Holes in one: five of Boston’s best bagels
Lately, my kids have discovered the joys of bagels coated with cream cheese. They aren’t picky – spongy supermarket bagels will do. However, I am very particular and I keep a mental list of the best bagels.
Recently, friends sent me a dozen of America’s top Jewish food vendor Russ & Daughters, 106 (plus lox and black and white cookies; thanks, Chris and Devra!). These are my favorites.
We have nowhere enough like the Lower East Side here in Boston, but receiving this shipment inspired me to list some of my own must-haves here at home. I would love to hear your choices, so let me know!
Owner Mary Ting Hyatt launched her boutique as a pop-up at Cutty’s in Brookline. Now, eight years later, she has a huge following in her tiny storefront outside Porter Square – the line spans blocks. The bagels themselves are crunchy on the outside and chewy on the inside, but I really like the toppings: spicy pepper spread, hot smoked salmon, roasted tomatoes and avocado (I dropped a lot of them on the front seat of my car because I could just not wait to get in). For kids? Banana and bacon (if your family eats bacon). Consider pre-ordering on weekends.
1796 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, bagelsaurus.com
This pop-up is a newcomer to the Boston scene, launched in 2020 with Sasha Moraski at the helm. She moved here from Los Angeles during the pandemic and started cooking inside Little Dipper in Jamaica Plain, and her specialty is the unusual bagels: jalapeÃ±o cheddar, Sriracha roasted garlic, and za’atar cheese, not to mention. name a few. Here, bagels are a canvas of creativity.
669A Center St., Jamaica Plain, beokaybagels.com
Get everything from lemon spinach to double chili bagels at this Lynn cafe with an on-site grinder, where founders Jon Olinto and Tony Rosenfeld (the brains of the local B.GOOD chain) specialize in freshly ground flour at low. gluten content. These bagels are dense and nutty; due to the lack of gluten, they are not as springy or mushy as you might be used to. You won’t feel weighed down or drowsy after eating these bagels (good for kids). Another bonus: the nearby Nightshade noodle bar has spreads like crispy chili cream cheese.
68 Exchange Street, Lynn, onemightymill.com
This certified kosher bakery has been around for over 40 years and fans swear by the vaguely malty and subtly sweet taste. I like this place for the simple varieties: pumpernickel, egg, onion. (The handmade challah is also excellent.) The only downside is the parking. If you can’t find a metered spot in the Newton Center, be prepared to park twice in front of the small lot and rush out.
1280 Center Street, Newton, rosenfeldsbagels.com
Star restaurateurs Tim and Bronwyn Wiechmann (Bronwyn, the late TW Food) run this Union Square boutique next to their pizzeria, T&B, where they specialize in wood-fired, small-batch, Montreal-style bagels. This means the bagels are extra crunchy and dense, while being a bit thinner (and sweeter) than their American counterparts. Top with kielbasa, tarragon cream cheese, brie, pastrami, sauerkraut and more.
251 Washington Street, Somerville, turennebagels.com
I know I missed some of the top contenders. I’d love to hear your choices, so leave a comment!