Best Bagels Inside New York Slideshow

For those who are fans of a less-dense bagel, Absolute is the bagel place for you. The cracklin' crunchy exterior yields to a light, pillowy interior that still retains the right amount of chew. Make sure to drop by early, when they're at their freshest, and pick up a couple of their mini bagels while you're at it. No wonder there are lines out the door every morning.

5) Ess-a-Bagel

These classic, old-school bagel shops (there are two) are renowned for their huge, crunchy-skinned, chewy bagels. Established in 1976 by Gene and Florence Wilpon and her brother Aaron (their parents were bakers in Austria before coming to the U.S.), these monstrous bagels, and the entire, slightly intimidating Ess-a-Bagel experience (Don't forget to try the smoked fish and other spreads, and whatever you do, don't ask them to toast your bagel!) are alone worth the airfare to New York. Try the pumpernickel.

7) Murray's Bagels

Murray's has been turning out some of the city's best bagels since 1996, and it has some unexpected roots. Owner Adam Pomerantz was a vice president at Merrill Lynch before deciding to become a bagel man, and after apprenticing for a traditional wholesale bagel baker in New Jersey and studying every top bagel in the city he opened this charming little shop, named after his father (who would bring bagels home for the family every Thursday night). The secret? Traditional techniques, and the highest-quality ingredients available.

4) Terrace Bagels

On a charming street on the border between Brooklyn's Park Slope and Windsor Terrace neighborhoods sits the cozy Terrace Bagels, turning out near-perfect little rings of malty, chewy dough. Chatting with the countermen while waiting for your order makes for a perfect Brooklyn experience, and these bagels — fluffy, not too sweet, and big — make for a very satisfying meal.

6) Kossar's Bialys

They may be most famous for their bialys, the smaller, onion-filled cousin of the bagel, but the bagels made in this Lower East Side institution are among the best you'll find in Manhattan. Kossar's bagels are smallish, hand-rolled and kettle-boiled, dense and chewy, and always fresh. They won't toast or make you a tuna sandwich, but with bagels this good, any adulteration is unnecessary.

3) Bagel Oasis

Hidden on a service road off the Long Island Expressway in the city's Queens borough, this little bagel shop really is an oasis. Open 24/7 since 1961, Bagel Oasis' recipe — water, flour, salt, yeast, and malt syrup — hasn't changed since, and the kettle-boiling results in a crunchy outer crust and a moist, chewy inside. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

2) Tal Bagels

Firm and crunchy on the outside, soft, dense, and chewy on the inside... Tal's been the standard-bearer for the non-fluffy New York bagel (which was in fact the original approach) for years. They're still big enough to make a gut-busting sandwich, but right out of the oven with butter is the recommended approach.

1) Bagel Hole

This tiny, 27-year-old Park Slope bagelry makes bagels the old-fashioned way, closer to the style of the bagel bakers union that regulated bagel standards more than 100 years ago than that of its fluffy, oversized brethren. Bagel Hole owner Phil Romanzis bagels are small, dense without being heavy, chewy, have a great crunch, and are made fresh throughout the day, so theres always something hot to try. Theres no toaster, no seating; just fresh bagels and a refrigerator supplied with cream cheese, lox, and soda (they'll make sandwiches, but it holds up the line during the morning rush). Take the hint and eat the bagel hot, right out of the bag, on its own. Its big enough to fill you up, but wont send you into a carbohydrate coma. For the true New York bagel experience, Bagel Hole really is the winner.