kettlemans bagels

Former Montrealers say new Toronto bagel store is almost as good as the real thing

Montreal is widely known for having some of the best bagels in the world, at least by current and former residents of the city, and many tend to agree that no one does it quite like an authentic Montreal bagel shop. 

Bagels are a circular type of bread that originated in the Jewish communities of Poland and other parts of Eastern Europe, and the Montreal recipe includes a cooking method of boiling the bagels in honey-water and baking them in a wood-fired oven — which is part of what gives them their unique texture and taste. 

As a former Montrealer myself, I too agree that it's nearly impossible to find a bagel that even compares to the iconic savoury treats that come out of authentic spots like St. Viateur or Fairmount, but it seems some Montreal-turned-Toronto residents have discovered the next best thing.

"I was born in Montreal, home of the best bagels in the world," Mat Ste-Marie, a self-proclaimed bagel snob, told blogTO. 

"Until my mid-20s, I had only eaten Fairmount and St-Viateur bagels, usually fresh from the bakery. Later, my reaction after trying any bagels outside of Montreal was always 'That's not even a bagel!'"

That was until Ste-Marie tried Kettleman's Bagels, the Ottawa-based bagel shop that recently opened a location in Etobicoke.

After reluctantly giving them a shot, Ste-Marie said it was the best non-Montreal bagel he's ever had. 

"Kettleman's bagels are very close to Montreal bagels," he said. "A little sweeter and a little softer, but the flavour is there. Let me put it this way: I used to cringe anytime someone would qualify a non-Montreal bagel as 'Montreal-style,' but in this case, I agree it's the best term."

Ste-Marie posted his positive review of Kettleman's in the South Etobicoke Community Facebook group Tuesday, and it seems he's not the only former Montrealer that has been seriously impressed by Kettleman's knock-off version.

"Completely agree. Lived in Le Plateau for years. Minutes walk from Fairmount and St. Viateur. Kettlemen's and the Bagel House in Port Credit are both worthy of being considered Montreal Bagels," commented one former Montreal resident

And while not everyone agrees that Kettleman's bagels are deserving of the prestigious Montreal-style satus, many seem to concur that they're about as good as it gets in Toronto. 

"No bagels will compare to St-Viateur but definitely worthy of quality bagel status in Toronto," wrote one Etobicoke resident.

"I too am from Montreal and found them similar, sweeter, fluffier but good. But they won't replace a St. Viateur," wrote another. "Now, if only Toronto had a decent poutine (pronounced poo-tin, not pooteen)."

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