Thanks for visiting Free Tours by Foot New York!
New York is well-known for its bagels and we highly recommend you try one when you are here.
This post leads you to the best bagels in neighborhoods you are most likely to visit.
Take a look at our pay-what-you-like food tours to try many of the classic New York foods!
A bagel is a bread product made using the yeasted wheat dough, then rolled into shape by hand into the form of a ring the size of the palm of your hand.
After being left to rise for 12 hours, bagels are boiled briefly in water and then baked.
A good bagel will be one that has a slightly chewy, browned exterior with a dense yet soft interior.
Bagels are sometimes baked with a light sprinkling of seasonings such as poppy seed, salt, toasted onion, roasted garlic, sesame seeds or ‘everything’ meaning all the ingredients mentioned above.
Typically, plain bagels are $0.75 to $1. But rarely do people eat bagels without some sort of topping.
Traditionally, bagels are served as a sandwich topped with cream cheese, butter, lox (smoked salmon), tuna salad, even peanut butter, and jelly.
A bagel and cream cheese will be about $3.00 at most.
For the ultimate New York bagel experience, grab a cup of coffee and enjoy a bagel with cream cheese, covered with lox (smoked salmon), thin-sliced onions, and a few capers.
TIP: Bagel shops often put a HUGE amount of cream cheese on bagels, more than most people can eat.
If you want a smaller amount of cream cheese, simply ask for a schmear (or smear). The store will know what you mean
Learn about the centuries-old history of the bagel, see below.
Leo’s Bagels 3 Hanover Square Open Mon-Fri 6 am-6 pm; Sat & Sun 7 am-5 pm
You can get a classic New York bagel covered with a wide variety of cream cheeses, including tofu “cream cheese” for those lactose intolerant or vegan.
Reviewers on TripAdvisor rate Leo’s at 4 1/2 stars. One reviewer wrote “Great breakfast location before going to the Statue of Liberty or while visiting the financial district. The bagels taste like heaven.”
Zucker’s Bagels and Smoked Fish 146 Chambers St at Hudson St. Open Mon-Fri 6:30 am–7:00 pm; Sat & Sun 6:30 am – 6:00 pm.
Words that appear over and over again in reviews are”fantastic”, “amazing”, “delicious”. You’ve got dozens of toppings, both sweet and savory to fill your bagel.
True to their name, Zucker’s is known for its high quality smoked fish – they have 14 different kinds, including the specialty “pastrami” style lox.
TIP: This store is just a few blocks away from the 9/11 Memorial and Museum. After your bagel, walk down and see the beautiful fountains at the memorial site.
It is not just about bialys at the legendary Kossar’s. They also serve great bagels. Going on 80 years, they added bagels to their menu in 2013.
This bagel shop is also one of the stops on Free Tours by Foot’s Lower East Side Food Tour. Don’t miss it!
Though this post is about bagels, we do recommend that you try a bialy.
Watch the video above to find out more about this classic Jewish bread product.
Since 1914, this family-owned eatery remains the best ”appetizing” store in New York City.
While it’s true that their food is indeed appetizing, in Russ & Daughters’ context, “appetizing” is used as a noun.
For over 100 years, American Jews have understood that, in the case of food, “appetizing” means “the foods one eats with bagels.”
That would include all sorts of smoked and cured salmon (lox), homemade fish salads, herring, and cream cheeses.
TIP: This is not the store to get a basic bagel and butter. Take advantage of all the other options!
If you come here, you’ve gotta get the real deal: the “Classic”, which is a bagel and cream cheese topped with slices of lox.
It will set you back about $10 but it’s big enough to share with someone. This is a quintessential New York experience.
In addition to the original Houston Street location, there is now a Russ and Daughters Cafe on Orchard Street.
The bagels here are not 100% New York style, but they ARE amazing.
They are a hybrid of Montreal-style bagels and New York-style bagels.
Despite being fussy about our bagels, New Yorkers are on board with Black Seed, so much so that there are other locations all over the city.
As with all great bagels, they start with a yeast-raised dough and hand-rolled.
Here’s the twist: they are boiled in honey-sweetened water and baked in a wood-burning oven. (Fancy, schmancy!)
This bi-national recipe works so well that Black Seed is on all the lists of Best Bagels in New York and TripAdvisor guests give it a solid 4 stars.
Bagels on the Square 7 Carmine St at 6th Ave. Open every day 24 hours!
What makes this a great bagel shop is not just excellent bagels but the long list of cream cheese flavors they have.
Just to name a few: Sun-Dried Tomato, Chive & Garlic, Bacon Horseradish, Raisin Walnut and more.
They also have a wide variety of low-fat cream cheese flavors and tofu “cream cheese”.
They also have hundreds of 4 and 5-star reviews. They are a staple in the Greenwich Village area.
You’ll see many people on the weekends enjoying huge bagels sitting in the small park just across the street.
Join our free Greenwich Village walking tour and your guide can point out this store.
You can also take a look at our What to See and Do in Greenwich Village for suggestions for your pre- or post-bagel time.
Making bagels for 20 years, Murray’s is always on Top Ten Bagels lists.
Reviewers have written: “The Great Bagel Debate is Over: Murray’s Reigns Supreme“, “Gold Standard Bagels!” and “The bagels are TO DIE FOR.”
You cannot go wrong at Murray’s.
Ess-a-Bagel 831 3rd Avenue at 51st St. Open Mon-Fri 6 am-9 pm; Sat-Sun 6 am-5 pm
Ess-a-Bagel has been making huge, delicious bagels since 1976.
They have a wide selection of savory salads such as egg salad, tuna salad and out of this world smoked salmon salad.
Anything you choose to put on your bagel, you will be more than happy.
Over 2093 reviews and a solid 4-star rating on Yelp confirm Ess-a-Bagel is the real thing according to New Yorkers.
Add another 842 positive reviews from TripAdvisor and you’ve got 3000 people who love these bagels.
One issue is that there is often a line, but it is worth the wait.
Best Bagel & Coffee 225 W. 35th St at 8th Ave. Open Mon-Fri 6am-4pm; Sat 8am-2:30pm; Sun closed.
This tiny Midtown bagel shop is ideally located for visitors staying in the Times Square area.
Though the line can be long, it does move quickly.
If you add up all the reviews on Yelp, TripAdvisor, Foursquare, Facebook and more, there are over 2,000 people who give these bagels the highest ratings.
If you are staying nearby, a perfect place to grab breakfast. If you aren’t staying nearby, it’s still a great place to get a classic bagel.
If you join us for our free Midtown Manhattan Tour, grab a bagel before the tour as the starting point is a few blocks away.
Pick a Bagel 891 8th Ave and W. 53rd St. Open daily 6 am to 11:30 pm
Since they do much more than great bagels and are open late, you can grab some good, well-priced food after a Broadway show.
Don’t be put off by the fact that they are a chain of bagel shops. They don’t stray from the classic bagel methodology and the results are bagels that get some serious reviews on TripAdvisor.
Four hundred reviews and 4 1/2 stars with the words “amazing”, “fantastic”, “incredible” and “the BEST bagel” appearing over and over again.
Other locations are in Battery Park City, the Upper East Side, Upper West Side and more.
Use this link to google maps to see all the locations.
H&H Midtown Bagels East 1551 Second Avenue at East 80th St. Open 5:30 am – 9:00 pm daily.
One of the most well-known names in the New York bagel scene, H&H is no longer owned by the Puerto Rican brothers who opened the first H&H in 1972.
Helmer Toro and his brother-in-law Hector Hernandez (hence “H&H”) built a bagel empire.
Between its east side and west side locations, H&H was once the largest bagel manufacturer in New York City producing about 80,000 bagels a day.
Quantity however never trumped quality. H&H bagels are truly as good as their reputation.
Coffee shops and breakfast joins ‘import’ daily H&H bagels and display signs telling customers “WE SERVE H&H BAGELS!”
Tip: H&H is just a few blocks from the Metropolitan Museum of Art. After your visit to see the finest art in the world, why not have one of the finest bagels in the world?
Find out about the Metropolitan Museum of Art Tours here.
Absolute Bagel 2788 Broadway at 108th St. Open Daily 6 am-9 pm. *CASH ONLY
When a bagel gets a 4 1/2 star rating on Yelp by more than 1000 New Yorkers, that means you absolutely must visit this bagel store. They make every list of top bagels in the city.
A Thai family runs this bagel shop – kind of fascinating in and of itself. Absolute Bagels proves that one’s ethnic heritage has nothing to do with making the perfect bagel.
Bagels are constantly streaming out of the oven to cater to the excited customers waiting on line. If your timing is right, you might get lucky and arrive just as a fresh batch comes out.
Warning: If you wear glasses, they may get fogged up at this steamy, yummy shop!
The Bagel Store, 754 Metropolitan Ave at Graham Ave. Open Mon to Fri 6am-6pm; Sat & Sun 7am-6pm
You’ve probably been curious about the neighborhood Williamsburg in Brooklyn, known for its hip, artsy scene and colorful characters.
The Bagel Store has brought even more color to the ‘hood.
While known for their hand-rolled, huge bagels, their claim to fame is their Rainbow Bagel.
It is exactly what you imagine it to be: all the tastiness of a great bagel combined with the beauty of a rainbow.
They also have some really interesting cream cheese flavors like Birthday Cake, Nutella, Pumpkin Pie, Olive Pimento, and Bacon/Cheddar.
Maybe this isn’t your classic breakfast bagel place but it sure sounds like fun.
Take your colorful bagel to go and check out some awesome graffiti and street art.
Use our guide Williamsburg Street Art Tour to discover the best art out there.
Bagel Hole 400 7th Avenue and 13th St. Open Mon to Fri 7 am-6 pm; Sat 7 am-5 pm, Sun 7 am-4 pm
Year after year, this non-pretentious bagel shop is on the top ten lists of best bagels in NYC.
That’s because they boil their bagels (as great bagels should be) while newer shops steam before baking sacrificing the fluffy element a bagel should have.
Their bagels are not gigantic, they are normal size! Chewy inside, slightly crispy exterior, just what a bagel should be.
Their reputation has spread far and wide so much so that real estate listings or the lovely neighborhood even mention that Bagel Hole is just streets away from the property for sale!
If you haven’t considered visiting Park Slope, there is so much more than just incredible bagels.
This historic and charming neighborhood just near Prospect Park is worth a visit.
Check out our Park Slope and Prospect Park Self-guided tour to help you find your way!
La Bagel Delight 104 Front Street at Adams St. Open Mon to Fri 6 am-6 pm; Sat 7 am-5 pm, Sun 7 am-4 pm
Admittedly, these are not ‘off-the-charts’ bagels. They are, however, very good bagels, loved by the locals of the wonderful neighborhood of DUMBO.
This is the area just off of the Brooklyn Bridge which you are sure to be walking across during your visit.
Chewy, fluffy and human-sized, you can get a great bagel with classic cream cheese flavors.
They also have a huge variety of custom-made sandwiches for both meat-eaters and vegetarians alike.
DUMBO is a neighborhood that is best visited with a guide to see the best sights.
We offer pay-what-you-wish walking tours of the Brooklyn Bridge and DUMBO. Join us before or after you bagel!
As far back as the 1600’s Eastern European Jewish communities were eating bagels. But 400 years ago, this round baked food with a hole in the middle was not called a bagel.
History shows the linguistic roots of the name. In Yiddish (a language combining German, Hebrew, and English) the word beygel was used.
This word itself was derived from the Middle High German word bouc and Old High German word boug, both of which mean bracelet or ring.
Yet another German word, bügel, is the name for a round bread loaf.
The New York bagel story began in the late 1800s. Among the millions of Eastern European Jews who emigrated to America were Polish people who brought their traditional foods with them.
Savory foods like knish, bialy and the round bread with a hole in the middle, now called a bagel, became familiar foods to all New Yorkers regardless of ethnicity.
Here in NYC, bagels quickly became a popular and affordable food staple. Why have a plain toast for breakfast when you could have a hearty bagel to start your day?
The first bagels came in four basic flavors: plain, sesame, poppy and salt. As the years passed, the winds of change brought an egg, cinnamon raisin, ‘everything’, onion, and garlic.
Today, more and more modern flavors abound. There’s sun-dried tomato, blueberry, chocolate, pizza, jalapeño, to name a few.
No doubt, the bagel makers from the days of old would be puzzled by the new breed of bagel. You can almost hear them saying, “A rainbow bagel?!? C’mon, give me a break!”
No matter what you choose, whatever combination, color, flavor of bagel and topping, you can’t go wrong if you go to any of the shops above. Enjoy!