Where to Eat Bagels in Philadelphia
All our favorite bagel shops in the city to pick up a quick breakfast schmear, a solid breakfast sandwich or a baker's dozen.
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While debates still rage about whether a Philadelphia-made bagel can ever truly compete with New York standard bearers, it’s undeniable that our city has experienced something of a bagel renaissance in recent years. We’ve got boutique bakeries adding limited weekly runs of bagels to their menus or amping up their rounds with unique ingredients, a whole generation of bagel shops that opened during the city’s bagel boomlet of the 2010s, and longtime bakeries passing on family traditions. The next time you’re looking for a lox sandwich, an egg and cheese, or just a classic schmear, turn to one of these solid options.
Essen Bakery, East Passyunk
Tova du Plessis’ tiny Jewish bakery has a lot going for it — the black and white cookies and challah are must-try items — and her bagels, now made daily, are no exception. Her chewy, generously-flavored rounds are perfect topped with cream cheese, lox, capers, and onions, spread with house-made veggie schmear, or bagged and brought home for private consumption.
Delancey Street Bagels, Wynnewood
Some of our favorite bagels in the region are made at this small shop just outside city limits, with a full slate of classic flavors and a long menu of sandwiches, melts, and even chicken parm served on bagels. Plus, you can grab sweet treats like rugelach, schnecken, and black and white cookies while you’re there.
South Street Philly Bagels, Queen Village, Center City, East Passyunk, Graduate Hospital
Owner Mike Wagner learned to hand-form bagels from his Brooklynite father-in-law and continues the tradition today at his South Street flagship as well as their Chestnut Street outpost. Now, his son Aaron is spreading the family recipe to new neighborhoods with Fitzwater Street Philly Bagels and Passyunk Philly Bagels.
New York Bagel Bakery, Overbrook
A no-frills, carry-out shop turning out some of the best bagels in the city — the perfect combination of chewy-yet-tender on the inside, with a pleasantly crusty texture outside. They make their own spreads, like whitefish salad and hummus, in-house, too.
Philly Style Bagels, Fishtown
Collin Shapiro and Jonathan Zilber incubated their concept — an original bagel for Philly, boiled in Yards ESA and crusted in sesame, poppy seeds, or everything spice on the bottom and the top — at Bon Appétit’s pet Pizzeria Beddia in 2015; they were lauded by the mag as one of the best sandwiches in the country in 2016 (and scored a Best of Philly from us that same year).
Four Worlds Bakery, Cedar Park
Their sourdough bagels, heavy on the seedy toppings, are our favorites made west of the river. While not strictly traditional, owner Michael Dolich’s sourdough recipe adds flavor and rise while still keeping the bagels pleasantly dense and chewy.
The Bagel Place, Queen Village
This relative newcomer on the bagel scene (they opened back in 2017) does bialys and sweet baked goods in addition to a long list of bagel flavors, including pretzel (genius!) and French toast, which you can get schmeared with cream cheese in flavors like lemon poppyseed, sour pickle, blue cheese and rosemary, or apple cinnamon.
Vanilya Bakery, East Passyunk
This boutique bakery specializes in intricate, show-stopping cakes and other sweet treats, but they turn out Best of Philly-worthy bagels, too. Get one as a sandwich topped with roasted red peppers, harissa, and slices of creamy Brie.
Red House Bagels, Bensalem and Holland
This bagel maker supplies grocers and restaurants around the region with baked goodness, but you can also shop direct from the source at their Bucks County retail shops. Their multigrain everything is by far our favorite everyday bagel.
Knead Bagels, Washington Square West
Looking for nontraditional flavors for your breakfast? Knead has ’em: Bagels flavored with spicy togarashi are recommended along with the scallion-lime cream cheese; black rather than white sesame seeds top bagels schmeared with poblano cream cheese. For lunch, try a bagel topped with kale and smoked Gouda pimento cheese or Korean beef BBQ.
Spread Bagelry, Rittenhouse and University City
These Montreal-style bagels — distinguished by the honey water in which they’re boiled before being baked in a custom-built brick wood-fired oven — are available in classic flavors, plus a few harder-to-find varieties like whole wheat everything and chocolate chip.
Kettle Black, Northern Liberties
Everything we’ve had at Kettle Black, from the loaves to the croissants, has tasted delicious — but it’s their pitch-black bagels spiked with activated charcoal that are even more stunning to look at (and helped scored this bakery a Best of Philly win last year).
Metropolitan Bakery, Rittenhouse, University City, Market East
Philly’s longtime artisan bread purveyor makes just about every kind of loaf, roll, pastry, or sweet under the sun — and bagels are no exception. The bakery, which sources locally and regionally grown and milled flours to make its breads and bagels, sells chewy, voluminous rounds; their flavorful multigrain, studded with oats and seeds, is a favorite healthy choice.
Le Bus Bakery, Rittenhouse, Market East
Philly’s longtime wholesale bakery and caterer started in 1978 as a food truck built out of a converted school bus with a bake oven inside (hence the name). Today, their substantial, chewy bagels — in flavors like pumpernickel onion and fruit-packed apple cherry walnut — can be purchased direct from the bakery’s retail space in Rittenhouse or from The Market Bakery, which is fully stocked with Le Bus products, in Reading Terminal Market.