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Here’s where to find the best bagels in Philly

More than a baker's dozen spots to go for your next bagel.

Looking for a good bagel? There are many places to find one in Philly, whether you want a simple bagel with cream cheese or an eggy breakfast sandwich.
Looking for a good bagel? There are many places to find one in Philly, whether you want a simple bagel with cream cheese or an eggy breakfast sandwich.Read moreTyger Williams / Staff Photographer

Philly is all about the dough. We have great hoagies, cheesesteaks, and pizza — all of which count bread as a key component. We’re also good at bagels.

It wasn’t always easy to find great bagels in Philly: Many of the city’s bagel shops just opened in recent years. Now, there are bakers who specialize in the doughy rounds at the helms of bagel bakeshops throughout the city and shops with curated menus of freshly baked bagels, flavorful schmears, and sandwich favorites like bacon, egg, and cheese, or classic lox.

As with many popular foods, there’s strong debate surrounding the best kind of bagel — and that debate centers on two main types: New York and Montreal (which, as my Canadian editor insists, are better than any bagel here). Traditionally, New York bagels are boiled and then baked in an oven (and many credit New York’s soft water as the essential ingredient), while Montreal bagels are boiled in a combo of honey and water and then baked in a wood-fired oven.

In Philly, we have shops that make both styles, along with places that add their own Philly spin (one spot even boils them in beer). And, dare we say it, many of these bagels are just as good (if not better) than the options in New York and Montreal. Bagels made with togarashi, a Japanese spice mix? Or bagels made with a touch of rye flour? Count us in.

Here’s where to get 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 Drexel’s campus with a menu that hits the highlights of traditional Jewish bagel shops and delis. Think smoked fish sandwiches, breakfast egg sandwiches, and specialty sandwiches, including house-roasted corned beef, turkey, and sausage. There’s coffee, too.

📍3945 Lancaster Ave., 🌐, 📷 @bartsbagels

Alex Malamy’s Dodo Bagels pop-up will get a brick-and-mortar location in 2023 under the name Cleo Bagels at 5013 Baltimore Ave. in West Philadelphia. He’s planning to offer loose bagels and bialys and sandwiches. Look forward to a menu of sturdy bagels that remix New York, New Jersey, and Montreal styles, with over-the-top options like the Ramen Thing, which has become one of his biggest draws — a bagel with sliced-to-order boiled egg, pickled ginger, bamboo shoots, fresh scallions, fresh-ground toasted sesame seeds, crispy dried seaweed, and spicy mayo.

📍5013 Baltimore Ave., 🌐, 📷 @cleobagels

Essen baker and owner Tova Du Plessis makes Jewish-style baked goods in her East Passyunk Avenue shop, including poppy seed bagels, flavor-packed everything bagels, plain bagels, and more. The bagels here are a little different than the other options in the city, thanks to the addition of rye flour in the dough (which is also made with tangy sourdough and some honey). Soon, their bagels will also be in Fishtown this summer.

📍1437 E. Passyunk Ave., 🌐, 📷 @essenbakery

Sourdough is the star at Four Worlds Bakery, where you can order sourdough bread along with simple bagels made with flour, water, and the sourdough starter (plus no added sugar). Four Worlds is a grocery store, so you can’t order a full-blown bagel sandwich, but you can pick up the shop’s sourdough bagels, cream cheese, and lox to make your own sandwich at home. Bagels are available for delivery, too, and you can also find them in shops like Spruce Hill Provisions, Mariposa Food Co-op, Batter and Crumbs, the Board and Brew, and more.

📍4634 Woodland Ave., 🌐, 📷 @fourworldsbakery

The bagels at K’Far are Jerusalem-style — oblong and airier than the bagels we’re accustomed to in Philly. At this Rittenhouse shop, bagels come with grilled cheese and tomato; smoked salmon and scallion cream cheese; egg, Cooper sharp, and schug (a chili pepper, cilantro hot sauce); and more. You can also have your bagel with one of K’Far’s signature Yemenite lattes (milk, espresso, cardamom, cinnamon, and ginger) and a chocolate rugelach while you’re at it.

📍110 S. 19th St., 🌐, 📷 @kfar_cafe

Kismet began as a pandemic pivot by Jacob and Alexandra Cohen, a husband-and-wife duo who started baking bagels at home at the start of the pandemic. Since then, they regularly draw long lines at farmers markets, and they’ve opened shops in Fishtown and Rittenhouse Plus, find a menu of bialys, which are the Polish cousin of the bagel that has a deep dimple (instead of a full hole) where fillings can be plopped, at a spot in Reading Terminal Market.

📍113 E. Girard Ave. and 1700 Sansom St., 🌐, 📷 @kismetbagels

Husband-and-wife team Adam and Cheri Willner started their careers in the fine-dining world. Their culinary background is what informs the menu at Washington Square’s Knead Bagels. They make unique bagels including atogarashi-spiced (Japanese seven spice) bagel and a black sesame bagel with a full menu of house-made bagel accompaniments. Order the sausage, egg, and cheese (a favorite among customers), with house-made sausage, or the chicken salad, which is also made in-house from chickens butchered specifically for their sandwiches.

📍725 Walnut St., 🌐, 📷 @kneadbagels

Philip Korshak began baking bagels out of Angelo’s Pizzeria on select mornings, turning the residency into pop-ups. Now, he has a shop of his own in East Passyunk with lines of poetry displayed in the windows. Korshak uses a decade-old starter (named Helen Mirren) to create his boiled-then-baked bagels, which are available in classic flavors including plain, everything, egg, poppy, onion, and sesame, in addition to Cooper sharp long hot and blue cheese bagels. Korshak Bagels was named one of the 50 best restaurants in the whole country by the New York Times in 2021.

📍 1700 S. 10th St., 🌐, 📷 @korshak.bagels.poetry

It’s easy to get your hands on a bagel from Spread Bagelry, which has locations in Bryn Mawr and Wayne, along South Street, in Rittenhouse Square, and others. But these bagels, which get boiled in honey before roasting in a wood oven, are something different altogether — softer, breadier, sweeter. They are Montreal-style (thanks to the honey) at their core (though they’re shaped more like a New York bagel, which is fatter than its Canadian cousin). You can get a low-key bagel with cream cheese or go all-in with a brisket bagel sandwich.

📍Multiple locations, 🌐, 📷 @spreadbagelry

Not to be confused with Philly Style Bagels, Philly Bagels was one of the city’s first spots for good bagels (you may remember the neon “hot bagels” sign in the storefront of their South Street shop). 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 the traditional New York-style bagels, which are boiled then baked on “burlap-covered wooden boards,” according to its website. Philly Bagels remains a staple in the local breakfast scene and is popular among those looking for an unfussy bagel.

📍Multiple locations, 🌐, 📷 @spreadbagelry

Fishtown favorite Philly Style Bagels also sits in Old City with a shop that serves the same long-dough-fermented bagels as its Fishtown sibling. The bagels at both locations have a crunch and dense chew, along with a malty sweetness thanks to a boil in a local beer. You can order yourself individual bagels and packages of cream cheese, or go for a bagel sandwich (classic lox, egg and cheese, and more).

📍1451 E. Columbia Ave. and 218 Arch St., 🌐, 📷 @phillystylebagels

Tucked away in Queen Village you’ll find The Bagel Place, an unassuming storefront with plenty of seating for a quick breakfast and an online ordering system for takeout bagels. Bagels come in all of the classic options, along with pretzel (a customer favorite), blueberry, rosemary and cracked pepper, and French toast. The bagels are water-boiled and hand-rolled, and the spreads (there’s a sour pickle spread too) and sweet baked goods are homemade.

📍404 Queen St., 🌐, 📷

Fifth-generation bagel master Michael Leibowitz carries on the bagel-making tradition from his father, Melvin, who launched what is believed to be Philly’s first traditional bagel bakery (where the bagels are dropped in boiling water before baking), New York Bagels (now owned by someone else) in 1965. The classic bagel at Leibowitz’s Broomall shop is simple with all of the qualities you look for in a New York-style bagel — doughy and delicious.

📍2914 West Chester Pike, Broomall, 🌐, 📷

Owner Bonnie Sarana grew up eating New York bagels. And when she opened her bakery on East Passyunk Avenue, she began creating bagels similar to the ones she grew up with. The bagels at Vanilya are dense yet chewy with a nice outside 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 (veggie, plain, jalapeño, cucumber dill, and more) or in sandwiches like the lox and egg salad.

📍1611 E. Passyunk Ave., 🌐, 📷 @vanilya_baker

This microbakery in Northern Liberties is all about the sourdough bagels. They’re bubbly and pretty with vegan cream cheese offerings. Grab one to schmear or in a sandwich. And while you’re there, don’t skip out on the pastries including funfetti croissants and cardamom cinnamon cruffins. Note: The bakery is closed, but will reopen March 30.

📍631 N 2nd St., 🌐, 📷 @thekettleblackphilly

While Eeva is known for wood-fired pizza, sourdough bagels are prepared daily from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. The restaurant makes a naturally leavened bagel with Pennsylvania whole grains and local malt. You can find them at the cafe every morning with spreads, your choice of add-ons, or in a sandwich.

📍310 W Master St., 🌐, 📷 @eevaphilly

» READ MORE: Live your best life in Philly: Read our most useful stories here

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