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Montreal-style bagels in Bay area?

  • m

Does anyone know where I can find Montreal-style bagels? Montreal-style bagels are crisp on the outside, chewy in the middle, dredged bottom and top in sesame seeds and cooked in a wood oven so there is a bit of a smokiness to them. They are, hands down, the best bagels ever and coincidentally, the best reason to keep Quebec a part of Canada. (I kid! I kid because I love!)

I am not looking for New York-style and yes, I have tried Noah's and other bagel bakery bagels and they are not "it". Too fat, fluffy, chewy and bready. Montreal-style bagels are almost pastry-like because they are delicate while also being substantial. Hard to make sense of, yes, but once you've had one, you'll understand and also be forever ruined for non-Montreal style.

Anyone know where I can get my hands on some?

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  1. Good Luck. Hey, we can't even get real New York bagels here. I'd say you chances of getting a Monteral Bagel around here are about as good as finding a branch of Schwartz's or Lester's.

    1. I very much doubt that you'll find anything like those bagels here, or in fact anywhere outside of Canada. I had them once at the bakery in Montreal that claims to have introduced them to the city. It was run by the son and daughter of the orginal owner. I have to say that I wasn't much taken with the bagels. As I recall they were slightly sweet and were made without salt (!). I did like the texture but without salt the flavor was just too bland for my salt-craving taste.

      1. I looked for four years and never found any Montreal bagels in the Bay Area. I asked every Canadian I met, but no dice. Good luck in your search, but get an Air Canada frequent flier card because if you have a real addiction to those bagels you may get use of it. And if you do find that special place, please make sure you let us know about it.

        1. I just heard that Saul's Deli in Berkeley is selling "Montreal style" bagels on Saturdays! I can't wait until next Saturday to try them!

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          Saul's Deli
          1475 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley, CA 94709

          10 Replies
          1. re: belindasf

            Those are probably coming from Beauty's, they're reportedly working out of a local pizzeria while looking for a shop in Oakland.

            More recent topic on Montreal bagels: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/731954

            1. re: belindasf

              Please confirm if you find out for sure they have Beauty's bagels at Saul's! I didn't love Montreal bagels when I lived there, but now that I've tackled making authentic Quebecois vegepate, I'm dying to spread some on its traditional starch vehicle, a sweet sesame bagel with a giant hole in the middle!

              Wise Sons had some kind of sandwich on a Beauty's bagel on their menu this weekend, but from the website it didn't sound like you could order them on their own. If someone has been and knows otherwise, please let me know. Thanks!

              1. re: Constant Velocity

                I doubt you can just buy the bagels from Wise Sons, but you could ask. They were flexible enough on Saturday for me to buy 2 pieces of rugelach instead of the menu-stated portion of 4.

                NOTE: Wise Sons' Saturday pop-up has moved from Heart to The Beast & The Hare at Guerrero & 22nd. The line was fairly insane at just before 11, but the rugelach and my smoked trout salad sandwich were worth the wait.

                1. re: Constant Velocity

                  Wise Sons doesn't have enough bagels to sell extras. Suggest emailing Beauty's directly and asking.

                  (Why did they move from Heart after two weeks?)

                  1. re: Windy

                    Not sure; I went to Heart first where there was a sign in the window stating the change. If it was a crowd issue, the move didn't help. After waiting in line to order, we then had to wait around for a table to open up, while the polite but frantic servers hustled around us.

                    1. re: Frosty Melon

                      Typical popup inexperience. They think they're saving something by not having table service, but all they're doing is passing stress along to customers. And each time they move, everyone has to learn a new setup again.

                      Nothing against Wise Sons--we liked the food a lot. But running a restaurant is different from catering. Customers need consistency.

                  2. re: Constant Velocity

                    A recent post on Beauty's Facebook page implies both that they are making bagels for Saul's and that their bagels can be purchased from Wise Sons:
                    "We made almost 400 bagels this week and they turned out better than ever. Thanks to Mike and Jonah for helping us hand roll all of them. We started doing different toppings for Saul's, so you can try all dressed (canadian for everything), sesame, poppy, onion or plain. Thanks to everyone for their support! xoxoxo"

                    In response to a comment that says "where can we get them?"
                    "Beast and the Hare-22nd and Guerrero-Saturdays from 9-2. Please come!!"

                    1. re: Martin Strell

                      Thank you so much for this info, Martin Strell. The implication that Beauty's is making bagels for Saul's was correct! I stopped by Saturday and got some sesame ones. I honestly can't remember the last time I ran into a bagel that was edible untoasted and sans topping. The texture was sublimely chewy, the flavor sweetly delicious--I would consider it an authentic Montreal bagel. Maybe even a little bit better!

                      1. re: Constant Velocity

                        I stopped by Saul's today at 9AM for some bagels. They had Beauty's from today and Spot from yesterday. They were both $1.15 each. I didn't try the Spot's, but I enjoyed the Beauty's as much as I did at Wise Sons last month. The Beauty's were still warm. They had plenty, but they said they expected to run out by the end of the day. They will accept advanced orders and set them aside for you if you can't get there so early. They said that the advanced orders should be made 48 hours in advance.

                        1. re: Martin Strell

                          they're also now at the kensington farmers market on sundays.