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Is there a good NY bagel shop in DC?

After spending a summer trying to find/locate a "decent" bagle shop. I was born in North Jersey and there was nothing better than waking up on Sunday and going to the baglery. Hot, fresh out of the oven salt bagles, chewey, crusty and dense. I have looked and looked and looked and asked and asked and asked around DC. Everywhere I have tried is like eating Lenders or Supermarket Bagles!

If you have any quality suggestions please let me know!

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  1. Brooklyn Bagels in Courthouse (Arlington) has the best bagels I've had in the area, if you don't mind trekking to VA. I'm from Staten Island, so I know a good bagel when I eat one : ) This Washington Post review is pretty on target http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-...


    7 Replies
    1. re: alli1221

      WOW! Sounds and looks great Alli - thanks for the spot. I will have to try it this weekend.

      1. re: alli1221

        On top of this, they make the eggs fresh on the griddle when you order a bagel egg and cheese. One note- Cash only.

        1. re: alli1221

          Will have to try Brooklyn Bagels this weekend -- I'd be so excited to find decent bagels around here. I normally hit up So's Your Mom (on Columbia Rd. in Adams Morgan), but while it's the best deli-and-bagel place I've found in the area, nothing compares to my childhood memories of The Bagel Chateau in Jersey. Waiting 15 minutes in line with my dad to get a bagful of piping hot ones ... those were the days.

          1. re: humblegourmand

            When I lived in Adams Morgan every weekend I would eat at So's Your Mom. There bagels are pretty good---certainly the best I found in DC, which really isn't saying much. And their deli sandwiches are quite good.

            I've said it before, I'll say it again, if you are looking to open a restaurant you can make a whole lot of money if you open up a 24 hour NY Jewish-style deli, preferably in Dupont Circle. If you attach a good bakery that sells rye bread and bagels, even better. I single handedly will keep you going for a few good years! :)

            Now that I live in Dupont I don't get to So's Your Mom as often as I would like. I have to settle for the little bagel shop on P St. The bagels are pretty doughy but are cheap so they make do on a Sunday morning. They are way to small though.

            1. re: Elyssa

              I'm with you -- would wholeheartedly (and financially) support a solid NY-style deli with late-night hours. How are we getting by without one?

              Relatedly, a co-worker ordered a reuben from Loeb's the other day. The thing wasn't even grilled or toasted! Come on, people.

              1. re: humblegourmand

                I'm not 100% positive, but I don't think Loeb's HAS a reuben on their menu.

                I go there every few weeks, and I don't remember one being available. They have a sandwich that I order called "The Loeb's Special" or something like that. Has all the ingredients of a Reuben (hot corned beef, sauerkraut, swiss cheese, russian dressing), but it's served on non-grilled/non-toasted rye.

                1. re: DanielK

                  Ah, that would be it. I only saw the end product and assumed it was a Reuben imposter.

        2. I recently stumbled onto a place called Capital Bagel Bakery at 3610 King Street in Alexandria. It is in a rather unremarkable strip mall development. I thought the bagels were quite good. More similar to the style of the Georgetown Bagelry than to the style of Brooklyn Bagels, if that makes any sense to you. If only it were closer to my home........ Bonus: they serve Swing's coffee.

          1. I grew up in the same area you did - and, no, the bagel places in dc (even the better bets) don't compare to bagels from the NYC metro area. The bagel place in cleveland park isn't quite ny quality, but its better than the chain bagel places in DC. It's next door to foster brothers coffee at the cleveland park metro. If you have a car - there is a decent jewish deli/bagel place next to the Target on Rockville Pike. (corner of 355 and Bou ave. its the red plaza with a staples and cici pizza.)

            7 Replies
            1. re: darla1977

              >> Is there a good NY bagle shop in DC?<<

              In my opinion, the answer is a resounding "no'....but if it makes you feel any better, in my experience, it is pretty difficult to find a decent bagel in the New York City area as well. The Bagel Hole in Brooklyn may be one of the few that can compare to best of the old days....but I haven't been there in a few years.

              1. re: Jim Zurer

                Agreed. Grew up in Bergen County, NJ. Every time I go back home (often) I eat my fill of bagels because I have yet to find something around here that even comes close.

                Must be the local water from the Hackensack...

                1. re: Jim Zurer

                  exactly. short answer: no. i went to school in DC (lost 10 pounds first semester b/c there was nothing to eat there as opposed to hte freshman 15). back in NY again so i can actually eat.

                2. re: darla1977

                  Darla... Do you mean Bagel City in Rockville? I haven't been there in years, but remember them fondly because their bagels got nods from my old officemates whenever I brought them.

                  Has anyone tried Ize's [ http://www.izesdeliandbagelry.com/ ] across Rt 355 from the White Flint Metro? It's mentioned towards the end of a similar bagel thread focusing on Maryland locations: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/378407

                  1. re: Lydia R

                    We normally get our bagels from Izze's or Bagel City in Rockville, only because there is nowhere else. They are not bad.

                    Lately I've been buying the asiago cheese bagels from Panera. Definitely not anything like a NY bagel, but really good.

                    1. re: Lydia R

                      I will be the first to admit that I am not in the bagel cognesceti (I was raised in CA). However, I can tell a good bagel from Lenders. I prefer Izze's to Bagel City, mainly because Izze's is family-run with friendly, great staff. Maybe because of that, their bagels taste better.

                      1. re: filth

                        Izzes isnt very good imo, tastes just like the manhattan bagels that used to be there. i prefer bagel city to them, but that isnt saying much. unfortunately, in that rockville, potomac, bethesda area, the best bagel is Bethesda Bagel.

                        Now that I've moved to Baltimore for a new job, I've been getting my bagels at Goldberg's NY Bagels in Pikesville. Closest thing to Ess-a-Bagel that youre gonna get in MD in my opinion

                  2. There are three bagel shops I know of in Northern Virginia that are run by ex-New Yorkers. Bagel Buddies in Fair Lakes, Tysons Bagel Market in Tysons Corner, and Main Street Bagel Deli in Fairfax. They aren't Ess-A-Bagel, but they all should satisfy you.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: Bob W

                      Mmmmm... Ess-A-Bagel.
                      Bob you are such a tease.
                      Now I've gotta take a trip home to reload my freezer.
                      (Maybe I should take orders? Fill up the Volvo? I only charge a slight markup !! LOL)

                      1. re: dagmar

                        LOL sorry to be so Pavlovian 8<D

                        One of my brothers, Orson W. lives in Stuy Town and is a David's Bagels partisan. My other brother, Lurker W., lives in PCV and favors Ess-A-Bagel. I have bags of bagels from both places in our "overload" freezer. When either comes down here to the hinterlands for a visit we are well taken care of. In return we offer them breakfast where they can get country ham and grits. 8>P

                        1. re: Bob W

                          While I'm at it, I'll also have to get pizzas from Joes on Carmine, caviar pie from Knickerbocker B&G, and pierogi, kielbasa and rye bread from Greenpoint.
                          Please excuse me. I'm going to be crying for the next hour, tyvm. I like DC, but it's slacking in sooooo many simple food categories.

                    2. Definitely try Goldberg's New York Bagels in Rockville, MD. It's located in an area heavily populated with very observant Jews in a shopping center that includes a Judaica shop and a kosher supermarket. In that location, the bagels have to be good for the place to survive. Incidentally, the hours are somewhat limited. Not surprisingly, the place closes for the Jewish Sabbath, but it also has limited daily hours.

                      Address: 4824 Boiling Brook Parkway
                      Rockville, MD 20852

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: Indy 67

                        Still searching in DC, but when I lived in Rockville, I liked :
                        Bagel City
                        12119 Rockville Pike (Pike Center)
                        Rockville, MD 20852
                        ... similar "criteria for survival" as Goldberg's, I guess.
                        Reminded me of all those Long Island shops in the "60's Syosset Decor" I remember from my youth

                        1. re: dagmar

                          Re: Goldberg's and Bagel City.....glad that they have their adherents, but I stand by my assertion that there are no good bagels in the metropolitan area and I know for sure that these two places don't measure up.

                          I would love to be proven wrong, however.......but after some 40 years of living in this bagel wasteland, I don't expect to find an acceptable bagel now.

                          1. re: Jim Zurer

                            JIm: think of all the calories you've saved not eating bagels for the past 40 years.

                            I wasn't going to say anything about Bagel City, but my last visit there a few years ago was just awful. Bagels like rubber tires. I have no problem saying you can get much better bagels in Virginia. Not that I'd drive from Maryland to Virginia to get bagels, but since I live here I know of no bagels good enough to make me drive to Maryland.

                        2. re: Indy 67

                          The day I found Goldberg's was a happy day. They're properly chewy and dense, not bready like Ize's and not hard and rubbery like Bagel City. Having just had a bagel at Ess-A-Bagel in NYC, I can say that Goldberg's is pretty close, close enough that I get giddy every time I go there. Their bagels aren't as gargantuan as those at Ess-A-Bagel, but that's fine by me. The place is very bare bones, and their coffee is terrible, but it's a great place to get bagels to go. The hours are a little funky: 7-3 Sunday through Wednesday, 7-7 Thursday, 7-3 Friday, and closed Saturday.

                        3. The tone of this thread seems to be eerily similar to the NY pizza threads in this forum. Those drawn in to any threads with contributing ex-pat NYers need to realize that no NYer will *ever* admit that anything, anywhere, could be as good as it is in NYC. I'm amazed that nobody has yet cited the unique NYC tap water as a key ingredient in the bagelmaking process that couldn't possibly be replicated elsewhere.

                          That having been said, those I've had from Ize's are just as good as anything I've had from NYC (H&H and Ess-a-Bagel included). Hard and crusty on the outside, soft and doughy on the inside. Mmmmm.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: tubman

                            I've found that my favorite bagels in the area come from Breads Unlimited in Bethesda (6914 Arlington Rd in Bradley Shopping Center). They're crusty on the outside, and moist and chewy inside. I also like the size, reasonable but not excessively huge. For what I look for in a bagel, they're better than any of the bagel-only shops in the area. BTW, they also have some decent rye breads, though some of the heavier ryes such as their outstanding "Whole Grain Rye" they only have on Sunday. Light ryes, like their good "Onion Rye", they make every day. And they also have the best danish I've had in the DC area.

                            1. re: potrzebie

                              I too like the bagels from Breads Unlimited. Not quite up to the NYC/Philly standard, but quite respectable. But do try their donuts. They may be the best in the metro area.

                              No one has mentioned Whatsa Bagel. They used to be quite good. Aren't they around anymore.

                          2. Believe it or not, Calvert Woodley Wines & Spirits at Van Ness Metro sells H&H bagels. I don't know where they come from, but they are pretty good (though not quite as good as my favorite, Tal bagels, in NYC). They have a pleasing heft and doughy chewiness and sometimes they are still warm.


                            5 Replies
                            1. re: Cookingthebooks

                              And they're inexplicably sweet! Blecch!

                              1. re: Indy 67

                                Hmmm... while I find the texture slightly off, I've never noticed them to be sweet.

                                1. re: Indy 67

                                  >>And they're inexplicably sweet! Blecch!<<

                                  I agree. Definitely sweet......

                                2. re: Cookingthebooks

                                  they are baked (not made) at calvert woodley - they are the best bagels in the district

                                  1. re: dcgdc

                                    These "H&H" bagels can be found at a number of locations, including Arrowine in Arlington and one shop whose name escapes me in the Cleveland Park shopping strip. I do know at Arrowine they also sell bialys. Both are far better than decent. IMO I don't detect the sweetness flaw and I agree with dcqdc that they are the best in DC and again in my opinion, the best in the area.

                                3. You've GOT to try Safeway bagels. They're far & above better than the local chain bagel stores around here, I recently discovered. I couldn't believe it! They're awesome. Certainly the ones at the Burke Virginia Safeway, anyway. I haven't tried them at other safeways. Other grocery store bagels aren't very good IMO, but theirs rock!

                                  1. Yes there is only one in DC. It is at Calvert Woodley liquor on connecticut ave. they purchase them from the Bronx and As half baked. everyday they finish baking them . it is even harder to find a good bialey. Their bialeys are the real deal .