There’s nothing in the world that can compare to a true New York bagel.

Trust me, I’ve been around the world, and every time a bagel craving hits, I cave and buy one, only to be disappointed.

After almost six months straight of running around Europe, Africa, and a bit of Asia, I purposely scheduled my flight back to the states to go through Newark with a roughly six-hour layover instead of Chicago.

My original plan was to hop on the NJ Transit and use that time to finally satisfy my New York bagel craving.

Unfortunately, my flight from Cape Town was late, and by the time I got through customs, I wouldn’t have enough time to go into the city before my next flight.

I figured the bagels in New Jersey’s airport had to at least be better than some ones I got in Europe.

Man, was I disappointed when I finally got my bagel.

Turns out Newark Airport bagels still can’t come even close to the best bagels in NYC despite how close they are to the city.

In fact, I can’t believe I’m admitting this, but with the jetlag, after almost 24 hours in transit from Africa, I was ready to cry when they handed me a sub-par soggy bagel.

First-world problems, I know, and definitely irrational, but you try traveling almost 24 hours straight and see how you feel, especially when you get served watered down coffee with it.

After over a decade of living in New York City, I guess you could say that my taste buds have been incredibly spoiled.

So, whatever you do, skip eating the bagels in the airport, and instead indulge in one of these places on my list below. 

I’ve sampled a ton over the years, and these are the local approved spots to head to get the best bagels in NYC. I’ve even sorted them into Brooklyn and Manhattan locations to make finding your next breakfast (or hangover cure) a breeze!

Best Bagels in Manhattan


Since my first two years in the city were spent living on the Upper West Side, Zabar’s quickly became my go-to weekend bagel joint.

This neighborhood gem is home to some of the best deli in the city.

They’re well known by locals for their bagels, smoked fish, matzoh ball soup, chocolate babka, black and white cookies, olives, and cheese selection. 

These bagels can’t be beat, they’re perfectly crunchy on the outside, while maintaining their chewy, yet slightly fluffy texture on the inside.

Grab a coffee and a toasted bagel here, then head a couple blocks east to Central Park to enjoy your breakfast with a good book.

Address: 2245 Broadway, New York, NY 10024


If you’re looking for a brunch joint that serves up one of the best bagels in NYC, just head to SoHo to hit up Sadelle’s.

This charming spot with vintage vibes has house made bagels, smoked fish, and some really delicious French toast.

Fair warning though, they only offer basic drip coffee and teas if you’re craving a hot drink.

Address: 463 W Broadway, New York, NY 10012

H&H Bagels

I have so many memories of crazy nights out in the city ending with picking up fresh H&H Bagels in the early hours of the morning, as the bagels were just coming out of the oven.

My mouth is watering just thinking about biting into one of their fresh warm toasted everything bagels with cream cheese and a slice of tomato. 

It’s the perfect hangover remedy, especially back then when I was living a few blocks away on the Upper East Side.

These bagels are just crisp enough on the outside and firm enough on the inside that they won’t get soggy right away, especially if you order your bagel properly, which is to have it toasted before toppings go on.

Local’s Tip: They sell these at both JFK and Laguardia, so if you’re flying through, these are safe places to try one of the best bagels in NYC.

Address: 1551 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10028

Bagel Bob’s

Bagel Bob’s has locations on the Upper East Side and NoHo.

Both locations are excellent, though I frequent the UES storefront way more often, since it was right down the street from my old apartment.

This place always has a massive line during the morning on weekends, so be ready for a bit of a wait.

It’s also imperative that you know what you’re ordering by the time you get to the counter, because these guys don’t have time for chitchat.

Their bagels have a solid crust and are just doughy enough in the middle to be satisfying. 

Local’s Tip: Grab a bagel and coffee here, then walk to either Central Park or Carl Schurz Park to enjoy your breakfast with a view. 

Address: 1641 York Ave, New York, NY 10028

Russ & Daughters

If you’re looking for a delicious brunch with bagels on the Lower East Side, head to Russ & Daughters.

They’ve been making bagels and lox since 1914, so you know they know what they’re doing.

Since they’re known for making some of the best bagels in NYC, this place always has a line that’s totally worth waiting in.

Try their everything bagel with caviar cream cheese, it’s delicious.

Also, order their fresh-squeezed orange juice. It’s always a satisfying way to get some vitamin C to start off your day.

Address: 179 E Houston St, New York, NY 10002

Tompkins Square Bagels

Follow famous New Yorker Timothée Chalamet’s lead, and head to his favorite bagel spot, Tompkins Square Bagels.

This New York classic serves up enticing bacon, egg, and cheese bagels in the East Village, that are the perfect meal anytime of day.

They also have a fairly extensive selection of cream cheeses, including multiple vegan options.

Address: 165 Avenue A, New York, NY 10009

Bo’s Bagels

Bo’s Bagels in Harlem is absolutely worth a trip uptown. 

It’s minutes away from the 116th subway stop, and they’ve got some of the most delicious bagels in the city. 

Their bagels are firm and crisp on the outside, and perfectly chewy on the inside. You can really tell they use fresh, quality ingredients, and the lovely staff are the icing on the cake.

Try their everything bagel with scallion cream cheese, and a slice of tomato. It’s one of my favorites in the city.

Address: 235 W 116th St, New York, NY 10026


All the locals who work in midtown will brave the massive line of tourists, because everyone knows this is the best place to grab your morning bagel in midtown. 

Be ready to wait in line for at least thirty minutes here to get your Ess-a-Bagel fix and assume you’re taking your breakfast to-go because there’s not a lot of seating. 

I really like their egg and cheese sandwich on a toasted everything bagel. It’s seriously yummy!

Address: 831 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10022

Black Seed Bagel

With locations in both Brooklyn and Manhattan, Black Seed Bagel is one of the best bagel chains in NYC.

These bagels are light, with just enough crust to make biting into them satisfying.

They make a great breakfast sandwich with eggs, cheese, avocado, and tomato, called the BOCA.

It’s always my go-to when I swing by here for a bite.

Address: Multiple locations in Manhattan and Brooklyn

Tal Bagels

Tal Bagels has locations across Manhattan, but I’ve always been partial to their UES storefront, since it’s right by the 86th Street entrance for the Second Avenue subway.

Their bagels are perfectly soft on the inside while maintaining a crisp exterior. 

I’m not big on lox, but my friends who enjoy it say this is one of the best places to order it from.

The staff here can be a bit hit or miss, but the bagels are pretty much always on point. 

This is a neighborhood favorite, so expect a line if you go during rush hour.

Address: 333 East 86th St #1, New York, NY 10028

Absolute Bagels

One of my favorite things about Absolute Bagels, besides the obvious, is that they’re open a lot later into the day than most bagel spots.

Their handmade house rolled bagels are next level delicious and are popular with locals, tourists, and all the kids who attend nearby Columbia.

I really love that they always get the perfect bagel to cream cheese ratio, which is rare because a lot of places go overboard with the toppings. 

Naturally, the line gets long in the mornings, but just know, these bagels are totally worth the wait.

Address: 2788 Broadway, New York, NY 10025

Best Bagels in Brooklyn

Terrace Bagels

On the border of South Slope and Windsor Terrace, you’ll find some of the best bagels in Brooklyn.

Terrace Bagels is a neighborhood gem that’s the perfect spot to grab breakfast to enjoy in nearby Prospect Park. 

Their bagels are always fresh, with a soft chewy center, and perfectly crisp crust. 

Plus, their servers are always nice, even when this place is super busy.

Address: 222 &, 222A Prospect Park West, 11215

Shelsky’s of Brooklyn

If you’re into salmon on your bagel, Shelsky’s of Brooklyn is the place to go.

Their bagels are chewier than most, but don’t worry, the outside is still nice and crunchy. 

Besides serving up a great bagel, this deli is well-known in the neighborhood for having great pastrami and Reuben sandwiches.

Address: 141 Court St, Brooklyn, NY 11201

Frankel’s Deli

Frankel’s Deli is a contemporary Jewish deli serving up delicious bagels, smoked fish, and brisket in Greenpoint.

Go for the bacon, egg, and pastrami bagel. Local’s always rave about it. 

The line can get long here, so order ahead online to save time.

Address: 631 Manhattan Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11222

Final Thoughts


I hope this list helps you find the perfect spot to satisfy your craving for the best bagels in NYC.

Writing it has certainly made me eager to get back to the city soon to indulge in an everything bagel with cream cheese and a slice of tomato.

Let me know in the comments below which spot you’re most looking forward to checking out while in New York.


Leave a Comment