The Bagel Debate: Our Favorites in Brooklyn

The Bagel Debate: Our Favorites in Brooklyn

Bagels. They’re among our fair city’s most controversial foods, right up there with pizza and pastrami, so it’s no surprise that definitive statements can ruffle a few feathers. Yesterday, The New York Times (our own paper of record!) published a story titled “The Best Bagels Are in California (Sorry, New York)” that’s reignited the age-old “debate”. We say “debate,” because it’s one thing to say that you prefer Smith Street bagels over Avenue M Kosher, but when it comes to the best bagel city, there’s just no question – we all have our own.

People chiming in on the argument include the Mayor (“Yeah, absolutely not”), the Times’ own metro section, Councilmember Justin Brannan (“Yo, @nytimes. You spelled Brooklyn wrong”). The story and subsequent argument have been picked up by Secret NYC, Eater, and SFGATE.

We’ve rounded up some of our favorites in the borough. When you have opinions about what we’ve missed, which you surely will, make sure to let us know with strongly worded comments.

Bagel Boy

8002 3rd Avenue, between 80th and 81st streets, 2601 East 16th Street, between Avenue 2 and Sheepshead Bay Road.

Yeah, Bagel Boy has a Jersey location, but we have to share some things sometimes. Grab a catering bagel wheel for your office (or yourself) and go to town.

Bagel Hole

400 7th Avenue, between 12th and 13th streets.

These bagels, by their own definition, are “hot, crispy, and chewy”. They’ve been around since the mid-eighties and still know exactly how to do things right.

Baker’s Dozen Bagels

788 Manhattan Avenue, between Meserole Avenue and Calyer Street.

Grab hand-rolled bagels from Baker’s Dozen, a neighborhood institution.

Bergen Bagels

473 Bergen Street, between Flatbush and 6th Ave.

From-scratch, no preservatives, classic flavors. That’s what Bergen does best.

Dyker Park Bagels

713 86th Street, between Barry and 7th Ave.

Purists beware: Dyker Park does have rainbow bagels on the menu. Even so, they’ve been listed on Thrillist’s Best Bagel Shops list more than once.


357 Grand Street, between Marcy Ave and Havemeyer Str.

Something a bit more “modern,” if you will, can be found at Gertie, with their colorful atmosphere and bigger menu.

Hot Bagels

127 Church Avenue, between McDonald Avenue and E. 2nd Street.

Good service, good bagels, and a long neighborhood history make this one a local favorite.

Olde Brooklyn Bagel Shoppe

645 Vanderbilt Avenue, between St. Marks Avenue and Prospect Place.

Olde Brooklyn Bagel Shoppe has all the classics, and a baker’s dozen of the bagels is only $15.

Shelsky’s Brookly Bagels

453 4th Avenue, between 10th and 11th streets.

Another NYTimes favorite, the Fourth Avenue iteration of Shelsky’s lives up the hype— fresh and quick like a shop should be.

Smith Street

202 Smith Street, between Baltic and Butler Str.

This spot is in a great central location and offers a huge variety of cream cheeses. Yum.

Terrace Bagels

222 &222A Prospect Park West, between 16th and Windsor Pl.

Another place that knows how to get the job done. You can’t go wrong with anything here, really, but we’re partial to the whitefish salad.

Ave M Kosher Bagels

1712 Avenue M, between E. 17th and E. 18th Str.

Honorable mention:

Brownstone Bagels

671 Union Street, between 4th and 5th Ave.

Allow me the indulgence of including the bagel shop I live over, Brownstone Bagels. It may not be the most critically acclaimed, or the best in the country, or even necessarily the best on the block, but it’s the one that’s closest to my heart. It’s there for a perfectly satisfactory Sunday morning sausage egg and cheese, or my roommate’s psychotic order of toasted sesame, extra butter, and they usually have only mildly judgemental looks for the pajamas and slide sandals we usually wear.

Isn’t that what we all really want from our bagel place, in the end?