HOME > Chowhound > San Francisco Bay Area >
Jan 30, 2002 05:13 PM

Perfect SF bagel

  • p

Forgive me, I know this subject has come up before, but as a bagel fan I wanted to give a few places in SF props. First of all, yes, yes, I know bagels typically suck rocks in SF: hard or too-soft lumpy bits that are simply baked or (heavens!) steamed instead of being boiled and then baked. I couldn't figure out when I moved out here why everyone had their bagels toasted - until I tasted them.

Two places that won't disappoint: Manhattan Bagels on Masonic at Haight (try the bialys and the everything bagel), and Sonoma Bagels at Sutter and Grant. Sonoma has some weird goyishe bagels such as chocolate chip, jalapeno and sundried tomato, urp. But they also have the perfectly-textured crust this transplanted eastener craves.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I will TOTALLY back you up on Manhattan bagel. They have great bagels, but awful cream cheese, so my recomendation is to by the bagels seperate and then grab your self some real philly cream cheese at the corner store and go home and chowdown. also get some good tomatoes at haight street produce at haight and ashbury, they are super nice and have excellent produce for the area.
    and then you will be rolling in bagel heaven in your tiny SF apartment longing for some sunshine and realizing how great sunday's are no matter what the weather may be as long as you have a good bagel.

    20 Replies
    1. re: Jupiter

      You're fun! Heh! Now I'm all loopy. PS, the sandwiches at Manhattan Bagel are yummy despite the dippy names.

      1. re: Pointybird
        Richard Adams

        Hey, guys! This is my first post EVER! As a transplanted New York Jew, I was really happy to see that I could get (frozen) H&H Bagels (very Upper West Side) from webvan out here. But, alas, Webvan is gone. Has anyone found H&H stuff anywhere else? (Noah's IS so bad it's almost anti-semitic!)

        1. re: Richard Adams

          Richard, i am a jew translplant form the mean streets of Brookline (the jewish heart and soul of Boston) and I yearned for ever for a good bagel and i've done the rounds. Katz's bagels in the mission are decent, but i definetely think that Manhattan Bagel takes the cake. I don't know where you can get any of the old Webvan stuff, but i guess you could start calling around to the various "gourmet" markets like Andronico's, Molly Stone's, Whole Foods, etc...and see if they carry them. Jew Food is starting to get stylish, so we might luck out!
          Welcome to SF and trust me, if you look hard enough you can find ANYTHING!

          1. re: Jupiter

            Has anyone been to Bagel Star, on Polk Street? I think that may be where East Coast West Deli gets their bagels--I heard good things about them from one of the guys who runs Andrew Rothstein Fine Foods, good take-out shop nearby. My friends out in the avenues swear by House of Bagels. I never went back to Sonoma Bagels after the day they were pushing a spinach-and-parmesan bagel. Katz is OK, pretty doughy by my standards, likewise Manhattan bagels. I used to like Holey Bagels, but they sold out to Manhattan bagels. The worst bagels, though, are Posh Bagels. Godawful round bread.

            1. re: dixieday
              Randy Salenfriend

              I would trust those friends out in the avenues who swear by House of Bagels. I concur. As I've said in the past, the one on Geary between 14th & 15th is the real deal. Dense, chewy, stuff on both sides. Especially good on a Sunday morning when hot.

              1. re: Randy Salenfriend

                I agree -- House of Bagels on Geary (they are also available at Rainbow Grocery) makes the best bagels in San Francisco. I grew up in the Borscht Belt (Catskill Mountain resort area) in New York and know what "real" New York bagels taste like. These bagels are very good.

                By the way, they also make a very good corn rye bread.

                Link: http://www.houseofbagels.com/index.htm

                1. re: Nancy Berry
                  Nathan Landau

                  I'll have to try House of Bagels' corn rye. When in LA the genuine article can be found at Beverlywood Bakery, 9128 Pico Blvd., near Century City. I suspect they're closed for the Jewish sabbath, Friday evening through Saturday evening, it's that kind of neighborhood.

                2. re: Randy Salenfriend
                  derek from brooklyn

                  I'm not crazy about their bagels, however they make something called a Bagel Flat with onions on it (something like what we called a "pletzel" in N.Y.) which I really like.I go to a bagel place next to the Northgate shopping center in Terra Linda. It's in a strip shopping center with a Safeway, and I think they are the closest to home. Sorry I don't remember its' name and the search engine would not find it even thogh I got the info from this list within the last couple of months.Knishes!!! I crave a kasha knish...anyone? anywhere?

                  1. re: derek from brooklyn

                    Is this the post you're looking for? I located it using the "find" function in the browser menu.

                    Link: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

                    1. re: derek from brooklyn

                      I had a pretty good kasha knish from East Coast West Deli, on Polk at Clay. Not Yonah Schimmel's, by a long shot, but pretty good.

                      1. re: dixieday

                        Really?When I went there and spoke to the manager and asked for kasha knishes he said that they would not make them, because he thought they wouldn't sell and they didn't keep very long! Maybe he had other requests. I'd better get over there quickly..they may run out.Many Thanks.

                3. re: Jupiter

                  You know, I used to live by the 3rd Street/85th Ave location of H&H, circa about 1994. Those bagels were the finest I ever had; I'd drop by for a poppy with butter each and every morning. Something seemed to happen to their bagels 'round about 1999, though. Whenever I'd go back east to visit my parents I'd make special trips in to NY to get bagels at H&H. I gave it up though. They just weren't the same, though they continued to coast along on their rep. I think you can order them directly from H&H by the dozen, can't you? Hey, maybe your opinion differs from mine.

                  1. re: Pointybird
                    Richard Adams

                    This bagel thread is REALLY making me miss New York!!! OK.... are there any ex-pats here who remember the place on Grand Street...I think nr. Essex.... south side, nr. the movie theatre? It was like a bagel factory in the back with a small counter in the front staffed by a local neighborhood "character" with her son often standing by?

                    Now THOSE were bagels....like the original Lender's made in a garage in the back of a house in New Haven...**sigh**

                    Now, what about a good knish??

                    1. re: Richard Adams

                      and the bialy's there were wonderful!Gertels Bakery, a few blocks away had the best Jewish corn read, rye and pumpernickel..in these giant rounds, you could just get a quarter of it. Really crackly crusty outside, and moist moist moist in the middle!I'm missing Blackout Cake!! Has anyone found some here or maybe even L.A.?

                      1. re: derek

                        I have a good recipe for a copy of Ebinger's blackout cake. Let me know if you want it.

                        1. re: Nancy Berry

                          Thanks Nancy,Ebingers was this boy from Brooklyns' first bakery, and Blackout Cake and Mocha Cakes were my first cakes. I know that since Ebingers closed, other bakeries have begun making Blackout Cake...but I need to buy it, 'cause I have no patience in the kitchen for baking anything with so many steps! So keep your eyes open, maybe an L.A. bakery will have it!

                      2. re: Richard Adams

                        Hey Richard -- I think the bagel place you're talking about on the Lower East Side is Kossar's Bialystocker, on Grand between Essex and Norfolk. I was there in November and had one of their bagels for the first time. My review (excuse my language): the best fucking bagel I have ever had. (This from a transplated L.A. Jew.)

                        A MUST visit. 367 Grand St., 212-473-4810. Near the Delancey St. subway station.

                        1. re: joannap

                          Joanna! You ROCK! That is it exactly and I am so happy to know that they are still there. Maybe being a Jew is cool again!....now someone stop me before I start a whole RATNER'S thing here and get kicked off the message board for inappropriate postings!

                          1. re: RichardAdams

                            Didn't Ratners close? I could have made a meal of their onion rolls and sweet butter!

                  2. re: Richard Adams

                    To the New Yorkers here: have you tried the better bagels in Montreal? They're simply awesome. Dare I say, better than at H&H (my good friend and host when in NY lives nearby)...

                    The better bagels in Montreal are always hand kneaded, cut and boiled in broth then baked in a wood-fired brick oven.

                    Great briskets too in the "Main" district (it's practically the national sandwich in Montreal).

              2. I have to put my vote down for Katz Bagels. There's on in the Mission on 16th between Guerrero and Valencia and one on 2nd and Mission Street, near the Montgomery BART station.

                They are far and away my favorite bagels and cream cheese in San Francisco. In fact, it's a practically a daily breakfast routine for me.

                I recall being underwhelmed by Manhattan Bagel and decided not to stray from Katz (maybe it was the not-so-hot cream cheese mentioned earlier?), and will try Sonoma Bagel on your recommendation. I think the name was keeping me away...

                1 Reply
                1. re: Frantik

                  I think you caught Sonoma Bagel on a good day. I have been there twice and it's in the sucko category for me.

                  Manhattan is the slightest bit too crusty, too much contrast between crust and chewy, for me. But they're fine, and close by. I'm referring to products made by the Haight and Masonic location - maybe elsewhere is better.

                  Katz is the best for me, and I do like, much to my surprise and as I have mentioned here before (pointy, use the search feature to find more bagel tsuris) Marin Bagel, that I get at the Diamond Heights Safeway. They're a teeny bit on the sweet side but the texture is excellent.

                2. n
                  Nathan Landau

                  Manhattan's not bad, and it's got a location near me (on Berkeley's Uberyuppie street, 4th St.), but my vote would be House of Bagels. They've got a location on Geary, maybe around 15th and in many suburban communities--Walnut Creek, San Rafael, Burlingame. The remark about Noah's bagels is amusing given that Noah Alper who founded the chain is a huge donor to Jewish causes.

                  1. z
                    Zach Georgopoulos

                    Huh. I recently went to Sonoma Bagels and thought them too soft and bready compared to Katz. Might have been a bad day...

                    1. A vote for House of Bagels...

                      Manhattan Bagels would go broke in Manhattan.