New York, or the Big Apple as it is known to some, is home to many famous attractions – the Empire State Building, Lady Liberty, Central Park, and the list goes on. This all good and well, but did you know New York is home to some of the most diversified cuisine in the world? This is thanks to the many travellers and business people who have decided to settle down in this beautiful, vibrant city.
One of the simplest, yet most sophisticated foods found in NYC is probably one that would not even come to the forefront of your mind. New York is famous for its interpretation of the traditional bagel to the world and boy what an interpretation it is. The bagel can be pretty much made to order and you can have anything you like inside, sweet or savoury…like a sandwich, only with a touch of class. With that being said, if you do find yourself in New York and you don’t try at least one of the ten following bagel joints, did you really go to New York? Haters will say no.
If you really want to try your hand at being a New Yorker, head to the Upper West Side, 2788 Broadway and visit Absolute Bagels. Part of the ‘Absolute’ experience is actually visiting the store and seeing for yourself what a local would encounter. Sure, the bagels taste great, crunchy, yet soft, and filled with fresh ingredients, but it is the overall experience with a good bagel and NYC-style service that will make you feel like a local!
Opened in the 1970s, despite having moved around the city a bit more than they’d hoped, Ess-a-Bagel is a family run store. Over its almost 50 years of existence, they have made but only one change to their method. Toasting. Ess-a-Bagel…bagels…are most famous for being handmade, fluffy and soft inside with a new, crunchy outer layer, not to mention the selection of fillings available; spreads, smoked salmon, egg, amongst many others. The fact that there is almost always a line out the door is reason enough to try these beauties out.
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New York’s premier Jewish deli, Russ & Daughters is located on the Lower East Side and has been around for a click over 100 years, so it’s fair to say they know what they are doing…and doing it very well. Russ sells an array of delicacies that will make your taste buds pop, including lox, herring, and you can discover the rest fpr yourself. Today, though, let’s focus on their bagels, and… bagel sandwiches? What? The best of both worlds, yes please! Timeout suggests, and I could not agree more, to try the ‘Super Heeb’ with Horseradish cream cheese and whitefish salad.
How often do you see a shop with ‘best’ in the name? Too often, right? How often is this place actually the ‘best’ at what they do, or offer? In my experience, not very often, however Best Bagel has changed this for me. If you find yourself near Penn Station, this is a must stop shop. There is nothing better than a soft, chewy bagel and coffee to start your morning. What’s more is that the prices are not all that bad, which is a surprise being in the middle of NYC and your bagel will, according to some, be as big as your head! Great value for money.
Black Seed is known more for its tasty, hand-made bagels. This institution has managed to collaborate with some of the world’s best chefs and restaurants, which has people lining up out the door. Further separating them from the rest, and thanks to their collaborations with world-renowned foodies, is their varied and creative breakfast menu. Nobody likes change, but if you are considering another local bagel establishment, or are simply passing through the area, do stop in, no matter what time of day.
Old school by nature, modern by design, The Bagel Hole prides themselves on maintaining that ancient philosophy that has seemed to have gone missing in recent years of keeping it simple. You get what you order if you order a bacon and cheese bagel, as that is what you will get, with no fancy sauces or fillings you were unaware of. Thrillist says the bagels are soft, chewy, and straight to the point. There is only standing room in the ‘Hole’ and it is usually very busy. If you want a no strings attached bagel, this is the place for you.
Located in Tribeca, Zucker’s Bagels is an institution that has recently expanded to two new locations, and prime locations, too. One in the Upper West Side and the other at none other than Grand Central Station. Need I say more? Even-though Zucker’s has only been around for 25 years, it has quickly become a New York favourite because no matter where you are in the city, there is one not far from you. And no, Mark Zuckerberg does not own these Bagel stores so there is no need to worry about your information being kept there...
Another establishment with well over 50+ years of history, this time in the Lower East Side, Kossar’s changed ownership in 2013, but rest assured the recipe has remained the same and they're still famous for its Bialys and bagels baked in a stone brick oven. In fact, you would be happy to know that Grubstreet points out the current (new) owners of Kossar’s have beefed up the menu to include more spreads and fillings, as well as many new combinations just waiting to be devoured by bagel fans!
Barney Greengrass is perhaps the most popular bagel institution in the Upper West Side, with many sources claiming you will be lucky to see the floor of the store between breakfast and lunch as it is simply that busy. This deli does not come cheap, no matter what food you wish to buy, but the taste certainly lives up to the higher price tag. If you are feeling ambitious, you can choose to have as many fillings as you like on either a bagel or a bialy.
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A simple name, yet one that truly represents what this store is all about…bagels. Famous for their rainbow bagel creation back in 2016, which, I must admit, is very appealing to all the senses, The Bagel Store is also in the pretzel bagels and cragels (a croissant mixed with a bagel) market. A bagel is simply not a bagel without cream cheese and what a selection of flavours they have on offer; cannoli, bacon-cheddar and fun-fetti to name a few. If, like myself, you're not a big fan of change, they also offer a range of traditional, old-school bagels as well.