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.
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.
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
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