London Bagel Round-Up

Ah, the lowly bagel. Never has bread been so misinterpreted. Bagels should not smack of baguettes or donuts, nor should they be the size of an infant’s cranium. True bagels are boiled first and then baked, generating a crispy shell and a dense and chewy centre. They should fit neatly in the palm of your hand. Can the real thing be found in the Big Smoke? Here are our top recs:

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For the purist…

Brick Lane Beigel Bake, 159 Brick Lane, E1 6SB. Tel: 020 7729 0616

Plain bagels only. A great value at 18p each. 80p with cream cheese. Open 24 hours, and the goods are made on-site. Very satisfying crunch to the skin of the bagel. Inside is nice and dense. Service is efficient and competent if a little rushed given the queues.

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For variety…

Carmelli’s Bagel Bakery, 126-128 Golders Green Road, NW11 8HB. Tel: 020 8445 3063

Plain, sesame seed, poppy seed, cinnamon raisin, and onion. A bit pricey in comparison to their East End brethren at 48p each. £1.60 with cream cheese. Great tasting, and properly dense. Service is friendly and helpful.

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For the impatient…

Britain’s First & Best Beigel Shop, (Also known as Aaron’s Beigels.) 155 Brick Lane, E! 6SB. Tel: 020 7729 0826

Plain, sesame, or onion. Super cheap at 15p each for plain, 20p for onion or seeded. 80p with cream cheese, £1.10 for cream cheese with chives. Good crunch on the outside, chewy (in a good way) inside. Service is a bit chaotic as they’ve got more on offer than the Brick Lane Beigel Bake, but the queues are shorter.

Pass…

M&D Grodzinski, 223 Golders Green Road. NW11 9ES. Tel: 020 8458 3654

Plain, sesame seed, poppy seed, cinnamon raisin, onion, caraway seed. 29p each, £1.50 with cream cheese. Products are disappointingly soft, bread-like, and sweet. Service on day of visit informed us that a bagel with cream cheese wasn’t an option. Supplied in a surly fashion upon further questioning.

Haven’t been yet, but we’ve heard good things…

Daniel’s Bagel Bakery, 12-13 Hallswelle Parade, Finchley Road, NW11 0DL. Tel: 020 8455 5826

Rinkoff’s, 79 Vallance Road, E1 5BS. Tel: 020 72476228

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  • Fitz

    Ronnie’s Bakery on West End Lane, West Hampstead does superb bagels (plain, sesame seed, onion & poppy seed) as well other baked delights.

  • Michael

    The Happening Bagel Bakery on Seven Sisters Road, Finsbury Park is great. Bagels are (I think) 20p each, easily as good as the Brick Lane ones, shorter queues and they do a mass of other baked goodies, including bread, cakes and patties.

  • http://www.thepartridgefiles.co.uk Ben

    Here here for the happening bagel bakery in Finsbury Park – it is awesome.

  • http://www.karinski.net Talia

    Yes, their turkey bagels are lovely. Hooray for Carmelli’s. They are the ultimate. I was surprised by how great the Brick Lane one is though when I went a couple of weeks ago. Their salt-beef bagels are the ultimate upper-class drunk fast food.

  • M@

    Inspired by this post, I had my first bagel…ever…today. (How lame am I?) I went for the Bagel Factory, as it was closest. How do you rate their bagels? (Putting aside the fact that they’re a chain, and therefore obviously not going to have the cool factor an independent outlet would have.)

  • Stu_N

    Heading out of the central zones a bit, you ought to check out the Shalom Bakery on Woodford Avenue, by Gants Hill Roundabout. Great plain bagels (or beigels, for the purist) at 22p each, also fantastic platzels, cholla rolls and other breads. Traditional Jewish deli stuff like chopped herring and gefilte fish, and cheeescake and apple strudel too.

    M@, the Bagel Factory is very New York inspired, and it’s a quite different thing from a traditional beigel bakery. It’s like comparing Pret a Manger with your favourite family-run bakery that cooks its own bread and makes sandwiches with it.

  • http://kristainlondon.typepad.com Krista

    Bagel Factory–must admit to dropping by the one in Heathrow’s T3 whenever I happen to be leaving the country. They are no Carmelli’s, but they do the trick.

    Sounds like a follow-up piece is on order, no?

  • maureen

    As a New Yorker who takes her bagels very seriously, Daniels are the best bagels in London. I think they might have replaced Essa Bagels in NYC as my favourite global bagel. Just perfect.

  • http://htp://www.shemakeswar.com Laura

    There’s a great bagel place on Wood Green High Road AND it’s open 24 hours. Mr Bagel, it’s called. Mmmmm!

    Now I am hungry.

  • Dd

    Happening Bagel is far better than any listed, including Daniels.