The Best Bagels In LA

LA is having a bagel renaissance. Let's talk about it.
The Best Bagels In LA image

photo credit: Jessie Cohen

LA has its share of bad bagels, but when they’re good, they’re fantastic. No one can argue that, even opinionated purists who don’t live on this coast. And since there’s no such thing as an “LA-style bagel,” we have bakeries, pop-ups, and window shops that serve every type of yeasty dough ring under the sun, like Montreal-style, “rip-and-dip” bagels, and bagel sandwiches filled with freshly smoked pastrami. There’s a lot to explore, but these 13 spots make the argument that LA is a bagel town, after all.


photo credit: Sylvio Martins


Downtown LA

$$$$Perfect For:BreakfastBrunch
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Wake and Late is one of those freaky perfectionist types. After they all but perfected the breakfast burrito, they decided to add sourdough bagels to their menu, and, well, they're nearly perfect, too. This DTLA window (with a Pasadena location) offers small “rip-and-dip” bagels that arrive warm in a bag, with a glossy, snappy crust and insides that are fluffy and moist with big air bubbles. True to their name, the bagels tear apart effortlessly, but more strangely, there’s also a minimum two-bagel order (which at $6 for two, we're fine with). Two dips are also included—we love combining the sweet caramelized onion bagel with the lox cream cheese, which has lemon zest, capers, and fresh dill mixed in.

photo credit: Jakob Layman

$$$$Perfect For:Brunch

Smögen Appetizers is a bagel spot for fish lovers. Operating as a permanent pop-up in Sherman Oaks' Vintage Wine + Eats, this weekend-only brunch spot treats its sourdough bagels as elaborate Swedish open-faced sandwiches. The salty housemade cream cheese makes the briny topping options pop, whether it's white fish salad, salty smoked trout roe, or thick slices of hamachi. And if you want a drink at 11am, each bagel has a recommended wine pairing, too. Our lone quibble though is the bagels themselves: sometimes they're crackly and crisp on the outside, sometimes they're tough. Get a good one, though, and your fish-loving heart will grow three sizes. 

Calling the stuffed puff balls at Koreatown's Calic Bagel "bagels" feels like a stretch, but if you can get past the taxonomy, there's no denying these puffy, yeasty rolls filled with sweet-ish garlic cream cheese and dunked in garlic butter are delicious (albeit very rich). The loose bagels though—baked fresh every 30 minutes—are just as great. They're extremely fluffy on the inside, with a thin, blistered crust. The dip and sandwich options, like maple-cinnamon-walnut cream cheese or the "Ktown Not Philly" sandwich with bulgogi and gochujang aioli, might come across as gimmicky but work shockingly well.

Gather ’round, boys and girls, because Courage is teaching a master class on LA bagel-making. The bagels here are technically Montreal-style, but also their own thing entirely: slightly smaller, thinner, and sweeter than the New York-style bagels found at places like Maury’s, Brooklyn Bagels, and Hank’s, and essentially closer to fancy bread that just happened to be made in a ring shape. If you opt for toppings (which you should), the bagels are served open-faced with things like thick, hand-sliced smoked salmon with cream cheese, cucumbers, heirloom tomatoes, dill, pepper, and drizzles of olive oil—which makes for thoroughly well-seasoned bagels that look and taste like works of art.

Of course Gjusta makes good bagels—this new Venice classic handles baked goods like Mookie Betts handles hanging curveballs. They’re blistered and golden on the outside, and dense and tender on the inside, with a strong malty smell that brings to mind freshly brewed beer. In other words, by all those standards we talked about at the beginning of this guide, they’re basically perfect. The bagel topped with salmon roe and garlic labneh on the menu is great, but honestly, we also love them old-school and simple, with nothing but a bit of their locally made cream cheese.

This Ocean Park shop is the Courage Bagels rival the Westside has been waiting for: a lovely little counter service spot with great coffee and outrageously delicious bagels piled high with the freshest produce available. And while you can absolutely order crusty-on-the-outside, cushiony-on-the-inside loosies, you’d be missing out if you didn’t try some of the open-face bagel offerings. Toppings range from classics (cream cheese, tomatoes, herbs, smoked salmon, pickled onions) to less typical stuff (lemon zest, chili flakes, PB&J, avocado, hummus). The bagel with seasonal fruit—we got mandarin wedges—plus cream cheese and honey gives us goosebumps just thinking about it.

photo credit: Jakob Layman

$$$$Perfect For:Breakfast

Belle’s Bagels in Highland Park makes distinct, double-fermented bagels with a yeasty aroma that sets them apart from the competition. They’re also a big part of the reason why the sandwiches at Belle’s are big winners, especially the Loxsmith, with locally made smoked salmon, beet cream cheese, crispy salmon skin, and pickled fennel. It’s earthy, crunchy, vinegary, and smoky all at once, and, when combined with one of these malty bagels, it may very well be the best bagel sandwich in the city.

Maury’s was famous long before they even truly opened. Their weekly pop-ups at Eastside coffee shops were the stuff of legend, selling out most mornings as hordes of people lined up to score a bagel. With their 2019 brick-and-mortar debut, Maury’s was able to cut down on the lines, but the quality remains. These bagels are on the small side, but they are dense, chewy, and absolutely fantastic. The thin-skinned crust still has a bit of texture, and Maury’s makes them at such a clip that yours will always be warm inside. If you’re going for a sandwich, any of the smoked fish options are great, especially the fatty, smoky sablefish.

photo credit: Chris Quinn

$$$$Perfect For:Breakfast

Pop’s Bagels started in 2017 as a catering operation, run out of the owner’s apartment. Now, they're a bit of a mini-chain with four locations across LA. These bagels are super simple, doughy, dense, and very tasty. The bacon and avocado is a favorite of ours—served with your choice of cream cheese (we like the pickled jalapeño, which is full of fatty and spicy flavors but won’t overpower the bagel beneath). You should also get the What Zach Had For Breakfast, a rotating special involving sweet-and-savory combos like a sesame bagel topped with Santa Barbara Smokehouse lox on one side, and cream cheese and strawberry jam on the other.

photo credit: Jessie Clapp

$$$$Perfect For:Breakfast

A relative newcomer to the scene (they opened in 2019), Hank’s Deli in Burbank is all about the bagel sandwiches. Which isn’t to say their bagels aren’t good, it’s just that this place treats them like blank canvases. They cure their thick-cut lox in-house for their Number 3 sandwich, and serve it with heirloom tomatoes, pickled onion, and salted cucumber. The Number 1 is another good choice—a classic BEC updated with sweet maple-glazed bacon, sharp cheddar, and aioli—but our favorite egg sandwich here is the New Number 2, which combines braised greens, Gruyere, and a fried egg, and gets a tremendous kick of heat from pickled spicy peppers.

If you’ve taken a Saturday morning drive down San Vicente in Brentwood, or Sunset in Silver Lake, or been anywhere in the vicinity of Melrose Place, you’ve seen the crowds outside Yeastie Boys’ bagel trucks. Their bagels are—you guessed it—distinctively yeasty, but the reason to come here are the incredible, over-the-top sandwiches. There’s the Reubenstein, an inside-out bagel sandwich with pastrami, Swiss, sauerkraut, and Russian dressing, or the Game Over, with heaping portions of scrambled eggs, bacon, tomato, and jalapeño cream cheese. They go heavy on that cream cheese, too—and we’re not complaining.

For the bagel snob, a gluten-free option might evoke the same feelings as putting ketchup on a hot dog: it just ain’t right. But Modern Bread & Bagel, a gluten-free NYC bakery with a location in Woodland Hills, proves that gluten-free bagels can not only be acceptable but excellent. The ones here have a subtle yeasty tang, a satisfyingly dense bite, and toast beautifully without tasting like a charred sponge. The go-to here is Modern’s pastrami-cured lox sandwich on their onion-heavy everything bagel, plus a slice of their cinnamon roll loaf that we won’t leave without.

Brooklyn Bagel Bakery first opened in West Adams in 1953, and moved to Historic Filipinotown in 1965—making it the oldest spot on this guide by several decades. They operated as a wholesale operation for most of that time, but, after some, uh, structural issues and a subsequent rebuild, this bakery reopened in 2018 with a retail shop to sell their beautiful, blistery bagels. We like them best with a heavy-handed spread of garlic cream cheese, and a few capers sprinkled on top, so that the focus is on these dense, doughy, thin-skinned beauties.

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