Where to Find the Best Bagels in Boston Right Now
Whether they're onion, garlic, or Cajun-spice flavored, these fresh-baked bagels are everything.
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When it comes to bagels, people have mighty strong opinions (especially all the NYC expats in your life). Few other foods generate such impassioned takes, though pizza is probably a close second. Curating a list of Greater Boston’s best bagel shops, then, is biting off more than most would try to chew. And yet, we’ll bravely state a claim about the bakers below: Whether you want a classic onion-y ring topped with lox and capers or a more contemporary iteration, like Cajun spice smeared with jalapeño cream cheese, their bagels are everything. (And bagel lovers, take note: Providence favorite Rebelle Artisan Bagels is relocating to Cambridge in late 2023.)
This guide was last updated in October 2023; watch for periodic updates.
A pair of brothers is behind this pandemic-born business, which vends out of Boston Public Market. Perfected while flour and yeast shortages were prevalent, their recipe makes use of freshly milled local grains and wild yeast for a pleasant sourdough-y zing. You’ll find all the classic flavors, from poppy to cinnamon raisin, plus some fun twists like four-cheese. Get fancy with spreads like no-nut arugula pesto, spicy pepper cream cheese, or vegan scallion chive, or keep it simple with the outstanding house-made cultured butter. There are sandwiches, too, including one that features bagel-crumb-dusted, buttermilk-brined chicken with spicy secret sauce and house pickles.
Boston Public Market, 100 Hanover St., Downtown Boston, bagelguild.com.
In the pre-COVID era, Mary Ting Hyatt’s Cambridge bagel shop had such a monster-sized following that there were lines out the door. You’ll still find that to be the case on weekends—don’t worry; it moves quickly!—but now there’s online ordering on weekdays to make pre-work pickup a breeze. Another weekday plus: Bialys come out of the oven at 10 a.m. Tuesday through Friday. Even on busy days, though, it’s worth the effort to snag a slow-fermented bagel in flavors like sea salt, cinnamon raisin, or black olive, smeared with cream cheeses such as honey-rosemary and spicy pepper. Or, go all in on a bagel sandwich like the T-Rex, smothered in house-made almond butter, banana, honey, and thick bacon.
1796 Massachusetts Ave., Porter Square, Cambridge, 857-285-6103, bagelsaurus.com.
With a bold name like this, a bagel joint better deliver the goods. Better definitely does—in fact, its New York-style bagels are served by a handful of area cafes and restaurants. But Better Bagels’s Seaport HQ or newer downtown location should be your daily destination for fresh-baked bagels that are covered in cream cheese or used for sandwiches loaded with pastrami, smoked turkey, and a certain New Jersey delicacy: pork roll.
83a Seaport Ave., Seaport District, Boston, 857-317-4147; 211 Congress St., Post Office Square, Boston, 857-540-3177; betterbagelsboston.com.
Black Sheep Bagel Café
First things first: Props to Black Sheep, which has a main café in Harvard Square and ancillary market in Cambridgeport, for amusingly referring to itself as a “maaa and paaa” shop within the flock of corporate chains that increasingly dominate city streets. More importantly, though, its bagels are bomb—and come in creative iterations like Cajun spice and whole wheat everything, brushed with jalapeño cream cheese, pesto, fig jam, and other spreads. Wash it down with a sweetened, Caribbean-style café con leche.
Black Sheep Bagel Café, 56 John F Kennedy St., Harvard Square, Cambridge, 617-945-2189; Black Sheep Market, 101 Magazine St., Cambridgeport, 617 -945-1156; blacksheepbagelcafe.com.
Davis Square Donuts & Bagels
Whether you crave something sweet or savory, this Somerville spot has you covered. Here you’ll find decadent doughnuts like the Somerville Cream, which involves strawberry cream cheese whipped with marshmallow Fluff (the latter was invented in Somerville over 100 years ago) and topped with graham crackers. But you’ll also find plenty of poppy seed, asiago, and other bagels served solo or as sandwiches like the Steak Bomb, a meaty option stuffed with peppers and onions.
377 Summer St., Somerville, 617-764-0631, davissquaredonutsandbagels.com.
Best of Boston winner, 2018
Get thee to Roslindale when you need to stock up on carbs. Exodus (tagline “quit your wandering”), which first built a cult following for its cold-fermented bagels via farmer’s market appearances, offers pickup Wednesday through Sunday from its production kitchen. Flavors include dark rye, garlic-asiago, and “everywhere.” Don’t forget to add spreads like Sriracha cream cheese, as well as deli sides like Acme lox and mixed pickles.
2 McCraw St., Roslindale, 617-323-3354, exodusbagels.com.
When it comes to grading bagels, the crunch-to-chew ratio is one of the most important factors to consider. Luckily Goldilox, as you might expect, gets the balance juuuuust right with its house-made creations. The rosemary-salt bagel is the popular pick; you’ll find that, cinnamon raisin, and plenty of other offerings available for pre-order all week for Friday-through-Sunday pickups, with walkups welcome too. (Don’t miss the “bear butter” spread, which amps up butter with honey, cayenne, cinnamon, and salt.) And you can always add an extra dollar or two to benefit the Lox Love program, which sends donations to weekly-changing nonprofits. Bonus: Gluten-free bagels and vegan cream cheese are available.
186 Winthrop St., Medford, goldiloxbagels.com.
Katz Bagel Bakery
Katz—pronounced “Kates”—has a few claims to fame. For one, it purports to be the place that invented the pizza bagel (although there’s actually an East Coast-West Coast feud about the snack’s origins). Owner Richard Katz has also said that he trained the baker who opened the first bagel shop in China (you can find that story here.) But whatever big boasts the place makes, here’s one comparatively humble fact we know to be true: Katz, founded in 1938, is a local icon with a long history and a legendary knack for making amazing, straightforward bagels and schmears.
139 Park St., Chelsea, 617-884-9738, katzbagels.com.
Here’s another old-school landmark—even if its 1978 founding is relatively recent, compared to Katz. Kupel’s, a beloved and family-run Brookline bagel maker, is known for the consistency with which it turns out its all-Kosher parve creations. Garlic, pumpernickel, and sissel rye varieties are all stellar, though honestly, the perfect plain bagel might be Kupel’s best canvas for painting with chive, green olive, and lox-and-scallion cream cheeses.
421 Harvard St., Brookline, 617-566-9528, kupelsbakery.com.
Naturally, this Jewish-style deli—now with three Greater Boston locations and a frequent pickup schedule in various suburbs—bakes up its own bagels in-house. Plain, sesame, and everything are always available, with cinnamon raisin popping up on Wednesdays and pumpernickel on Thursdays (or by the half dozen, frozen, any day). Buy them on their own or in sandwich form with toppings like lox cream cheese, eggs, hots, pickles, and lots more. If you’re not in the mood for bagels, we’re not quite sure why you’re reading this guide, but you should know that Mamaleh’s sandwiches can be made on latkes or challah rolls, too.
Multiple locations, mamalehs.com.
A Newton institution for more than 45 years, Rosenfeld’s was born when its eponymous founder decided to trade a career in law for a career in bagel-baking. We are so, so glad he did. Mark Rosenfeld still offers some of the best old-fashioned iterations —like everything, onion, and garlic—that are made with a smidge of malt syrup for trademark sweetness. You’ll also find other house-baked breads like bialy, tasty spreads, and smoked fish available for in-store purchase or curbside pickup.
1280 Centre St., Newton, 617-527-8080, rosenfeldsbagels.com.
The Walnut Market
These aren’t made fresh in-house, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the fact that the Walnut Market—a specialty food, beer, and wine shop in Newton Highlands—gets in shipments of Montreal’s legendary St-Viateur bagels approximately monthly. You’ll have to keep an eye on Facebook for updates on when the next shipment will arrive, and when it does, you’ll find a full range of flavors: all dressed (aka “everything”), blueberry, poppy, and more. Montreal-style bagels in their wood-fired glory are nearly impossible to find around this neck of the woods, so you’ll want to make the monthly trek to Walnut Market to stock up.
20 Lincoln St., Newton Highlands, 617-965-1170, thewalnutmarket.com.