A good bagel is easy to find in Philadelphia, thanks to a fresh batch of bakeries and bagel shops turning out nosh-worthy goods.
The loop‑shaped bagel — the word means “bracelet” in German — is arguably the most famous food with Jewish origins in America, and has become a solid standard on bread menus all across the country.
Bagel purists will probably opt for the traditional plain water bagels, made by briefly boiling rings of risen dough, then draining, cooling and baking quickly to achieve that crusty golden exterior. These days, though, varieties other than the classic New York-style give bagel lovers tons of tasty options.
There’s something about the filling, doughy rounds that’s broadly appealing no matter the occasion — whether as a midnight snack after a long night, as a grab-and-go bite on a daily commute or as a full spread at a leisurely brunch.
Though New York bagels may claim fame, in the last year or so, Philly’s bagel scene has a significantly improved thanks to the additions of bagel specialists like Knead Bagels, High Street on Market, the Philly Style Bagels pop-up at Pizzeria Beddia and Chestnut Street Philly Bagels.
Read on for our guide to the best bagels in Philadelphia.
1. Knead Bagels
Washington Square, 725 Walnut Street. Owned by a husband-and-wife team, Knead Bagels is new to the city’s bagel scene as of November. The new shop deals in classic bagels and spreads and breakfast sammies, in addition to non-traditional bagels like a cardamom bagel with blood orange cream cheese. Bonus: It’s right across from Washington Square. Bagel picnic? Yes, please. MORE INFO
2. Chestnut Street Philly Bagels
Rittenhouse, 1705 Chestnut Street. Offering the same top-notch New York-style bagels as its sister store, South Street Philly Bagels, the just-opened Chestnut Street Philly Bagels plates egg sandwiches, deli sandwiches and bagels topped with cream cheese. MORE INFO
3. Philly Style Bagels at Pizzeria Beddia
Fishtown, 115 E. Girard Avenue. With a permanent brick-and-mortar shop in Fishtown in the works (targeting summer 2015), Philly Style Bagels currently operates out of pop-up at Pizzeria Beddia in Fishtown on most weekends. The bagel-makers call on a non-traditional process when making the bagels — the bagels are boiled in a mixture of water, beer and malted flavor. Take note, they aren’t at Pizzeria Beddia every weekend, so check the schedule on Twitter. MORE INFO
4. High Street on Market
Old City, 308 Market Street. High Street on Market is known for its delicious, well, everything, and its bagels don’t disappoint. The Old City spot plates four types of bagels during breakfast — plain, poppy, sesame and everything. MORE INFO
5. Spread Bagelry
Rittenhouse, 262 S. 20th Street. Wood-fired Montreal-style bagels fill the menu at Spread Bagelry, a staple for breakfast and brunch in Rittenhouse. Enjoy egg sandwiches, lunch-meat sandwiches and classic bagels and spreads. Take note, on the weekends, Spread is BYOB. MORE INFO
6. South Street Philly Bagels
Queen Village, 613 S. 3rd Street. Fill up on New York-style bagels (boiled and then baked) at South Street Philly Bagels, a family-owned bagel bakery. Choose from more than 20 kinds of bagels including French toast, veggie, everything and egg and cream cheeses that range from plain to jalapeño cream cheese. MORE INFO
7. Kermit’s Bake Shoppe
Graduate Hospital, 2025 Washington Avenue. Available only on the weekends, the doughy bagels at Kermit’s Bake Shoppe come in six varieties with four types of spreads available — plain, scallion, jalapeño jam and salmon dill. MORE INFO
8. Schmear It
Roving. As the name states, the Schmear It food truck, specializes in schmears for its South Street Philly Bagels. The truck promises a number of signature schmears (s’mores, veggie delight and loxsmith!) in addition to a make-your-own option. The truck posts its weekly menu on its website. MORE INFO
9. Famous 4th Street Delicatessen
Queen Village, 700 S. 4th Street. Known for its giant portions, Famous 4th Street Delicatessen’s bagels come served with everything from cream cheese (in a number of flavors) to lox and whitefish salad to lunch meats. MORE INFO
10. Metropolitan Bakery
Multiple Locations. Metropolitan Bakery dishes fresh bagels daily at its Rittenhouse, Reading Terminal, University City, Free Library and Chestnut Hill shops. Choose from three perfectly made varieties — plain, seeded and multi-gran. Bagels come topped with your choice of house-made cream cheese, eggs, bacon and more. MORE INFO
11. Le Bus Bakery
Multiple Locations. It’s easy to get your hands on a bagel from Le Bus Bakery, which has multiple locations (Rittenhouse, King of Prussia, the airport and Rosemont) in the area. All bagels are baked in-house in the morning and come in flavors like apple cherry walnut, onion and more. MORE INFO
12. Four Worlds Bakery
Cedar Park, 4634 Woodland Avenue. A West Philly staple, Four Worlds Bakery specializes in just four types of bagels and does them well. Stop by for plain, poppy, sesame and everything bagels topped with cream cheese. MORE INFO
13. New York Bagel Bakery
City Avenue, 7555 Haverford Avenue. New York Bagel Bakery guarantees New York-style bagels with no frills (read: no egg sandwiches). Visit this bagel bakery, located just off of City Avenue, for more than a dozen types of bagels including all of the classics — eggs, wheat, everything, onion, plain, poppy and more. MORE INFO