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Best bagels/bialys in LES/EV?

I tried Russ & Daughters (too hard, dense, and starchy) and Bagel Zone (too bland, not tasty enough). I'm looking for bagels simliar to those from H&H (fresh, soft, w/a hint of chewiness factor)... can anyone suggest a good place in the LES/East Village area?

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  1. I live down there and I concur that Bagel Zone somehow manages to make the most bland, tasteless bagels this world has ever seen. I didn't even think it was possible! Anyway sadly, I've never run across any place in the neighborhood that has a decent bagel. Sounds like an opportunity if you ask me. Believe it or not, sometimes I go to Dunkin Donuts on 6th and 1st if I'm desperate for one...they at least taste halfway decent.

    1. Kossar's has pretty good bagels, which they don't make themselves. I hate H&H -- they're grotesquely oversized, lack any substance and are nearly as sweet as cake.

      I've read about but not been to a place on 1st Avenue at 13th Street.

      1 Reply
      1. Your title mentions bialys, and for those, of course, there's the one and only Kossar's. They also make bagels though I've never tried them.


        1. I always thought H&H were the suppliers for Russ & Daughters bagels, but I'm not sure where I got that idea or which of the H&H locations.

          Kossars for Bialys is it. The large onion flats are incredible too. I love there bagels as well, which I like better then H&H which tend to be undercooked and doughy for my taste. Speaking of which, Kossar's would be the second guess as to where R&S get their bagels, but they're probably softer right from the factory at least. Their toppings are really great there too, plus it's a cool spot, where you walk right into the factory itself.

          1. bialys are easy - another vote for kossar's. they're in a league of their own. [i haven't had one of their bagels since i was a kid, so i'll leave those reviews to hounds who have had them more recently.]

            for bagels, if you're willing to travel "all the way" up to stuyvesant town, try the original ess-a-bagel location on 1st ave at 21st.

            359 1st Ave, New York, NY 10010

            1 Reply
            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

              Concur- Kossar'a for bialys (but you need to go right there, it doesn't travel or package that well, but it's sublime fresh) and Ess-a-bagel for bagels (but there are random independent stores, non-chain, all over which do a great job still, and nobody has a lock on "best").

            2. too bad Kossar's on grand st. closed they had the best bialy's. Old time bagels are going to be harder than the soft ones you want..but further down grand st. going east toward the river is a jewish bakery that has good bagels. Otherwise just stock up on H&H and freeze them.

              5 Replies
              1. re: foodwhisperer

                Kossar's closed is news to me! What makes you think that's the case?

                1. re: RGR

                  OOOPS sorry ,,I AM WRONG<<<<< Someone who lives right there told me they closed, after posting that ,,i called someone to verify it. Yes i should have verified it first ,in any case, they didnt realize that Kossar's is kosher and is closed friday nights and saturdays. Kossar is still open. And their bagels are good too, they hand make them . Also because Kossar is closed on saturday and supply Russ and daughters with bialys,,, the weekend bialys at R&D are never fresh.

                  1. re: foodwhisperer

                    whew...don't DO that to us! a world without kossar's bialys...how sad that would be.

                    1. re: foodwhisperer

                      When I saw your post, it occurred to me that *you* went there on a Saturday and mistook the fact that the owners of Kossar's are observant, so they close on Saturday. Obviously, it was a bit more circuitous than that. In any case, glad to have this cleared up.

                      Note: There are places which are kosher but do not close on Saturday, one example being the 2nd Avenue Deli.

                      1. re: foodwhisperer

                        I am SO glad to hear that the bialys at R&D are not fresh on Saturdays, because I had my first today and was totally disappointed. It makes sense now, and I'll make sure to get back there for a fresh one soon.

                  2. when I lived in the E Village I would go to David's bagels on 1st and 13th - they were always hot out of the oven, crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.

                    1. uh oh - even if you are a hater of the bagels, has Bagel Zone closed it's doors for good? such a cute sweet local spot... bummer

                      1. Ess-a-Bagel is your best bet. If you don't want to walk up to 21st, David is your man for bagels - 13th and 1st Av.

                        1. i actually really loved bagel zone...moreso for their oatmeal w/ fresh cranberries/walnuts/honey/berries & granola w/ the same. plus the nice guy owner & employees. i see a sign up that says coming soon, 'the native bean'...? anyone know?