The best bagels in Philadelphia
Philly is a city of bread. We have great hoagies, cheesesteaks and pizzas, all of which have bread as a key component. Another dough item we’re good at? Bagels.
It hasn’t always been easy to find good bagels in Philadelphia: many bagel shops in the city have just opened in recent years. Now there are bakers who specialize in doughy rounds leading bagel bakeries across the city and shops with curated menus of freshly baked bagels, tasty schmears and favorite sandwiches like bacon, eggs and cheese, or the classic lox.
As with many popular foods, there is a heated debate surrounding the best type of bagel – and that debate centers on two main types: New York and Montreal (which, as my Canadian editor points out, are better than any what a bagel here). Traditionally, New York bagels are boiled and then baked (and many credit fresh New York water as the essential ingredient), while Montreal bagels are boiled in a mixture of honey and water, then cooked in a wood oven.
In Philly, we have stores that make both styles, as well as places that add their own Philly twist (one place even boils them in beer). And, dare we say it, many of these bagels are just as good (if not better) than the New York and Montreal options. Togarashi-based bagels? Or bagels made with a touch of rye flour? Count on us.
Here’s where to find the best bagels in Philadelphia.
Bart’s Bagels began as a wholesale operation supplying bagels to Di Bruno Bros., Elixr Coffee, White Dog Cafe, and more. Now they have a bagel bakery near the Drexel campus with a menu that highlights the strengths of bagel shops and traditional Jewish delis. Think smoked fish sandwiches, breakfast egg sandwiches and specialty sandwiches including house roast corned beef, turkey and sausage. There is also coffee.
The Alex Malamy pop-up will have a physical location in late summer or early fall at 5013 Baltimore Ave. in West Philadelphia. It plans to offer bulk bagels, bialys and sandwiches. Expect a robust bagel menu that remixes New York, New Jersey and Montreal styles, with over-the-top options like the Ramen Thing, which has become one of Dodo’s biggest draws – a bagel with slices boiled to order egg, pickled ginger, bamboo shoots, fresh green onions, freshly ground toasted sesame seeds, crispy dried seaweed and spicy mayo.
Essen baker and owner Tova du Plessis makes Jewish-style baked goods at her shop on East Passyunk Avenue, including poppyseed bagels, savory bagels, plain bagels, and more. The bagels here are a bit different from other options in town, thanks to the addition of rye flour in the dough (which is also made with sourdough and honey).
Sourdough is the star of Four Worlds Bakery, where you can order sourdough bread with simple bagels made from flour, water, and sourdough (and no added sugar). Four Worlds is a grocery store, so you can’t order a full-fledged bagel sandwich, but you can get the sourdough bagels, cream cheese, and lox from the store to make your own sandwich at home. Bagels are also available for delivery, and you can also find them at stores like Spruce Hill Provisions, Mariposa Food Co-op, Batter and Crumbs, the Board and Brew, and more.
K’Far’s bagels are Jerusalem-style – oblong and airier than the bagels we’re used to in Philadelphia. At this Rittenhouse boutique, bagels come with grilled cheese and tomatoes; cream cheese with smoked salmon and green onions; egg, cooper sharp and schug; and more. You can also have your bagel with one of K’Far’s signature Yemeni lattes (milk, espresso, cardamom, cinnamon, and ginger) and a chocolate rugelach while you’re there.
Kismet began as a pandemic kingpin by Jacob and Alexandra Cohen, a husband and wife duo who started making bagels at home at the start of the pandemic. Since then, they have regularly stood in long lines at farmers markets, and they have opened a shop in Fishtown and are opening a place in Reading Terminal Market where they will produce their beloved bagels, as well as a menu of bialys , which is the Polish cousin of the bagel that has a deep dimple (instead of a full hole) where toppings can be dropped.
Husband and wife team Adam and Cheri Willner began their careers in the world of fine dining, and their culinary experience is what informs the menu at Washington Square’s Knead Bagels. They make unique bagels like their togarashi (Japanese seven spice) spice bagel and black sesame bagel, and have an extensive menu of homemade bagel sides. Order the sausage, egg and cheese (a favorite among customers), with homemade sausage, or the chicken salad, which is also homemade from chickens slaughtered especially for their sandwiches.
Philip Korshak started cooking bagels from Angelo’s pizzeria on some mornings, turning the residence into pop-ups. Now he has his own shop in East Passyunk with lines of poetry displayed in shop windows and as captions on his Instagram page. Korshak uses a decade-old starter (named Helen Mirren) to create its boiled-then-baked bagels, which are available in classic flavors like plain, all, egg, poppy, onion, and sesame, in addition to Cooper sharp long hot. , and specialties like blue cheese bagels. Korshak Bagels shot to fame in 2021, when the New York Times named it one of the 50 Best Restaurants Nationwide.
You can order New York bagels – direct from New York – which are delivered by Josh Anker (a recent Drexel graduate) and his team. Anker aspired to bring real New York bagels to Philadelphia. (This is one of those New Yorkers who turn their backs on Philadelphia bagels, so he always brought them back with him.) Bagel orders must be placed two days in advance and delivery is available to Center City, South Philly, Fishtown, University City, Kensington and more, plus a number of towns outside the city. The New York bagel shop that supplies the bagels? It’s a secret.
It’s easy to get your hands on a bagel from Spread Bagelry, which has locations in Bryn Mawr and Wayne, along South Street, Rittenhouse Square, and more. But these bagels, which are boiled in honey before roasting in a wood-fired oven, are quite different — softer, more breaded, sweeter — and Montreal-style (thanks to honey) at their core (although rather have the shape of a New York bagel, which is fattier than its Canadian cousin). You can get a low key bagel with cream cheese or a brisket bagel sandwich.
Not to be confused with Philly Style Bagels, Philly Bagels was one of the city’s first spots for great bagels (you might remember the neon “hot bagels” sign in their store front from South Street). Today they have four locations: South Street Philly Bagels, Fitzwater Street Philly Bagels, Passyunk Avenue Philly Bagels, and JFK Boulevard Philly Bagels, all of which sell traditional New York-style bagels, which are boiled and then baked on “canvas. of burlap covered”. planks of wood”, according to his website. Philly Bagels remains a staple of the local breakfast scene and is popular among those looking for a no-fuss bagel.
Fishtown favorite Philly Style Bagels recently expanded to Old City with a store that serves the same long-dough bagels as its Fishtown sibling. The bagels at both locations have a crunchy, dense chew, as well as a malty sweetness from boiling in a local beer. You can order individual bagels and cream cheese wraps yourself, or opt for a bagel sandwich (classic lox, egg and cheese, etc.).
Tucked away in Queen Village is The Bagel Place, an unassuming storefront with plenty of seating for a quick breakfast and an online ordering system for bagels to go. Bagels are available in all the classic options, plus pretzel (a customer favorite), blueberry, rosemary and cracked peppercorn, and French toast. Bagels are boiled and hand-rolled, and spreads (including the unique sour pickle spread) and sweet baked goods are homemade.
Fifth-generation bagel master Michael Leibowitz continues the bagel-making tradition of his father, Melvin, who started what is believed to be Philadelphia’s first traditional bagel bakery (where bagels are dipped in ‘boiling water before baking), New York Bagels (now owned by someone else) in 1965. The classic bagel from Leibowitz’s Broomall shop is simple with all the goodness you look for in a new-style bagel. yorkais – pasty and delicious.
Owner Bonnie Sarana grew up eating New York bagels. And when she opened her bakery on East Passyunk Avenue, she started creating bagels similar to the ones she grew up with. Vanilya’s bagels are dense yet chewy with a nice outer crust. The top-selling bagel is the shop’s za’atar bagel, which gets its flavor from the Middle Eastern spice. You can order your bagel with schmear (vegetarian, plain, jalapeño, cucumber, dill, etc.) or in sandwiches like lox and egg salad.
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