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Apr 15, 2011 02:43 PM

Bagels in Boston

Where is your favorite place to get a dozen bagels in Boston?

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  1. I'll attempt to preempt the usual carping about the sad state of bagels in Boston by acknowledging that, sadly, there are no genuinely great bagels here.

    That said, once or twice a summer, I do love a weekend brunch of a mixed dozen from Kupel's on Harvard Street in Brookline, with fresh farmstand tomatoes, thin-sliced onions, good cream cheese and some nice smoked salmon and/or whitefish salad. They're not the greatest, but they get the job done. (Would I ever make the trip if they weren't walking distance from my house? Maybe not.)

    Fair warning: literally EVERYTHING ELSE they sell at Kupel's is vile. Never get anything except the bagels.

    12 Replies
    1. re: Jenny Ondioline

      Iggy's, while not making bagels in a traditional way (boiling), has good "bagels." At Tico, on the weekends, Schlow has H&H bagels shipped up from NYC. I get bagels shipped to me from H&H routinely and otherwise enjoy the poppy "bagels" from Iggy's.

      222 Berkeley St, Boston, MA 02116

      1. re: scotty27

        Iggy's "bagels" are definitely something different, but the multi-seeded ones are my favorite bready crusty breakfasty thing with a hole in the middle.

        1. re: loper

          Having spent my childhood in Brooklyn, with a traditional bagel store two blocks away, I have to give a reserved thumbs up for Iggy's multiseed. It is by no means a NY bagel, but it is satisfying in its own way, perhaps because it is so nice and dense and chewy, quite unlike the fluffy donut-like things peddled by so many around here.

          1. re: PinchOfSalt

            I agree. It's no more a bagel than the pizza at Emma's is pizza, but both are delicious. I mean, what else could these purveyors call them? Baked Serbian Rolls with a Hole in the Middle? Armenian Style Flatbread with Tomatoes & Cheese? A bagel. A pizza. Much easier.

        2. re: scotty27

          Bagels By US in Arlington uses H&H bagels (shipped frozen, baked there). I'd go there more often if I lived in Arlington.

            1. re: scotty27

              interesting. i didn't realize iggy's didn't boil their bagels. source?

              1. re: autopi

                The source is Ivan, who with his wife, Ludmilla, are the original owners of Iggy's. They have since moved to Australia. In conversation with an Australian blogger, Ivan said, "Ivan informed me they are steamed, not boiled, as Iggy does not believe in boiling bagels." Now why the bakery doesn't "believe" in boiled bagels is a different matter...


                1. re: scotty27

                  interesting -- thanks for sharing! steaming is probably easier for a commercial bakery (assuming you are foregoing the lye bath), but for making at home, boiling is probably easier (or at least not harder).

                  1. re: autopi

                    I can't imagine why they steam. The big NY bagel guys are commercial, they boil. As I said, Iggy's is a Serbian bakery; it has as much to do with "real" bagels as Emma's does with "real" pizza. Still: Iggy's "bagels" are delicious. And: When I want I real bagel, I ship up H&H.

            2. re: Jenny Ondioline

              I disagree with Jenny. Katz Bagel Bakery would be considered WELL above average in the NYC area. It might not win "Best in the Five Boroughs" or whatever, but people would go out of their way to go there.

              Katz Bagel Bakery
              139 Park St, Chelsea, MA

              1. re: Alcachofa

                I concur, Alcahofa. While I know excellent bagels are available in New York, they can be elusive. And Katz is up there with the best that I've had from there (and I've had a good number).

            3. Rosenfelds in Newton comes pretty close to approximating a good bagel.

              1. i like the ones at iggys, but they are best if you can get them from the retail outlet in alewife.

                1. I really like the bagels at Rosenfeld's in Newton and Katz's in Chelsea. Most people will tell you that nothing in Boston can stand up to NYC, Montreal, etc., but I think these two can...

                  That said, in my experience, the other bagels around Boston aren't too great. (Although I am a sucker for the occasional Au Bon Pain asiago cheese "bagel.")

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: zach272

                    +1 for Rosenfeld's and Katz's. However, I will +1 for what Jenny says too!

                    1. re: CookieLee

                      rosenfelds, katz's, iggy's for a montreal style bagel, and breughers even though it's a chain. with due respect to jenny, kupel's bagels are close to inedible for size and puffiness.

                      1. re: teezeetoo

                        Do you mean to say that Rosenfeld's, Katz's, and Iggy's actually have Montreal-style bagels (thinner, sweeter, etc.)? I haven't had the first two but Iggy's bagels that I have had are definitely not Montreal-style. They are good though - if a bit bready - if one needs a bagel. I haven't found anything I love yet in this area but find the bagels at Johnny's Foodmaster (in the bins) are actually not too bad when really fresh. A pretty generic bagel, but they have a decent chewiness, aren't too bready (a good crust to insides ratio), and have the standard bagel flavors: sesame, poppy, onion, everything, plain as well as blueberry and raisin.

                    2. re: zach272

                      Rosenfeld's are the best I've had in the area and are pretty good, and a step above Bruegher's which aren't bad, but not quite the level I experienced at a few shops I used to frequent in Rockland Co. NY when I lived in the area. May have to take a trip to Rosenfeld's tomorrow morning now.

                      There is also a pretty decent bagel shop we used to frequent in Acton called Bagels Plus on Great Road in front of the Colonial Spirits lot.

                      1. re: LStaff

                        Got a half dozen at Rosenfeld's this morning and they were not as good as I remembered them to be. By the time I got home (20 minutes from being handed the bag and still warm), they were already too hard and crusty for my likes. Sort of an airy breadiness on the inside too, not dense and soft.

                        Next time I am craving bagels, I'll take the trip out to Acton instead and see how they live up to my memory..

                      2. re: zach272

                        I finally had Montreal bagels in Montreal last summer -- straight out of the oven at the legendary St. Viateur's -- and as someone who grew up on bagels in Brooklyn, I thought they were interesting but basically lousy: insubstantial and overly sweet. Iggy's bagels, which allegedly have some stylistic connection to Montreal (besides the fact that Iggy's founders spent time there) are not really at all like what I had in Montreal: way too chewy and none too tasty (and I say this is a huge fan of Iggy's breads in general). Hell, Breugger's is a better bagel than Iggy's. But, as other posters have pointed out, Katz's and Rosenfeld's are as good as you can get in Boston -- and both are nearly or as good as most bagel's you'll get in NYC these days.

                      3. I've heard the Walnut Street Market in Newton gets Montreal bagels somewhat regularly.