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Best of Toronto

The Best Bagels in Toronto

Posted by Liora Ipsum / April 19, 2013

best bagels torontoThe 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.

See also:

The Best Cheese Shops in Toronto
The Best Challah in Toronto
The Best Delis in Toronto

Gryfe's

Gryfe's

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. More »

Nu Bugel

Nu Bugel

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. More »

Bagel World

Bagel World

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. More »

Kiva's

Kiva's

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. More »

Bagel House

Bagel House

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). More »

Bagel Plus

Bagel Plus

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). More »

St. Urbain Bagels

St. Urbain Bagels

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. More »

What a Bagel

What a Bagel

A self serve bakery chain with locations across the GTA piles its sweet and savory bagels into big help-yourself bins. Grab a dozen in a brown paper bag to go or have singles topped at the counter with slick cream cheese and sliced lox or deli staples like chopped egg salad. More »

Happy Bagel Bakery

Happy Bagel Bakery

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. More »

Discussion

50 Comments

Roulette Pictures / April 19, 2013 at 02:20 pm
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www.pizzabagelmovie.com

Screening today at the Toronto Jewish Film Festival at 3:45pm at Yonge and Shepard Cineplex Odeon.
Simon / April 19, 2013 at 02:26 pm
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While they're not the typical Montreal-style bagel, which I love, the bagels at Sense Appeal on Spadina deserve some serious kudos. Made in-house in small batches, they're very very addictive! I'm a big fan of the toasted bagels with tomato and avocado.
CaligulaJones / April 19, 2013 at 02:28 pm
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Nice that a best of list can finally escape the downtown core.
Leora replying to a comment from CaligulaJones / April 19, 2013 at 03:13 pm
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Agreed. Had this list been missing north Bathurst bagel shops, I would have been very disappointed.

Also, nice to see a post about bagels from a fellow Leora/Liora! :)
Gordon / April 19, 2013 at 03:18 pm
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I haven't been to all the noted "best" locations but I'd add Naturalis (Beaches) as a more than worthy contender.
TG / April 19, 2013 at 03:26 pm
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Yes Gryfe's is the best, the first time I had one made me rethink how good a bagel could be.
Waffles replying to a comment from Gordon / April 19, 2013 at 03:36 pm
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I agree - Naturalis should be near the top as well.
Anne H. / April 19, 2013 at 03:42 pm
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I think Bagel World is # 1, my husband liked Haymishe's until it burnt down recently.
Mike / April 19, 2013 at 04:04 pm
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Good list. Unfortunately, none are as good as Montreal's Fairmount Bagel! http://www.fairmountbagel.com/
doveles / April 19, 2013 at 04:28 pm
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Argh! There is such a thing as a "Toronto Bagel". It is not as large and doughy as a "New York Bagel" and stays fresh for longer then 30 minutes like a "Montreal Bagel". It is probably somewhere in between. Haymishe was a great example of a Toronto bagel, Harbord Bakery is another excellent example as is Kiva's. I love all bagels, but when you eat "Toronto Bagels" every Sunday of your life you get a little defensive.
Todd Toronto / April 19, 2013 at 05:16 pm
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"Bagel World has been on Wilson Avenue for over 45 years, serving their famous "Bagelini" (flat bagel panini)"

I would argue that they're famous for the twister which, fun fact, is a Toronto specialty.
nicole replying to a comment from Todd Toronto / April 19, 2013 at 08:58 pm
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Love the Bagel World twister!
jb replying to a comment from Mike / April 19, 2013 at 09:51 pm
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AGREED!!
Cheryl / April 19, 2013 at 09:52 pm
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I still look for a true New York style bagel here. Gryfe's are ok but the texture is off. Most Toronto bagels are more like bagel shaped dinner rolls than a proper New York bagel like those that H&H used to make.
Al replying to a comment from Cheryl / April 19, 2013 at 10:02 pm
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Kiva's is a New York style bagel. You can get Bruegger’s bagels at Mmmufins.
Bob / April 19, 2013 at 11:06 pm
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Let me make this clear to people. The water makes the difference!!!

Toronto bagels are simply round bread. Get use to it, your water sucks....it's too hard! It's the same reason why your hot dogs and smoked meat suck! No fault of your own but you need to know where you stand. You stand in the middle of water suckage island, you are the President of hard bad water, get use to it.
grant / April 20, 2013 at 09:20 am
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the other bagel house location is 1438 Yonge, just south of st. clair
bagelovrr / April 20, 2013 at 09:24 am
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BTW fiesta farms bakes Gryfes bagels daily and sells them 3 for $1.99. Nice if you don't have a car and live nearby.
Alex replying to a comment from r / April 20, 2013 at 11:48 am
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Pity about your views on coconut bagels. They are amazingly delicious with pineapple cream cheese.
Abigail / April 20, 2013 at 06:01 pm
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Say what you want about Tim hortons, they legitimately have some of the bagels money can buy
antonio replying to a comment from Bob / April 21, 2013 at 09:17 am
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Oh please, you made me laugh so hard I nearly choked on my espresso. The water sucks? The water in Toronto is considerably cleaner and purer than the river water of Mtl or the even worse water than NYC. New Yorkers wouldnt bother with this type of petty jealousy so you must be from 'Paris of The North-East'.
Jonah H / April 21, 2013 at 09:41 am
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Gryfe's are the best as they are closer to what a real bagel should taste like. Montréal bagels are much too sweet and I agree with New Yorkers who say they are fine but are cake, not bagels. They should dip Montréal bagels in frosting or chocolate to make a new kind of donut and our obese society would lap them up. Look how gravy, cheese and soggy fries sell despite being the worst kind of junkfood.
Bob replying to a comment from antonio / April 21, 2013 at 01:11 pm
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It's not the cleanliness of Toronto water, it's the water hardness.

The water table is much different in the GTA Vs. MTL.
Tim / April 21, 2013 at 10:45 pm
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The Tim hortons at Martin grove and highway 7 has the best bagels
tommy replying to a comment from Tim / April 22, 2013 at 06:15 pm
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Them's fightin' words.

Bagel World will forever be the best bagel, bar none. Montreal Bagel House bagels have no taste and their holes are too big (lol).
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thehipster / May 8, 2013 at 04:28 pm
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uh... wheres tim hortons?
heath / May 17, 2013 at 11:26 am
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Bagel House (the location on avenue rd). Rude as shit, inconsitent, they don't listen, and I have been flat out ignored.... but the bagels are amazing. so. I still go. I hate that i love it.
nancy / July 17, 2013 at 04:16 pm
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how can i take this list seriously , without even a mention of Harbord Bakery?
Tess / September 23, 2013 at 03:32 pm
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Like the discussions here.
Aaron Epstein / September 27, 2013 at 08:26 pm
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Anyone know whether any of these companies ship bagels to other parts of Canada? If so, which one(s)?
generateur de carte bancaire / October 25, 2013 at 11:47 am
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I constantly emailed this blog post page to all my friends, as if
like to read it then my contacts will too.
PDG / November 9, 2013 at 09:29 am
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Pascal's Bagels and Baguettes in the Junction is also very good. A Lebanese couple runs the restaurant, and they do the bagels properly. They're boiled before they're baked. Crisp on the outside, and chewy and dense on the inside.
Dan / November 9, 2013 at 12:59 pm
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Great list. Good order. Are you a BNS'nik?
Tam / November 9, 2013 at 01:09 pm
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Would someone tell me why bagels are so costly? Flour, water, yeast and a bit of sugar and seeds for decoration and they cost $5 for HALF dozen? I don't get it.
And for the most part they aren't even warm. Bagel World, Kiva What A Bagel and most of the bagels here are doughy, gummy and have more in common with a loaf of wonderbread in texture and flavour. Ew.
Vpc.org.uk / December 23, 2013 at 03:13 am
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monty on the run / January 12, 2014 at 07:07 pm
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Bagel world has the best bagels by far. They have a very large variaty and their bagels are boiled, baked and always fresh.
The guy who wrote tim hortons is a joke, comon, tim horton bagels are the same as the ones sold in supermarkets in bags from factories, and their cream cheese is industrialized garbage. Try tasting the bagel world cream cheese and see the difference.
J / January 12, 2014 at 07:50 pm
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No way. St Urbain. Gryfes are just rolled up bread and bagel worlds are can break your teeth.


Marc Bernstein / March 7, 2014 at 01:00 am
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Bagel World's bagels and twisters are fantastic!
I like the pretzel bagels at the What A Bagel store on Bathurst Street in North York,the problem is that the owner is a rather nasty and ill-tempered Russian woman with a chip on her shoulder.
She has an attitude that makes one feel unwelcome in the store.
Perhaps she needs to either take a Valium or have 50 cups of coffees and be told off!
kevo / March 22, 2014 at 08:33 am
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Best bagel I've ever had is definitely JC's Bagels in Burlington. You can burn the thing and it'll still be chewy. Plus they have a nice taste to them and probably about 10 different kinds. Out of Toronto, I know, but I'm sure people leave the city from time to time.

I think I've only had Nu Bagel out of this list and while they are nice and chewy there's barely any taste to them.
Wren / March 22, 2014 at 08:34 am
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OK first of all Willowdale isn't Toronto. How many of Blogto readers actually go to Willowdale for anything other than to visit family? Second, you seem to have forgotten the wood smoked bagel joint in the beaches.
hufdom / March 22, 2014 at 08:56 am
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Happened to find myself inside bagel world for a quick breakfast and a coffee. (Didn't want the burned Tim Hortons coffee in the same parking lot). All I can say is wow, not just the bagels, but the pastries and everything else was an absolute delight. If I lived close I would be the spitting image of honey boo boos mama.
hufdom / March 22, 2014 at 08:57 am
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Oh, and bagel house are my favorite.
Steph replying to a comment from Gordon / March 22, 2014 at 08:06 pm
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Naturalis uses St. Urbain bagels. Bagels on fire is just down the street and is fantastic - opened after this list was posted, i believe
Steph replying to a comment from Todd Toronto / March 22, 2014 at 08:09 pm
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twisters are rolls with holes. nothing bagel-like about them
Mel / March 23, 2014 at 11:39 am
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I'd add Bagels on Fire to this list http://www.yelp.ca/biz/bagels-on-fire-toronto
Victor Saymong replying to a comment from nancy / March 23, 2014 at 12:45 pm
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Amen to that!
Dewster / April 6, 2014 at 08:24 pm
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My 2 cents 1 St Viatour , 2 St Urbain a very distant 3 Bagel world on avenue if still warm. Note La Salle distillery known for soft water and source of Crown Royal along with waterloo distillery. Soft water low calcium is a good thing, hard water very bad for baking. Look it up. NY bagels a very different thing, personal preference.
Brian Jakovina / June 21, 2014 at 09:06 am
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Sunday mornings and Gryfe's...just about the best thing going.
Diane Westgate / June 21, 2014 at 12:47 pm
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I also recommend Bagels on Fire in the Beach. They are the real deal. They have a nice choice of bagels including an intriguing coconut bagel, and lovely cream cheese! They are near the Fox Theatre.

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