Specialty Bagel Shops In The Upper East Side
When we think iconic NYC food, a few collective items pop into our heads: pizza, pretzels, and bagels! Today we’re going to be taking a deep dive into exploring some of the specialty bagel shops located on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Whether your preference is plain and buttered, everything and smeared, or onion with tofu vegetable cream cheese, you’ll find it all within these shops.
These are all within a neighborhood stroll of each other, so while you can pop into one to grab your breakfast, we also think it would be fun to do a “bagel crawl”, so you can pick your very favorite! The below itinerary has your starting uptown and working your way downtown…but of course reverse the order depending on where you live. Let the noshing begin!
#1: Bagel Bob’s
Located at 1641 York Avenue between 86th and 87th Streets, Bagel Bob’s is just a stone’s throw from Gracie Mansion, and a favorite among neighborhood locals. In order to keep authentic to the “real” New York bagel, you can expect each and every one to be hand-rolled and made with natural ingredients without cholesterol or preservatives. Even when there’s a line, it moves quick, and the customer service is top notch. In fact, their owner responds to every single Yelp review, both positive and negative–which is a sure fire sign that they take their customer service very seriously! Start small here and go for their adorable mini-bagels, meaning you can try a variety of combinations without feeling over-stuffed.
#2: Tal Bagels
With two locations relatively close to each other in the Upper East Side (333 East 86th or 1228 Lexington), take your pick! Tal Bagels is another favorite among residents in the area, and has seating inside too, if you want to catch your breath over your bagel and cup of coffee. Try their lox with scallion cream cheese on a flat everything bagel, as they put salt on their everything bagels which gives it an unexpected kick you won’t find elsewhere.
#3: H&H Midtown Bagels East
Located at 1551 2nd Avenue at 80th Street, H&H Midtown Bagels East opened for business on the Upper East Side in 1974, and still continues its legacy of making New York bagels the old-fashioned way. And what was is that, you ask? Besides using the highest quality ingredients this side of Brooklyn, the bagels are proofed, kettle boiled, bathed in cold water, and baked on burlap covered wood boards in vintage revolving tray ovens. This process is much more lengthy than the “modern” way of baking bagels, but totally worth it with the difference in taste. And judging from H&H’s cult following, other customers clearly think so, too. We’re a big fan of their cinnamon raisin bagel with apple butter cream cheese.
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Not that we’re playing favorites, but if you only have time for one stop on this bagel crawl, we recommend H&H be that spot.
#4: Bagels & Co. Eastside
Located at 1428 York Avenue at 76th Street, Bagels & Co. Eastside is a true Jewish bakery (hence you know their bagels are going to be the cream of the crop!), but because of this beware that they are closed on Saturday–so if you’re doing a weekend bagel crawl, make it for a Sunday! The claim to fame here (besides everything being kosher and delicious) is they have the famous rainbow bagel, meaning you no longer have to trek all the way to Brooklyn to get your Instagram shot! Besides being pretty, they’re really good, too.
#5: Bagel Works
Located at 1229 1st Avenue between 66th and 67th Streets, Bagel Works does all their baking on-premises, meaning you are guaranteed fresh bagels, no matter what time of day you pop in. They’ve been around since 1983, and the current owner, Mona, has been there from the very beginning (over 30 years!) She’s also very active in commenting to her customers via Yelp, which is a great sign of terrific management, in our experience. They’re famous for their blueberry bagels here, and we suggest pairing it with the sun-dried tomato cream cheese spread to engage your tastebuds in a sweet and savory feast.