Is A Bagel Really A Bagel If It Isn't In NYC?

Listen, a bagel a day does keep the doctor away — and don't let anyone tell you differently. Everything about the chewy, round halos of glutenous heaven deeply nurtures our food-loving souls. Sweet bagels, savory bagels — even damn rainbow-colored bagels — we accept them all with open mouths and tubs of scallion cream cheese.

I definitely won't be the first to say it, but if you haven't had an NYC bagel you haven't ever really had a bagel — and what's more, perhaps you haven't ever really lived either. But don't worry, we're here to help! Scroll ahead for our ultimate boiled-and-baked hit list.

Photo: Via @freshtastesandplates.
Murray's Bagels
Murray's hand rolls bagels that will keep you fed for the day — seriously, they're huge (and delicious). Started nearly a decade ago by former VP at Merrill Lynch, Adam Pomerantz, this dough shop is a Greenwich Village darling. Just be prepared to arrive early OR wait in line (ah, New York).

Murray's Bagels, 500 6th Avenue (at W. 14th Street); 212-462-2830.
Photo: Via @vkrees.
Brownstone Bagels
This cash-only Park Slope spot is tucked onto the corner of a, you guessed it, brownstone-lined block. Whether you're in the market for a bacon, egg, and cheese on an everything bagel or just a lunchtime turkey and avocado sandwich situation, Brownstone has you covered. The bagels are thick, fluffy, and have just the right amount of crisp for your crunching.

Brownstone Bagels, 671 Union Street (at 4th Avenue) in Brooklyn; 718-622-6030.
Photo: Via @feedmefukme.
Ess-a-Bagel
Established back in 1976 by a family of Austrian bakers, Ess-a-Bagel hand rolls batches of jumbo bagels on the daily. And with an insane cream cheese selection, this midtown spot is capable of satisfying the most specific (and ravenous) of NYC rolled dough connoisseurs.

Ess-a-Bagel, 831 3rd Avenue (at E. 50th Street); 212-980-4315.
Photo: Via @pakstergram.
Russ & Daughters
Russ & Daughters is yet another kick-ass New York institution churning out classic Polish bagels and schmears. This truly old school spot has been run by the Russ family for the past 100 years — so you know you're in for a solid bagel with lox spread.

Russ & Daughters, multiple locations in Manhattan.
Photo: Via @juliebean9.
Montague Street Bagels
This Brooklyn Heights' counter shop doles out hand-rolled bagels, sandwiches, wraps, and more. Grab your breakfast, lunch, or dinner (hey, they're open late) and take it to-go for a picnic on the promenade — there's nothing quite like munching a bagel while overlooking the Manhattan skyline.

Montague Street Bagels, 108 Montague Street (between Hicks and Jeffery Street) in Brooklyn; 718-237-2512.
Photo: Via @_ffat_.
Bagels On The Square
The ideal place for grabbing a bagel that you just can't wait to eat when you get home — so instead you park it in the park out front and dig in a.s.a.p. The spread here is ample and the joint is open 24-hours a day 7-days a week. Meaning it's never too late or too early to quench that toasted dough craving, however or whenever you like it.

Bagels On The Square, 7 Carmine Street (between Macdougal Street and 6th Avenue); 212-691-3041.
Photo: Courtesy of Bergen Bagels.
Bergen Bagels
For the seriously shcmear-obsessed — Bergen Bagels boasts 30 plus cream cheeses among other spreads. The consistency is fluffy-chewy and the flavors are wholly on point. We'll be making our very own bruschetta bagels this weekend: basil cream cheese and sliced tomato on a toasted garlic bagel.

Bergen Bagels, Multiple locations in Brooklyn.
Photo: Via @onehungryjew.
Zucker's Bagels
This spot just so happens to be right around the corner from R29's offices — so guess what's on the menu for bagel Fridays? Brown-bag bundles of warm, fluffy, and chewy discs with ample accompaniments of schmears and spreads. So if you happen to find yourself hungry and wandering the streets of Tribeca one morning, step into Zucker's and order up your very own bag of bagels.

Zucker's Bagels, 146 Chambers Street (at West Broadway); 212-608-5844.
Photo: Via @hanniebanny.
Kossar's Bialys
Looking for a bite of history alongside your morning lox spread? Kossar's is here to serve you a lesson or two in serious schmears. This LES spot spans back all the way to the 1930s and offers up the trifecta of bread collections: babkas, bagels, and bialys (the bagel's less-dense cousin).

Kossar's, 367 Grand Street (at Essex Street); 212-473-4810.
Photo: Via @onehungryjew.
La Bagel Delight
This Brooklyn establishment is as the name would suggest. The bagels are hand-rolled to ideal fluffy-chewiness, providing an ample vessel for melty cheese, crispy bacon, and runny eggs (or just a good smear of scallion cream cheese).

La Bagel Delight, Multiple locations in Brooklyn.
Photo: Via @amyschulmaneats.
Tompkins Square Bagels
Tompkins Square gets its fair share of Instagram attention — perhaps you've seen the Sunday snaps? Stacked breakfast sandys with enough ooey gooey melted cheese to satisfy the most hungover of bagel patrons. See you in the East Village this weekend?

Tompkins Square Bagels, 165 Avenue A (at E. 11th Street); 646-351-6520.
Photo: Via @childblock.
Absolute Bagels
A NYC institution, Absolute is absolutely the reliable boiled-and-baked dough joint that you simply must visit. This UWS institution serves up fat, fluffy, and just the right ratio of chewy-crunchy bagels. Make sure you arrive early in the morning when the bounty is fresh and the lines not yet gargantuan.

Absolute Bagels, 2788 Broadway (at W. 108th Street); 212-932-2052.
Photo: Via @dianaeatsnyc.
Smith Street Bagels
Smith Street does not yet hold legend status in the world of NYC bagels — but it very well should. This unassuming Carroll Gardens café has some truly delectable smears, spreads, and breakfast sandwich combos. The bagels are big, golden, and chewy perfection.

Smith Street Bagels, 202 Smith Street (at Baltic Street) in Brooklyn; 718-858-6000.
Photo: Via @caylaz.
Black Seed Bagels
Black Seed is to bagels as SoHo is to Manhattan: the street-chic spot. These bagels are almost too hip to be consumed — except they're not, because I've definitely gobbled mine up before you could say Instagram. Pop by for a thinner, crisper, take and be prepared to wait in line with the trendiest of crowds.

Black Seed Bagels, Multiple locations in Manhattan.
Photo: Via @unesudiste_fit.
The Bagel Store
Ah, yes, the infamous rainbow bagel. Call it heresy, call it cute —regardless of what you want to call it, it exists in all it's multicolored sprinkled excess glory and it isn't going anywhere soon. So stop by The Bagel Store (aptly named) and maybe give it a try, just to say you did.

The Bagel Store, 754 Metropolitan Avenue (at Graham Avenue) in Brooklyn; 718-782-5856.
Photo: Via @kjcfalcon.
Brooklyn Bread Cafe
We're going out on a limb here and assuming that most have not heard of or frequented this BK spot — simply because the bagels are not NYC traditional. The consistency is airy and thin, making for a lighter experience altogether. So if you haven't been by, it's worth the visit. At least for the next-level French toast filled and chocolate bagel offerings.

Brooklyn Bread, 436 Court Street (between 2nd and 3rd Place) in Brooklyn; 718-403-0234.