Maybe you like them toasted and smothered in rich, creamy, cheesy goodness, or stacked high with thinly sliced deli meat and fresh, crisp vegetables? Some like their doughy rounds to be modestly slathered with salty butter or perhaps topped with a fried egg? Alternatively, maybe you are a purist and prefer them bare, fresh from the fire, ready to be torn apart with your fingers? However you like your bagels, here are the best bagels in the city. Don’t believe me? I dare you to try them for yourself – but maybe not in one sitting.
3421 Bathurst Street, North York
This traditional bagel shop is the OG on this list. This family-run bakery opened their doors in 1957, and have kept it in the family ever since. Their fresh bagels are chewy on the outside and soft on the inside. In addition to tasty fresh bagels, they also carry a selection of specialty products imported from Israel, and if you can get your hands one of their challah, pizza bagels or onion buns, I seriously recommend you do. Full disclosure, this bakery is nothing to look at. They do not offer dine-in seating, and they only accept cash, but if you arrive early, you can have your pick of a dozen bagels and freeze a few to enjoy later.
336 Wilson Avenue, North York
Bagel World has been in the GTA for over two decade and makes one of Josh's favourite bagels (I grew up on these!), and they have really evolved. They were featured on Restaurant Makeover and had a complete interior overhaul making this spot perfect for lunch with friends, or while reading the paper. They also make getting your bagel fix easy with their online ordering system. Skip the line and simply order online! Your order will be ready for you when you arrive. They also offer build-your-own omelettes, salads and fresh homemade soups, making Bagel World a one-stop-shop!
224 Ossington Ave., Toronto
414 Dupont Street, Toronto
Anthony Rose is the mastermind behind Schmaltz’s Appetizing locations in Toronto. What makes Schmaltz amazing is their selection of house-smoked fish and meats, which is the magic behind their unique bagel sandwiches. A customer proclaimed signature is their horseradish cream cheese; try it with the smoked salmon if you please. Just a heads up, the Dupont location is easy to miss as it sits just behind Fat Pasha. The Ossington location has a quaint side patio, which makes it an appealing spot in the warmer months.
Bagels On Fire
2248 Queen Street East, Toronto
If you find yourself on the southeast side of town with a severe bagel craving (it happens), you should check out Bagels On Fire. This husband and wife team met at the bagel house and eventually fulfilled their dream to open their own shop in the beaches. These Montreal style bagels are rolled fresh and baked by hand in a wood-fired brick oven. These delicious rounds are soft on the inside, even if you prefer a toasted bagel. A little on the sweet side, they are smaller in size which is true to the Montreal tradition. Although this is a popular take-out spot, they also house a few small tables so you can enjoy your bagel on site. They open at 6am Monday – Saturday and at 7am on Sundays, which is the perfect time to grab a breakfast bagel. You will not regret it!
1438 Yonge Street, Toronto
The Bagel House has truly made its mark in Toronto. With several locations across the GTA, they satisfy Montreal style bagel cravings 24 hours a day! What makes these bagels unique and extra tasty you ask? These bagels are first boiled in honey water to give them a hint of sweetness and then finished in a wood-burning oven fuelled by maple. They also shave their deli meats on the spot and have a great selection of cream cheese flavours. Any location I have visited has a revolving door of patrons coming and going; seating is always limited if any. If you do not arrive early, there is a good chance your favourite will be sold out. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.