Few foods garner so many complaints as bagels, which are circles of dough that get boiled before being baked. The gripes are justified because a vast majority of bagels are sorry, flaccid rounds of bread as feeble as hot dog buns. That is why finding a good bagel is such a joy. What defines a good one? First, it is fresh, just hours from the oven. It is dense and chewy but not doughy, and it has a shiny crust that is slightly crisp and crackly. A great bagel need not be toasted. Toasting simply is a way to make a mediocre bagel seem like a good one … but barely, by creating a pseudo-crust. Montreal-style bagels, also found in northern New England, are a different species. Somewhat smaller and thinner than typical New York bagels, they are made with a sweeter dough and boiled in honey-tinged water before getting baked in a wood-fired oven. Most connoisseurs of classic bagels find them odd at first bite – too sweet, too dense, and what the heck is that smoky taste? – but many scoffers soon become addicted.

Restaurants With This Dish

Village Cafe


The classic jumbo breakfast bagel at Bagelsaurus in Cambridge, MA


Rockland Bakery


Croissant Sandwich at Sparrow Bakery in Bend, OR
Sparrow Bakery


Essence of Coffee





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