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Baked Goods

Gryfe's Bagels

Posted by Robyn Urback / Posted on February 19, 2011

Gryfes BagelsGryfe's Bagels has, in my opinion, the best bagels in the city. Bold statement, I know. But I have yet to find another bakery in Toronto that makes bagels that are just as delicious plain as they are toasted and smothered with cream cheese. Gryfe's Bagels need no adornment. They're fluffy and light, often devoured in just a few bites, and I think best eaten when slowly ripped apart.

Gryfes BagelsToronto has been trying to crack Gryfe's secret for over 50 years. "It's TLC," manager Annabelle Villa-Real tells me as she cracks a grin. Alas, I won't be the one to get the scoop.

Gryfes BagelsThe bakery was opened back in 1957 by Arthur and Ruth Gryfe. After they passed away, son Moishe took the helm and now runs the North York bakery, which can produce upwards of 1,000 dozen bagels on any given day. And that's the focus: bagels. While there are several varieties (poppy seed, flax seed, whole wheat, multigrain: $7.20/doz), as well as homemade mini pizzas ($5.75/pkg), and a few sandwich options (though not available on weekends), Gryfe's is not a hangout space. There's no seating, little d├ęcor, stark walls, and a cash-only checkout.

"There's nothing fancy here," Villa-Real says. "Even we're not fancy," she says smoothing out her apron. "But that's how people know us."

Gryfes BagelsGryfe's is also famous for its weekend lineups. Villa-Real says they used to start at around 8:00 a.m., until people started coming earlier to try to beat the crowd. Unfortunately, everyone had the same idea, and now the lineups are formed by about 6:00 a.m. "Out the door and around the corner!" she tells me. "Even in the winter, when it's snowing, they still line up."

Gryfes BagelsOn the plus side, the line will take you to everything you need for a weekend brunch. Gryfe's has a variety of cream cheeses, eggs, juice, and specialty jams imported from Israel ($4.99) in store. And if you're not in the area, chances are you can pick up a Gryfe's bagel somewhere else in the city.

Gryfes BagelsVilla-Real starts listing off some of the places that carry their bagels. "Pusateri's, Daiter's, Grace Meats, Nortown, Villa Foods, Bruno's, Kitchen Table..." She actually goes on for another minute or two. I catch "Toronto Cricket Club" and "Holt Renfrew Bloor" somewhere in there too. "People just like our bagels, I guess," she says. And I'd have to agree. True to their mantra, Gryfe's simply "just tastes better."

Gryfes BagelsGryfes BagelsPhotos by Dennis Marciniak

Discussion

40 Comments

Cyn / May 14, 2009 at 10:43 am
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Best.bagels.ever!
winnie / July 25, 2009 at 03:02 pm
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THE BEST!!
Joanne / December 4, 2009 at 05:20 pm
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These bagels bring me back to my chilhood memories. It still looks the same and I still cant resist eating 3+ at one serving.lol. MUSTTTT TRY....
tom / October 30, 2010 at 10:11 am
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yes that place is located on bathurst and it is not the most updated place ever, but the bagels are AMAZING!!!! i have never had a better bagel in all my 37 years of life.
Cheryl / February 20, 2011 at 10:16 am
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I prefer New York bagels, like the kind you get at H&H Bagels. The bagels I get in Toronto - Gryfe's included - come across as more like donut shaped dinner rolls than the bagels I grew up with in Brooklyn NY.

irina / February 20, 2011 at 10:34 am
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These bagels look yummy... I especially like the 2nd picture with the raw/semi-cooked ones for some reason. Too bad this place is so far north. Any good bagel spots downtown?

I also second scott's comment on michael being a racist grump. Yikes.
TG / February 20, 2011 at 10:47 am
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Most amazing bagels, if I ever move from Toronto this will be what I miss the most.

P.S They serve some grocery stores(fiesta farms) in the city so don't think you actually have to drive up that far north to get them.
Victim / February 20, 2011 at 12:06 pm
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"Toronto has been trying to crack Gryfe's secret for over 50 years."

Maybe it wouldn't be such a secret if reviews mentioned the location :o Am I to assume that since they make bagels it's either on Bathurst or just off Bathurst somewhere north of Eglinton?
jinxx008 replying to a comment from Michael Muggeridge / February 20, 2011 at 12:36 pm
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"Conclusion, good bagels served up by rank amateurs."

???...Ummmm, those bagels you purchased, did they came with a side order of irony?
bob / February 20, 2011 at 04:30 pm
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I hope nobody compares these to MTL or NY bagels. Toronto, Montreal, and New York all have different styles of bagels but all of them so amazing...
DavidC / February 21, 2011 at 01:56 am
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Originally from Montreal. If I can't have a St Viateur bagel, then this would be the version that i prefer. Unlike Montreal bagels, which has big holes in them and look more like pretzels, Gryfe's bagels are perfect for cream cheese.
Lioness / February 21, 2011 at 09:28 am
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I've been looking for good NY style bagels for some time now. I'm guessing the ones here are Montreal style?
hyper-hyper / February 21, 2011 at 10:51 am
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I love Montreal and NY style bagels as well... but for me - nothing can compare to Gryfe's!

I can eat them just plain without any butter and it still tastes incredible.

I am just glad they sell them at various places around the city since I live far from their location.
hyper-hyper replying to a comment from Lioness / February 21, 2011 at 10:53 am
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"I've been looking for good NY style bagels for some time now. I'm guessing the ones here are Montreal style?"

No. These are very different from the Montreal and New York style bagels. I guess it would be Toronto style.
Lafrry / February 21, 2011 at 03:49 pm
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I haven't seen a Pendrith oven in over 35 years! Let's hope they get another 60+ years out of it yet. That had to be one of the last ovens they made.
steve / February 21, 2011 at 03:50 pm
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Montreal bagels are gross and have no flavour. Bagel World bagels are the best, hands down.
Michelle / February 21, 2011 at 06:54 pm
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The only bagels that I really enjoy are New York style bagels - which I've only ever had in NY. I'm not a bagel snob by any means, I just didn't think I liked them until I tried one there. If anyone finds something at least somewhat similar in Toronto, I'm dying to know.
sezme replying to a comment from Michelle / February 21, 2011 at 10:59 pm
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Nope, nothing similar to NY bagels here. Best move there and leave more Gryfe's bagels for the rest of us!
Noah / February 24, 2011 at 01:41 pm
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Gryfes bagels are my favorite bagels on the planet as long as they are fresh out of the oven. Even an hour later, they just aren't the same (similar problem found in Krispy Kreme doughnuts)

It's worth the drive to Bathust just north of Lawrence. :)
Mat / February 26, 2011 at 02:11 pm
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I picked up some Gryfe's bagels today from a location downtown that carries them.
I'm not sure what I think yet. They're very different from any other bagel I've ever tasted and I almost want to compare their taste and texture (but not shape of course) to brioche! I usually prefer Montreal style bagels and go to St. Urbain in St. Lawrence Market. But now that everyone here is raving about NY style I'll have to try some when I'm in New York next. What's different about NY bagels? Can anyone describe???
Stan / February 28, 2011 at 12:13 am
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Gryfe's bagels are so good, you can never get a whole dozen home! You always end up eating at least one or two or three as you drive home and the aroma fills the car.
MMMMMM poppy seed!
I've had the H&H from the store on Broadway in the Upper West Side, fresh from the oven. They are an 8. I've had the St Urbain's fresh from the oven, when they opened their first store. Another 8. Gryfes from the oven? a 10!
The true test is the day after. H&H? hockey pucks. St Urbain's? Best for ringette. Gryfe's? Still a 10!
Try the pizzas. On Fridays, the challahs are the best. I think I need an onion bun.
Nobody does it better!
vanessa / February 28, 2011 at 08:58 am
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You mean to say someone else makes bagels? Gryfes ARE the only bagels worth their "grain of salt". They even freeze beautifully. Their chalas are the best in the city. Sorry, all you bubbies out there. There is just no comparison. Gryfe's chala and a drink is all you need for a perfect Shabbat meal.
Best of
Accolades
Gryfes
Excels
Longest
Len / February 28, 2011 at 11:56 am
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I'm from Brooklyn NYC. I know that you can't find a New York Bagel here in TO. I've lived here for 40 yrs. & although I love my New York bagels but you can love the taste of GRYFE'S. The difference is the taste the best part is they are different & both great. No they're not New York but they are delicious just as they are. Bet you can't eat just one is my favorite saying.
angella / May 2, 2011 at 01:39 pm
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All this talk about bagel's is making me HUNGRY!n I am looking for the nutritional information on these bagel's Anyone???
Dave / May 7, 2011 at 10:57 pm
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Good not GREAT bagels!
mitard replying to a comment from angella / May 8, 2011 at 11:08 pm
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As long as you're not gluten intolerant, it shouldn't matter!
Sheri / June 30, 2011 at 02:18 am
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Great bagels!!!! So great that they travel UPS all the way to Vancouver almost every month!
John / July 28, 2011 at 10:48 pm
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You HAVE to get them at Sunrise Foods, I go there all time. They also have the best egg salad and tuna salad to go along with these awesome bagels.
Joanne / August 4, 2011 at 04:30 pm
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I grew up on these bagels, as a child I remember every Sunday's we'd go to Gryfe's to pick up some fresh, hot bagels and minature pizzas...what a memory!
NormR / August 23, 2011 at 08:05 pm
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Where's the chew?
I wouldn't call them bagels, just bread. When I slice a bagel I don't want to see a pile of crumbs, I want a smooth, elastic, chewy surface. Maybe it is NY bagels that I am talking about. I certainly haven't found one in TO. Maybe Sarah Lee will be the answer.
In the meantime my trek to Gryfe's will not be repeated.
NormR replying to a comment from Mat / August 23, 2011 at 08:08 pm
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Smooth and chewy inside, not crumbly like bread.
BagelExpert replying to a comment from NormR / February 8, 2012 at 02:54 pm
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You like Chewy Bagels?

Doesn't sound appetizing.
Amelia / February 8, 2012 at 04:51 pm
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I have been getting bagel here since 1998. I remember one time my husband came to get some bagels on Sunday morning around 8:30 am and they had already sold out.. I've tried so many bagels but nothing even comes close to these ones!!!!! They truly do melt in your mouth and I would recommend them to anyone.. Once you have tasted these bagels you will not go anywhere else !!! Keep up the great work in making bagels !!!!!
Rob / February 23, 2012 at 09:14 am
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People please...it's only a piece of baked dough, how good can it be?
OK, I'm going to drive from London to Toronto today to pick some up (2 doz. to make it worth the drive). I'll let you know what I think and if it's worth the drive. If they taste like crap I'm going to ask for gas money from you all (lol). The only good bagels in London are the Tim Horton ones but only fresh baked not sitting around for hours. Yeah, pretty pathetic, but remember I live in London, there's nuthin' here!
Elga replying to a comment from Sheri / August 1, 2012 at 04:10 pm
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Tell me more. Do they actually UPS bagels to you in BC? I'm near Vancouver and I would definitely try that too. How many do you order at a time?
Amy / December 24, 2012 at 07:42 pm
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Disappointing, after all the reviews. These bagels are more like dinner rolls to me, having had st viateur (montreal), fairmount (montreal), bagel house (south of st clair on yonge st), st urbain (st lawrence market). It may be toronto style but certainly not what I call a bagel.
Hakkle / January 27, 2013 at 05:13 pm
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What's so great about Montreal bagels anyways? They're more like pretzels and they're no good after 1 day....Gryfe's the best, soft, chewy, & still good the day after.
Philippe Salphati / May 5, 2013 at 10:39 am
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For sure Gryfe's has the best bagels in the city, in the country and in North America. I am now living in Europe and again I am dreaming of such bagels, especially the sea salt bagels. If you live in Toronto, go and taste them.
Stephen Maw / September 16, 2013 at 11:15 am
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I have been buying Gryfes bagels from the Kitchen Table at Atrium on Bay since 1999. Previously to that, at work, someone use to actual buy the bagels from Gryfes and bring them in to work when I worked at 750 Lawrence in the 90ties. They were the best. Now the "Gryfes Bagels" I buy at the AOB Kitcen Table taste like regular grocery store bagels. Gryfes bagels use to be crisp on the outside and freah on the inside and you had to eat them the same day before they got stale. Now the AOB Kitchen Table "Gryfes Bagels" are uniformally stale and have the tecture of a grocery store bagel. A solid lump of baked dough. Don't know what happen but if this is the new quality of the Gryfes Bagel sadly I can not recommend them.
Often Hungry / December 12, 2013 at 01:46 pm
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I agree with Stephen.
Have been buying these for years for an annual holiday lunch at work (usually a gross, half from Gryfe's half from Bagel House, occasionally from Bagel World some years).
I can accept that there are different 'styles' and I am somewhat familiar with them, but the Gryfe's bagel I just ate tastes like a roll with a hole. There is very little depth of flavour here, and yes unfortunately, they now remind me of mass produced grocery store 'bagels'. Sad but true, times change I guess, but my jaded taste buds will not voluntarily suffer this indignity again.

No longer recommended.

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