The 14 Best Bagel Shops In NYC, Ranked

No day in New York City is complete without a delicious breakfast bagel for the first meal of the day, or a hearty bagel sandwich for lunch. There are bagel shops around every corner in the city, from traditional Jewish delis serving up smoked fish bagels to more modern shops serving up bacon and egg bagels. There's no shortage of baked and boiled bagels in a wide range of flavors to try. 

The sheer number of bagel shops in NYC makes hunting down the best spots a challenge. Life is short, and nobody wants to waste their money on an average bagel, so how do you know where to start?

Whatever type of bagel you're in the mood for, we've got it. We've rounded up the 14 best bagel shops in NYC. We've even ranked them — looking at factors such as prices, menu options, and how each shop prepares and bakes its bagels — ending with the best bagel shop in the city. This way, you'll know where to go the next time a bagel craving strikes.

14. Murray's Bagels

Murray's Bagels is a New York City bagel institution. Opened in Greenwich Village in 1996, this place is packing old-school vibes, thanks to its brick walls and wood floors. As you'd expect from a traditional shop, Murray's hand-rolls all its bagels rather than using a machine. Doing so results in sturdy bagels that aren't too dense and taste slightly sweet. Speaking of flavors, the shop offers around 20 different types of bagels, starting from about $1.85 per bagel.

One Yelp reviewer said of this bagel shop, "Their bagels are nice and well done on the outside yet doughy and chewy on the inside, the way a good bagel should be." Another reviewer praised the caliber of the shop's bagels, saying, "The quality of the bagels here is simply the best — they're crusty, chewy, and have just the right texture for a perfect bagel."

There are loads of flavored cream cheese options to choose from at Murray's, from scallion to sun-dried tomato and roasted garlic. There are even sweet flavors like maple raisin walnut. The selection of smoked fish sandwiches starts at around $14 each, with options like smoked trout and lake sturgeon. You can also sample breakfast sandwiches like The Bubeleh. It's made with eggs, Nova Scotia salmon, and a crispy potato latke.

It's easy to see why Murray's has earned a place in our ranking. However, the high prices of its fish sandwiches mean the shop ranks lower down.

13. Bagel Hole

This smaller shop deserves a place in our ranking, even if its bagels aren't the best in NYC. From its Brooklyn location, Bagel Hole serves up bagels more well-done than most others. They are golden brown, with a slightly chewy interior. Bagel Hole believes its bagels don't need any further heating, so the shop famously doesn't have a toaster.

Bagel Hole isn't the place to sit and linger over your breakfast bagel; there isn't seating, there's a somewhat limited menu, and the shop is cash-only. This translates to a grab-and-go type of vibe. But the bagels are still worth writing home about. 

One Yelp reviewer said, "This is exactly what a Brooklyn bagel shop, and a Brooklyn bagel, should be." Another reviewer on Tripadvisor commented on the freshness of the bagels, saying, "The bagels here are the absolute best and are always fresh."

Additionally, you can choose from a selection of cold cuts and cheeses for your lunchtime bagel. Feel free to enjoy the reasonably priced menu, as well. Bagel Hole is a great place to satisfy your bagel craving if you're in Brooklyn. However, the shop's small menu and lack of seating keep it from ranking higher.

12. Tompkins Square Bagels

If you like your bagels huge and springy, this bagel chain won't disappoint. Its bagels are kettle-boiled, a process that helps to give each one a crispy crust. This business is so popular that there's always a long line, at whichever of the shop's three locations you visit. Tompkins Square Bagel owner Christopher Pugliese prides his original East Village location on being as welcoming as the Brooklyn shops he knew during childhood. But you might notice this inviting atmosphere at every location.

The chain's unique offering of cream cheese flavors won't suit all tastes, with unexpected savory spreads like chipotle avocado or wasabi. There are also distinctive sweet flavors, like birthday cake or chocolate chip cookie dough. 

Fortunately, breakfast sandwiches here are reasonably priced. Each one costs about $9 to $10 each. If you're interested, we recommend sandwiches like Murray the Cop. It's made with eggs, roasted peppers, pesto, and mozzarella. If that's not your vibe, you could try the El Chapo. It's made with braised pork, roasted tomatoes, caramelized onions, and chipotle mayonnaise. There are simpler sandwich options, as well. 

Patrons come for the bagels but return for the excellent customer service. As one Yelp reviewer said, "The owner was there, and he is so incredibly nice! He really cares about his staff and customers. He kept making sure people were happy." The only thing stopping Tompkins Square Bagels from ranking higher on our list is the rather quirky range of cream cheese flavors.

11. Absolute Bagels

There's generally a long lunchtime queue at Absolute Bagels. That's probably due to the fact that this shop's bagels are a bit bigger than some. To make them even more appetizing, Absolute Bagels' goodies tend to be coated with an attractive glossy finish. 

You'll find over a dozen bagel flavors here, mostly favorites and traditional options. You can purchase an egg bagel, or a cream cheese bagel topped with Nova (a type of smoked salmon). There are also delicious spreads like whitefish salad or walnut raisin Tofutti to choose from.

Reviewers on Yelp praised the warm, chewy bagels. One reviewer wrote: "I didn't know bagels could be this good." Prices are reasonable, too. You can purchase a bagel and cream cheese for as low as $1.95. Just make sure to bring cash, as this place doesn't take credit cards.

The more traditional menu here might please some, but a lack of variety means that Absolute Bagels is closer to the bottom of our ranking than some other shops.

10. Empire Bagels

Empire Bagels was established in 1994. The small bagel shop chain now has several NYC locations. Its bagels have earned a loyal following over the years, due to their fluffy-yet-crispy texture. Popular varieties often sell out in the morning.

There are several varieties of cream cheese offered, though the selection pales in comparison to the offerings of other shops on our list. You'll also find breakfast sandwiches starting at around $6 each and gourmet sandwiches at around $10 each. For the latter, you can purchase sandwiches like the Reuben Pastrami. It's made with sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, and Russian dressing. There are also sandwiches like the Italian Stallion, made with grilled chicken, fresh mozzarella, roasted peppers, and pesto.

These bagels are pretty good. One Yelp reviewer called them "some of the best bagels I've had in NYC." With prices starting at around $1.50 per bagel, this shop is affordable, as well. However, even though the bagels aren't expensive, they aren't the highest quality, either. That's why Empire Bagels falls around the middle of our ranking. 

9. David's Bagels

David's Bagels, another New York City bagel shop, serves up a seriously huge selection of bagels, sandwiches, and spreads. You can get classic varieties like sesame, pumpernickel, garlic, everything, onion, poppy, rye, salt, raisin, and more. You'll also find a wide range of flavored cream cheeses, with offerings like chive, strawberry, and vegetable spread. Locals know that the line here moves quickly, making the wait worth it. 

There are also several different egg sandwiches, salad sandwiches, cheese sandwiches, meat sandwiches, and many more menu items to explore. Bagels here are also affordable. You can purchase a single bagel for approximately $1.55 each. Despite having a wide variety of affordable bagels and bagel sandwiches, we don't think David's Bagels is the best possible place to visit in NYC. The seating area at this particular bagel shop could be better, keeping this business firmly in the middle of our ranking.

8. Ess-a-bagel

Ess-a-bagel was established in 1976. This New York City bagel shop serves up hand-rolled bagels, baked fresh daily. These tender, chewy bagels have a delightfully crunchy exterior. One Yelp reviewer commented on the size of the bagels, saying they were "huge, doughy with a crispy edge and just delicious." You'll find all the usual flavors, plus mini bagels. But it isn't just the tasty fresh bagels that make us like Ess-a-bagel. We also appreciate its huge selection of cream cheese and tofu spreads. It offers interesting savory flavors like olive and quirky sweet flavors like red velvet.

A reviewer on Yelp said this was their favorite bagel spot in NYC for sweet bagels, recommending the blueberry bagel with strawberry cream cheese. For those seeking savory options, there's The Muriel. This sandwich is made with baked salmon salad, sliced tomatoes, and melted muenster cheese.

We've ranked Ess-a-bagel near the top of our list. This isn't only due to the shop's delicious bagels, but also its selection of sweet cream cheese options. This spot is great for those with a sweet tooth.

7. Russ & Daughters

Step inside this Lower East Side shop, and you'll feel like you've traveled back in time. Russ & Daughters first opened as an appetizing store — a traditional shop often serving Jewish cuisine — back in 1914. As the name implies, Russ & Daughters is a family-run business. It operates three NYC locations at the time of writing, with a fourth one planned to launch in spring 2023. All locations get very busy, especially on weekend mornings. It's not uncommon for certain items to sell out. 

Russ & Daughters earns a place on our list thanks to its wide selection of reasonably priced bagels, which start at around $1.50. Bagels here have a deliciously chewy texture but are fairly small by NYC standards. The shop's cream cheese is more traditional than the offerings in other shops. But this is what we love about Russ & Daughters: It keeps it old-school. You'll also find a huge range of smoked fish, including a selection of finely sliced cured and smoked salmon, plus various types of caviar.

The bagels themselves may be affordable, but Russ & Daughters' bagel sandwiches are more expensive than most. A bagel with Wild Western Nova runs will cost you $19. Another sandwich, like the Super Heebster – with whitefish, baked salmon salad, wasabi flying fish roe, and horseradish dill cream cheese — costs around $18. For these pricier menu items, Russ & Daughters isn't at the very top of our ranking.

6. Black Seed Bagels

Black Seed Bagels is a top-tier New York City bagel shop. The first location launched in the Nolita neighborhood of Manhattan in 2014. But today, the shop has around 10 locations.

There's no denying that this bagel shop deserves a top-ranking position. Its Montreal-style bagels are made with precision. These bagels are boiled in water with honey, made by hand, and baked in a wood-burning oven. With around 10 bagel varieties offered, Black Seed Bagels keeps things relatively traditional with its menu.

This simple approach extends to Black Seed Bagels' cream cheese offerings. The business has a small selection of around eight flavors. The spread menu includes tofu-based varieties. Signature sandwiches are also on the classic side. For example, The Brick Lane sandwich is made with pastrami, pickles, and Coleman's mustard. Another sandwich, the Turkey Reuben, is loaded with smoked turkey, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, and Russian dressing.

One thing to note is that the bagels here are on the pricier side. That said, the bagels that come out of this spot are so high-quality that this spot is mostly worth it.

5. Between the Bagel

It's not uncommon for New Yorkers to travel across the city for this Astoria shop's bagels. With a vast selection of bagels –including some more exciting offerings such as jalapeño sesame and asiago — you won't be disappointed by the shop's menu. Bagels are also very reasonably priced. They are also unique. A Yelp reviewer explained this, saying: "The bagel is a bit different here — a lot fluffier and not the traditional dense and chewy bagel you get in NYC."

Between the Bagel also offers several menu items that are influenced by Korean cuisine. Patrons celebrate the shop's complimentary fried kimchi balls. There is also a menu item called Seoul Meets Bagel. It's made with bulgogi, egg, American cheese, seaweed kimchi, and fiery gochujang mayo. For around $11, you could also enjoy a DAPS bagel, made with spicy Korean pork, grilled jalapeños, onions, mozzarella, kimchi slaw, and gochujang mayo. 

4. H&H Bagels

H&H Bagels is one of the oldest bagel shops on our list, founded in 1972. Its name comes from founders Helmer Toro and Hector Hernandez. Although the shop's original location closed in 2011, the business has five NYC locations, as of 2023, with plans for even more in the works. If the H&H logo seems familiar, you may have noticed it in the television show "Seinfeld." The shop has also been featured in other shows, like "Sex and the City" and "How I Met Your Mother."

This spot is known for its fresh bagels. You'll find some more unique bagel flavors here, like jalapeño cheddar, asiago cheese, and blueberry. The prices aren't the cheapest, with costs of around $2.30 for a single bagel, and deli sandwiches costing upwards of $11 each.

The interior design isn't the most high-end, according to customers. One reviewer wrote: "H&H Bagels isn't the trendiest of bagel places — probably because it's more of a locals place — but their bagels are excellent." All the same, the spot has earned a place near the top of our ranking, thanks to its exciting bagel flavors. This NYC institution is a must-visit.

3. Bo's Bagels

Bo's Bagels has a reputation for serving some of the best bagels in the city. The shop prides itself on its old-school baking methods, in which bagels are rolled and shaped by hand before being kettle-boiled and baked, resulting in bagels with a chewy interior and crispy exterior. Bo's Bagels serves up around a dozen different types of bagels. Expect all the usual favorites, plus some more special offerings like za'atar blueberry and pumpernickel cranberry. 

Hungry for a bagel sandwich? Dive into The Bowser. This bagel dog consists of a hotdog served on a bagel. It comes with house-made chili, cheese, and red onions. For breakfast, there's The Andrew. It's made with egg, bacon, sausage, maple syrup, and scallion cream cheese. You can even build your own bagel sandwich with a huge selection of meats, cheeses, and extras.

This bagel shop is one of those spots that quickly become a favorite. It's not unheard of for NYC residents to travel across the city to bag the shop's bagels. We can see why. It narrowly misses out on the spot due to its shorter operating hours. 

2. Utopia Bagels

Utopia Bagels is a Queens shop. It was founded in the Whitestone neighborhood in 1981. We appreciate the traditional baking methods instituted by restaurant leaders Scott Spellman and Anthony Pantaleo. This business individually hand-rolls, kettle-boils, and bakes their bagels for a crispy crust, making around 100,000 bagels a week. This includes bagels in flavors like plain, seeded, rye, and French toast. There are over a dozen types of bagels to choose from, most of which are reasonably priced at $1.75 per bagel.

Expect long lines, especially on weekend mornings. Patrons queue up, not only for the bagels, but for the shop's delicious sandwiches. One reviewer on Yelp recommends the Yankee Clipper sandwich. It's made with a chicken cutlet, melted mozzarella, sun-dried tomatoes, and mayonnaise. Expect to pay around $9 to $14 each for a specialty sandwich.

This spot narrowly misses the top spot on our ranking. It was a close call, but Utopia Bagels offered less of an exciting bagel menu, with fewer smoked fish sandwiches.

1. Shelsky's

There are several reasons we think that Shelsky's is the best bagel shop in NYC. First, there is the shop's huge range of flavors. It offers plain, sesame, everything, pumpernickel, egg, and more types. 

Then there's the baking process. These bagels are extremely flavorful, thanks to a sourdough fermentation process that takes three days. Whether you grab a window seat in the original Brooklyn shop or check out Shelsky's Cobble Hill location, fish lovers will be right at home. There are several types of salmon, plus various types of herring, whitefish, mackerel, and trout. This spot even has homemade pastrami, an extensive range of cream cheese flavors, and a delicious knish selection.

You could grab a Brooklyn Native sandwich. It's made with Gaspe nova, smoked whitefish salad, pickled herring, and sour pickles. This is just one of many similar combinations available here. As one Yelp reviewer put it, "If you like smoked fish in any form (or just deliciousness in general), you're going to like Shelsky's." Another commented, "Shelsky's has some of the best bagels and possibly the best lox of NYC."

Shelsky's truly has earned the top spot in our ranking, thanks to its unique fermentation process, huge range of smoked fish, and extensive selection of bagel flavors. If you're looking for the city's best bagels, this is the place to be.