The Philadelphia area’s bagel scene has been expanding for the last decade, with shops such as Knead, Spread, Bagel Place, Philly Style Bagels, and Bart’s joining long-running establishments such as South Street Philly Bagels, the Original Bagel Co., K&A, and New York Bagel Bakery. Add to that the pop-ups, as well as the stable of bakeries turning out respectable versions.

First, let’s be clear that this is in no way a critical guide to the “best” bagels in the Philadelphia area. There’s no way to qualify “best.” This simply is a crowd-sourced, deep-dive collection of four dozen favorites in the city and suburbs.

You probably have an opinion about bagels. If you’re from New York, you definitely have an opinion about bagels, based on the bedrock belief that nothing good could possibly exist outside of the five boroughs. Some may begrudgingly accept a bagel from North Jersey or Long Island. I beg to differ. I’d stack up a plump, shiny half-and-a-half from Overbrook Park’s New York Bagel Co. against anything from H&H in Manhattan any day. (I spent my early years in Wynnefield eating New York Bagels, followed by a move to Northeast Philadelphia and the long-gone Brooklyn Bagels across from Roosevelt Mall.)

Inquirer critic Craig LaBan delved into the technical aspects of bagels in his 2019 round-up, in which he says he finds the New York-style typified by Aaron Wagner’s various Philly Bagels shops that began in Philadelphia with South Street Philly Bagels in Queen Village. That shop was inspired by the Wagner family’s Bagel Spot in Cherry Hill.

Let others choose pneumatically gifted bagels. I prefer mine on the smaller side with abundant toppings, a sweet crust, and a dense middle. Montreal-style bagels check those boxes, so I head to a Spread Bagelry location or to Rey Bagel Bistro in Marlton or to the online middleman Goldbelly, which ships bagels to your doorstep from St. Viateur in Montreal.

Some of my favorites are included in the accompanying photographs. I’m also fond of the Bagel Place in Queen Village, now serving out of a side window; Philly Style Bagels in Fishtown for salt-and-pepper bagels on weekends; Knead in Washington Square West, whose bold flavors such as togarachi jazz up any morning, and I’m particularly enthusiastic about Bart’s Bagels, which opened in West Philadelphia in early 2020, just before the pandemic. Not only are the bagels well-topped, chewy, and dense, but Kyle and Brett Frankel’s spreads, such as whitefish salad with massive chunks of fish, their sliced lox, and roasted meats are well worth a drive.

Note that most of these shops sell only bagels, while a few are general bakeries. Bagelati in Cinnaminson, in a quirky twist, sells bagels on one side and gelato on the other. The Spread Bagelry at 2401 Walnut St. has a taphouse from Workhorse Brewing on premises; it’s closed now but is due to reopen in January.

Philadelphia

Bagel Place, 404 Queen St.

Bart’s, 3945 Lancaster Ave.

Dodo Bagels (pop-up only)

Essen, 1437 E. Passyunk Ave.

Four Worlds, 4634 Woodland Ave.

High Street, 101 S. Ninth St.

K’Far, 110 S. 19th St.

Kettle Black, 631 N. Second St.

Kismet (mostly wholesale, but allows limited pickup)

Knead, 725 Walnut St.

Korshak (soon to open at 10th and Morris Streets)

Metropolitan Bakery (262 S. 19th St., 4013 Walnut St., Reading Terminal Market)

New York Bagel Bakery, 7555 Haverford Ave.

Philly Style, 1451 E. Columbia Ave.

Schmear It, 36th and Ludlow Streets and 12th and Filbert Streets (selling South Street Philly Bagels)

Philly Bagels, 613 S. Third St., 1811 JFK Blvd., 1742 E. Passyunk Ave., 1705 Chestnut St., and 2001 Fitzwater St.

Spread Bagelry, 262 S 20th St.; 3602 Chestnut St.; 443 South St.; and 2401 Walnut St.

Vanilya, 1611 E Passyunk Ave.

Pennsylvania Suburbs

When the neon sign is lit, hot bagels are available at the Original Bagel Co. in Broomall.
MICHAEL KLEIN / Staff
When the neon sign is lit, hot bagels are available at the Original Bagel Co. in Broomall.

A&S, 2137 Galloway Rd., Bensalem

Bagel Barrel, 60 W. State St., Doylestown

Bagel Train, 175 S. Main St., Yardley

Bagelicious, 216 W. Beidler Rd., King of Prussia

Brandywine Valley Bread, 3941 Lincoln Highway East, Downingtown

Country Bagel, 145 E. Gay St., West Chester

Custom Bagels, 15 S. Olive St., Media

Delancey Street Bagels, 50 E. Wynnewood Rd., Wynnewood

Everything Bagel, 101 N. Main St., North Wales

Fill-A-Bagel, 100 E. Pennsylvania Ave., Oreland, and 424 Old York Rd., Jenkintown

Original Bagel Co., 2914 West Chester Pike, Broomall

Red House Bagels, 3677 Hulmeville Rd., Bensalem

Roling’s, 7848 Montgomery Ave., Elkins Park

Spread Bagelry, 915 Lancaster Ave., Bryn Mawr, and 134 N. Wayne Ave.

Up-Ryes, 22 N. Bryn Mawr Ave., Bryn Mawr

Village Bagel, 1438 Easton Rd., Warrington

New Jersey Suburbs

Bacon, egg, and cheese bagel from Sharky's Bagels in Blackwood, It's usually made into a breakfast sandwich.
MICHAEL KLEIN / Staff
Bacon, egg, and cheese bagel from Sharky's Bagels in Blackwood, It's usually made into a breakfast sandwich.

Bagel Bin, 201 Kresson Gibbsboro Rd., Voorhees

Bagel Cafe, 2103 Branch Pike, Cinnaminson

Bagel Spot, 600 Kings Highway North, Cherry Hill

Bagelati, 1096 Route 130, Cinnaminson

Central Park, 34 Haddon Ave., Westmont

Constellation Collective, 685 Haddon Ave., Collingswood

K&A, 1426 Route 70 East, Cherry Hill

Medford Bagels, 7 Jackson Rd., Medford

Moore Bagels, 65 East Route 70, Marlton

Redhouse Bagels, 294 South White Horse Pike, Audubon

Rey Bagel Bistro, 101 Route 73, Marlton

Sharky’s, 4 Somerdale Rd., Blackwood

Victoria’s Bagel Bistro, 3131 Route 38, Mount Laurel

Village Bagel, 108 Swedesboro Rd., Mullica Hill

Westmont Bagel, 682 Cuthbert Blvd., Westmont

A Jerusalem-style bagel from K'Far, 110 S. 19th St.
MICHAEL KLEIN / Staff
A Jerusalem-style bagel from K'Far, 110 S. 19th St.