What’s more New York than a good bagel with lox and schmear? Everyone has their own opinion on where to find the best bagels in town, but there’s no disputing that some places are better than others. If you’re someone who enjoys the taste of Jewish cuisine in the morning and you don’t mind the smell of lox, red onion, and capers on your breath, this is the list for you.
At first glance, Atlas Cafe seems like just another cute coffee shop, but once you familiarize yourself with the menu, you’ll realize you’ve found a secret gem. Their bagels are soft and the lox is fresh — plus, it’s not overflowing with ingredients, so it’s perfect to eat on the go as you stroll around the East Village and Williamsburg.
Russ & Daughters is a downtown staple and is very well-known for its smoked fish selection. Walk into this old-timey counter shoppe, grab a number, and watch their charming staff create the most beautiful lox and bagel presentation you’ve ever seen. It’s not cheap, but it’s worth the price for the whole experience.
Around the corner from the original Russ & Daughters, Russ & Daughters Cafe is a sit-down version of the downtown classic spot. Here, you order a board of fixings instead of just a sandwich, so you can craft each bite in the way you like. Same fish, same bagels, but a totally different taste.
Hot Bagels and Bialys of Brooklyn is a no-frills bagel joint with a true neighborhood feel. While the spot itself is unassuming, the flavors and ingredients are fantastic, and if you’re ever in the area, it’s certainly worth a stop.
Warm and welcoming, Ess-a-Bagel is a classic New York City bagel joint that you don’t see much of in Manhattan anymore. While it’s well-known for its fresh, delicious bagels, the storefront has kept its authentic, old-school feel, offering classic New York City sandwiches. Of course, you can’t go wrong with a bagel with lox and cream cheese.
You must order the ‘Fessler for Two’ in order to fully experience the lox spread at Jeffrey’s Grocery, alongside an array of tasty trimmings fit for a king. You can create any combination of whitefish spread, fish roe, smoked salmon, or crème fraîche (amongst other choices) for a fantastic start to your morning.
Bagels on the Square might have more cream cheese and spreads than you ever thought were possible. The lox cream cheese is unbeatable, and makes the classic lox and bagel combination much easier to eat on the go.
Montreal bagels, which are Black Seed’s specialty, are known for their sweetness and smaller shape compared to large, doughy New York City bagels. The ‘#1’ is a generous serving of this style, with a hint of sugar mixed into the bread. While you might be in this charming downtown storefront for breakfast, the lunch menu is not to be ignored. You can also get their bagels in other shops around the city, as Black Seed continues to grow in popularity.
The Bagel Store has gained a significant amount of press coverage recently for their unique rainbow bagels, so it’s easy to stray from the classics here. With lines out the door almost every morning, it’s safe to say this place whips up a delicious lox and bagel combination. Made to order with friendly hipster flare, The Bagel Store is the place to go in Williamsburg.
Another smoked fish counter, Zucker’s Bagels and Smoked Fish has perfected both the lox and the bagel. Sure, the classic bagel and lox is delicious, but it’s also worth exploring some of the lesser-known items you can only find at New York specialty shops.
H&H Midtown Bagels East, New York | Courtesy of H&H Midtown Bagels East
Here’s a little-known secret; many New York City establishments serve H&H bagels. Chances are, if you’re eating a quality bagel at a store without its own bakery, it’s an H&H bagel. However, if you find yourself in Midtown East, head over to H&H Midtown Bagels East for a classic lox and bagel combination.