Anthony Bourdain called Russ & Daughters' bagel with cream cheese, nova, and smoked salon the best meal he's ever had in New York. The "appetizer" shop has had a lot of time to achieve perfection: it's been hand-whipping cream cheese, hand-rolling bagels, and hand-selecting smoked salmon for nearly 100 years.
It'll cost you an extra dime if you want your bagel toasted here—but the quick-moving lines are tackled with such speed that your bagel won't have been out of the oven long by the time you get your teeth into it. Come prepared: those hot bagels are cash only.
The best bagel in New York City by more than one opinion, including those of Serious Eats and Arthur Schwartz, Bagel Hole's crew learned its craft from a baker who started making bagels in Germany in the 1940s. These are small, chewy, and crispy, properly boiled-then-baked—for many, the definition of a classic New York bagel.
H&H Midtown Bagels East refuses to deny any bagel craving, even if it's 3 a.m. or you live 1,000 miles away. Those in the neighborhood can pop in 24/7, and the shop will even overnight their bagels, smoked fish, and spreads across the country to give displaced New Yorkers a taste of home.
The oven stays hot all day at Bagel Bob's so that the bakers can keep tossing in new batches of hand-made, boiled bagels in flavors such as cinnamon raisin and pumpernickel. And forget the baker's dozen: on weekends, an order for a dozen gets you no less than 15 bagels.
Everything's baked in-house at Bagels & Schmear—the traditional black-and-white cookies, the apple danishes, and, of course, the bagels. Baked salmon and white fish salads, honey mustard tuna, and even omelettes make for a more substantial stuffing than cream cheese, though there are plenty of schmears––at least 7 varieties––as well.
Deal or no deal, our editors strongly recommend these businesses based on their reputation, popularity, and quality of service.