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Closest thing to NYC Bagels in Boston - VOTE!

kweesee May 27, 2008 05:03 PM

I'm doing something kind of silly. I'm going to visit my sister + fam in London for 1 week and since I'm checking in luggage, I have plenty of space to bring food from here. I've read the posts/threads on "best bagels in boston." In order to avoid trying one from each of the following, can you please make your vote for the best bagels in Boston (defined by closest to NY bagels).

1. Kupel's
2. Iggy's
3. Bagel Rising
4. Bagel by Us
5. Rosenfeld
6. Brugger's


  1. k
    kweesee Jun 4, 2008 06:07 PM

    one last question. since rosenfelds and katz are both closed monday (im leaving mon night) would you all recommend me going to one of those on sunday, or the # 3 choice on monday? (scared it will get stale)

    4 Replies
    1. re: kweesee
      steinpilz Jun 4, 2008 06:24 PM

      You might call Rosenfeld's and tell them your story, I'm sure they'd like it. Rosenfelds cooks their bagels throughout the day (as a customer there's nothing better than smelling and picking up warm bagels in the morning) so they could tell you when the last baking will be and I'm sure they could set aside as many as you wish. You might try slicing and freezing them that night, maybe a little thawing in-flight then back in the freezer. They definitely will be stale by day 3 morning if you don't do anything though.

      Good luck in the UK, I was interested to read here about the beigels in Britain.

      1. re: steinpilz
        kweesee Jun 15, 2008 08:14 AM

        steinpilz - when i want to eat it, do i thaw it in room temperature before toasting? thanks

        1. re: kweesee
          steinpilz Jun 15, 2008 09:04 AM

          Definitey thaw it, I'd say either at RT or in the fridge depending upon how urgent the need. :-)

          So are you in London now kweesee? If so, I'm jealous (but I did get some warm Rosenfelds bagels this morning to stave off the rain, so all's not bad I guess).

          1. re: steinpilz
            kweesee Jun 15, 2008 11:39 AM

            thanks & london is 6/30 !!! :)

    2. l
      LDoll13 Jun 2, 2008 07:55 PM


      1 Reply
      1. re: LDoll13
        bella_sarda Jun 2, 2008 08:49 PM

        I just went to Katz's for the first time Sunday morning and I have to say that they were the best bagels I've had in a long time. Just the right size and excellent texture inside and out. To make them even better, we ate them sitting on the seawall at Winthrop Beach, with Katz's plain cream cheese, and we drove from Chelsea to Winthrop by scooter. The only things that made the experience slightly less than perfect were that we lacked (a) beverages, and (b) big red tomato slices. Oh well, you can't have everything.

      2. Bob Dobalina Jun 2, 2008 07:20 AM

        Haven't had Katz's, and am a fan of Rosenfeld's, but had my first Kupel's this weekend - salt and an everything - they get my vote.

        8 Replies
        1. re: Bob Dobalina
          Joanie Jun 3, 2008 06:58 AM

          Kupel's better than Rosenfeld's? I wonder if they've changed things in the last couple years.

          1. re: Joanie
            Bob Dobalina Jun 3, 2008 07:50 AM

            The bagels we had were pillowy soft on the inside, with a nice crust on the outside, and almost carmelized on the bottom half. Don't get me wrong - I like Rosenfeld's, but these were heavenly.

            1. re: Bob Dobalina
              Luther Jun 13, 2008 12:01 PM

              Bagels shouldn't be pillowy, they should be dense.

              1. re: Luther
                Ralphie_in_Boston Jun 13, 2008 12:12 PM

                When I lived closer by, I used to frequent Kupel's....sometimes they'd be fantastic, sometimes just okay, and sometimes live insects were visible among their products.

                1. re: Ralphie_in_Boston
                  hiddenboston Jun 15, 2008 09:02 AM

                  Yeah, as much as I *usually* like Kupel's, I have indeed found it to be a bit hit or miss. That's gross about the insects, BTW.

                  I really miss Zeppy's in Randolph. I always liked going there on a Sunday morning to grab a bagel or two.

                2. re: Luther
                  Karl S Jun 13, 2008 12:21 PM

                  Yes. Like lead in the stomach. That was their raison d'etre.

                  1. re: Luther
                    Bob Dobalina Jun 16, 2008 08:10 AM

                    They were dense AND pillowy. ;-b

              2. re: Bob Dobalina
                tomgaroo Jun 3, 2008 08:01 AM

                Absolutely Kupel's - consistently the best. Of course the whole conversation is ridiculous -- just what the hell is a "New York Bagel"?

              3. teaTomE Jun 1, 2008 08:03 PM

                I'm not really sure why you'd like to bring bagels to London, I've always preferred the London beigels to American bagels - they are a bit smaller and taste much better, somehow fresher and chewier.

                There are two 24 hr beigel bakeries in Brick Lane just east of the city area in London that are excellent and crazy cheap. Both run traditionally by families that have been baking for centuries. No bagel in the US has come close to how good they taste, although I admit that the style is different here with the size is typically much bigger.

                For a good, big bagel similar to the kind I've had in NYC I'd definitely vouch for Bagel Rising over several others in your list.

                If any chowhounders know of anywhere in Boston or further afield (e.g. NYC) that does traditional beigels like those in London then please let me know.

                2 Replies
                1. re: teaTomE
                  kweesee Jun 1, 2008 08:27 PM

                  maybe i'll just bring half a dozen then just for the heck of it, and then also go check out the bagel place that you mentioned. how far is it from sloan square?

                  1. re: kweesee
                    teaTomE Jun 1, 2008 10:08 PM

                    it's completely the other side of town so 20 mins or so on the Tube. It's well worth the trip too. Brick Lane is easily one of the best streets in London with hip fashion and vintage stores, Banksy artwork everywhere, some innovative cafes, the beigels and of course, the famous stretch of curry houses.

                2. m
                  miiki Jun 1, 2008 12:16 PM

                  I live in Cambridge. Does Katz's bagels from Chelsea sell anywhere here? In a cafe or store?

                  And what about Montreal bagel style?
                  I am guessing that is a new topic.
                  Will post forthwith.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: miiki
                    lergnom Jun 1, 2008 12:36 PM

                    Katz's sells at Katz's.

                    1. re: lergnom
                      Aromatherapy Jun 1, 2008 06:33 PM

                      The Someday used to have Katz's, so it is possible.

                    2. re: miiki
                      Karl S Jun 1, 2008 01:05 PM

                      "And what about Montreal bagel style?"

                      Iggy's comes closest to one of the Montreal styles.

                      1. re: miiki
                        Luther Jun 13, 2008 12:01 PM

                        Tosci's used to sell them on the weekends but not anymore.

                      2. s
                        shaebones May 29, 2008 10:59 PM

                        Has anyone ever had bagels from Cape Cod Bagel in Falmouth. A former NYer makes the best bagels I've ever had.

                        1. k
                          kweesee May 29, 2008 07:37 PM

                          DOES BOSTON HAVE FLAT BAGELS? i had them once in ny and loved them. 1 whole bagels is way too big for me. i prefer mini bagels or flat bagels

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: kweesee
                            okello May 29, 2008 08:10 PM

                            At the risk of asking a really stupid question, what's a flat bagel?

                            1. re: okello
                              Karl S May 30, 2008 02:24 AM

                              Flagels are a wonderful Long Island thing - bagels that have been flattened to increase the crust area (especially for seeded bagels).

                              They are different from onion boards or pletzels, but arguably inspired by them (they use a bagel-type dough, not a bialy-type dough)

                              1. re: Karl S
                                teezeetoo May 30, 2008 06:36 PM

                                oh lord, why did you mention onion boards! I haven't seen or tasted one in years. gonna call my cousin from great neck and see if she can get me come!!

                                1. re: teezeetoo
                                  catsmeow Jun 2, 2008 04:51 AM

                                  I stumbled on an onion board at a bakery in Stoughton on Central St (Ave?). I hadn't seen them since my mother use to get them at one of the bakeries on Blue Hill Ave many many years ago. I think the name of the bakery is Ruth Anns. It's steps from138 on a side street near McDonalds. It was pretty good.

                          2. s
                            skoenigsberg May 29, 2008 07:17 AM

                            I would definitely vote Bagel Rising. I'm from the NY area and those are the only ones I've had that are similar to what I grew up with. Rosenfeld's are good but too spherical for my taste.

                            1. steinpilz May 28, 2008 07:07 PM

                              Rosenfelds! A local personal favorite but I agree with the other Hounds who think they're the best in beantown. Made fresh every day they go stale after 2 days. several great varieties to choose from.

                              8 Replies
                              1. re: steinpilz
                                kweesee May 28, 2008 07:25 PM

                                THEY GO STALE AFTER 2 DAYS??? I am probably buying them sunday morning and taking of monday night! oh no !

                                1. re: kweesee
                                  steinpilz May 28, 2008 07:33 PM

                                  It's true! Since I live nearby this isn't a problem for me (closed Mon and Tues if I remember their latest schedule correctly BTW). But I have ordered larger numbers of Rosenfeld's bagels and then sliced & frozen them -- it works perfectly fine, they thaw and toast like fresh, and Rosefeld's helpfully provides baggies and twist ties for freezing whenever your order 4 or more.

                                  1. re: kweesee
                                    Karl S May 29, 2008 02:35 AM

                                    The faster a bagel goes stale, the more authentic it is. Bagels were meant to be eaten the same day.

                                    1. re: Karl S
                                      hiddenboston May 29, 2008 05:46 AM

                                      I tend to agree on this point. Perhaps my favorite bagel place in the Northeast--Main Street Bagels and Appetizing in Flushing (Queens)--has truly amazing bagels, but if you try them a couple of days after buying them, they are almost inedible.

                                      1. re: hiddenboston
                                        Karl S May 29, 2008 05:51 AM

                                        It's the same thing - even more so - with hard rolls (something that doesn't exist in Boston and exists in good form in much reduced availability in the NY area) - they should stale within a few hours.

                                        The idea that quick staling is a sign that a certain type of bread was made right will be counterintuitive to most Americans who are brought up on the idea that longer shelf life always equals better quality.

                                        1. re: Karl S
                                          kweesee May 29, 2008 05:59 PM

                                          that means i'll have to go to Katz monday morning since im flying monday night, and freeze them as soon as i get to london...hope they dont stale!!!!!

                                          1. re: kweesee
                                            lergnom Jun 1, 2008 12:33 PM

                                            Katz's is now closed on Monday. I was there on Saturday and they have a handwritten sign up.

                                            BTW, they make the best cinnamon bubka ever. Available only on Friday and Saturday.

                                          2. re: Karl S
                                            steinpilz May 29, 2008 06:47 PM

                                            Another NY/NJ area hard roll lover here! Maybe some angel would let me start a hard roll bakery (employing retired bakers from the MY/NJ area) to satisfy the latent demand for hard rolls in us baby boomers?

                                  2. Karl S May 28, 2008 06:10 PM

                                    Rosenfeld is most consistent (I've always missed Katz's so I defer to the judgement of other deans of the Boston board on theirs)

                                    Kupel's is good but inconsistent

                                    Iggy's is not a NY bagel but more like a Montreal bagel

                                    Bruegger's pumpernickel and plain when fresh are very good.

                                    H&H are flabby and lacking whether here or on the Upper West Side - they must live off of a prior reputation or something.

                                    Never been to Bagel Rising or Bagels By Us.

                                    Bagel World can be good, if too large; they at least carry salt bagels (which Bruegger used to have - any bagelry claiming title to a crown should carry them).

                                    And, we should remember, NY bagels are not what they used to be - like NY pizza, a dwindling circle of a one mighty empire...

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: Karl S
                                      kweesee May 28, 2008 06:23 PM

                                      oh wow. thanks karlS for the great tips. Although Katz has the most votes, I think I will end up going to Rosenfelds cause it has the second highest # of votes and its also only a few miles away from me.

                                    2. j
                                      jpsox May 28, 2008 06:05 PM

                                      Another vote for None of the Above. Though it's out of the geographic locus of the OP, there's a great bagel place in Pembroke that i've never seen mentioned here, Gunther Toothie's. Though out of the way for many, it's the best I've had in the Boston-area and closest to the "Hot Bagel" places I remember from my youth in NJ. I'm not claiming it's on par with Kosar's or H&H in NY (which I like very much), but I think it's a cut above Bagel Rising, which I think as a good a bagel as can be found in Boston proper. It's right off exit 12 on Route 3, on Route 139 going toward Marshfield.

                                      1. o
                                        owades May 28, 2008 01:59 PM

                                        There's a small chain of bagel (and deli sandwich) shops in London called "Bagel Street," which I found surprisingly tolerable when I stopped in one of their Heathrow locations last summer. I too am a New York bagel snob, and I don't much like most of the bagels I can get in New York these days (particularly the over-fluffy H&H variety). A fresh Bruegger's bagel here in Boston can be excellent, at least up to modern New York standards.

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: owades
                                          teezeetoo May 28, 2008 04:44 PM

                                          I agree (see above!) My favorite bagel (closest to childhood bagel is what I mean) is from Great Barrington Bagels in Great Barrington MA where Marvin the baker has tried to emulate his ny childhood! small, dense, terrific bagels.

                                          1. re: teezeetoo
                                            lobst Jun 5, 2008 01:22 AM

                                            second that.

                                        2. okra May 28, 2008 11:38 AM

                                          5. Rosenfeld
                                          7. Katz's

                                          1. hiddenboston May 28, 2008 08:55 AM

                                            Not quite a NY bagel, but I think Bagel Rising might be my favorite (though I still need to hit Rosenfeld's).

                                            4 Replies
                                            1. re: hiddenboston
                                              jvish May 28, 2008 09:40 AM

                                              Katz's are still the best in this area. Another place with really good bagels is Newmans Bakery in Swampscott..Its a great run-down old Jewish Bakery with some great bagels.

                                              I think a lot of the better Bagel Shops in our area rival some of the better ones in NYC actually.

                                              1. re: jvish
                                                threedogs May 28, 2008 02:03 PM

                                                O.K., I've heard this before - got some awhile ago [from Newman's Bakery in Swamscott, that is] and thought they were only meh. Looked like the place was closing - they had practically nothing there.

                                                But, in the interest of science, I'll give it another try... is there a day or time that's better than others to get them?

                                                1. re: threedogs
                                                  jvish May 29, 2008 08:18 AM

                                                  Newmans always looks like they are closing its a dump, but I think for that old school, crusty / chewy bagel they do a good job.
                                                  couldnt tell you when the best time to go is, but I do know they are always baking late night every night..I drive by there all the time at night and the lights are always on in the back...

                                                  just a suggestion not the be all end all of bagels. Not as good as Katz's or Rosenfelds but I think as good as most other places.

                                                2. re: jvish
                                                  newhound May 30, 2008 03:05 AM

                                                  Here's an article about Newman's in today's Globe (May 30). An uncertain future, at least when it comes to thier kosher status.


                                              2. gini May 28, 2008 08:41 AM

                                                Sure, I'll vote:

                                                I like 5. Rosenfeld
                                                and 7. Katz's

                                                1. c
                                                  cf4redsox May 28, 2008 08:09 AM

                                                  Katz' by far the best

                                                  1. w
                                                    winedude May 28, 2008 06:43 AM

                                                    I'll vote for No. 7, Cafe Fresh, in Dedham or Needham. I haven't been to Katz's, but I prefer it, by far, to any of those listed above.

                                                    1. g
                                                      Gabatta May 28, 2008 06:02 AM

                                                      7. None of the above

                                                      While it is not my favorite in NY, H&H ships world wide and smokes anything available up here. Sad, but true.

                                                      Personally I would have some bialys shipped up from Kossars if you really want to fill your luggage. The shipping is expensive, however no more than time and gas spent in runnung aroud to the 6 sub par places listed above.

                                                      7 Replies
                                                      1. re: Gabatta
                                                        teezeetoo May 28, 2008 11:36 AM

                                                        no native new yorker would agree with you, as H & H bagels are oversized monstrous pillows and not bagels.

                                                        1. re: teezeetoo
                                                          Gabatta May 28, 2008 02:29 PM

                                                          I agree about H&H to a point, however they are still way better than anything available in Boston and all of the suggestions listed above. I suggested them as they will ship overseas thus saving the OP suitcase space.

                                                          No native New Yorker would disagree that Kossar's bialy's are among the best choices in NY which is why that was suggested if the OP truly wants to pack a case with bagels.

                                                          Thanks for the info on "native NYers", you must be very knowledgable on the subject. I guess I haven't been down there to see the family in awhile and things have changed ;)

                                                          1. re: Gabatta
                                                            teezeetoo May 28, 2008 04:42 PM

                                                            kossars is still good (the best bialy but they were sold and they've lost a little) Sorry, but H & H bagels suck. Rosenfelds and Katz's are better by far and even Brueggers are smaller and tougher textured when they are baked right. i grew up in Borough Park, so maybe we just have different bagel childhoods!

                                                          2. re: teezeetoo
                                                            sfumato May 28, 2008 05:14 PM

                                                            Agreed. I think they're entirely overrated.

                                                            I like Kupel's and Breuggers, but I don't love either.

                                                          3. re: Gabatta
                                                            bostonfoodie111 May 28, 2008 05:33 PM

                                                            FWIW, you can get H&H bagels hot and fresh from Idywilde Farms in Acton. They are delivered frozen and partially cooked. They finish baking the bagels on site. http://www.idylwildefarm.com/

                                                            1. re: bostonfoodie111
                                                              rlh May 29, 2008 06:29 AM

                                                              This option is also available at Bagels by US in Arlington, but the bagels are not the same texture as the fresh ones in NYC (I'm referring to the storefront next to Zabar's on the UWS to be precise- can't vouch for all H&H outlets) - but at least on par with Breuggers, Iggy's, and Kupel's.

                                                              1. re: bostonfoodie111
                                                                skoenigsberg May 29, 2008 06:40 AM

                                                                Stella's Cafe (new on Washington St in the South End) also has H&H, M-F.

                                                            2. StriperGuy May 27, 2008 07:03 PM

                                                              My "VOTE!" is that this has been hashed over 12 gazillion times.

                                                              And you left out Katz's in Chelsea which is probably the best.

                                                              9 Replies
                                                              1. re: StriperGuy
                                                                Infomaniac May 27, 2008 07:13 PM

                                                                Katz's in Chelsea also.

                                                                1. re: Infomaniac
                                                                  lergnom May 27, 2008 07:46 PM

                                                                  I agree. This has been hashed out a lot. The only NYC style bagels in the area are Rosenfeld's and Katz's. Others may be good but they aren't NYC style.

                                                                  1. re: Infomaniac
                                                                    Luther May 28, 2008 01:15 AM


                                                                  2. re: StriperGuy
                                                                    Chris VR May 28, 2008 05:14 AM

                                                                    (Crabby rant edited out and moved to Site Talk, where it belongs http://www.chowhound.com/topics/523258 )

                                                                    IMO Katz's is the best I've found around here but I haven't made it to Rosenfeld's yet. And I'll add the controversial opinion that Brueggers's CAN do good bagels- they just don't always do it. But when they're on (don't overcook it, overproof it or whatever they do to ruin it), they can put out a bagel that's pretty damn good.

                                                                    1. re: Chris VR
                                                                      twentyoystahs May 28, 2008 06:01 AM

                                                                      I agree re Brueggers. The key is getting the bagel when it's fresh outta the oven...unfortunately when you don't get it that way I think the bagel is nothing special...

                                                                    2. re: StriperGuy
                                                                      rlh May 28, 2008 04:16 PM

                                                                      Definitely Katz's and it's really close to Logan, so they should be fresh.

                                                                      1. re: rlh
                                                                        StriperGuy May 28, 2008 04:52 PM

                                                                        What does the airport have to do with a fresh bagel?

                                                                        1. re: StriperGuy
                                                                          kweesee May 28, 2008 05:00 PM

                                                                          ** my post was about me wanting to being bagels to london **

                                                                          sorry for posting something that has been "hashed 12 gazallion times." despite all the newbie haters, i really appreciate all your votes/recommendations.

                                                                          I'm going to try to go to Katz although its a little bit further from me (brookline), othewise I'll go to Rosenfelds which is really close by - except that its not open monday - the day that i am flying.

                                                                          1. re: kweesee
                                                                            StriperGuy May 28, 2008 05:32 PM

                                                                            Not a newbie-hater at all... just wish folks would take the time to do a little good old fashioned homework before posting.

                                                                            Heck I eat Kupel's, Iggy's, and of late even Bruegger's and they are all fine. But if you want the creme de la boston-creme probably Katz's.

                                                                    3. h
                                                                      hlerm2 May 27, 2008 05:22 PM

                                                                      bagel rising

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