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Patricia Chang

14 Places to Eat Wonderfully Crusted Bagels in the Bay Area

There’s something here for every type of bagel lover

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There’s no reason to argue over the humble bagel. Sure, you most likely have your own opinions on what makes a decent one, whether that be a New York-sized bias or a longing for a particular bagel of your youth. Still, bagels aren’t a food to fight over, but rather something to admire in all its forms, a labor of love that comes together for a schmear-covered, perfect bite. This is a collection of Bay Area bagels, each with its own strengths, be it the crust, the pull of the bread, or the fluffy-to-dense interior structure. Sure, every bagel can’t be perfect, but there’s joy in finding that just-right one.

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Delirama

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Sure, most spots offer a lox and schmear bagel sandwich, but how often do you see a pastrami egg n’ cheese? At Delirama, where pastrami is the star, the pastrami egg n’ cheese makes a solid start to your morning but is also a dish that highlights what should be the other star of this Solano Avenue spot: the bagel. (As if you needed another reason to visit.)

Bagel sandwich. Dianne de Guzman

Saul's Restaurant & Delicatessen

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Saul’s is a Berkeley institution for its deli menu with Reubens and shakshouka, but the bagels are also worthwhile. After previously sourcing bagels, the shop now makes its own, ones that live up to the ideals of owner Peter Levitt. Try the bagel and trout, which comes with cucumbers, tomato, olives, and capers (along with the requisite swipe of cream cheese). Or for something hearty, but more breakfast-y, the mushroom egg bagel will do.

Boichik Bagels

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Boichik Bagels helped usher in a new era in Bay Area — nay, West Coast — bagels. Emily Winston is the mastermind behind Boichik Bagels, which has garnered plenty of press for bagels based on her memories of H&H in New York. Boichik has spread quickly throughout the Bay Area with good reason, and it’s a good first stop for your tour of Bay Area bagels if you haven’t already been. Try the Eggything Bagel, an eggy bagel with everything spice, and the hatch chile cream cheese.

A rack full of bagels from Boichik Bagels Boichik Bagels

Poppy Bagels

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Poppy Bagels is the latest pop-up to open a permanent spot, landing in the Temescal neighborhood in Oakland. Poppy established its following at the Grand Lake Farmers Market before launching, so some will be familiar with the open-faced bagel sandwiches — but the capital-M Move is to leave things to fate and buy a Freshie. The Freshie just means whatever bagel just came fresh out of the oven served with butter and salt, a must-try experience for every type of bagel enthusiast.

Patricia Chang

Hella Bagels

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If you’re open to chasing down a pop-up for your bagel fix, try Hella Bagels. It’s been running since 2020, but the business has gained fans in that short time and is good enough to sell out on weekends. Thankfully, the shop does preorders via its website, and there’s an option for delivery (but only for those living in specific areas).

House of Bagels

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House of Bagels remains a San Francisco mainstay since its opening in 1962, serving New York-style bagels for decades. The House earned fervent fans who swear by the shop’s offerings. The lox and cream cheese is a classic, and it may well be worth trying the shop’s rye if the mood strikes. For something a bit different, add on an order of bagel chips with hummus. (It is worth noting that the two House of Bagels on this list are related, but run by different owners.)

House of Bagels

The Laundromat SF

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The Laundromat’s all-day format sees bagels hand-rolled and baked in the morning, with pizza offerings at night. The bagels are from the couple behind Holey Roller Bagels and they lead the charge on the breakfast item, along with coffee courtesy of the Mission’s Grand Coffee. Pick up a sea salt bagel and add on Calabrian chile cream cheese — or any of the other spread offerings as they’re all good.

An everything bagel sits in a blue and white bowl Paolo Bicchieri

Schlok's

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There’s an entire class of bagel pop-up-gone-permanent shops that opened across the Bay Area in recent years; Schlocks is among the favorites, managing to maintain the quality that ensured it’d sell out every weekend during its pop-up days. The bagels are rolled by hand and perfect for a caper schmear or chopped smoked lox. If you’re feeling fancy, add on some smoked salmon or trout roe, or go for a smoked ends sandwich with chopped smoked lox, blackened everything spice, and scallion schmear.

An everything bagel from Schlock’s on a wooden cutting board. Paolo Bicchieri

Daily Driver

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The wood-fired bagels from Daily Driver deliver the bite for which bagel enthusiasts are often searching, pairing a tight crust with a dense, bready interior. Pick up the poppy seed-forward Everything bagel, and don’t skip out on the dairy-based spreads here — the on-site creamery ensures the wonderfully cultured butter and cream cheese spreads are perfect for bagels.

Dianne de Guzman

Midnite Bagel

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Midnite Bagel first launched as a pop-up where fans would snap up owner Nick Beitcher’s sourdough bagels at farmers markets around town. Although Midnite opened briefly its own permanent shop, these days the brand is selling its popular specimens fresh out of the oven at its commissary kitchen in the Dogpatch, plus at the Ferry Building’s Saturday farmers market.

Nate Zack

Wise Sons Jewish Deli

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Before there was a Bay Area “bagel scene boom” to speak of, Wise Sons was serving its baked bagels. Now the group has expanded to 12 locations, spreading the bagel love even further afield. If you’re looking for something heftier than a bagel with schmear, try the Crunchy Spice Bagel Sandwich, made with eggs, everything spice chile crisp, some greens, plus melted cheese and a garlic aioli spread.

Holey Bagel

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Holey Bagels are a staple of Noe Valley mornings with dense bready interiors and a light tang to each bite. There’s a variety of sandwiches to pick up if that’s what moves you, but otherwise, there’s a robust selection of schmears, including the typical chive or garlic and herb options, as well as sundried tomato or olive spreads to give your breakfast a little shakeup.

Two bagels, plain and sesame, are on a ceramic plate with a small container of scallion cream cheese. Dianne de Guzman

Chicken Dog Bagels

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This is one of the current bagel pop-up favorites, especially as others have gone on to permanent spots. The line can get lengthy resulting in long waits, so smart folks should place pre-orders if possible. Expect bagels with a nice, almost baguette-like crust and a not-too-dense interior. The cream cheese is made in-house and comes in flavors like chive and scallions and horseradish and shallot; the bagel dog, meanwhile, makes for a good respite from a plain old bagel and cream cheese. If you’re an Everything bagel fan, this one comes loaded with poppy and toasted sesame seeds.

Two bagels, everything and plain, are on a cutting board with a bialy and a bagel-wrapped hot dog. Dianne de Guzman

House of Bagels Colma

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If you prefer your bagels on the fluffier side, then you might want to try Bay Area mini-chain House of Bagels. But beyond that, if you’re a fan of schmears, this shop offers an impressively wide variety. Fans of sweeter spreads will want to try the ube or honey butter to tug a bagel into dessert territory. There’s also a wide variety of savory spreads beyond the typical scallion schmear — although they make that, too.

Dianne de Guzman

Delirama

Sure, most spots offer a lox and schmear bagel sandwich, but how often do you see a pastrami egg n’ cheese? At Delirama, where pastrami is the star, the pastrami egg n’ cheese makes a solid start to your morning but is also a dish that highlights what should be the other star of this Solano Avenue spot: the bagel. (As if you needed another reason to visit.)

Bagel sandwich. Dianne de Guzman

Saul's Restaurant & Delicatessen

Saul’s is a Berkeley institution for its deli menu with Reubens and shakshouka, but the bagels are also worthwhile. After previously sourcing bagels, the shop now makes its own, ones that live up to the ideals of owner Peter Levitt. Try the bagel and trout, which comes with cucumbers, tomato, olives, and capers (along with the requisite swipe of cream cheese). Or for something hearty, but more breakfast-y, the mushroom egg bagel will do.

Boichik Bagels

Boichik Bagels helped usher in a new era in Bay Area — nay, West Coast — bagels. Emily Winston is the mastermind behind Boichik Bagels, which has garnered plenty of press for bagels based on her memories of H&H in New York. Boichik has spread quickly throughout the Bay Area with good reason, and it’s a good first stop for your tour of Bay Area bagels if you haven’t already been. Try the Eggything Bagel, an eggy bagel with everything spice, and the hatch chile cream cheese.

A rack full of bagels from Boichik Bagels Boichik Bagels

Poppy Bagels

Poppy Bagels is the latest pop-up to open a permanent spot, landing in the Temescal neighborhood in Oakland. Poppy established its following at the Grand Lake Farmers Market before launching, so some will be familiar with the open-faced bagel sandwiches — but the capital-M Move is to leave things to fate and buy a Freshie. The Freshie just means whatever bagel just came fresh out of the oven served with butter and salt, a must-try experience for every type of bagel enthusiast.

Patricia Chang

Hella Bagels

If you’re open to chasing down a pop-up for your bagel fix, try Hella Bagels. It’s been running since 2020, but the business has gained fans in that short time and is good enough to sell out on weekends. Thankfully, the shop does preorders via its website, and there’s an option for delivery (but only for those living in specific areas).

House of Bagels

House of Bagels remains a San Francisco mainstay since its opening in 1962, serving New York-style bagels for decades. The House earned fervent fans who swear by the shop’s offerings. The lox and cream cheese is a classic, and it may well be worth trying the shop’s rye if the mood strikes. For something a bit different, add on an order of bagel chips with hummus. (It is worth noting that the two House of Bagels on this list are related, but run by different owners.)

House of Bagels

The Laundromat SF

The Laundromat’s all-day format sees bagels hand-rolled and baked in the morning, with pizza offerings at night. The bagels are from the couple behind Holey Roller Bagels and they lead the charge on the breakfast item, along with coffee courtesy of the Mission’s Grand Coffee. Pick up a sea salt bagel and add on Calabrian chile cream cheese — or any of the other spread offerings as they’re all good.

An everything bagel sits in a blue and white bowl Paolo Bicchieri

Schlok's

There’s an entire class of bagel pop-up-gone-permanent shops that opened across the Bay Area in recent years; Schlocks is among the favorites, managing to maintain the quality that ensured it’d sell out every weekend during its pop-up days. The bagels are rolled by hand and perfect for a caper schmear or chopped smoked lox. If you’re feeling fancy, add on some smoked salmon or trout roe, or go for a smoked ends sandwich with chopped smoked lox, blackened everything spice, and scallion schmear.

An everything bagel from Schlock’s on a wooden cutting board. Paolo Bicchieri

Daily Driver

The wood-fired bagels from Daily Driver deliver the bite for which bagel enthusiasts are often searching, pairing a tight crust with a dense, bready interior. Pick up the poppy seed-forward Everything bagel, and don’t skip out on the dairy-based spreads here — the on-site creamery ensures the wonderfully cultured butter and cream cheese spreads are perfect for bagels.

Dianne de Guzman

Midnite Bagel

Midnite Bagel first launched as a pop-up where fans would snap up owner Nick Beitcher’s sourdough bagels at farmers markets around town. Although Midnite opened briefly its own permanent shop, these days the brand is selling its popular specimens fresh out of the oven at its commissary kitchen in the Dogpatch, plus at the Ferry Building’s Saturday farmers market.

Nate Zack

Wise Sons Jewish Deli

Before there was a Bay Area “bagel scene boom” to speak of, Wise Sons was serving its baked bagels. Now the group has expanded to 12 locations, spreading the bagel love even further afield. If you’re looking for something heftier than a bagel with schmear, try the Crunchy Spice Bagel Sandwich, made with eggs, everything spice chile crisp, some greens, plus melted cheese and a garlic aioli spread.

Holey Bagel

Holey Bagels are a staple of Noe Valley mornings with dense bready interiors and a light tang to each bite. There’s a variety of sandwiches to pick up if that’s what moves you, but otherwise, there’s a robust selection of schmears, including the typical chive or garlic and herb options, as well as sundried tomato or olive spreads to give your breakfast a little shakeup.

Two bagels, plain and sesame, are on a ceramic plate with a small container of scallion cream cheese. Dianne de Guzman

Chicken Dog Bagels

This is one of the current bagel pop-up favorites, especially as others have gone on to permanent spots. The line can get lengthy resulting in long waits, so smart folks should place pre-orders if possible. Expect bagels with a nice, almost baguette-like crust and a not-too-dense interior. The cream cheese is made in-house and comes in flavors like chive and scallions and horseradish and shallot; the bagel dog, meanwhile, makes for a good respite from a plain old bagel and cream cheese. If you’re an Everything bagel fan, this one comes loaded with poppy and toasted sesame seeds.

Two bagels, everything and plain, are on a cutting board with a bialy and a bagel-wrapped hot dog. Dianne de Guzman

House of Bagels Colma

If you prefer your bagels on the fluffier side, then you might want to try Bay Area mini-chain House of Bagels. But beyond that, if you’re a fan of schmears, this shop offers an impressively wide variety. Fans of sweeter spreads will want to try the ube or honey butter to tug a bagel into dessert territory. There’s also a wide variety of savory spreads beyond the typical scallion schmear — although they make that, too.

Dianne de Guzman

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