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Oct 31, 2012 09:09 AM

Best bagel near Grand Central


Staying at the Westin near Grand Central - I have most of my food planned, except finding a good bagel for breakfast on a Saturday morning. Any suggestions? If not bagel, then good place for a fairly cheap breakfast that's fairly "New York"?


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  1. Excellent bagels in order of preference:
    Ess-a-bagel @ 3rd Ave & 51 not a bad walk for a stupendous bagel with fabulous smoked fish and cream cheese.
    Bagel Express on Lex bet 41 and 40 East side. Very good and closest to Grand Central
    Vic's Bagel bar 3rd Ave just North of E 36 very good bagels and they mix the cream cheese with a huge selection of fixins to order

    13 Replies
      1. re: Tboy

        For a no frills but excellent breakfast try Scotty's Diner on Lex bet 39 and 40.
        FYI: Many of the places may be without power below 42 St. If you have the time walk over to Ess-A-Bagel as they have power and one of the best bagel experiences you will ever have.

        1. re: Motosport

          We aren't traveling to NYC until next Wednesday so I hope things are all back to normal by then!

          1. re: Motosport

            Scotty's Diner?! My goodness, when I lived in Murray Hill 10+ years ago as a recent college grad we would eat here alot. But only because it was cheap...and I have to say it was filthy and didn't even have decent egg sandwiches. Has it been renovated or something else I'm not aware of?

            1. re: sean_f

              We are regulars at Scotty's. It's clean, inexpensive and you get a decent breakfast and coffee. Keep it simple and you won't be disappointed.
              The place up the block Bloom's is awful. They found a way to screw up breakfast.

            2. re: Motosport

              Motosport's list pretty much gives the bagel lay-of-the-land in the area. While Ess-a-Bagel remains one of the best in the city and is the gold standard in the list, the 2nd place, Bagel Express, is a very distant 2nd (but coffee at Bagel Express is better than E-a-B).

              1. re: RCC

                I mentioned Bagel Express for it's close proximity to Grand Central.
                There is a new bagel place opening across the street. The sign says "hand made and boiled" I hope it's good.

                1. re: Motosport

                  Good to know. Having E-a-B close at hand is great, but will try out others to see if other good ones exist in the neighborhood.

                  1. re: Motosport

                    it's supposed to be a zucker's bagels. i'm excited, since i haven't found a bagel worth eating in the neighborhood.

                    1. re: jon

                      jon, have you tried Vic's? My wife loves Vic's because she can mix and match her favorite cream cheese spread. The bagels are very good too.
                      I am not familiar with Zucker's but the get mixed reviews on another site. I'll be there when they open and report back.
                      I thought it was odd that they would open across the street from Bagel Express. Then again, what do I know?

                      1. re: Motosport

                        I'm actually not a fan of Vic's. too big too doughy. Not crunchy enough. Daniels are ok but I don't particularly like their cream cheese. Ess-a-bagel is good but not really near grand central, but if you have to ask for a hot one or they will be as heavy as lead.

                        Used to really like David's when I lived in gramercy. Now I make due with shelsky's in cobble hill or great ones at Windsor bagel or the bagel hole (in Windsor terrace and park slope, respectively).

                        I'm hopeful that zuckers will give me a reason to eat bagels near my office.

                        1. re: jon

                          I am hoping Zucker's is worthy.
                          Ess-A is a nice touristy walk if the weather is good.
                          My lovely partner likes Vic's because of the cutom mixed cream cheese. She likes the bagels at Ess-A but thinks they are "too big". Oy vey!!
                          She is a bialy snob and only likes bialys from Kossars.

            3. re: Motosport

              Agree with Motosport: hands down Ess-a-Bagel.

            4. Daniel's Bagels, 3rd Ave. btw 37th & 38th Sts.

              7 Replies
              1. re: Sneakeater

                Daniels would be my 5th or 6th choice. They are on the small side with very little seeds/garlic/onion etc..

                1. re: Motosport

                  One man's "on the small side" is another man's "bagels like they used to be before they started to make them overbig for the goyim."

                  1. re: Sneakeater

                    .................with very little seeds/garlic/onions!!!!!!!!!! I like a nice even coating of toppings not a sparse amount of seeds etc..
                    I agree completely about the size. Ess-A-Bagel makes them big enough for two to share and we do.

                    1. re: Motosport

                      I wasn't crazy about Daniel's - I can't remember quite why, but it had nothing to do with the size. I agree that many of them are just too big, but now that I don't live in NYC anymore, and thus am starved for a good bagel, it's pretty easy for me to polish one off.

                      We always bring home bagels after an NYC trip (slice & freeze immediately upon entering the house - works pretty well). We stayed in Murray Hill on our last trip and narrowed it down to Ess-a-Bagel and Tal (1st & 54th). Ess-a-Bagel won.

                      In fact, my bagel barometer in the freezer is a signal to plan the next trip to NYC. We're down to two, so we'll be there next month. :-)

                      1. re: VaPaula

                        Tal Bagels are up there with Ess-A-Bagel but not close to Grand Central or I would have mentioned them.
                        We are only in Manhattan on weekends so we buy bagels @ Ess-A and bialys @ Kossars and freeze them UNcut so they don't get freezerburn.
                        I transfer a bagel/bialy from the freezer to the fridge the night before and it's defrosted by morning. Cut in half and lightly toast and they are almost as good as fresh out of the oven. The last thing you ever want to do is put them in the microwave to defrost.

                        1. re: Motosport

                          I've never had a freezer burn problem with them cut (although I don't cut them all the way through).

                          I take mine out of the freezer for about an hour, leave them on the counter, and then put them in a 350 degree oven on a baking sheet for about 15-20 mins. Good as new, plus there is no chance of them even remotely toasting, which I am vehemently against!

                          My husband (not a NYer) finds all of this amusing (especially the time I was "prepping" them at nearly 1:00AM when our bus was late getting us home) and yet, he raves about them. I'm convinced my TLC has a lot to do with that!

                          1. re: VaPaula

                            "(not a NYer)"s just can't understand!!! Sad, so sad!
                            Not that food is important to us!!

              2. I work in the area, since you're staying near gct, two other places to consider are machiatto for very good coffee and croissant and rize coffee. Rize serves stumptown coffee and has a decent bagel (they told me they're from brooklyn). agree that ess is a "should not miss" for great bagel and smoked salmon.

                there's a lot more interesting chow in the area than say 10 years ago, from hand pulled udon to lebanese to very good bubble tea.


                3 Replies
                1. re: vinouspleasure

                  What ever happened to H & H Bagels? They were stupendous!

                  1. re: arepo

                    H and H was closed because the owner thought paying taxes was something the little people did. withheld about a half million in withholding from the feds.

                    i was never a huge fan. they made those big puffy things discussed above. but a hot one out of the oven was sometimes a guilty pleasure.

                  2. re: vinouspleasure

                    I can't stand rize. They never have milk out, or proper lids. When they first opened they had a few good baristas, but they seemed to turnover their entire staff and now they can barely prepare good brewed coffee. On top of that, their coffee is a quarter more than every other place in the area, even joe, which in my opinion, has much better coffee (and pastries).

                  3. Just had an everything bagel with scallion cream cheese from the newly opened Zucker's at 41st and Lexington. Pretty good in my opinion. Good texture and flavor. I'll note that staff was very friendly but also obviously inexperienced...hopefully service will get better over time.

                    I will say I'm not a fan of Ess-a-bagel. I have them on occasion because friends/co-workers continue to buy them but I find its bagels too big and lacking in flavor. Also after nasty service a few years ago at the downtown shop, I will never go back myself again.

                    On a different note, I haven't really paid much attention to bagel prices but talk about food inflation. I seem to remember paying $0.60 for a bagel not too long ago (okay maybe going back 10 years or so). A bagel now costs $1.15!

                    7 Replies
                    1. re: churros

                      Finally went to zuckers for lunch yesterday-IMO its more expensive than most bagel shops, but some creative and interesting sandwich options. My everything bagel had great layer of , well, everything on the outside, a nice not too tough crust. Had their classic lox and cream cheese with onion ($10.95), nice amount of lox but cut a bit thick- good choice for the area but not a destination.

                      1. re: Ttrockwood

                        Zucker's was our bagel shop of choice for bring-home bagels on our last trip to NYC -we were staying in the area. We liked them, too, for the same reasons you gave (and there's only 2 left in the freezer, which means back to NY soon!). I noted the comments about them not baking throughout the day, but we were there first thing in the morning. Good service, too.

                        1. re: VaPaula

                          Zucker's makes a very good bagel. If you are just buying bagels to take home it's a great choice.
                          The only issue I have with them is they are much more expensive than the local competition if you load up the bagel with smoked fish etc..
                          Bagel Boss took over the Vic's Bagel Bar location and they have been excellent.

                          1. re: Motosport

                            I noticed that! I'll check out bagel boss next-zuckers just seem like a significantly better bagel or sandwich for their higher prices (pick a bagel lox and cream cheese is $9.50 vs zuckers $10.95)

                            1. re: Ttrockwood

                              Zucker's has excellent bagels but they are almost $4 more than Bagel Express across the street for a bagel with cream cheese and Nova.
                              I have to admit that Bagel Express is a close second to Zucker's. If I was just getting bagels it's Zucker's. With all the trimmings I'll save $3 and walk across to Bagel Express.
                              I'll put Bagel Boss in the same category as Bagel Express.

                              1. re: Motosport

                                zucker's would be great except 1) service is atrocious and the ordering system is just plain dumb (i can't tell you how many times i've gotten back to my desk only to find that my order is completely wrong) and 2) the bagels are never hot! it doesn't matter what time i go, the bagels are never fresh out of the oven. makes no sense.

                                1. re: jon

                                  Yup! I agree 100%. It has gotten to a point where I check my order before I pay.
                                  "Sorry, onion is not the same as garlic!"

                    2. Love Ess-a-bagel. I also think Zaro's in Grand Central has surprisingly delicious bagels.