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May 10, 2003 12:59 AM

Best Bagels

  • b

Okay, who's got the best bagels in town -- I mean real, boiled water bagels. And no ungapatchka flavors, like cinnamon raisin, blueberry or who knows what. Getting beyond salt, poppy and maybe onion is too non-traditional for me -- even sesame pushes the limits.

Let's do it by geography:

Center City
PA suburbs
NJ suburbs

Since I only know from Center City, I'll cast the first vote: Philadelphia Bagel at the Riverside Shopping plaza at Delware (Columbus) & Washington. Closest I've had to the bagel of my youth (Watson, Newark NJ). They've got excellent bialys, too.

Your vote?

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  1. My husband, the bagel maven, drives out (from center city) to Haverford Ave and City Line for his bagels.
    I can't remember the name of the place. They are not open Friday afternoons or Saturdays.

    As a fill in, he thinks Manhattan are not bad, also.

    I like Delancey St., which are too sweet for him. I am seduced by all the seeds, which I love.

    We also clip the $5.00 off coupon in every Wednesday's NY Times for H & H Bagels (the factory) in New York. If we go in for a show or opera, we stop and get a couple of dozen.

    It will be interesting to hear about everyone's favorite sources!

    1 Reply
    1. re: Sylvia G
      Renaissance Man

      I'll put a vote in for Redhouse bagels on Olive Street (also known as the Olive Street Café) in Fairmount. Freshly made and very good, if somewhat uneven in quality at times. It's also a nice hangout for the neighborhood with outdoor seating.

    2. Philadelphia Bagel aren't bad. Too soft and chewy, and a tad sweet for my palate. Manhattan... sorry, Sylvia, but... no; really not.

      The only bagels I've really liked in this forsaken burg were the Rollings bagels the market at 18th and Spruce used to get in. Very crusty, no sweetness to speak of, just right, down to the frequent misshapen oddities you'd fish out of the bin. Reminded me of the Brooklin boyhood I used to fantasize about growing up in Lisbon, Portugal. Then one Spring they stopped getting them - "But soon!" - then they stopped pretending, but I never could find out why they disappeared, or where to find a supplier.

      4 Replies
      1. re: Capaneus

        Our favorite, hands down -- Rollins.

        Bagels can be had by going directly to the source (Elkins Park, north of Phila, on 611, right outside the Elkins Park rail stop, not open on Saturdays) or to the Weaver's Way co-op in West Mt Airy (corner of Carpenter and Sedwick, restricted to members, but maybe you can ask about exceptions, I don't know).

        We've tried a variety of others, and just can't find any that compare...not Manhattan, not Metropolitan, not Le Bus (though their walnut maple scones are a nice consolation).

        1. re: joan

          correction on name:
          Rolings Bakery, still in Elkins Park (north of the city)

        2. re: Capaneus

          Actually, we haven't had Manhattan bagels for a long time.
          My husband thinks the name of his bagel place (at Haverford Ave and City Ave) is New York Bagels.
          They are religious there, and close for the sabbath.
          He goes out there every few weeks, and we freeze them.

          But we're always open to trying other bagels. Next stop: Elkins Park!

          1. re: Capaneus

            Montgomery Ave in Elkins Park, go on Sunday Morning for the most selection or Friday for a delicious Challah.

            They are on Montgomery Ave around 4900(I think) down the street from the fire station and across from the train station.

          2. New York Bagels, Haverford ave. at City Line Ave. There is a place near me in Cherry Hill, Kings hwy and Church ave just called Hot Bagels. Is pretty good.

            2 Replies
            1. re: FatBob

              I love a place that simply goes by the name of what it seels, i.e., "Hot Bagels." Gotta try it!

              1. re: Bob Libkind

                Being a Bella Vister confined to walking/bicycle, I don't have a great selection of neighborhood bagelries. Nonetheless, I think Hot Bagels does a really good job. I recently complained on the NYC board about the declining quality of Ess-A-Bagel, which I used to love. Hot Bagels reminds me of the EABs. A good bagel, and the spreads are tasty, too. Also bialys. Worth a visit by all means.

            2. r
              Robin Mendoza Green

              I'll have to go with NY Bagel at Haverford Ave and City Line. We're from NYC and these are the closest to what we grew up with!.

              1. r
                Robin Mendoza Green

                I'll have to go with NY Bagel at Haverford Ave and City Line. We're from NYC and these are the closest to what we grew up with!.