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Mar 30, 2006 03:51 PM

Best bagels in Toronto?

  • p

I'm a New Yorker visiting friends in Toronto for a couple of days, and I'm wondering who has the best bagels in Toronto. Also, is there any such thing as a "Toronto-style" bagel, are are we talking Montreal-style?



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    fai jay (fai jackson)

    Montreal bagels are sold in Toronto, but are definitely not Toronto bagels. The Montreal bagel is like cilantro, you either love it or hate it (I hate them--flat and chewy) . I love the bagels at The Bagel World on Wilson, Kivas on Steeles and a place on Bathurst just north of Steeles, the name of which I can't recall.

    At Bagel World I order Twisters (they are made by hand) well baked, with lots of poppy seeds. However, the regular bagels are also delicious.

    You can eat at Bagel World and Kiva's and I would recommend either as a very Toronto experience.

    Enjoy your stay in the Big Smoke.

    10 Replies
    1. re: fai jay (fai jackson)

      On Bathurst just north of Steeles there are two bagel stores: One is St. Urbain but they make Montreal style bagels so I guess you didn't mean them. The other is What A Bagel and those are my choice for best bagel. They have several locations across the GTA.

      1. re: EB
        fai jay (fai jackson)

        No, it's definitly not either of those. I only go to What a Bagel in an emergency. I like their cheese buns though.

        1. re: fai jay (fai jackson)

          I think you're referring to a shop in the plaza just north of the railroad with the Sue's Market? Also, another of the stores there (Diamond's?) also sells Gryfe's.

      2. re: fai jay (fai jackson)

        and i love them.

        the topronto bagel is just bread nothing 'special' about it at all

        for montreal style begal, (the real deal ) go on avenue road and its called bagel house, i beleive

        1. re: fai jay (fai jackson)

          I completely agree with Fai Jay. The twisters at Bagel World or Kivas are the best Toronto bagels. Their regular ones are also excellent. Other noteworthy Toronto bagels are Gryfe's (completely different than any other--light and airy), Hamische (Bathurst, south of Lawrence--also light and also good).
          What-a-Bagel is a chain, need I say more?
          I also love the Montreal style at Bagel House (2 locations--Avenue Rd. or Bayview south of Eglinton).

          1. re: fai jay (fai jackson)

            Bagel World is the place for me. In Toronto, especially with the Jewish population (me included), there are basically two 'real' places to go: Bagel World and Gryfe's. Its definitely a matter of preference as to which one you like; there have been many a heated argument made over which one is superior to the other. If you want a smaller, softer bagel, go to gryfes. If you're looking for a bigger, chewier, denser bagel, head to bagel world. Just be warned, go early or you might miss out; if you get there early enough (before 9 at least) they'll still be warm out of the oven!

            Sunday mornings just wouldnt be the same without Bagel World poppy-seed bagels with cream-cheese and lox.

            p.s.: i've also heard Kiva's is pretty popular, but I haven't/don't know of anyone who's tried them yet. What-a-bagel is also half-decent, but to me its just a cheap imitation of Bagel World.

            1. re: a.j
              fai jay (fai jackson)

              I like Kiva and their breakfast is good and more varied than Bagel World. Also, the restaurant is much larger. I am old school, every morning my mother would send me with a quarter to Stancers Bakery at the corner of Borden and College to get our daily supply. The closest to those bagels of blessed memory is either one. I think Gryffe's Bagels are very good rolls.

              1. re: fai jay (fai jackson)

                I am going to have to find time to get to Gryffe's Bagels no doubt!! A destination aimed at, drove around, past, etc., time to go for it and enjoy!!!

                1. re: Jar

                  Sun Foods grocery store in North York near Sheppard/Bathurst sells Gryfes that they either warm in the pizza oven or bake them fresh there (not sure which it is), they're fabulous warm.

            2. Welcome!

              If you're downtown, I'd go to the St. Lawrence Market, south building at Jarvis and Front E. and go to Urban Bagels at the south east end. Made on site, with lots of extras, like cream cheese.

              Other vendors in the market can add to your condiment list. As well as many other delectible delights.

              Very good.


              1 Reply
              1. re: FoodieGirl

                The place at St. Lawrence Market is St. Urbain. It's the closest to Montreal style that you'll find right downtown. But, as several others have already mentioned, if you want true Montreal bagels, you'll have to go to the Bagel House on Bayview, near Millwood, or on Avenue Rd., near Fairlawn. These are the real deal (and terribly addictive, for those who like Montreal style bagels).

                Oh and btw, stick to the sesame for the full on Montreal bagel experience. :)

                1. If you want the best Montreal-style bagels in Toronto, go to the Montreal Bagel House on Avenue Road, East side of the street North of Lawrence and South of York Mills/401. I don't know the exact address, but it's across the street from the Blockbuster and the LCBO.

                  The so-called Toronto-style bagel isn't really different from what you get in just about every other city and at most grocery stores. As a transplant, I have to agree with the previous poster who referred to them as dough with a hole in the middle.

                  If you want try what passes for Toronto-style bagels (at least according to born and bred Torontonians), Gryfe's is a good choice, as is "What a Bagel" (several locations around towm, but I'm familiar with two on Yonge Street - one south of Wellesley and the other North of Eglinton). IMHO, these Toronto bagel institutions don't really produce anything better than the big chains - Tim Horton's, the Bagel Stop, Great Canadian Bagel, etc.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Bagel Lover

                    couldn't have said better myself

                    1. re: Bagel Lover

                      If only other cities had something like a Gryfe's bagel!! One of the first places I go after returning from a trip is Gryfe's.
                      OK. Argue away about what is the best Montreal-style bagel - they're denser, heavier and comforting. But the Gryfe's is much lighter with the crust being a different texture than the centre and well worth a try for anyone who wants to find the best Toronto can produce. Just don't go on a Sunday morning (lineups for minimum 30 minutes so they're certainly doing something right).
                      Gryfe's is a different style - lighter than a New York style (Montreal are denser). Give it a try and make up your own mind. The two styles are so different there'll never be agreement on what is 'best'. However, in the 'Toronto-style' Gryfe's usually is the consensus choice. Also available at a few specialty stores, so if the original poster won't be near Bathurst & Lawrence, give us a general location so we can pinpoint a closer location.

                      And if anybody wants to start a rant, recall that Tim Horton's sells more than half of the bagels sold in Canada (as I duck and run for cover).

                      1. re: estufarian

                        Heehee. I agree with you completely. Bagel style is a matter of personal taste, and to rip on one style just because you prefer another doesn't make sense.

                    2. Good bagels are very hard to find in Toronto. It just doesn't have same kind of Jewish deli tradition you get in Montreal, New York, etc. The best bet is Montreal is Montreal style bagels. St. Urbain is reliably good.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: BM

                        Hey BM, how many good bagel places does Montreal have? I'm talking about authentic "montreal style" bagels where they bake on site. Like 2?
                        They are excellent, agreed, but here in TO we have a number of unique (meaning different styles) including Bagel House which is 100% equal to those in Montreal.
                        Plus, we have excellent "Toronto-style" bagels in the form of Bagel World, Gryfe's, Kiva's, and Hamische. All different and available according to which type you feel like. Personally, I have lived near Bathurst Street for over 30 years and appreciate all of these bakeries. Especially when the bagels are available warm, right from the oven, which is many times a day at most of these places.

                        1. re: Yongeman

                          Agree almost completely with your post except for one thing. Bagel House makes a very good Montreal Bagel, no doubt and way better than St. Urbain. However it is no where near 100% equal to St. Viateur in Montreal. Maybe about 70-75% but no way 100%. Not nearly as light or delicate but still very good-as are all the other bagel joints you've mentioned.

                          1. re: Yongeman

                            Gryfe's, Kiva's, and Hamische are all uniformally blah. People who grew up with real New York bagels, uniformly find the Toronto type pretty bad.