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Montreal Bagels in NYC (coming soon)!

Yipeeeee! I love Montreal bagels and have been lamenting for years that I couldn't find them here. Mile End is set to open in September and will feature St. Viateur bagels. I am a bit concerned that they may not be fresh. But I'm hoping for the best.

They'll also be featuring poutine.


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  1. this is really great! thanks for the tip :)

    7 Replies
    1. re: david sprague

      So sad to see that it wasn't Fairmount. Their everything, with fennel seeds, is the gold standard of the genre for me. The good thing is that they freeze well - each time I go to Montreal I bring a few sleeves back and store them for several months.

      I have to say I'm a little meh on both St. Viateur's and Fairmount's "plain" (sesame) bagels. That said, this place will either be amazing or horrible. I'm hoping they pull in some casks of Dieu du Ciel beers, too. Their Equinoxe de Printemps, a maple beer, is excellent.

      I think it's going into the place on Hoyt just south of Atlantic (behind the deli).

      1. re: lambretta76

        I am so excited about this :) Esp the poutine part...

        1. re: Nehna

          Sheep Station on 4th has a Quebecois chef and turns out some very tasty poutine. It may or may not be on the menu (I forget) but it's always orderable. TPoutine is opening in the LES in The City any time now. I've not had Pomme Frites' version, but I've heard positive things.

          1. re: lambretta76

            yeah i've been meaning to check that out -- but this place will be a much closer walk :) (though with poutine, maybe we'll need a longer walk.........)

          2. re: Nehna

            Oh my - this will be a only a block from me. I love poutine - I am going to grow to the size of a house.....

          3. re: lambretta76

            holy jesus... fairmounts muesli bagel was one of the best things i have eaten without ANY toppings. check out the inside of that baby: http://www.flickr.com/photos/wearenev...

            1. re: amysep

              This is all totally new to me. Never heard of Montreal Bagels. I'm intrigued. Definitely heard of but never had poutine. Very jazzed about that. Chatted with the owner in front of the shop on the weekend. He said it will be a few months.

        2. Can anybody explain why Montreal bagels can't be replicated in another place? NYC water was a typical explanation for the flavor of NYC bagels and pizza. Is some special ingredient only available in Montreal? Montreal has the best hot dog buns also.

          5 Replies
          1. re: MahatmaKanejeeves

            I'm sure water is a factor, and perhaps ingredients. But it's the technique - boiling in honey, cooking in a wood-fired oven - that just doesn't happen here. I'm not sure that it can't be replicated, it just isn't.

            1. re: lambretta76

              Lambretta's right. The Montreal bagel bakers add a bit of honey to the water bath, which imparts a sweetish tinge to the crust. The bagel dough is also enriched with eggs and sugar, which makes the bagels a bit cakier than American-style bagels. Further, the bagels are smaller than the super-sized American versions (with actual holes in the middle, increasingly lost in the puffiness of the modern American version) and baked in wood-fired ovens -- St. Viateur uses maple -- which gives the outside a pleasing char, and the bagels are coated with sesame or poppy seeds on both sides, not just one.

              If the above rumor about Mile End is true, I'm genuinely excited. To my mind, St. Viateur makes the best bagels in Montreal, with the Fairmount running a close second. Now, if they can start importing smoked-meat sandwiches from Schwartz's, we'll really be talking!

              1. re: motl

                Smoked meat really is divine. Hopefully, the owner of this place has a great palate and the smoking knowledge to approach the quality of Schwartz's. (Perhaps on par with Ben's, which I enjoyed, too.) I mean, the folks over at Char No. 4 turn out one of the best (if most unconventional) pastramis I've ever tasted.

                I am excited.

                1. re: lambretta76

                  As an expat Montrealer now living in Brooklyn, all I can say is OMG!!! I grew up eating St. Viateur bagels -- they were the preferred ones in my household (white seeds only, please.) My friends and I would easily devour an entire bag of the warm, fresh-from-the-oven bagels in one car ride home. The only problem is that they go stale very quickly. However, you can pop them in the freezer and then reheat in the toaster the next morning -- almost as good. (I wonder if Mile End will import them frozen...) Good smoked meat would be icing on the cake. And while we're at it, some Montreal cheese bagels would be much appreciated, too!

                  1. re: Fay

                    Holy shit ! This is great news. I love Montreal and this will be great to have a bit of here.

                    I seem to have missed where in Cobble Hill this will be...can anyone give me the cross streets?

                    If you can't wait for the poutine...check out Sheep Station. I think it's better than the stuff I had in Montreal (don't hate me Quebecois).

          2. What's the latest on this place? Is it open? I can't wait to try poutine!

            3 Replies
            1. re: Puppimus

              I walk buy it every day. It's slowly coming together. Looks like it might open in a few more weeks. I'm scared for that as it is a block from where I live. I am a poutine fiend and had considered myself lucky b/c it's a trek to get some.

              1. re: Puppimus

                As a Montrealer who visits New York fairly often and who has friends and family there this makes me extremely nervous. I hope for your sake that their poutine isn't disgusting and I would not be surprised one bit of it was. Good poutine is hard, great poutine is next to impossible (I know, I know how hard can it be, right? Well, with only three ingredients involved, if one is bad it's completely undermined the integrity of the entire thing). Even in Montreal it's exceedingly hard to find great poutine. There's maybe two that I've had here that I would consider great and this is food that I've been eating since inception. And they're having their bagels flown in? Lord, I smell disaster. The only way to convince a New Yorker that Montreal bagels are better is to drag them up here and shove a fresh-out-of-the-wood-fired-oven St. Viateur down their throat. Please, please, please tell me that this place doesn't suck and for the love of god, if you don't like their poutine don't swear the stuff off as crud because though it's hard to find, a great poutine is a thing of beauty.

              2. Isn't that sort of carrying coals to Newcastle?

                It is impossible to find decent bagels outside of NYC, and even here it is hit or miss.

                6 Replies
                1. re: Fleur

                  Er, have you been to montreal Fleur? Impossible? Seriously?

                  I personally prefer Montreal style bagels to NYC --- and there are many, many people who would back up that sentiment (do a google search). That said, they both have their own merits. What makes Montreal bagels so tasty, I've read, is honey in the dough. I also prefer how small they are compared to most NYC bagels -- I don't feel stuffed half the day after eating one.

                  1. re: Nehna

                    i concur with nehna. i am a born and raised new yorker and i have to admit, those montreal bagels beat a new york bagel any day. but, a new york bagel beats a bagel anywhere else in the world. :-)

                    i don't like that new york ones are so doughy, too soft and gigantic. the montreal ones are smaller, crispy on the outside, light and warm in the inside. esp when you get them straight out of the oven at fairmount! heavenly.

                    bigger isn't necessarily better when it comes to bagels...

                    1. re: Linda

                      Not to mention the need NY deli people have to put a pound or so of cream cheese on said bagel. Does *anyone* really want that much cream cheese on their bagel? I've taken to actually asking them to go easy on the c.c. It's disgusting having that much.

                      1. re: Nehna

                        No matter how many times I ask for light or little cream cheese, its always the same huge glop of cream cheese. I end up taking half of it off with my finger.

                    2. re: Nehna

                      Y'know why I know about this particular regional sub-genre of cuisine and can express interest in it instead of dismissing it? Because I read everyone's contribution to this thread. Doesn't seem like a lot to ask but...whatever.

                  2. As a New Yorker, I'm looking forward to trying the Montreal bagel when it finally becomes available here. They really sound like a different product from a NY bagel, and perhaps it isn't really fair to compare the two.

                    I'm in agreement with those who critiqued the puffiness and hugeness of NY bagels -- that's the sad state the bagel has come to, even here. To my mind, the proper NY bagel is smaller, firm and dense. Unfortunately, you have to know where to go to find a good one these days.

                    21 Replies
                    1. re: comestible

                      And that might be where? I hate the puffy. sweet ones.

                      1. re: buttertart

                        The Bagel Hole in Park Slope. 400 7th Avenue, at 12th Street. Baker Phil Romanzi (an Italian guy, taught by a Hasid) has been making bagels the old-fashioned way for nearly 30 years -- small, dense, chewy, flavorful. Eating them is like taking a step back in time, to the days when bagels were made artisanally, by teams of union bakers: Local 338 of the International Bagel Bakers Union.

                        1. re: motl

                          Bagel bakers of the world, unite!

                          1. re: parkslopemama

                            Forget about honey in the water, what about trying a little salt in the dough? The Montreal bagels I had when I was there were screaming for a pinch of salt. I prefer the Platonic ideal of a NY bagel hands down, and Bagel Hole comes closest. Other than there the NY bagel is on the endangered species list. I'm excited to give these upstarts from Montreal another shot though. And poutine! Ooh la la!

                            Where is this place going to be again? I seem to have missed that part of the discussion. Thanks.

                          2. re: motl

                            Thanks! Great to know, walking distance from mine.

                          3. re: buttertart

                            BAGELS & MORE has been cranking out the real deal for years - except no one bothers to venture into that Hasid hinterland called Borough Park...just checked them out tonight and they're looking as good as ever, but to be sure of freshness, get there early AM, just after 8:15 or so...all the varieties will be ready and if you like a nice well-done crisping, they're yours.

                            "F" Train to Church Ave. & McDonald front car, then walk about 10 blocks - down Church, which becomes 14th Avenue, past the Rio Gas Station (with the secret Ostrovitsky's Bakery inside), down to 43rd Street and it'll be on your left next to the Medical Group. Or the "D" to Ft. Hamilton Parkway and walk the long Avenue blocks to 14th Avenue.

                            They're closed on Saturdays.

                            1. re: Mike R.

                              got an address for that? I'd like to bookmark it.

                              1. re: Mike R.

                                Sounds wonderful, thank you. Bialys too?

                                1. re: Mike R.

                                  That's pretty close to me in the Terrace. I'll give them a try. Thanks for the tip!

                                  1. re: HankyT

                                    I made the trek to Bagels and More (Bagels 'n More?) and I have to agree with you Mike R. It's a pretty decent bagel in the old school Bagel Hole mold. Super dense, some char on them, a snappy intense little mofo. Worth the trip if you live in Ditmas or Kensington, etc. I froze a bunch and will report back about how they respond to suspended animation.

                                    1. re: HankyT

                                      At last...somebody actually made the journey!
                                      Hanky T., I gotta tell you, I'm spoiled - and haven't found another (except at the 'Hole) coming close.
                                      Love the char factor.

                                      1. re: Mike R.

                                        At the risk of being annoying, do they make bialys too? A nice dark-baked one you don't have to toast?

                                        1. re: buttertart

                                          I did not see bialys, buttertart. Unfortunately as the bialy is one of the greatest bread products ever conceived.
                                          Yeah Mike, they are a bagel you have to overpower before you can eat it. Super SUPER chewy. Old school.

                                          1. re: HankyT

                                            You guys are talking about Bagels & More at this point in the thread, right?

                                            Does anyone know if Mile End opened yet??

                                            1. re: parkslopemama

                                              I Googled for any reference to an opening and the latest info seems to be dated the same as the inception of this thread. Anyone live near there and able to report?

                                              1. re: parkslopemama

                                                Mile End is still papered over, but my wife saw in this past weekend and said it looks about ready. Hopefully it will be pretty soon.

                                                And if the owner is reading, please bring in some Dieu du Ciel, too!

                                                1. re: lambretta76

                                                  One more thing to bring: A goodly selection of "Havre de Glace" gelati - best I've ever had in a farmer's market.

                                                  1. re: Mike R.

                                                    Yeah - if they could just bring the entirety of Jean-Talon down to NYC that would be awesome. My head just explodes there with the options and quality.

                                                    They make a mean chocolat chaud, too ;)

                                                    1. re: lambretta76

                                                      I met the owner about 2 weeks ago - he was working inside the place. He said hopefully November. He went on to describe the smoked meats they'll have available... wow, sounds delicious. And I never get sick of poutine!

                                                        1. re: jinglejangle

                                                          Walked by this evening, still not open, but there are jars of pickles in the window. (From what you can see that's not papered over.)

                                                          It is a nice looking place, not far from something you'd see on one of the side streets off of St. Denis or St. Laurent.