New York City is known for its incredible museums, fascinating historical landmarks and impressive shopping opportunities, but it would be wrong to forget about its cuisine. Although visitors can find some of the most expensive and luxurious Michelin-starred restaurants in the world within the confines of Manhattan, the street food is a much bigger part of the everyday diet and culture. Along with New York hot dogs and giant slices of pizza, the bagel is a ubiquitous part of the city’s culinary landscape. It is not enough to try any old bagel while in New York City and think you have had the best. You can get them from street vendors and bakeries, order them plain or covered in cream cheese or opt for them toasted or doughy. Whether you are a bagel enthusiast or you just want to sample the quintessential New York baked good, read on to learn about the top bagels in the city.
Murray’s Bagels: The first sign that the bagels from Murray’s are spectacular is the long line that leads out of the door every Saturday and Sunday morning. Located in Greenwich Village, Murray’s Bagels is hugely popular both with tourists and local residents. Their bagels are slightly rounder than normal, and they have a distinctly doughy middle that tastes best when it has not been toasted. Murray’s Bagels sets itself apart by being very gourmet, with a range of bagel flavors and even more potential toppings. Although the plain bagel is the most popular, other favorites include the everything, the cinnamon raisin, the salt, the poppy seed and the pumpernickel. Despite the upscale feel of the menu, bagels are just $1.15 apiece.
Bagel Buffet: This unassuming eatery is beloved by locals, but it is less known among tourists. Although it is an excellent place to pick up a bagel sandwich, don’t make it your first bagel in the city. Start by ordering a plain bagel elsewhere, and then head into the Bagel Buffet for a twist on the classic breakfast item. When you walk in, the smells of the grill are the first thing that greet you. You could order a plain bagel with cream cheese, but a better choice would be to upgrade with a bacon, egg and sauteed onion bagel sandwich.
Ess-A-Bagel: This classic New York Deli serves up a range of items including pickles, salads and desserts, but the real star is the bagel. It is one of the few truly great bagel places in the city that also offers ample seating, so you can sit down and enjoy your order without having to go anywhere. The bagels from Ess-A-Bagel are recognizable right away thanks to their huge size. They also have a hint of a malted flavor, and the skin of the bagel is tough and chewy. According to serious bagel lovers from around the world, this makes these bagels the best in the city. Plus, at just one dollar apiece, these bagels are also some of the most affordable in New York.
Order Like a Local: The number one thing that local bagel lovers will tell you is to never order old bagels. Even after an hour or two, the flavor and texture goes down. Only eat bagels first thing in the morning, or find out what time each deli makes their batches throughout the day. To look like a real New Yorker, order an everything bagel with schmear, which means a dab of cream cheese. Eat it on the go from the foil on your way to the next destination.
Bagels are a major part of New York City dining, so be sure to try at least one while visiting the area.