There are two foods in which New Yorkers take extra pride: pizza and bagels. You’ll find numerous delis, cafes, and even restaurants serving bagels across the city, but which should you put at the top of your list? Here at New York Habitat, we have a few suggestions. When you’re searching for the perfect breakfast treat, this collection of our ten favorite bagel spots should give you plenty of food for thought.
1. Absolute Bagels
New Yorkers love Absolute Bagels for their authentic baked goods and delicious spreads. As an added bonus, its location on the northern end of Broadway keeps it hidden from tourist traffic. That doesn’t mean it’s unpopular, however. Between flocks of local Columbia University students and Manhattanites looking for quality food, Absolute Bagels never lacks crowds. Be mindful of overcapacity as you visit the shop; the small interior holds only a handful of tables, and lines can wrap around the sidewalk. Unique spreads–including the highly recommended lox–are reason enough to go, as are the bagels themselves (we suggest ordering whichever variety is fresh out of the oven).
Prices start around $1 for a plain bagel and increase with added fillings and cream cheese. The cash-only establishment is located at 2788 Broadway in the Manhattan Valley neighborhood (the northern section of the Upper West Side, to some) and operates from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Take the 1 subway train to Cathedral Parkway Station or the A, B, or C to the Cathedral Parkway at 110th Street station. Absolute Bagels is also accessible via public bus. While you’re there, tour the Upper Manhattan neighborhoods of Morningside Heights, Hamilton Heights, and Washington Heights using our handy guide!
2. The Bagel Hole
Brooklyn, New York’s trendiest borough, is all about embracing its vintage history, including old-style bakeries. Stop by The Bagel Hole for the real deal. The shop opened its doors in 1985 under the teachings of a baker who learned his craft in 1940s Germany. In the nearly 30 years since its debut, The Bagel Hole has become a Park Slope (learn how to live like a local here) institution beloved for its hand-rolled bagels that are made on the premises. With poppy, sesame, and cinnamon raisin bagels on the menu, you’ll have a tough decision ahead of you, but the notable whitefish salad should make your choice of filling obvious. A bagel with cream cheese is roughly $1.50, and the cost will rise with extras, such as Boar’s Head cold cuts. The establishment is cash-only.
The Bagel Hole is open seven days a week year-round, opening promptly at 7:00 a.m. and closing in the early evening hours. Take the F or G train to 7th Avenue or the D, N, or R to 9th Street for easy access via public transportation. Bus stops nearby will also get you there. The interior is tiny, so be prepared to take your order to go and walk around the lovely Park Slope neighborhood while you enjoy your delicious boiled (not steamed) bagel! If you want to be closer, we have furnished rentals throughout the neighborhood–and others close by–that should do the trick.
3. Terrace Bagels
While in Park Slope, visit Terrace Bagels! Unlike many of its competitors, it offers plenty of seating in the renovated interior, along with a deli counter and other baked goods. Patrons rave about their customized cream cheeses (flavors include olive pimiento, blueberry, and pumpkin walnut) and seasonal surprises (green bagels for St. Patrick’s Day!). Prices average about $4 for a breakfast sandwich and a medium-sized coffee to $6 for a bacon-egg-cheese sandwich on a seeded bagel (cash only).
At 224 Prospect Park West, the eatery is within walking distance of the F and G trains at 15th Street/Prospect Park Station. Terrace Bagels opens its doors at 5:00 a.m. daily and stays open until 10:00 p.m. (and beyond, depending on the day), perfect for a late-night snack! As a tip, be on the lookout for the correct queue! There are two lines to make the system more efficient: one for ordering and one for pickups. Want something else to consider? Try our New York vacation rentals!
Two locations–one in the heart of Midtown East, the other in Gramercy–ensure that there’s double the opportunity for you to sample Ess-A-Bagel’s bagels. An Austrian family tradition since 1976, this establishment serves its treats with crunchy outsides and soft bread inside. Ess-A-Bagel is known for the seafood on its menu, and customers recommend the Nova, a garlic bagel topped with scallion cream cheese and smoked salmon. The shop also carries Kosher bagels.
The original location in Gramercy Park is near the 1st Avenue L train station. You can take the 4 or 6 train to 51st Street Station for the Midtown East location. The former has limited indoor seating, but the latter’s larger interior can accommodate more seats. Ess-A-Bagel is open from 6:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m. on weekdays, with shortened hours til 5:00 p.m. on weekends. Bagels are $1.15 apiece, and sandwiches and pastries vary in price. And yes, they accept credit cards!
5. David’s Bagels
Not far from the previous entry on our list, David’s Bagels lies in Stuyvesant Town and delights its guests with great food and thrifty prices. We hear they’re pretty generous when it comes to cream cheese, so ask for the ‘lite’ chive or vegetable cream cheese at your visit for roughly $3.25 (for comparison, a single bagel is only $1). Stay for the hazelnut coffee and deli menu, too!
There are some booths inside, but like many other bagel spots the interior is a bit cramped, so be prepared to wait for an unoccupied table. David’s Bagels is 0.1 miles from the 1st Avenue L train station. It’s also only a few blocks from Union Square Station, which is served by eight different subway lines.
6. Murray’s Bagels
Long lines outside of Murray’s Bagels are the first stamp of approval you’ll get from locals. The second, of course, is yours. Opened in 1996, the original Greenwich Village location was the dream of owner Adam Pomerantz, whose father instilled in him a love of the culinary arts. Tradition and excellence are the priorities at Murray’s, which uses the best ingredients and traditional baking techniques to make its popular bagels. We advise you to take advantage of the establishment’s fresh-baked-daily policy and order from the newest batch. Murray’s also has delicious tomatoes for their sandwiches, and don’t miss the tasty sun-dried tomato and roasted garlic cream cheese!
The Greenwich Village site sits on the Avenue of the Americas (6th Avenue) between West 12th and 13th Streets, while the Chelsea location is on 8th Avenue between West 22nd and 23rd Streets. The former is close to the F, M, 1, and 2 subway lines at 14th Street Station, and the latter is near the A, C, and E lines at 23rd Street Station. There’s seating at both spots, but we prefer the Greenwich Village location for its exposed-brick walls and warm coffeehouse feel. Prices are a bit higher than competitors (bagels are $1.15 each and sandwiches range from roughly $9 to $15), but for the quality, it’s worth every penny.
7. Bagel Oasis
Itching to take your taste buds out of Manhattan? Why not travel to Queens (find our guide to the borough here) and Bagel Oasis, a favorite among natives for over 50 years? Fresh-made, kettled bagels tempt customers on the way to work or in pursuit of a chewy treat. We recommend ordering a plain or seeded bagel with bacon cream cheese (or topped with bacon slices) with a side of Bagel Oasis’s well-known chicken salad. Price-wise, a bagel with cream cheese will set you back about $2 ($6 if you order the chicken salad). Inside seating is limited, so be ready to take your order to go.
Bagel Oasis is in the Fresh Meadows neighborhood of Queens along the busy Long Island Expressway. If it sounds like a bit of a hike from Manhattan, it is; there are no direct subway lines to the area. You’ll need to drive or take a public bus. Don’t worry, it’s not as hazardous as it may sound, and with Bagel Oasis open 24 hours every day of the year, there’s no rush! Sharing a New York apartment also ensures you’ll have a partner for your trip to the outer borough.
8. Kossar’s Bagels & Bialys
The finest flour and a traditional brick oven in New York City must belong to a pizzeria, right? Wrong–it’s bagels! At Kossar’s Bagels & Bialys in the Lower East Side, you’ll find an assortment of pletzels (a type of Jewish flatbread), sesame sticks, bagels, and bialys to satisfy your cravings. What’s a bialy? It’s baked dough smoothed round, with chopped onions baked into the center. Bagels are prepared with the same level of care and craftsmanship. A large onion bialy is just $2, and you can order a bagel for just $0.90. Neither is going to break the bank, so why not try both?
Inside seating is limited to counter space only. This decades-old favorite is cash-only and is open from 6:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. daily, with Saturday hours extending to midnight. Kossar’s is also conveniently located near several subway stations: the J, M, and Z trains at Essex Street Station; the F train at Delancey Street Station; and the B and D trains at Grand Street Station. Supplement your meal with coffee from one of our favorite New York coffee shops!
9. Bergen Bagels
For a wide variety of choices, Brooklyn’s Bergen Bagels is a top spot. A full buffet of bagel toppings and cold cuts awaits you inside, plus unique cream cheese flavors (feta pesto, anyone?). The pumpernickel bagel is highly recommended, and for about $2 (creamy spread included), it’s worth your cash. Bergen Bagels has three locations throughout Brooklyn: one in Prospect Heights and two in Clinton Hill. All three are walkable from local subway stations.
10. Brooklyn Bagel & Coffee Company
The final entry on our list is notable for its cream cheese flavor of the week–and that’s just the beginning! Beyond its mission to use the healthiest ingredients in its products, Brooklyn Bagel & Coffee Company has an extensive menu of paninis, soups and, of course, bagels. Not sure what to get? Sample the whole wheat everything bagel with whatever cream cheese is highlighted that week (July’s pick was fluffernutter!). Bagels come in two sizes here: $1.20 for ‘big’ and $1.05 for ‘mini.’
Brooklyn Bagel has locations in Chelsea and Astoria, Queens, and is open daily from 6:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Seating is variable, but our preferred location is Chelsea. Its sleek, modern interior invites guests to enjoy the café setup. The Manhattan and Queens locations are easily accessed by the city subway. The 1, A, C, and F trains will bring you into Chelsea, and the E, M, N, and Q lines will transport you to Astoria.
Bagels are great for breakfast, but burgers are great for lunch! Sneak a peek at our favorite burger spots.
What are your favorite bagel spots?