The Best Bagels in Toronto
The best bagels in Toronto aren't just vessels for toppings but the main attraction. Sweet, chewy Montreal-style and the saltier, crustier New York varieties can be points of contention amongst loyalists, but I'll gladly take either so long they're served pipping hot. Thankfully, many of Toronto's best bagelrias have spread out with multiple locations across the GTA, blessing neighbourhoods (not just along Bathurst anymore) with a direct source to find these holey creations still steaming from the oven.
To wait in line and then take a first bite having barely left the store is a lovely little weekend ritual that rewards earlier birds (and those of us still eating gluten) with an ultimate morning indulgence.
Here are the best bagels in Toronto.
Weekend mornings attract long lines at this north end nook that specializes in hot (not just warm), puffy, crusty bagels to go. The cash-only counter also keeps things kosher (in style anyway, thankfully they’re open on the Sabbath) by simply stocking tubs of classic or chive cream cheese and smoked or pickled fishes for at home assembly.
This recent addition to Kensington Market cools its chewy, wood fired bagels on skewers making them available for sandwiching with all manner of toppings and inventive condiments at the deli counter. Open for business daily at 11am (absurdly late for a bagelria) it caters almost exclusively to late risers and the lunchtime crowd.
This North Toronto bagel establishment has branched out with two additional GTA outposts in Thornhill and Maple. It's known for its seven varieties of bagels (not including the bastardized pizza flavours) and a cafe menu full of brunch specialties, bagel platters and sandwiches.
At the edge of the city limits, the original Bathurst and Steeles bakery cafe is where all the bubies and zadies eat, but the adjoining retail store is where to line-up for distinct kettle boiled bagels that boast crisp outer crusts and fluffy centers. The recently opened second location on St. Clair now graces midtown residents with a build-it-yourself sandwich bar. A third location is also in the works.
This franchise is owned by a duo of ex-Montrealers with credentials from both Fairmont and St. Viateur. Three out of four locations operate around the clock and win big points for being Hogtown's only 24-hour source for hot, hand rolled bagels. Notably the cream cheese and lox sandwiches here are garnished with red onion slices and capers, the ultimate bagel sandwich (IMHO).
This family owned and operated establishment has been a stripmall stalwart since 1979. The bagels are baked fresh each morning and are known to sell-out by mid afternoon. In addition to the speedy take-away counter, table service offers a humble setting to nosh on twisters, open faced tuna melts and other kosher-style delicacies. Gluten-free bagels are available here too (though they're not made in house).
This longtime St. Lawrence Market stall is open Tuesday to Saturday and triumphs sweet honey boiled, wood fired wonders, made the same as you'd find in Montreal. Here, the traditional sesame and poppy seed bagels are the best bets for steaming hot bags deliciousness by the dozen.
This Willowdale bakery cafe wood-fires its 11 varieties of Jewish-style bagels in small batches throughout the day. The counter will also assemble sandwiches from its array of spreads and schmears. Thought the bagels need no adornment, the popular garlic dill cream cheese is especially good.
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