite the line here. A lot of gluten free bagels come out of here, and while it’s not the only spot on the list that offers such, it may be the best for that.

This shop started out in 2007, and at the time, it was the only shop that served the best bagels in NYC on the weekends for FIDI locals. The owner, Adam Pomerantz, left his job as a Merrill Lynch VP and trained with an Egyptian bagel maker in New Jersey to hone in on his craft. His passion for bagel making certainly shows, and if we ever see an opening with a short line, we’re totally taking it.

Best Desserts in San Francisco - Craftsman and Wolves

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Where do you go when you’re on the hunt for the best bagels in NYC? Are there any spots we missed? Any that caught your interest? Let us know down in the comments!

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