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Best Bagels in Toronto

t
Tasty Tater Nov 6, 2006 05:46 PM

For me, the current champ is Gryfe's, but I am conflicted. I also like the Montreal style bagels and ate a dream bagel in a deli there about ten years ago. I have yet to replicate that experience (or perhaps I have, and this deli bagel is unjustly on the podium).

Just the same, my quest continues.

OK team, where are your favourites? And please explain (but nothing too sultry, please)

Doughy applicants need not apply.

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  1. s
    sherry f Nov 6, 2006 05:48 PM

    Bagel World, Wilson and Bathurst.

    1. n
      Nyleve Nov 6, 2006 05:55 PM

      This is definitely going to get ugly.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Nyleve
        JamieK Sep 23, 2007 06:19 PM

        You were SO right.

        1. re: Nyleve
          Moimoi Sep 30, 2011 08:38 PM

          That's funny! That was my first thought when I read this posting too...
          First, let me say to the OP, it has to be Montreal style with sesame seeds for me. I used to be a St. Urbain fan until I tried Bagel House on Avenue, warm from the oven with unsalted butter. I think my eyes cross every time I have one or two or three. I'd take it over a Krispy Kreme donut any day... Gryfes? Sorry... I don't get it.

          -----
          Bagel House
          1548 Bayview Ave, Toronto, ON M4G, CA

        2. y
          Yongeman Nov 6, 2006 06:16 PM

          If I had to choose just one Toronto bagel, it would be Bagel World's twister. Hot. With butter.
          But I also love (in no particular order) Gryfe's, Bagel House (Toronto's best Montreal-style bagels), Kiva's, Hamische. That's it for me.

          1. j
            jcanncuk Nov 6, 2006 06:26 PM

            There are Montreal style bagels at St Urbain Bagels on the upper floor of the St Lawrence Market. I lived in Mtl for 10+ yrs and, hands down, these are the closest to the "real thing" that I've found in T.O. The guy who started this place is rumoured to have worked in a Mtl bagel shop before starting up St Urbain in T.O.
            They are not quite up to my favourite - Fairmont Bagels, but will more than do in a fix :-)

            2 Replies
            1. re: jcanncuk
              TorontoJo Nov 6, 2006 07:50 PM

              Bagel House is much, much closer to a real Montreal bagel than St. Urbain. And the Bagel House owner definitely did work in the Montreal bagel factories. Bagel House has two locations -- Bayview at Manor and Avenue Rd. at Fairlawn (or thereabouts).

              1. re: TorontoJo
                g
                galambo Nov 10, 2006 02:52 AM

                agreed

            2. Davwud Nov 6, 2006 07:10 PM

              I have to agree with the OP. Gryfe's it is.

              DT

              1 Reply
              1. re: Davwud
                g
                galambo Nov 10, 2006 02:52 AM

                but what is it?

                my opinion... if you like gryfe, buy a piece of bread and make a hole in it... just the same and alot cheaper.

                it isn't ANYTHING like what a bagel should taste like

              2. pescatarian Nov 6, 2006 07:11 PM

                Bagel World. Kiva's in a pinch.

                1 Reply
                1. re: pescatarian
                  deelicious Nov 6, 2006 07:43 PM

                  Yes. Easily the best 2 Toronto style bagels. Hands down.

                2. c
                  ctl98 Nov 6, 2006 07:53 PM

                  I have to agree with the bagel house recs.

                  1. r
                    rbc Nov 6, 2006 08:29 PM

                    Bagel Brigade at Eglinton & bathurst on the south side. Go for the plain.

                    1. koknia Nov 6, 2006 08:53 PM

                      I also make the trek to The Bagel House. Their 'Everything' bagel is a meal all on its lonesome.
                      Everything else in Toronto tastes like bread to me.

                      1. f
                        FlavoursGal Nov 6, 2006 10:11 PM

                        I was born in Montreal, and raised on Montreal bagels. Having lived in Montreal until age 38, I'd call myself a Montreal bagel expert.

                        The best Montreal bagels available in Toronto are, indeed, those from The Bagel House - they have just the right amount of chew, flavour (just sweet enough), and appearance.

                        Next up, and a very close second, are St-Urbain (the owner, by the way, is a C.A. by profession), which were the best in Toronto until Bagel House's appearance on the scene.

                        Toronto "bagels" I just can't deal with. To me, they're rolls (or buns, as known in Toronto) with holes in the middle.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: FlavoursGal
                          deelicious Nov 6, 2006 10:22 PM

                          Toronto Bagels are found at Kivas and Bagel World. Many crappy bagels in Toronto I know of are buns....including What a Bagel. A twister bagel from Kivas is as much a bun as any montreal style bagel is.

                        2. e
                          embee Nov 6, 2006 10:34 PM

                          Bagel House for Montreal style
                          Bagel World for not-Montreal style

                          With some embarassment, I confess that I have had some pretty good experiences with What a Bagel's Spadina Rd location. (I haven't tried any of their others.) When I see that conveyor belt oven, I cringe, but I wouldn't write these off as mere "buns", as I do Gryfe's.

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: embee
                            f
                            FlavoursGal Nov 6, 2006 11:47 PM

                            No need to be embarrassed, embee - I think What a Bagel (Spadina and Eglinton West locations) has some excellent breads. Next to Harbord Bakery, the best challah in town, for one (and about 1/2 the price!)

                            As for Gryfe's I just don't get it. THESE are rolls. Tasty rolls, but rolls.

                            Sorry, deelicious, but proper Montreal bagels are NOT buns.

                            1. re: FlavoursGal
                              a
                              Atahualpa Nov 7, 2006 02:10 PM

                              "A twister bagel from Kivas is as much a bun as any montreal style bagel is." I think she ment by that statement that they both were NOT buns.

                              1. re: Atahualpa
                                deelicious Nov 7, 2006 02:21 PM

                                exactly. Thanks Atahualpa.

                                In fact through research I discovered that the Toronto (NYC)bagel was first created decades before the Montreal bagel was formulated.

                                1. re: deelicious
                                  g
                                  galambo Nov 10, 2006 02:54 AM

                                  the question is taste rather then who was made first. toronto style bagel and bread...

                                  what is the difference... one has a hole in it <S>

                          2. e
                            egon61 Nov 7, 2006 01:58 AM

                            The Bagel House by far!

                            St. Urbain bagels are close but seem to be missing something crucial.

                            What-a-Bagel and Gryfe's both produce baked goods that I find tasty and eat semi-regularly, but they sure aren't bagels. I find What-a-Bagels mainly come in handy for making sandwiches.

                            1. t
                              tartetatin Nov 7, 2006 02:38 AM

                              I really like the Montreal bagels at Bagel House, and St. Urbain Bagels are okay too. Having said that, I like New York bagels and have not found ANY good chewy bagels in Toronto. The two places that had very good bagels are gone - Bruegger's at Yonge and Eglinton (and at Yonge and King also) made fantastic bagels, but they closed in 1999 and a small place on Coxwell at Gerrard (can't think of the name) which closed last year. Does anyone know of a good New York style chewy bagel in Toronto?

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: tartetatin
                                y
                                Yongeman Nov 7, 2006 03:15 AM

                                Chewy bagels aren't necessarily New York style--NY just happens to make chewy bagels, like Bagel World or Kiva. (Rant #1)
                                I haven't had a St. Urbain bagel in years, since they weren't very good, not even close to Montreal style. Then came Kettleman's Bagel from Ottawa (quite good, but short-lived). Finally came Bagel House's two locations with the equivalent bagel to Montreal (Fairmont). (Rant #2)
                                Personally, I enjoy both types.

                                1. re: tartetatin
                                  w
                                  wordsworth Nov 7, 2006 11:12 AM

                                  Agree 100%. As far as I can tell, they don't exist here. I agree that Brueggers was good, but not great. You can't get a really good bagel in T.O. Montreal are bagels can be good, but a real bagel is an egg-washed New York bagel.

                                2. w
                                  wordsworth Nov 7, 2006 11:09 AM

                                  I find the popularity of the blah Gryfe's amazing. I'll be that the people who like them are Toronto natives who haven't grown up anywhere they make good bagels. To me, Gryfe's is bread with a hole.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: wordsworth
                                    b
                                    buzzcity01 Aug 5, 2011 09:30 PM

                                    agreed and not worh the price they charge for them You can get a whole loaf of bread for almost the same price of 2 or 3 of their bagels. Take a a 2 minute walk down the street to Daiters and try their Montreal style bagels or some fresh Challah.

                                  2. pescatarian Nov 7, 2006 01:59 PM

                                    The bagels from Bagel World and Kiva's are a great example of a good Toronto. They are far from a bun with a hole. For that you can go to What a Bagel or the bakery case at Loblaws.
                                    People that enjoy these bagels are not looking for them to be anything like a Montreal-style bagel. It's like comparing apples and oranges. Compare "Montreal-style bagels" made in Toronto to the ones you have in Montreal - please stop comparing them to the Toronto-style bagels. It's just so passé.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: pescatarian
                                      deelicious Nov 7, 2006 02:22 PM

                                      I could not have said it better myself. Agree 100%

                                    2. t
                                      Tasty Tater Nov 8, 2006 11:36 AM

                                      Thanks for all the feedback. I don't feel the need to defend Gryfe's. I like them. Clearly I need to spend more time at Bagel World, Bagel House, Hamische, and Kiva's.

                                      Twister. Hot. With butter. I'm on a mission.

                                      The St. Urbain bagels don't move me, but I do buy them when I'm in the market.

                                      Ironically, while the dream bagel I mentioned was in Montreal, it was not "Montreal Style". It looked like a big doughy sucker, but was very dense inside. Didn't have much moisture, but wasn't dry. It seemed to strike a perfect balance. I'm sure the deli got it from a nearby bakery, but not sure which. Sadly, I bought a pile of them, but didn't have a place to store them, and they went bad before I could eat them. : (

                                      1. j
                                        juno Nov 8, 2006 12:37 PM

                                        As to the Montreal-style bagel, the Bagel House version seems to me to be slightly tastier than the St.-Urbain version - but only slightly. Yet the difference in price - 70 cents for Bagel House, 55 cents for St.-Urbain last I looked, makes for a spread of almost 30 per cent. I suppose we must all decide for ourselves which one represents better value.
                                        And for Toronto-style bagels, my vote goes to Bagel World (on Wilson Ave. west of Bathurst), though I'm also partial to Bagel Plus' version (in a large plaza on Sheppard Ave. west of Bathurst), especially if you can pick it up fresh first thing in the morning. Freshly-baked bagels at any of the above beat anything else in the city. I've never tasted Kiva's bagel, which buffs tell me is also very tasty.

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: juno
                                          deelicious Nov 8, 2006 03:17 PM

                                          Kiva twisters are very much like Bagel World. I think it is fair to say that Kiva has a bit more rock salt on the surface...either way, when fresh out of the oven, they are interchangeable.

                                          1. re: juno
                                            r
                                            rbc Nov 8, 2006 09:31 PM

                                            I forgot all about this thread and then went to bagel Plus this morning to pick up a plain bagel. It was great. How does one go about "testing" bagels>? get the same variety from a bunch of different bakeries????

                                          2. j
                                            juno Nov 9, 2006 12:19 AM

                                            In response to rbc on how to test bagels: I'm not sure it's worth the time and trouble to taste-test bagels from various outlets. Just find the tastiest bagels in your part of Toronto. It's a lot of trouble to chase around the city in search of the perfect bagel. Besides, even many (though not all, it must be said) of the chains put out a respectable bagel if you can get them fresh-baked. But, if you insist on being obsessive about it, it would help if you lived within quick driving distance of Bathurst St. between Lawrence Ave. (on the south) to Steeles Ave. (on the north), where you'll find close to a dozen bagel joints either on Bathurst or nearby streets, many of them mentioned favorably on this thread. And it would further help if you knew their baking schedules, though chances are you won't go wrong if you turn up first thing in the morning, when the first batch of fresh-baked turns up on the shelves. Most of these places open for business at about 6 a.m. Classic sesame seed or poppy seed varieties make for a good taste test. If they can't do those right, they probably can't make a decent bagel anyway. Take them home and eat immediately without toasting them. But this is only if you're obsessive about bagels. There are probably more important foodstuffs to be obsessive about. But I can't think what they might be.

                                            1. e
                                              erly Nov 9, 2006 01:46 AM

                                              I really get a kick out of the bagel wars on this site.
                                              Most people who grew up with bagels favour their childhood memories, and that is the bottom line.
                                              I detest the sweet Montreal bagel, but hey, I grew up in Toronto.
                                              I grew up with the twisters with lots of bite like those from Bagel World, and Kiva's, and this to me is the only bagel.
                                              There was a great crispy russian style bagel available in Toronto many many years ago at the Bagel, on College.
                                              When the bagel maker died, so did his recipe and his bagels.
                                              I can still taste his hot bagels with butter.
                                              Never found this type since.
                                              So it is a case of I'm right and you're right.
                                              BTW, although they are not as good as the above, I very much like the rye bagels at What A Bagel which is constantly panned here.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: erly
                                                pescatarian Nov 9, 2006 02:39 PM

                                                "There was a great crispy russian style bagel available in Toronto many many years ago at the Bagel, on College" - you mean the Dirty Bagel, lol

                                              2. f
                                                FlavoursGal Nov 9, 2006 06:27 PM

                                                I just bought a couple of twister bagels at Kiva's, since I was "sort of" in the area. They're very good - chewy, crisp exterior - but they are rolls. The interior, although chewier, is somewhat challah-like.

                                                It's just dawned on me that (here we go again) the major difference between Montreal and Rest of the World bagels is that Montreal bagels are still made and baked the same way they were done in the old country. They are hand-rolled, then boiled in honeyed water, then hand-dipped in the traditional sesame or poppy (we called them "white seed" or "black seed" bagels), or newfangled flavours, and then...
                                                BAKED IN A WOOD-BURNING OVEN. A good deal of the flavour and smell of a Montreal bagel comes from their having been baked in a wood-burning oven.

                                                For those of you who insist that Toronto and New York bagels existed before Montreal bagels - who cares? The Montreal bagels are still baked like they were in the shtetl. Show me a Toronto or NY bagel that's baked in a wood-burning oven.

                                                3 Replies
                                                1. re: FlavoursGal
                                                  a
                                                  Atahualpa Nov 9, 2006 07:06 PM

                                                  You know from my other post that I like a good Montreal bagel but, why on earth is being baked in a wood burning oven somehow better if you don't necessarily want that wood-smoke flavour?

                                                  1. re: FlavoursGal
                                                    pescatarian Nov 9, 2006 07:19 PM

                                                    I don't see any argument in this post as some people have suggested. People have different preferences as noted and I don't have a problem with someone preferring their Montreal version. I happen to prefer my Toronto version and I'm sure it has a lot to do with what I had growing up. I have no idea what kind of bagel my great-grandparents were eating in the shtetl. Probably not a lot of them since they often had to split one potato between 12 children, lol
                                                    I am also sure that if I am in Montreal, I would enjoy a Montreal bagel.
                                                    The original poster didn't ask which bagel was the most historically accurate. They asked where to get the best in Toronto. As people who are Montreal bagel afficianados have mentioned, you can't really get a decent Montrael bagel here, so that means that the best bagels in Toronto are Toronto style and those noted - Kiva's and Bagel World - oh and those that like Gryfe's.
                                                    Glad you enjoyed your bagel from Kiva's.

                                                    1. re: pescatarian
                                                      Webdude Nov 17, 2006 05:35 PM

                                                      "I am also sure that if I am in Montreal, I would enjoy a Montreal bagel."

                                                      Careful here. I made this mistake once. When you're *in* Montreal, they're just bagels.

                                                  2. e
                                                    erly Nov 9, 2006 08:04 PM

                                                    Pescatarian, you are dead on.
                                                    It did become the "dirty bagel" later on, and the bagels also changed around that time.
                                                    I can still see that man, I think his name was Schmul standing in front of his oven.
                                                    I am pretty sure it was wood burning.
                                                    Would love to find a bagel that tastes as good now!
                                                    Mind you, the next day they were hard as rocks
                                                    LOL

                                                    1. deelicious Nov 10, 2006 12:45 AM

                                                      Baked in a wood over or otherwise, the Kiva bagel would have the same interior as it does now, or in the shtetl. The "bun" reference has nothing to do with wood burning...it has to do with the texture of the interior. A Kiva bagel IS boiled and then baked, as is a Bagel World bagel. Back in the shtetl or in NYC when bagels were invented and perfected, the interior was just the same way it is now, and yea of course everything was wood burning back then.

                                                      I like a montreal bagel, but I never have a craving for them like I do for a Kiva bagel. I am sure that I just prefer the way the bagel was originally created because I was brought up on that style. It honestly has nothing to do with the fact that it is the authentic type.

                                                      3 Replies
                                                      1. re: deelicious
                                                        e
                                                        embee Nov 10, 2006 02:46 AM

                                                        I always enjoy the intensity of the discussions about bagels. I agree with you that an "authentic" bagel is the kind you grew up with. Whether that authentic bagel is also a good bagel is something else entirely.

                                                        There certainly are differences among the styles popular in different communities. Either a given style tastes good to you or it doesn't; either a specific baker's rendition of that style tastes good to you or it doesn't. It's simplistic.

                                                        I have lived in New York, Montreal, and Toronto. The bagels I grew up with in New York were hand shaped, boiled in sweetened water, and then baked, just like the Montreal version. Something must differ between them because the end products are as different from each other as a white sandwich bread is from a baguette. It may be ingredients, technique, or both. It is only partly about the oven. Both styles are bagels, but they are not the same kind of bread.

                                                        The New York bagels of the fifties were quite consistent. There was a bagel baker's union, and one needed to be more-or-less born into the craft. They were much fatter than the Montreal variety, had chewy interiors, were only slightly sweet, and were virtually inedible within a few hours. They were baked in an open hearth brick oven, but I never saw wood or coal - only gas or oil. They were almost impossible to find outside of New York. I understand that a purist version of these bagels is now hard to find in New York.

                                                        It was possible to get New York-ish bagels in Toronto a couple of decades ago. A franchised place around Yonge and St Clair (where Bregmans is today) didn't do a bad job. I recall (perhaps erroneously) that Lou Bregman's original Bagel King on Eglinton and the Harbord Bakery weren't half bad.

                                                        When I lived in Montreal in the sixties, what we think of as a Montreal bagel was a VERY local phenomenon. You could get them at exactly two places, St Viateur and Fairmont, which were (and still are) a few blocks apart. They were similar, but different, and each had its rabid fans. Much sweeter than New York bagels, much thinner, and baked until much darker. The wood ovens gave a distinctive flavour and were probably hotter than the ovens in New York. Like New York bagels, they are chewy. They are edible for more hours than New York bagels, but still turn to rock within a day. Aside from these two places, there was nothing special about a Montreal bagel in the sixties. To my palate, Bagel House on Bayview makes a damn fine version today.

                                                        As to the shtetl, I doubt that anyone really knows. Many in New York shunned bagels for something called a Bialy. Bialy's apparently have known European roots, but are available only in New York. The classic New York bagel, whatever it's origins, was apparently perfected by a trade union in New York. The Montreal bagel was perfected at two bakeries in Montreal. Shtetl, shmetl... Hell, the two original makers of frozen bagels (Abel in Buffalo and Lender in West Haven Ct) could never agree on who first invented this product, which goes back only to the nineteen fifties.

                                                        Which brings us to Toronto. There is, indeed, a "Toronto bagel" and it is made by Gryfe's. I recall a published interview that described the conscious development of a fluffier bagel for "local tastes". I don't like these bagels all that much, and I personally consider tham to be "buns", but really they are indeed bagels - of a very different style.

                                                        Bagel World's twisters also seem a uniquely Toronto item and they, too, are fluffy. I don't really think of a twister as a bagel, but simply as itself. (My possibly flawed understanding is that Bagel World and Kiva's have a common origin, but I suspect this post will be killed if I posit the details.) Most other Jewish-style Toronto bagels seem to approach the New York model, though not all that well. If you like one, than it is good. Of the non-Montreal bagels I've had recently, I give the nod to Bagel World's regular (non-twister) version. Is it "authentic"? Who cares?

                                                        Which brings us to unequivocally inauthentic bagels. Bagels do not contain fat -- any fat. But today I see bagels that contain not only fat, but lard. Lard? In a bagel? THAT is a joke.

                                                        1. re: embee
                                                          f
                                                          FlavoursGal Nov 10, 2006 03:44 AM

                                                          A beautifully-written open letter to all of us who are passionate about "our" bagels. Thank you, embee!

                                                          Re "authentic" Montreal bagels, don't forget Van Horne Bagel Bakery (no longer in operation), which made terrific hot-from-the-oven bagels, and R.E.A.L. Bagel, a 24/7 operation with multiple locations that started up about 20 years ago.

                                                          1. re: embee
                                                            p
                                                            peppermint pate Nov 10, 2006 06:52 PM

                                                            Ode To A Bagel - thanks for the great read, embee.

                                                        2. jonnybee Nov 11, 2006 02:56 AM

                                                          I know I may take some flack for this, but I happen to really enjoy the Montreal bagels from What-A-Bagel. AFAIK they're only available from the Bayview & Steeles (Lauraleaf) location. I assume they're is some tacit no-compete agreement going on at the Bathurst & Steeles location given its proximity to St. Urbain. Though I have never had a bagel in Montreal or from the Bagel House (it's on my list), these are so much better than St. Urbain's and the bagels I had while living in Vancouver which seemed to be in the Montreal style.

                                                          I hate to say it, these What-A-Bagel Montreal bagels have become my favourite bagels in the city, I think Kiva's and Bagel World are missing my business (Sorry Steve from Kiva's). Fortunately I still get my share of twisters at family functions.

                                                          Now if someone can only bring a NYC bagel to TO, if it can be done in FLA (Sage in Hallandale) it can be done here. So don't tell me it's the water....

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: jonnybee
                                                            e
                                                            embee Nov 11, 2006 02:08 PM

                                                            I've never tried one of these Laureleaf things, but I obviously must do so. Do they have a real wood oven there? The Spadina What-a-Bagel has always surprised me because common bagel wisdom says that, whatever the fuel, one must bake on an open hearth. I still can't believe how (relatively) good the bagels taste when they come off of that conveyor. If they are baking Montreal bagels on a conveyor, this I've gotta see.

                                                            The wood oven should make a profound difference in the taste. This is logical, since a wood oven can burn much hotter than gas and the wood smoke certainly can affect flavour. But then there was the short-lived Kettleman's. I know some folks here liked it, but I didn't (which sucked, since I live in that area). I saw them making apparently textbook Montreal bagels, baking in a wood oven, and producing something that my taste buds did not identify as a Montreal bagel.

                                                            Water certainly is an issue. New York's water is very soft and, when used as a ringer in bottled water taste tests, often wins. Toronto water is harder, more chlorinated, and doesn't taste as good. Water north of Steeles is harder still. So water sourcing and/or processing might be part of the equation. (Water in North Miami Beach is appalling - they must be processing it or using bottled.)

                                                            But yes, it certainly can be done. That place at Yonge/St Clair (can't remember the name) was pretty good. There was a (now defunct) Bake Works franchise on Danforth whose "potato" bagel that was a dead ringer for New York. Two other Bake Works I tried did not produce the same texture or taste. (New York bagels do not contain potato, and potatoes make dough moist and fluffy. I don't understand this either!) If anyone reading this can get to Harbord Bakery, could you please check out their bagels and report. Can they still do it there?

                                                          2. r
                                                            Ruffian Nov 16, 2006 04:02 PM

                                                            So, one of the worst bagel experiences I've ever had was riding back to Toronto from Montreal in a van with several dozen freshly baked Montreal bagels I believe were from Fairmount. The people I was travelling with were Montrealers now living in Toronto and clearly they needed to stock up. 5 hours trapped with this nauseating sweet smell and I'll never be able to eat one again. What does sweet have to do with a bagel?

                                                            Why, instead of insulting one or the other, can't everyone just accept that we all have different taste preferences? Most of us like what we grew up with. Others like what they think is the "in" thing to like at the moment. Why can't you like both given that they are truly two different things sharing one name? I have this awful memory that precludes my eating a Montreal bagel but I can accept that people do like them.

                                                            Oh, and my preference is Bagel World. If I'm not mistaken, Kiva originally owned Bagel World and urban myth has it that he lost it in a poker game.

                                                            4 Replies
                                                            1. re: Ruffian
                                                              n
                                                              Nyleve Nov 17, 2006 01:02 AM

                                                              Just came home from a weekend in Montreal with 8 dozen bagels in the trunk. It just wouldn't seem right to make that trip without that wonderful aroma wafting through the car. To each his own, huh?

                                                              1. re: Nyleve
                                                                deelicious Nov 17, 2006 03:06 AM

                                                                Whether Toronto or Montreal style. Nothing worse than biting into a once-frozen bagel!

                                                                1. re: deelicious
                                                                  y
                                                                  Yongeman Nov 17, 2006 11:27 AM

                                                                  I'm mostly in agreement about frozen bagels, but with Montreal-style (from Fairmont or Bagel House, for me), I like to freeze them, then thaw, toast and butter them. This is the only bagel that I'll ever eat toasted. I think toasting actually improves the flavour, because of the sugar-content in the dough. It comes up all nice and toasty and slightly sweet.
                                                                  That said, I'd still prefer a TO bagel hot (not toasted) and fresh.

                                                                  1. re: deelicious
                                                                    n
                                                                    Nyleve Nov 17, 2006 03:28 PM

                                                                    Where we live, I have no choice but to eat frozen bagels or - god forbid - small-town bagel-shaped bread units. Frozen bagels get thawed and, yes, toasted. I agree - fresh is better, whether Toronto or Montreal, but that's not going to happen very often.

                                                              2. t
                                                                tartetatin Nov 17, 2006 01:15 AM

                                                                I agree 100%. It is all about subjective taste and history and that is impossible to quantify. Vivre la difference.

                                                                1. e
                                                                  ekammin Jul 5, 2007 03:17 PM

                                                                  Being from New York, I much prefer New York style bagels. Try Happy Bagel at Finch and Bathurst, like What a Bagel but better.

                                                                  1. h
                                                                    hybrid Jul 14, 2007 09:41 AM

                                                                    I shudder to think of the privations one has endured if one thinks that Bagel World has good bagels. A so-so crust, less than fresh poppy seeds, and a bready, absolutely uninspired interior. Not to mention the indifferent service and the bizarre tradition of bringing you your bagel first, then 10 minutes later the fillings for your sandwich on a separate plate. This is a tradition that should go the way of foot binding.

                                                                    St. Urbain's are excellent - great crust, great interior, great flavor. I wish they offered more sandwich-type fare.

                                                                    My other regional favorite is JC's Hot Bagels at New and Guelph Line in Burlington. Very different from St. Urbain, but excellent seeds, excellent crust (including a corn meal bottom) and a light interior. Lots of good toppings and fillings.
                                                                    And excellent service.

                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                    1. re: hybrid
                                                                      d
                                                                      DDD Jul 14, 2007 12:29 PM

                                                                      Locke Street Bagel in Hamilton is also good in a pinch, though I still prefer St Urban/Bagel House. Anyhow, it's back to MTL next week for some St Viateur for me!

                                                                      1. re: hybrid
                                                                        deelicious Jul 14, 2007 12:58 PM

                                                                        Last week I ate at Bagel World and enjoyed an amazing twister. Even with its size, I didnt want it to end! The crispy crusty salty exterior and warm tasty centre was a perfect match with my butter and cream cheese. In fact the poppy seeds were so fresh, it seemed as if the flowers were still attached. Amazing.

                                                                        We LOVE Bagel World and Kivas!

                                                                        1. re: deelicious
                                                                          g
                                                                          galambo Jul 16, 2007 04:35 PM

                                                                          no account for taste <S>

                                                                          i prefer a bagel taste (read bagel house) then a whole in my bread type of bagel (read bagel world)

                                                                          1. re: galambo
                                                                            e
                                                                            ekammin Jul 16, 2007 08:12 PM

                                                                            Personally, I like Happy Bagel at Bathurst and Finch, with What-a-Bagel (yeah, I know it's a chain) a good second choice.

                                                                            As to Montreal bagels, if I want an undersized sweet roll, that's what I'll buy.

                                                                      2. e
                                                                        easyguy14215 Jul 22, 2007 10:03 AM

                                                                        I can't believe no one mentioned Fortinos in Burlington- next to the IKEA. By far the best bagles I have ever had anywhere at anytime

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: easyguy14215
                                                                          deelicious Jul 22, 2007 11:34 AM

                                                                          maybe cuz it says best bagels in Toronto....just guessing....

                                                                        2. p
                                                                          piccola Sep 23, 2007 05:30 PM

                                                                          Found some decent Montreal-style specimens at Sunglow Bakery in High Park - not the ones they make in-house, but a smaller batch on the lower end of their bread display. The store clerk told me they have them delivered, but couldn't say from where. Any guesses?

                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                          1. re: piccola
                                                                            g
                                                                            galambo Sep 26, 2007 01:34 PM

                                                                            the begal house on avneue road (another on bayview) MAYBE

                                                                          2. w
                                                                            World Fusion Sep 29, 2007 09:37 PM

                                                                            Wow! A heated thread for sure!
                                                                            To those who seem to wonder what sweet has to do with bagels? simple. dipped in honey water before baking in a wood burning oven. Exquisite.
                                                                            My favourite are Fabourg bagels off St Catharines in Montreal.
                                                                            I've heard locals say fairmont bagels are better, but I've never tried them.

                                                                            MHO is the great canadian bagel is the best in Toronto, however I've never tried Gryfe, Kiva or Bagel World.
                                                                            St.Urbain is a major disappointment to the nth degree.

                                                                            Basically it is of my opinion 90% or more of all bagels are simpoly mutilated versions that have been adapted to cater to tastes of different regions in North America.
                                                                            Prime examples are the pre-packaged foods you buy in the supermarket Vs Haute couture cuisine.
                                                                            Our beer. Seems every country in the world knows how to make beer correctly except Canada & the US. Where are the hops? that's where the flavor is!
                                                                            But try telling that to Joe meat & potatoes hockey fan...

                                                                            1. torontovore Dec 1, 2007 11:46 AM

                                                                              There's a new type of bagel at Bagel Plus (Sheppard west of Bathurst) that they call a 'FLATTIE'. It's created in the Toronto style but much thinner than the common varieties and with a more crispy/chewy outside. Absolutely delicious when still warm from the oven. They're currently popular enough that you have to visit in the mornings before they're sold out. You can see a photo of them at torontovore.ca

                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                              1. re: torontovore
                                                                                d
                                                                                ddelicious Dec 1, 2007 03:23 PM

                                                                                They have them at bagel world too.

                                                                                1. re: ddelicious
                                                                                  l
                                                                                  lowchen Dec 3, 2007 02:53 PM

                                                                                  I must say I dont think T. does Bagels all that well. I prefer MTL bagels or the bagels at the Ottawa BagelShop. my .2 cents

                                                                              2. x
                                                                                xdorax Dec 3, 2007 09:49 PM

                                                                                sorry for being ignorance.

                                                                                What's the different between a normal bagel and montreal style bagel?

                                                                                I went all the way to St. Lawrence last Saturday hoping to try it out. However, guess what - IT'S SOLD OUT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! just got a garlic+onion & sesame one at the end. How annoying!

                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                1. re: xdorax
                                                                                  vorpal Dec 4, 2007 06:16 AM

                                                                                  Yoinked from Wikipedia's bagel page:

                                                                                  "The Montreal bagel contains malt and egg but no salt; it is boiled in honey-sweetened water before baking in a wood oven; and it is predominantly either of the poppy "black" or sesame "white" seeds variety."

                                                                                  In my experience, Montreal style bagels are much denser and somewhat sweeter. I find that "regular" bagels are just bread in the shape of a donut with some seeds or flavourings to jazz them up, whereas Montreal (and New York, for that matter) bagels are distinctly different from bread in terms of consistency and taste.

                                                                                  1. re: vorpal
                                                                                    f
                                                                                    FPIII May 27, 2010 10:01 AM

                                                                                    Yes, there is a distinct difference between what is termed a 'Montreal Style' and a regular (Toronto?) style bagel. You will find that any bagel that you purchase in most places, Like Tim's, Great Canadian Bagel Co, any sleeve of bagels you purchase at Metro, Loblaws etc is typical bready & puffy 'toronto' style. Now I've seen this across Canada and in the US, so it isn't just our town that makes em this way. The MTL style as mentioned by vorpal, is denser, sweeter and more flavourful. In fact it can be eaten on it's own, broken into chunks as you go, without the need to toast & butter or use cream cheese. Lately, I've been purchasing my Montreal Style bagels at one of the 3 Bagel House locations in Toronto (Avenue rd, north of Lawrence, Bayview north of Millwood or Yonge north of Summerhill) that I know of. As said by others, another good source is St Urbain at the SLM or its other location on Eglinton west of Bathurst ( I believe). But I find the Bagel House to be the better product.

                                                                                    What are the specific differences between MTL style and New York style?

                                                                                    -----
                                                                                    Bagel House
                                                                                    1548 Bayview Ave, Toronto, ON M4G, CA

                                                                                2. w
                                                                                  warlock Dec 4, 2007 12:02 PM

                                                                                  Hey how come nobody has mentioned Tim Hortons????? ..LOL .Just kidding....Actually I quiet like the ones from St Urbain at SLM and also the ones from What a Bagel

                                                                                  1. t
                                                                                    thornhillguy May 9, 2010 09:17 PM

                                                                                    Bagel World's twisters have got to be the best bagels in Toronto. Fresh and with butter, nothing else is needed but boy are they delicious with any topping like lox and cream cheese.

                                                                                    -----
                                                                                    Bagel World
                                                                                    10 Disera Dr #150, Vaughan, ON L4J0A7, CA

                                                                                    1. f
                                                                                      FPIII May 27, 2010 10:10 AM

                                                                                      Bagel House. 3 locations in Toronto with wood ovens to cook their Montreal Style product. A dense, flavourful bagel and a good assortment of cream cheeses.

                                                                                      St Urbain is a close second with a not-so-dense bagel in the Montreal Style. Two locations in Toronto.

                                                                                      Haymishe Bakery (Bathurst south of Lawrence) is a good 3rd, with this bakery producing a very good / flavourful bagel which is more in regular (i.e. toronto) style, but better than a grocery store or fast food offering.

                                                                                      -----
                                                                                      Bagel House
                                                                                      1548 Bayview Ave, Toronto, ON M4G, CA

                                                                                      5 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: FPIII
                                                                                        e
                                                                                        embee May 27, 2010 11:19 AM

                                                                                        I had stopped responding to bagel threads, but a chance visit to the SLM today merits a comment here.

                                                                                        Bagel House makes creditable bagels in the Montreal style. While different from the products of Montreal's dueling bagel bakers, these have all the characteristics inherent in a good Montreal bagel - the proportions, the texture, and the taste.

                                                                                        St Urbain is NOT a close second - at least not at the SLM. The fresh-from-the- (wood burning) oven bagels they were selling today had NONE of the characteristics of a Montreal bagel.

                                                                                        I accept the maxim that the "authentic" version or, more narrowly, the version you like best, is usually the one you grew up with. These were not only "inauthentic", they were not good. They were just bland pieces of baked dough. While very different from the "bagels" sold by Tim's, they weren't any better!

                                                                                        -----
                                                                                        Bagel House
                                                                                        1548 Bayview Ave, Toronto, ON M4G, CA

                                                                                        1. re: embee
                                                                                          c
                                                                                          childofthestorm May 27, 2010 11:23 AM

                                                                                          God, so seconded. As a Montrealer that place actually infuriates me...taking the name "St. Urbain" as if Duddy Kravitz himself is going to pop in, it's offensive, the bagels they serve there.

                                                                                          If you want Montreal-style bagels in Toronto stick to Bagel House.

                                                                                          1. re: embee
                                                                                            pinstripeprincess May 27, 2010 01:00 PM

                                                                                            in full agreement. one look at them and i just know they won't have the right texture.

                                                                                            on that note though, is it just me or is bagel house underbaking their sesame bagels now? the past few times i've gotten them they've been doughy and a bit wet. enough to clump up uncomfortably while eating. still way better than everything else, but what gives! i asked them about it and they claim that it's because they're still warm.... there's definitely not enough residual heat in one of those to keep cooking it.

                                                                                            1. re: pinstripeprincess
                                                                                              sgogo Feb 19, 2011 11:29 AM

                                                                                              Just popping in to agree with everything stated in the few posts above. I've been on a small bagel sample the past few weeks, which included What-a-Bagel, St. Urbain's, the new Kiva's on St. Clair at Yonge, and my beloved Bagel House. So happy to have Bagel House so close to home, they're always just what I want. I did notice what you mentioned about underbaking the sesame bagels, PSP, although it hasn't been enough to alter the texture when eating them, for me. Only when I'm cutting them, the knife sticks a bit.
                                                                                              As for the others, wow, I know if a Montreal Bagel is what you're after, then WaB and Kiva's won't cut it. But Kiva's, for example, was way too thick, doughy and bready, and the service there was a bit...uncommunicative? St. Urbain? No, just no.
                                                                                              Anyway, long story short: stick with Bagel House for the Montreal style.

                                                                                              1. re: sgogo
                                                                                                hal2010 Mar 6, 2011 06:45 AM

                                                                                                I tried Kiva's on St Clair this week. They gave me a sample of a new product which I think they were calling a Tel Aviv bagel. Looks like a flattened bagel, about 1cm thick and absolutely covered in sesame seeds. It's almost all crust. Very chewy and nutty tasting. I'll definitely be buying some more when I'm in the neighborhood.

                                                                                        2. b
                                                                                          Big Kahuna 1 Mar 7, 2011 08:50 AM

                                                                                          As they say in Quebec, "Chacun a son gout". I'm Montreal born but Toronto raised., My definite preference is the Montreal style bagel at The Bagel House. There are three locations, the newest of which is on the west side of Yonge, just south of St. Clair. If I want to make a sandwich in a bagel, What A Bagel would be my choice. For "Toronto style bagels", my choice would be Kiva's. A friend of mine from Montreal, now living here, was the founder of St. Urbain Bagels, and he has told me that their product isn't up to what he originally offered. His current favourite is The Bagel House and insists this is the "real deal". The Bagel House's owner was formerly with both Fairmont and St. Viateur in Montreal.
                                                                                          Again, I recognize that taste in bagels is, like anything else, is a matter of personal preference. I personally like the chewiness of the Montreal style product, as well as its slightly sweeter taste. I find I can eat one plain and still enjoy it. If any Chowhounder knows of where we can find a true New York style bagel, please let us know.

                                                                                          -----
                                                                                          Bagel House
                                                                                          1548 Bayview Ave, Toronto, ON M4G, CA

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

                                                                                          1. Dr. John Mar 7, 2011 03:02 PM

                                                                                            I'll add another vote for The Bagel House in terms of Montreal-style bagels. I even like their cinnamon and raisin bagels, which is probably heresy. Even worse, I also am a fan of "bread with a hole in it" when it is done right. Bagel World is one of my favourites. It looks like I need to try Kiva's too.

                                                                                            -John

                                                                                            -----
                                                                                            Bagel House
                                                                                            1548 Bayview Ave, Toronto, ON M4G, CA

                                                                                            Bagel World
                                                                                            10 Disera Dr #150, Vaughan, ON L4J0A7, CA

                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                            1. re: Dr. John
                                                                                              PoppiYYZ Mar 13, 2011 06:31 AM

                                                                                              Another vote for Bagel House (1548 Bayview location). Tried them for the first time recently and they are as good as my TO favorites - St Urbain's Eglinton location. I find the St Urbain's from St Lawrence Market are doughier and not as "Montreally" as the Eglinton version.

                                                                                              Sadly, I had some bagels from Fairmont on a recent trip to Montreal. Beware, once you've had some of those babies, none of the TO bagels seem to satisfy....

                                                                                            2. PoppiYYZ Jul 1, 2011 12:52 PM

                                                                                              Another vote for Gryfe's. Tried them for the first time yesterday and they are really REALLY good. Quite different from my favorite Montreal Style St Urbain on Eglington, but I guess its like lager and ale : love 'em both, just different.

                                                                                              1. e
                                                                                                elvispizza Jul 17, 2011 07:06 AM

                                                                                                i invented the bagel. i was listening to a joe cocker single - i think it was "With a Little Help from My Friends" - and, i don't know why, i suddenly snatched the 45 off the turntable and bit it. unfortunately, the vinyl was less delicious than the groove... which seemed so unfair. if only there was something that TASTED as good as this single, i thought - not all sugary like a donut, but something you could really sink your tee–

                                                                                                sorry; just kidding. seriously, though: there really are three profoundly different types of bagels (four if you count 'mediocre') and each has their champions, and their best practitioners. I love the so-called montreal style, and agree with the majority opinions here that Bagel House beats St. Urbain. I also love Gryfe's, the unique Toronto style bagel. I will say that Gryfe's need to be fresh fresh fresh where mtl style can survive and retain a much greater portion of their fresh-baked quality. and i never really cared for the (to my mouth) more leaden new york bagels. and, yes, i have lived in all three cities. where do you think i learned how to drive backwards on one way streets?

                                                                                                -----
                                                                                                Bagel House
                                                                                                1548 Bayview Ave, Toronto, ON M4G, CA

                                                                                                6 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: elvispizza
                                                                                                  t
                                                                                                  terrycar Jul 17, 2011 09:12 AM

                                                                                                  Huzzah!!!

                                                                                                  1. re: elvispizza
                                                                                                    m
                                                                                                    magic Jul 17, 2011 10:08 AM

                                                                                                    Great post. Love it.

                                                                                                    1. re: elvispizza
                                                                                                      e
                                                                                                      embee Jul 17, 2011 10:13 AM

                                                                                                      ;-)

                                                                                                      1. re: elvispizza
                                                                                                        y
                                                                                                        Yongeman Jul 17, 2011 05:52 PM

                                                                                                        I'm with you on the Gryfe's and Bagel House choices, elvispizza. Are you saying that the NY style is the third type ("there really are three profoundly different types of bagels")? What about Bagel World and Kiva's? That's the third distinctive type that we have here in Toronto, I think. Hamishe is somewhere along the continuum between Gryfe's and Bagel World, but still good. To me, all names mentioned are good in their own right, but not necessarily able to be compared (like apples and oranges).

                                                                                                        1. re: Yongeman
                                                                                                          e
                                                                                                          elvispizza Jul 18, 2011 01:23 PM

                                                                                                          Alright, ossifer, I'll confess. it's like this. Bagels for me were take 'em or leave 'em, up to the early eighties. I was at NYU, local to Bagels on the Square (certainly among the rating NYC bagel establishments). Meh. Undeniably enjoyable fresh, but not – to me – worth a line up. Not the sort of thing to haunt my dreams like, say, Stromboli Pizza. Bagels thus far had not ruled my world. And then I met a beautiful girl from the exotic land of Canada... like me. Only, she had lived in Montreal while I had not then seen much Canada beyond Ontario. LSS, she muled in some Fairmont bagels, and suddenly I knew a new craving. Back in T-O, Gryfe's hit my horizon at the end of that decade, when a new co-worker brought in hot fresh for the Saturday shift (How To Win Friends in T-O 101). Bagel House, because St. Urbain's just weren't close enough to the real thing. Bagel World I recall – perhaps mistakenly – from my pre-bagel-epiphany era – as being just another good bagel, among many i evidently am lumping together in the style i perceive as NYC. Kiva's I don't know; so I guess I need to update my bagelventures with a visit there and a reprise of BW. Dang, it's a hard life. Look what you make me do!

                                                                                                          -----
                                                                                                          Bagel House
                                                                                                          1548 Bayview Ave, Toronto, ON M4G, CA

                                                                                                          Bagel World
                                                                                                          10 Disera Dr #150, Vaughan, ON L4J0A7, CA

                                                                                                          1. re: elvispizza
                                                                                                            PoppiYYZ Jul 18, 2011 01:50 PM

                                                                                                            Ha ha ha. Eating a TO bagel after eating fresh Fairmont bagels is like skiing Blue Mountain after Kitzbuehl...

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