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Where can I find great bagels?

Exclusing the following: (and this isn't to say these are good or bad) Iggy's, Finagle, Panera, Au Bon Pain.....
You know, the real "home made's". Plumb, crusty on the outside, unique flavor combos. I want hole in the wall bakeries that make 'em on site.

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  1. The only one's worth it, IMHO are from Rosenfelds in Newton Center. Very traditional....you won't find "unique flavor combos", though....I think mostly the non-traditional places make those, and they are lousy. But you'll find the texture you are craving, and a decent variety of flavors (onion, garlic, poppy, wheat, sesame, etc)

    3 Replies
    1. re: Science Chick

      Rosenfelds is it, with Iggy's second. Every place else is producing pillows not bagels.

      1. re: teezeetoo

        Another vote for Rosenfelds, no pillows there... but they'll get stale in two days.

      2. re: Science Chick

        They have quite a variety of flavors at Rosenfelds, I'd say at least 15. No one else has a potato bagel, one of their best. And they have some blueberry and a few other non traditional flavors.

      3. There's a really good place southwest of Boston for bagels. It's called New York. :-D

        Sadly, there aren't too many good places to go around Boston. Rosenfelds, Kupel's in Brookline, Arthur's in Chelsea, and that's about it as far as I know. I liked going to Zeppy's in Randolph, but they closed up there a year or two ago.

        14 Replies
        1. re: hiddenboston

          You can always order from H&H Bagels...the best bagels on earth imho.

          1. re: CambridgeFoodie

            Iggy's bagels are my favorite. I get them at Whole foods and Charlie Trotter has this lemon smoked salmon that is out of this world delicious. The two together with some zausners cream cheese is paradise.

            1. re: hoplover

              hoplover -- if you love Iggy's you'll love their products more fresh from the bakery on Fawcett St in Cambridge -- just past the alewife whole foods off Concord heading toward Belmont ...there is more choice, it's all fresh and...cheaper :)

              1. re: MaineRed

                Thanks for the tip! I used to go to their place in Watertown so I will have to try Cambridge. Happy Thanksgiving!

            2. re: CambridgeFoodie

              Bagels by US on Mass Ave in Arlington claims to have real H&H Bagels -- they are OK (freshly finished baking on site) but not the same to me as the NY version. I don't think the real thing is available here, but in a pinch (no more Ess-A-Bagel imports left in our freezer), Katz's in Chelsea is my favorite.

              Kupel's used to be worth the trip, but has disappointed over the past couple of years.

              Iggy's are an EXCELLENT bread product we enjoy regularly, (especially fresh from the bakery at Fresh Pond), but these are NOT bagels...

              1. re: rlh

                Iggy's bagels are real bagels. They are made in the Montreal fashion of bagel baking. If you go to Montreal you will find they are famous for their bagels. Iggy's bagels are super chewy and I get one that has sesame, poppy and I think a bit of caraway. A lot of bagels found here are too doughy but I do like Rosenfelds,

                1. re: hoplover

                  I'd beg to differ. As Iggy's admits on their website, they are not Montreal bagels, and they are not New York bagels... they're some special Iggy's kind of round bread. I find them somewhat unpleasant to eat due to the "super chewy" factor.

                  Montreal bagels are like NY bagels but skinnier and more crust-intensive. Iggy's bagels are like the other Iggy's bread, but in small, ring-shaped form.

                  1. re: Luther

                    Begging not required. Diversity of opinions is a great thing. It just so so happens that in this case, you're wrong :-p.

                    Seriously, Iggy's bagels are neither New York nor Montreal, but are much much closer to the latter and are pretty good in our estimation, the only acceptable ones we've found in Boston although I've yet to try your #1 and #2 below (Kupel's is poor). I'd rather get my bagels from Solly le boulanger, but unless we're headed North, Iggy's will have to do.

              2. re: CambridgeFoodie

                I may be mistaken, but if I remember correctly, Magnificent Muffins in Teele square in Somerville uses H & H bagels. They serve a great egg and cheese on a bagel for only $1.50!

                1. re: CambridgeFoodie

                  H & H bagels are truely horrible. Its almost as difficult to get a good bagel in new york as in boston. Kosars, which used to make the best bialies, has been sold in NY and the bialies are fading from memory. the best bagels currently are from Marvin's in Great Barrington!

                  1. re: teezeetoo

                    Kossar's is still in business, and still making great bialys--and they make pretty good bagels, too. I'm not a fan of the puffy H&H style that seems to have become the norm for bagels even in New York, but Kossar's makes a classic bagel along with their incomparable bialys. They even ship these days (http://www.kossarsbialys.com/). I find Bruegger's bagels in the Boston area to be better than most New York bagels these days. Fairway in Manhattan makes a good bagel, and also sells Kossar's bialys, if you're visiting the Upper West Side (or their 125th Street location).

                    1. re: owades

                      Thanks for posting that ... my heart skipped a beat when teezee posted that Kossar's had closed. I usually pick up some bialies there for the freezer when I'm in the neighborhood to hit up Russ and Daughters.

                      1. re: yumyum

                        sorry to scare you, but kossar's has been sold and is under new ownership and i find the bialies have lost a step. sorry, sorry,....

                2. re: hiddenboston

                  That's hilarious! But you're right. NY is the place to be. I LOVE all of the suggestions. I better get going...carb cravings.

                3. #1 Katz, Chelsea
                  #2 Rosenfeld's, Newton
                  #3 the PLAIN bagel at Kupel's in Brookline is pretty OK.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Luther

                    I'll agree that the plain bagel at Kupel's isn't that bad, but you also have to routinely deal with the clueless counter help and ignore the revoltingly dirty public area. And the non-plain bagels are surprisingly weak for a kosher bakery. I've tried this place several times and find it hard to keep giving it chances.

                    1. re: Luther

                      I've had some really disappointing plain bagels from Kupel's lately--almost rock-hard little things without much taste. (I'm a new yorker and can understand dense and chewy-- but these were dense and gnaw-y) Is there a particular time of day or day of the week that you recommend for finding the "pretty OK" or "not that bad" ones? I live close by, so I'm totally willing to give them another shot if I had a lead on when to try...

                      1. re: another_adam

                        I think Kupel's onion and sesame-onion bagels are pretty good, and they're one of the few places you can still get salt bagels, at least some of the time. Plus they're right across the street from The Butcherie, where I can get my fix of belly lox.

                        I've never had ones as hard as you describe, but then I only ever go there on Sunday mornings, when it seems like they sell so many so fast that they're all really fresh.

                    2. Bagel Rising is better than decent. You can get them at Espresso Royale on Newbury St. or Commowealth Ave.

                      Einstein Brothers are ok.

                      1. Cafe Fresh Bagels, in Needham or Dedham, are, IMHO, by far the best around. And, they sell great cream cheeses as well. I've tried all that you've mentioned, and that have been mentioned here, and the only other ones that I've found that are decent are at Rosenfeld's.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: winedude

                          I have been to CFB and I like their bagels. It should be noted that--as the name suggests--bagels are their main event. I moved from NYC a few years ago and initially had a tough time here for lack of good bagels. They got me through it.

                          It should be pointed out, however, that CFB's are the big fluffy bagels. They are never boiled, and so blow up and lack that hard casing.

                          1. re: lincoln

                            Well , perhaps you should try Rosenfelds', as noted earlier in the thread...

                          2. re: winedude

                            No doubt Cafe Fresh is the best!!

                          3. Bagel World....Reading or Danvers
                            Perfecto's ....Peabody or No Andover

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: AnneM

                              Bagel World in Reading is my default bagel stop for work, but my one complaint is the size of their bagels - WAY too big. But I do like the flavor choices they have, and when I can restrict myself to a half bagel, it does the trick. I've not had Katz's or Rosenfeld's, so can't compare to what seems to be the top two favorite places.

                            2. Good luck with that endeavor. I'm originally from new york and have yet to find good bagels in the boston area. if you figure it out, let us all know!

                              1. My list has Katz's 1 and Rosenfeld's 2, with Bagel Rising and Aesop's (which has an outlet in the BU food court) getting honorable mention. Kupel's bagels aren't really bagels; they're bread in the shape of bagels and, frankly, Bruegger's is better. Iggy's gets a point for creativity but they aren't bagels either - and as Luther notes they definitely aren't Montreal bagels. No one makes better bagels than St. Viateur Bagels.

                                BTW, Katz's has fantastic bagel dogs and bagel sausages made with Vienna Beef from Chicago. I think they're $2 and $3, respectively. They also have a great pizza bagel, which still may be less than $2, and they make cinnamon bubka on Fridays and maybe Saturday - also black & white cookies, etc. on those days.

                                1. Used to be Kupels on Harvard St in Brookline, but quality has changed over the years. Rosenfelds in Newton Corner is good. But personally, I prefer Bagel Time on Park Ave. in Worcester as my favorite. Kugel's on Rt. 9 in Framingham, like many places, finishes H&H bagels which will do in a pinch, but not as good as what you get in NYC.

                                  1. I'm fond of the bagel's at Katz's in Chelsea, but there's Rosenfeld out in Newton that may be better. Iggy's roll with a hole in the middle is great when toasted for an egg & cheese sandwich, but it's not a real bagel.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: gini

                                      Katz's in Chelsea, I like them better than any NY Bagel I've had, maybe because I grew up on them.
                                      Also there is an old Jewish Bakery in Swampscott called Newmans that has really good bagels.

                                      1. re: jvish

                                        KATZ for me
                                        we used to stop there in the wee hrs of the night knock on the back door and buy them
                                        they were so hot sometimes you could not hold the bag

                                    2. Rosenfelds in Newton is the BEST

                                      1. My perpetual reply. Best bagels in the area, bit off the beaten track. Best whole wheat bagel I've ever had... they also have excellent pastries:

                                        Jim's Bagel & Bake Shoppe
                                        28 Railroad Ave
                                        Gloucester, MA 01930
                                        (978) 283-3383

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: StriperGuy

                                          I am a BIG fan of Jim's spinach bagel.

                                        2. I don't do chains unless absolutely necessary, but one exception would be Brugger's. They make consistently good bagels the correct way - boiled and then baked. I'd eat a toasted onion bagel with jalapeƱo cream cheese every morning from Bruggers if they had a location closer to me. Plus they have Green Mountain Lake and Lodge dark roast.

                                          4 Replies
                                          1. re: steve999

                                            If you have to toast it, it's either not fresh or not a good bagel.

                                            1. re: DavisSquare

                                              Agreed. I had a bagel for the ages a few months ago at an amazing little place in Flushing, Queens called Main Street Bagel and Appetizing, and I don't even think they had a toaster in the place. I doubt I'll ever find a bagel in Boston as good as the one I had there.

                                              1. re: hiddenboston

                                                There's a new einsteins' brother's bagels at BU, and they toast by default! argghh,...so annoyingto have to remember to say "not toasted," or else get a ruined bagel. Who the hell wants to eat a toasted bagel? It may as well be lenders out of the freezer in that case.

                                            2. re: tamerlanenj

                                              I disagree; I like toasted bagels but only good ones. The best for toasting are Montreal bagels, preferably from St. Viateur. The worst are the bready ones. Good bagels don't need to be toasted but they can be. A bad bagel is just bad.

                                              Einstein's makes a decent bagel dog but their bagels are yucky. That location is in the basement of CAS and is only open until early afternoon. Not that I'd suggest going there.

                                            3. I agree bagel rising is the best around these parts. Iggys changed there recipe. If not in nyc because of the water, BAGEL RISING ON com. ave

                                              1. I highly recommend Bagel's Best in Needham. They make it all fresh onsite. It's very tasty. If you live far from there, get a baker's dozen. Their cream cheeses are really good, too.

                                                4 Replies
                                                1. re: Ritetoivy

                                                  Have you (or has anyone) tried both them and Cafe Fresh Bagel? If so, how do they compare?

                                                  1. re: finlero

                                                    i was serious about Marvin's bagels in Great Barrington. If you are out there, they are the best I've had since childhood. and i agree re: brueggers. While not fab, they are closer in size and texture to the real thing than any of the other chains.

                                                    1. re: teezeetoo

                                                      Is Marvin's the place across from Guido's on Rt. 7?

                                                  2. In Needham (& Dedham) Cafe Bagel is very good, though the service is sometimes curt; Bagel's Best in Needham is good too. Of the chains, Finagle is the choice.

                                                    1. For those who might want more information than "See above," here is that place in Great Barrington:

                                                      The Great Barrington Bagel Company
                                                      phone (413) 528-9055
                                                      address 777 South Main St
                                                      Great Barrington MA 01230

                                                      It is indeed across from the best grocery in the Berkshires(IMHO) , Guido's:

                                                      Guido's Fresh Marketplacewww.guidosfreshmarketplace.com
                                                      760 Main St
                                                      Great Barrington, MA 01230
                                                      (413) 528-4913

                                                      1. Hole in the wall Jewish bakery called Newman's in Swampscott. Right across from the beach.
                                                        Been there for years. that is a true testament to good food. Hope this helps.

                                                        1. I love Kupels in Coolidge Corner, they also have great chese.