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Best bagels in Toronto?

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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?


Link: http://petercherches.blogspot.com

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  1. f
    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.

                        2. Another vote for Gryfe's!! You can get them at Lawrence, and also Whole Foods and Pusateri's in Yorkville.

                          Also - get the delicious, simple, soft, slightly tomato-sweet Gryfe pizza bagels. When my husband and I picked up a bag of six to try, we ate them ALL before we'd gone ten blocks. Then, we turned around and went back to pick up another bag - I kid you not.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: spigot

                            Yeah...the Gryfe's pizzas. Not a real pizza--sweet-ish tomato sauce, very soft crust, prepackaged in a plastic bag, but a great snack or lunch. My kids used to love to take them to school for lunch.

                          2. p
                            Peter Cherches

                            Well, I did get to try Montreal Bagel House. The bagels, as well as the boards were excellent. Thanks for the tips and the spirited discussion.

                            1. Well I am 60 years old and have lived in TO all my life and have eaten every bagel at almost every bagel shop known from Kivas to Gryfes to What a Bagel, How many people can remember that Bagel World at one time was Kivas on Wilson and prior to that was Helens Bakery. Well I think I have found the best bagel in the most unlikliest place you could imagine. A fabulous bagel as light as Gryfes and believe it or not tastes better, The place is Dimpfilmiers Bakery on Advance Rd and they only have one location. When I go down there now I always buy about 4 dozen at a time and trust me they are better than anything up here in Thornhill. Its worth the drive to Etobicoke. I just wish they would open up in North Toronto

                              15 Replies
                              1. re: Mr.D

                                Wow, based on your reccomendation I stopped by here today -- I didn't realise it was so close to Kipling & the Queensway, an area I often visit for food already (Dino's Pizza, Royal Meats Barbeque, etc.)

                                Got 4 poppyseed and 4 Sesame and brought them home; very crispy on t he outside and very nice and chewy on the inside.. Best bagel I;'ve had in Toronto, but I admiteddly have not tried Gryffe's

                                Thank you for the reccomendation -- other nice baked stuff there too.. Danishes, Pretzels (yum!), cakes, etc.

                                1. re: Mr.D


                                  I am a huge fan of Dimpflmiers, my family travels there from the east end on a weekly basis for their bagels. Most of the time I've got a bag frozen, I can defrost a couple and toast 'em up (they freeze very well).

                                  I like that they are a little sweet, it's something different from most places.

                                  Their rye breads are excellent as well as many of their custard filled tarts.

                                  1. re: Dr Butcher

                                    I just stopped by Dimpflmiers today for the first time..tried the bagels and they are similar (but smaller), than a favorite local bagel of mine in Oakville.
                                    Monestery Bakery in Oakville (near Dorval Dr/Upper Middle) has my favorite bagels..larger than Dimpflmiers but the same crispy crust and chewy interior..any fans of Dimps would love these..

                                    1. re: burlgurl

                                      Well thanks so much for that info . I dont often get out to Oakville but next time I do I will be sure to try them.

                                    2. re: Dr Butcher

                                      Dr. Butcher, I just checked out their website. There are simply too many kinds! rye breads, I mean... which ones would you recommend? And, is there best time to go buy 'em (bagels as well), too?

                                      1. re: satoorisme

                                        My family has a few favourites but we seem to go back to the Viking Style Rye with caraway, the Black Forest Rye (Schinkenbrot), the Viking sweet 'n' sour. The 100% Sauerteig/Rye tastes like a bread my grandmother used to make so I have a soft spot for that one too.

                                        The Viking is a softer bread and is excellent when fresh and spread with softened butter. It makes outstanding reubens as well. I love it toasted with butter as well. My mother used to make liverwurst and cucumber sandwiches on this and send me to school. Oh the looks of horror I got from my white bread eating friends...

                                        The Schinkenbrot is a much more dense bread with pieces of rye seeds mixed in, it's a hearty bread and is excellent to make open faced sandwiches with. Westfalian ham and a soft cheese are a nice combo. Smoked slab bacon slices and butter are excellent as well.

                                        We usually hit this place after stocking up at European Quality Meats on Jutland Rd and race home to make sandwiches while the meat and bread are still warm...

                                        1. re: Dr Butcher

                                          suhhweet! but, you still haven't told me about time though... I am assuming it's any time during morning?

                                          1. re: satoorisme

                                            I'm assuming they make them earlier in the day but we've been several times in the middle of the day and the bagels are still warm.

                                      2. re: Dr Butcher

                                        was in the east end and dropped by dimpf for some rye and figured what the hey, let's grab some bagels. none were warm and they seemed reasonably crisp on the exterior with a bit of springiness that i got a few to go.

                                        they're a bit on the airy side, aren't sweet at all, maybe a touch chewy but otherwise just resemble a loop of bread to me. toasting them up is doing me no good because they dry out so fast and crumble at every touch, it's actually quite a headache to try to eat them halved and with cream cheese as it just falls apart in my hand when spreading.

                                        1. re: pinstripeprincess

                                          Were you there during morning? And, do you know any other good, reliable bagel shops in town?

                                          1. re: satoorisme

                                            i was there around 11am - 1pm (i can't give you an exact time as it was one of those days where i never looked at a clock) on a saturday and so i can't say what exactly the freshness was but it was packed with people and so i can't imagine they'd have allowed them to sit more than a day in the bins at that point.

                                            my personal favourite would be bagel house on bayview. i've only ever gone on a saturday or sunday morning, probably around the 11am - 3pm mark and always get a fresh bag of hot or warm bagels and proceed to tear into 2 while walking in and out of the shops. they've got a good crustiness and nice amount of chew from their density plus a little saltiness and almost a butter/mild richness flavour that i really really enjoy. they are unfathomably delicious when fresh. people have complained about stale and dull bagels during other days/hours but somehow it has always worked out for me.

                                            but here's the caveat, this style is what works for me. i've tried a bunch of the other big names on this board and while some were far from my cup of tea and others were ok, they were all different enough that i could see why one would lean one way or another. if you've done the match-up in montreal between viateur and fairmount, i'm a fairmount girl by default. the crust is much thinner and so i get more chew out of it, but otherwise i think they're way too crusty for me and lack salt. i hope that helps.

                                            1. re: pinstripeprincess

                                              Cool, I shall have to check that one out, thanks!

                                          2. re: pinstripeprincess

                                            We got some from Dimpfilmiers yesterday, super fresh and dense, not bread like at all. I always get the sesame bagels and they have a rich sesame taste and a hint of sweetness. They are not sweet. I don't know what to say pinstripeprincess, I have never had your experience. Mine toasted up nicely, although I do use the bagel setting on my toaster so only the sliced half gets toasted the rest is simply warmed.

                                            1. re: Dr Butcher

                                              pinstripeprincess, I have noticed a change recently, my sis did as well. Dimpfilmiers bagels are a lot less dense than in the past. They used to be thin with a huge hole in the middle, but that has changed too.... Strange....

                                              1. re: Dr Butcher

                                                when i had them they were actually relatively thin i would say with a larger than normal hole through the centre. perhaps i got a batch that looked like the old but has the new formula?

                                                either way... it was very dry, airy and therefore crumbly with the toasting. seems like you now have had the same experience.

                                      3. Gryfe's and only Gryfe's for bagels. They have the softest feel and retain the best taste. No other bagel in Toronto can compare in my eyes. These are not Montreal bagels though, but go to Gryfe's one morning and get one fresh out of the oven and you can eat it with nothing on it and it will still taste like heaven.

                                        1. I think it's been covered (as has the horse-crap "Montreal vs. Toronto vs. New York "debate. Why is variety a bad thing with some of you people?) but go to the Gryfe's bakery on Bathurst and catch one right out of the oven. It's what I grew up on and will put it against any bagel I have ever had - from Mtl, to NYC, to J'Lem. While you're in there, try one of their little pizza things. They're super tasty, even if they're not pizza authentico de Milanese...or whatever the corny foodie pigeonhole du jour might be.

                                          My second choice is Bagel World's twisters. It's a meal unto itself; salty, crunchy, soft on the middle. Amazing with tuna, cream cheese, or by itself.

                                          5 Replies
                                          1. re: Everythingtarian

                                            No, there is nothing wrong with variety. Many of the strong opinions we see are are based on the simple fact that most people like the familiar foods they grew up with. For some that means a particular type of bagel, or smoked meat, or whatever. It doesn't necessarily mean that what you grew up with was objectively good or objectively bad. Many kids of the seventies and eighties like margarine better than butter, have never tasted real whipped cream, and have no idea of what a "real" burger is supposed to be.

                                            When I moved from Brooklyn (arguably the centre of the bagel universe in the fifties and sixties) to Montreal, I was initially shocked at the things they called "bagels" in Montreal. They didn't look, or taste, like what I knew as bagels. I soon came to love Montreal bagels for what they were. While superficially resembling New York bagels, they are, in reality, a totally different bread. However, they still had what I considered the essential qualities of a "bagel".

                                            When I moved to Toronto, in 1970, there were absolutely no Montreal bagels anywhere. There were, however, some respectable New York style bagels (at the Bagel King on Eglinton). There were also some uniquely Toronto bagels: the twister and Gryfe's.

                                            I contend that the twister is not in any way a bagel. I happen to like Bagel World twisters, but the only resemblance between twisters and bagels is that they are both round and have a hole. So does a donut. That doesn't demean the twister. It just isn't a bagel.

                                            To me, Gryfe's was an early step on the road to mass market bagels. There is an "official" story from Gryfe's to the effect that Gryfe developed his recipe to increase sales among people who didn't really like bagels. By removing the chewy characteristic from his breadstuff, Gryfe developed a bagel that was a move away from being a "real" bagel. Still, it is more bagel-like than a twister. And, yes, a hot from the oven fresh Gryfe's bagel at the Bathurst store certainly tasted good (though I haven't had one in many years). I am not convinced that the Gryfe's bagels sold in packages, and baked in a factory, are the same.

                                            Thirty years ago, I couldn't have imagined that bagels would ever become a mass market food, or that bagel slicing would become one of the most frequent causes of serious household injuries. But, as a result, bagels have suffered the same fate as most mass market foods: they have migrated toward some level of popular mediocrity.

                                            These things run in cycles. Many of the "new" rustic style breads we see today are nothing more than a revival of the old, artisanal ways of making bread. For decades, "cotton wool" was the only bread style available in most Canadian communities. Suddenly we we "artisan breads" all over. Then the cycle begins anew, with mass market "artisan breads", dumbed down and wrapped in plastic, appearing on supermarket shelves.

                                            Bagels are now into one of these cycles. In another post, I referred to "Anglican bagels", which I first encountered in a church basement. They combined the general form of a bagel with the taste and texture of white bread. I can't deny that the majority of those present were delighted with these (to me) evil tasting breadstuffs.

                                            I didn't think it could get much worse, but I have since seen bagels listing things like eggs (not an asset to a bagel recipe) and lard (nothing more need be said) as ingredients. Oy.

                                            You can get many good bagels, of several styles, in Toronto these days. Bagel House tastes different from St Viateur or Fairmont, but it is still a good Montreal style bagel. Bagel World and Kiva's make decent bagels (though I was not impressed with my first bagel at Bagel World's new Bloor location and hope this was an anomaly). Even some of the food court bagels are plausible.

                                            This doesn't alter my reality that most of the things called bagels in Toronto don't even come close. Timmie's claims to be Canada's biggest bagel seller. They say they had to pull and redevelop their recipe several times before they got it "right"
                                            But, to them, getting it right means selling vast quantities. It doesn't mean making good bagels.

                                            This all reminds me of my ever ongoing rant about certain "ethnic" restaurants: don't dumb down your food to something you think I will like. Serve me your food and let ME decide. This is now true of bagels. They are now just another a mass market food. Most people like what they are getting and will never taste any style of the real thing.

                                            1. re: embee

                                              I hear you fully. You should hear me go off on a rant about pineapple bagels with jalapeno chocolate chip spread. Or whatever some folks find time to cram into their mouths.

                                              My only point is that people with a very rigid idea of what a bagel is, or was in the 1800s, and already hate what is called a "Toronto" bagel maybe shouldn't have clicked on this thread...out of respect for those who want to discuss faves without a history lesson, summing up why we are all doing it wrong.

                                              You mentioned a "real burger" which is a griddle-fried pork meatball smothered in mushroom gravy. Or so the story goes. I would hope that doesn't factor into all future discussions about hamburgers. That could get very tiresome

                                              No disrespect intended at all, I'm just getting a little bored with how over-the-top some of these discussion get around here.

                                              1. re: embee

                                                I totally disagree with you about the twister.
                                                I am born in T.O., and much older than most here.
                                                I grew up eating twister bagels.
                                                This is Toronto, not Montreal , not New York, and the twister is a bagel , to me and most born or raised here.
                                                I consider the twister my ideal bagel....especially since Shmuel left the Dirty Bagel, and took his recipe with him. to the grave.

                                                1. re: erly

                                                  That's exactly my point. The one you love is usually the one you grew up with! However much I like twisters, they'll never be "bagels" to me.

                                                  One additional, related point: the specific "New York bagels" I grew up with in Brooklyn, made by craftsmen literally born into the bagel bakers union (you might have called it more of a "guild"), are very hard to find in New York nowadays. Montrealers have fared better over these many years.

                                                  Yes, I, too, miss the dirty Bagel.

                                                  1. re: erly

                                                    Montrealer here, born & raised. I tried my first Toronto bagels for the very first time, earlier this month. I liked the Kiva Twister bagels. These Twister bagels, reminds me a lot of the Bozo bagels, that a couple of Montreal bagel establishments(in Montreal) make(including Fairmont Bagels in Montreal).

                                              2. I don't know what a 'regular' bagel is defined as, but I really enjoy the muselli bagels they have at Longos when it's fresh out of the oven.

                                                1. What a Bagel rules, especially the one on Avenue Rd south of the 401. Yonge and Eg is OK but just OK.

                                                  Sadly, Gryfes are really uneven these days.

                                                  27 Replies
                                                  1. re: peckj

                                                    I must say that in my opinion, Gryfes bagels are very consistent....I'm not sure how they are 'uneven'. Also, are you thinking of the What a Bagel on Bathurst, or is there one on Avenue Rd. that I'm not aware of?

                                                    1. re: Yongeman

                                                      I grew up eating Gryfe's bagels. We always had some in the freezer. I still love their taste, but to me, their major appeal is eating a still-warm one (or three) out of the bag. When it comes to eating a bagel with lox, though, I reach for St. Urbain bagels. They're less salty and a touch sweet (and thus, pair well with the salty salmon and capers), dense and satisfying, which is in stark contrast to Gryfe's bagels, which I find soft, bready and salty. When offered a basket mixing both Gryfe's and St. Urbain bagels, which occasionally occurs at my BF's family Christmas Day brunches, I take a flax or multigrain St. Urbain bagel for my lox, then grab a Gryfe's just to eat plain (it just doesn't need toppings). As a side note, on a hungry day, Bagel World's twisters make a beatiful lox sandwich (hold the cream cheese for me -- not a fan).

                                                      1. re: 1sweetpea

                                                        1sweetpea, I'm with you except on the St. Urbain bagels. I haven't tried them lately, but much prefer Bagel House's Mtl style bagels to St. Urbain's. Maybe I should give SU another go. Love Gryfes and Bagel World twisters (warm).

                                                        1. re: Yongeman

                                                          Next time I'm craving a bagel, I'm heading straight for Bagel House. I've been eyeing it for a while, but I guess allegiances to the other places kept me from stepping in the door. I almost hope I don't love the bagels too much, as warm bagels are very dangerous for me. I might buy a dozen but only make it to my destination with a half dozen, LOL! It is for this reason that I leave the bagel buying to others. The smell gets me every time.

                                                          1. re: 1sweetpea

                                                            There seems to be a Bagel House opening on Yonge South of St. Clair, but it has been under construction for months. Anyone have any word on this? That area certaintly needs a bagel shop.

                                                            1. re: stonewall36

                                                              While it has looked like a place under construction, there has actually been zero activity in the location for months - until this week! Finally, I have seen them in there working on the space for the past 2 days. Very exciting. I think the building permit in the window is new so I suspect that was the hold-up (or $$$). Anyway, can't wait till it finally opens (although it's my favourite spot, I must confess to having had some less than stellar bagels from the Bayview location for the past month or so).

                                                              1. re: peppermint pate

                                                                Bagel House at Yonge and St. Clair is open - finally! Waiting till end of Passover to check it out.

                                                          2. re: Yongeman

                                                            Bagel House for me. Yum! I also recommend the pretzels, made like bagels but pretzel-shaped and with pretzel salt on top. I usually leave with a bag of a dozen bagels, plus a pretzel in my hand.

                                                        2. re: Yongeman

                                                          Agreed. No idea where uneven comes from. I eat them all the time. Very good. Always consistent. Never ever ever had an off experience. I mean, it's not restaurant fare - it's a bagel. Hard to be inconsistent with a massed produced product. Know idea where that comes from.

                                                          Also, I’m assuming they mean Bathurst, yeah. There’s no What-A-Bagel on Avenue Rd. that I’m aware of.

                                                          1. re: magic

                                                            I drive from Cabbagetown to Planet Bagel at Centre/Dufferin once a week. They are the only bagels in the GTA worth eating.
                                                            Kiva's bagels are too dry. Saint-Urbain bagels are both dry and flavourless. What-A-Bagel is the Tim Horton's of bagels. Bagel House is marginally better, but not much. Bagel World is no good.
                                                            Honestly, Planet's bagels are extremely soft, moist, and delicious, and their spreads/condiments are all first-rate. I like to think of myself as a bit of a bagel connoisseur, and have been known to eat 12 bagels in a sitting. Planet Bagels is the only place I would recommend.

                                                            1. re: gabdullah

                                                              Gabdullah, I'd also like to think of you as a bagel connoisseur, but, alas, your posting does not allow me to do so. You've written off most of my favourite places: Bagel House, Bagel World, Kiva's. I'd add Gryfe's to the mix and also Haymische (sp?). I must admit I've never been to Planet Bagel, but also haven't heard anyone else pump it up.

                                                          2. re: Yongeman

                                                            Gryfe's are horrible. They are little more than bread with a hole. Their popularity is one of the great mysteries of the universe.

                                                            1. re: evansl

                                                              You are entitled to your opinion, but there are many people of good taste who would disagree, evansl. Check out the lines at Gryfes on a weekend morning.

                                                              1. re: Yongeman

                                                                I too have never gotten the Gryfe's phenomenon. My father didn't either. We're both native Torontonian Polish Jews so I can't blame it on growing up elsewhere with alien influences. I remember growing up hearing about my friends "canoeing" their beloved Gryfe's bagels: scooping out the nearly raw dough in the centre and eating just the crust. I'll stick to BagelWorld and the satisfying clicking noise they cause in my jaw as I eat ALL of my well-baked bagel.

                                                                1. re: shpeizmaven

                                                                  Clicking noise in the jaw? And you enjoy that bagel? Yikes.

                                                                  Maybe I'm in the miniority but I tend to like all types of bagels--IF they are done right. A fresh, Gryfe's bagel is just as satisfying for me as is a fresh St. Vitateur/Fairmont/BagelWorld bagel. However, I tend to always save my Montreal-style bagel consuming for when I'm in Montreal. I just don't think any here make the cut. But again, to each his own.

                                                                  Still kinda grossed out with that clicking noise in the jaw though....

                                                                  OH and P.S.: I posted this in another thread, but I always view Bagel World as being the fast food of bagels, but I bought some of the best bagels today at York Mills branch. They were hot out of the oven and crispy outside, chewy inside. Totally surprised me. It was around 1pm lunch time. Maybe timing makes a difference.

                                                                    1. re: Full tummy

                                                                      Sorry, I meant What A Bagel at York Mills. Sorry too many bagels....

                                                                      What A Bagel
                                                                      2279 Yonge St, Toronto, ON M4P2C6, CA

                                                                      1. re: Restaurant Dish

                                                                        I too am guilty of enjoying What a Bagel bagels. Still warm, yum!!! Alas, so much better than the St. Viateur ones I bought in the Metro.

                                                                        1. re: Full tummy

                                                                          Yes, I got burned on those too. They were stale. I wonder if the ownership knows that their bagels are stale in Toronto.

                                                                          1. re: Restaurant Dish

                                                                            Someone posted, apparently from St. Viateur, but got deleted (company posts not allowed, I guess.) He had been reading the comments; I think they're trying to figure out what to do, but they really need a location here, as, in my opinion, a bagel's only good for a short time right after it's baked. Yes, I can toast it, but I can toast bread, too, and a toasted bagel isn't so much different to me than toasted bread. However, a fresh bagel just has that je ne sais quoi!!! Even if it's not from the most popular bagel place in the city.

                                                                            1. re: Full tummy

                                                                              Nothing like a fresh (warm) bagel, that's for sure. One qualification, though. I think that Montreal-style bagels actually benefit from toasting. There's sugar in the dough, so it's actully more delicious toasted imho. Toronto bagels are my favourite, but because a Mtl bagel is good toasted, they are great for freezing.

                                                                              1. re: Yongeman

                                                                                I used to live near St. Viateur bagel back in the '80s, and while I loved their bagels toasted for breakfast, it was a time-honoured tradition to eat one hot from the oven while walking out the door. I sent a Montreal bagel virgin there years later, to bring back a couple dozen to Toronto, and told him he absolutely had to eat one on his way out of the store, He thanked me later and agreed. But it's the only time I eat them untoasted. Once they've cooled down, they aren't as good that way.

                                                          3. re: peckj

                                                            Don't know if they are affiliated, but there is a "Whattabagel" in Richmond Hill (Yonge, just south of Major Mac) that makes fantastic bagels. You can literally pick them off as they come out of the oven, and have the freshest, warmest, best tasting bagels you could ask for. We get a dozen of these and a couple of tubs of their cream cheese (plain and smoked salmon) for a great Sunday breakfast. And while they make varieties that would make purists cringe (cinnamon raisin, chocolate chip, blueberry), they also make great Danish, breads, and other treats. A visit here and a trip to the Korean H-Mart a few steps north, and you can have a multi-cultural smorsgabord at quite reasonable prices.

                                                              1. re: KevinB

                                                                I too enjoy the bagels from What a Bagel.

                                                                1. re: sweetie

                                                                  Have to say that Bagels from BAGEL WORLD (either Wilson or Bloor Street at Spadina) are the first choice at our house and while I think What-A-Bagel is perfectly fine (not great 'tho) my husband was more than 'annoyed' (my substitute word) when he came home from JA and I had gotten them from What-A-Bagel...They were a damn sight better than the frozen Dempster's or Sara Lee ones that we get in JA...jeez...did I get told!!! lol....

                                                                  1. re: pearlD

                                                                    Pearl! I'm surprised you're not a Gryfe fan!

                                                            1. Want a good Crispy out side soft inside bagel, try Yitz's here's the link, they have good Knishes too...http://www.yitzs.ca/main.html not to mention many other wonderful things.

                                                              1. Gryfe's, hot and fresh. Perfect combination of a salty crusty exterior and a soft somewhat chewy interior. I wish I had some right now. Mmmm.

                                                                We often get a bagel or six from St. Urbain's when we are at St. Lawrence Market. It's usually the blueberry or the flax bagels. Good when you want a really dense and chewy bagel.

                                                                2 Replies
                                                                1. re: geekazoid

                                                                  Gryfe's are just plain awful. They are little more than bread with holes.

                                                                2. Sort OT but I noticed that fairmount bagels out of Montreal will ship there product. Has anyone ever done this before? They are my favorite bagels from Montreal.

                                                                  Maybe some CHers could put together an order sometime? :-)

                                                                  1. The food blog Serious Eats recently did a taste test of NYC bagels, and found that freshness -- ie, bagels eaten still warm from the oven -- was the most influential factor. A freshly baked, so-so bagel was better than a technically superior bagel a few hours old. I'm guessing it's the same here too.

                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                    1. re: piccola

                                                                      Just read this after my post above saying that's how I feel, so anyone hoping to gain a serious portion of the Toronto bagel market really needs to have a bakery here, in Toronto.

                                                                      1. re: Full tummy

                                                                        Frozen bake off's are a siren song for many bakeries now, such Ace.

                                                                        1. re: jayt90

                                                                          Does anyone do this for bagels? I've only seen baguettes, rolls and croissants.

                                                                          1. re: jayt90

                                                                            Well, it's certainly the only way Ace has been able to keep up with demand. However, where to find a grocery store with a wood-fired oven for a great smokey taste.