Los Angeles isn’t often recognized as being a bagel town. Truth is most of us eat our bagels along with our coffee at Starbucks or with a smoothie from a neighborhood shop and go about our day never realizing that there is something better out there.
Of course east coast transplants with discerning taste buds will instantly recognize that the bagels out west pale in comparison to what they might find, in say, New York city. Some say it’s the quality and/or the alkaline level of the water, but whatever the reason, bagels in Los Angeles don’t have the reputation of measuring up.
That said, not all L.A. bagel makers are created equal, and some truly stand out from the pack.
So with that in mind, we’ve sought to find the absolute best bagels in Los Angeles, whether at bagel shops, delis, cafes, or pretty much anywhere a bagel might be served. And some might even be good enough to meet the discriminating tastes of our east coast friends…. maybe.
Here’s what we came up with.
New York Bagel Company
The walls here are lined with photographs taken by Richard E. Aaron, a photographer whose images have made front cover of at least 20 thousand magazines. Because of its Brentwood location the prices tend to be a bit higher, but the location offers a space for a more sophisticated bagel feasting experience. Their ring shaped concoctions are perfectly crunchy on the outside while maintaining a soft center. With 15 varieties to selectively nosh on and some good coffee, this is the place to be in Brentwood for a delish bagel.
Many in Los Angeles will concur that these are some of the tastiest bagels outside of New York. The pleasant no nonsense attitude of its staff is another asset that will make East Coast transplants at home on the West Coast. All bagels here have a welcome chewy texture and the flavors are impeccable no matter what type you order.
Western Bagel holds true to tradition while being bold with new flavors. The number of ways you can order a bagel here are almost endless and they even have options for people who usually cut bread products out of their diets. For instance, order their bagelettes on days when you can’t justify going all out with a bagel loaded with tons of baked in flavors and added toppings.
For nearly 28 years, the Bagel Broker have been attracting bread-lovers to Los Angeles’ Fairfax District. The doughnut shaped rolls here come in an assortment of flavors, but they also offer seven flavors of whipped cream cheese. Sometimes I think cream cheese is the perfect bagel topping, so it’s quite wonderful that you can lather a strawberry or cheddar jalapeno cream cheese to the top. But, the fact that these firm textured rolls have been handmade since 1987 is enough to land them a spot on our list.
Brooklyn Bagel Company
Family owned and operated since 1953, the Friedman clan boils their bagels before they’re backed as they are in New York. This traditional method may be more time consuming, but it gives a bagel its classic shine and chewy crust. Over 30 varieties are baked fresh every day of the week including their tasty onion cheddar bagel that combines the right amount of onion with a slice of mild cheddar cheese.
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The prices here are really affordable considering you can order a single for 95 cents or a half dozen for $5.25. A portion of the menu is even dedicated to bagel sandwiches where you can order a delicious, crispy BLT or an albacore tuna with the works- lettuce, tomato, onion, sprouts and cheese.
The Bagel Factory
Three locations serve New York style kosher bagels to the Angeleno population. The name of this business might be plain, but its name supports its no to-do atmosphere that promotes a laid-back cafe experience. These bagels are perfectly soft with a well-textured circumference, giving eaters the perfect bite.
This bite-sized bakery stays true to most hole in the wall characteristics by running out of their bagel products early and accepting only cash. If you arrive early enough you’ll be able to try a bagel that’s lightly coated and small, yet with plenty flavorful. If you’re not used to carrying cash, an ATM is conveniently located next door.
The Shack in the Back
This little gem could be missed if you blink, but it’s there right near the Chevron gas station on Sepulveda. There seem to be lots of rave reviews about their menu items, coffee and especially their bagels. There’s just something about a restaurant with a convenient location and especially one that serves all sorts of bagels and bagels with enough add-ons to be considered a meal.
Marie’s Deli & Cafe
If you’re only going to try one veggie bagel in the entire city, Marie’s might be the one. Also of note: the ample size of their breakfast sandwiches means you never have to worry about getting under-portioned. Keep in mind because they’re a downtown business they’re closed on Sundays.
Where do you find the best bagels in Los Angeles? Let us know your picks in the comments below!