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We Attempt to Solve NYC’s Greatest Mystery: What’s the Best Bagel in the Five Boroughs?

Not a NYC bagel.

Not a NYC bagel.

People in this town are convinced they are bagel experts. They know the best shop, the appropriate hour to stop in and what combination of toppings rounds it all out. What makes a NYC bagel better than the ones in other cities? It’s not the water, it’s the attitude.

The gluten-tolerant SuperVegan staff members want to help you locate the best bagels in the bagel capital of the world:

Deborah Diamant insists that Bergen Bagels (473 Bergen St., Brooklyn) toasts her whole wheat everything bagel before applying a liberal layer of scallion tofu.

Jason Das can be found eating a whole wheat sesame bagel with scallion tofu, cucumber and tomato at Bagel Bob’s (51 University Pl., Manhattan).

Olivia Lane, who buys her bagels at Earthmatters (177 Ludlow St., Manhattan), thinks bagels are best nude, like all great things.

Patrick Kwan loves Bagels On the Square (7 Carmine St., Manhattan) where he orders a toasted sun-dried tomato bagel with sun-dried tomato tofu for an über tomato kick.

Tod Emko keeps it simple at Bagels & More (331 Lexington Ave., Manhattan) with plain tofu on a whole wheat bagel.

Our vegan accountant, Kim, is a fan of Terrace Bagels (224 Prospect Park West, Brooklyn) and thinks toasted plain bagels with sliced tomatoes is a tasty, economically sound meal.

What’s your favorite bagel, Dear Reader?

This is one of Supervegan’s posts for Vegan MoFo 2009.


  1. Comment by


    on #

    David’s Bagels on 1st and 14th R.I.P.

  2. Comment by


    on #

    Ess a Bagel on 1st ave and 21st street–with either the fantastic hummus, the eggplant caponata or the sundried tomato tofu spread. And they have everything whole wheat bagels, which are fantastic.

  3. Comment by


    on #

    Metropolitain Bakery in Philadelphia made some nice bagels for a while, but after 10 years I’ve yet to have a really good bagel boiled and baked in NYC. There’s plenty of great bread here though.

  4. Comment by

    Can Baskent

    on #

    By far, Bagelsmith is the best! Everything bagel toasted with tofu sun-dried tomato will make you reborn! It is in Williamsburg on Bedford Ave and N7th.

  5. Comment by

    Jason Das

    on #

    For the record, I have never actually eaten the sandwich described at Bagel Bob’s, and I’m not even sure it’s something they can make. (My long, wandering, musing on the state of NYC bageldom was severely abridged by the writer. But whatever, Bagel Bob’s makes a perfectly decent bagel.)

    Regardless: Ask for cucumbers on your bagels! So good.

  6. Comment by


    on #

    You might want to check into Terrace Bagels. I loved their bagels, but when I became vegan I asked them about their bagel making, and they said they use egg in the dough. They explained in great detail that it was proportionally a small amount of egg in there, but I’d love to know if that was wrong info or has changed.

  7. Comment by


    on #

    Absolute Bagels on Broadway between 107th and 108th!!! The BEST! And they have about 500 kinds of tofu cream cheese!

  8. Comment by


    on #

    Not to burst any balloons, but most of the tofu cream cheese served at the bagel shops is tofu mixed with real dairy cream cheese, not vegan at all. They do it to reduce cholesterol content and calories.

  9. Comment by

    Jason Das

    on #

    Not saying you’re wrong, JackMackeral, but how do you know that?

    In any case, I suspect a lot of the Jewish bagel shops places would care about the non-dairy purity for Kosher reasons.

  10. Comment by


    on #

    I asked at a bunch, seems unless they say its Tofutti, its got dairy in it. Few bagel shops are actually jewish run

  11. Comment by


    on #

    Wow, JackMackerel, that is some bubble-bursting news indeed. I wonder if it’s also a price issue? This is just speculation though…

  12. Comment by


    on #

    I just called three bagel shops in Brooklyn and I’m happy with what I learned — since I don’t need to restart my vegan clock!

    Bergen Bagels in Prospect Heights: tofu spreads are ALL TOFU. There’s no dairy in them.

    Bagel World in Park Slope: tofu spreads are ALL TOFU. There’s no dairy in them.

    Terrace Bagels: Only the egg bagels have egg in ’em. Tofu spreads? ALL TOFU, no dairy.

  13. Comment by


    on #

    Just dropping in three years later to say JackMackerel’s comment is wrong – most shops do NOT mix tofu cream cheese with dairy cream cheese. How do I know? I’m lactose intolerant – cheese makes me sick, tofu doesn’t. (Which is one major reason why it would make NO sense for shops to mix tofu and dairy cream cheese together, and label it tofu – it would be misleading to customers who have to avoid dairy for health reasons, and could get the shop in serious trouble. Not to mention his explanation about reducing cholesterol content and calories – tofu cream cheese is lower in cholesterol, but not significantly lower in calories. And if they really wanted to provide customers with a lower cholesterol, lower cal option, wouldn’t it make more sense to just serve tofu cream cheese, instead of a tofu/dairy mix?) I have never encountered a bagel shop where the tofu cream cheese had dairy cream cheese in it.