The Best Bagels In Montreal

Montreal bagels are a big deal. Here’s where to find the best ones.
The Best Bagels In Montreal image

Hand-rolled, wood-fired, dipped in honey water, smothered in sesame seeds, poppy seeds, or even plain—eating a bagel in Montreal straight from the oven at any time of day is guaranteed to be one of the best parts of your trip to the city.

Similar in shape and spirit to Turkish simit, Arabic ka’ak, and Uighur girde naan, a Montreal-style bagel is decidedly different from its chubbier New York counterpart. No matter which bakery you prefer—friendships have collapsed for less—these bagels are best consumed right from the bag, preferably on the street immediately after purchase.

Curious about cream cheese? Montreal’s favorite, the fluffy Liberté, was the post-purchase schmear of choice for a dunk right out of the container. Sadly, it’s no longer manufactured, leaving a generation of citizens absolutely reeling. You’ll find most locals ordering their bagels plain, but feel free to pick up prepared hummus, smoked salmon, or eggplant dip for later. 

Mile End is home to the more classic bagel shops. The rest, usually run by former employees, are scattered throughout the city. Here are our favorite spots that make their bagels on-site. And if you’re looking for other, non-bagel options, here’s our guide to the best restaurants in Montreal.



Mile End

$$$$Perfect For:Classic EstablishmentBreakfastBrunchQuick Eats
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St-Viateur has been in this narrow Mile End spot since 1957. Founder Myer Lewkowicz started with the classic sesame and poppy seed and expanded to other varieties over the years—you can get a dose of this spot’s history by checking out the newspaper articles that line the walls. 

Step inside and you’re immediately part of the bagel-making process: the bags of flour are to your left next to the industrial mixer and counter where workers roll the bagels. While you’re waiting to place your order, help yourself to smoked salmon, cream cheese, and spreads from the cooler.

If you want to avoid the line, there’s a less atmospheric location down the street at 158 St-Viateur Ouest for the inevitable weekend spillover. (Same bagels, less wait time.) Pop in to Olimpico for an old-school espresso or The Standard for a third-wave cortado as you munch.

photo credit: Alison Slattery

Fairmount is the older sibling in Montreal’s intense bagel rivalry. And while Montrealers love to dispute which bagel is best, Fairmount’s is the only one to have been authorized by NASA to go into space. (In 2008, the owner’s nephew was one of the astronauts on the Discovery). 

This shop has been open since 1919 and has been operating 24/7 in this Mile End location since 1949. It’s a cozy, compact spot—line up, point to the cream cheese you want, and order your dozen, with a few extra to snack on outside. There’s other great food on the block, like takeout gnocchi from Drogheria Fine and summer ice cream from Kem Coba.

If you’re downtown for a game or a concert, you won’t be able to miss the 24-hour bright lights at Kettlemans if you tried. Located right next to the Bell Centre and open all day, every day, this large cafe has bagel sandwiches, salads, and a huge range of schmears, including dairy-free, dill pickle, and blueberry. They also have cheese bagels (a sweet, horseshoe-shaped cheese-filled pastry) and other treats, too.

Have a seat inside before or after the show, or take your haul to the game. Kettlemans is headquartered in Ottawa and has spots across Toronto, but this location is its first in Québec—a fitting homecoming for its Montreal-born founder.

It’s not exactly on Greene Avenue, but it’s close enough: Bagels on Greene is located right where Ste-Catherine becomes Westmount, just on the western edge of downtown. There’s a wide choice of bagels here, including whole wheat and twelve-grain, plus sweet cheese bagels, made on site. Come for the bagels, but consider the other carb-loaded options like potato rolls, potato knishes, and potato and pea samosas, as well as a big grab-and-go selection of everything from vegetarian butter chicken, vegan vindaloo, Jamaican patties, and karnatzel sticks.

Irwin “Dizzy” Dizgun wanted to bring something special to the locals of Côte Saint Luc when he opened up this spot in 1995 with his sons: a place to get fresh bagels for a morning commute and an entire meal to bring home for dinner, too. Bring your shopping bag and stock up on a variety of bagels—including pumpernickel or some sweet cheese bagels—loads of salads, and everything from turkey burgers to butter chicken. They’ve got all the makings for picnics or a weekend at the cottage outside the city.

Situated in a strip mall close to the Loyola campus of Concordia, MTL Bagel’s owner worked at Fairmount Bagel and now makes them his way here, including some special flavors, like carrot, coconut, cranberry-coconut, and a spicy all-dressed. The MTL Bagel team makes a slew of bagel sandwiches to go, including a classic smoked salmon (with or without cream cheese), plus riffs with turkey, tuna, smoked meat, chicken, or all of the above. Make sure to check out the range of Caribbean hot sauces while you’re here.

Verdun’s St-Lo is a comfortable neighborhood cafe where you can enjoy fresh in-house bagels in a welcoming old-school space. Breakfast with coffee and a fruit salad is served until 3pm daily, with your choice of bagels benedict (veggie, bacon, pesto, or Fisherman’s) and homemade fêves au lard. The menu has lunch combos with soup and coffee or tea available all day, including more sandwiches and salads. When the weather’s nice, St-Lo’s come-as-you-are vibe shines on their street-side terrasse.

Tucked in a tiny shop on William Street in Griffintown, the sign on the window reads: “It’s the hole that makes the bagel.” Le Trou, which literally means “the hole,” offers their take on bagel holes in all their flavors to anyone afraid to commit to an entire bagel or can’t decide between an everything or their beer-parmesan-flavored Griffintown bagel. 

Sweet tooths will want to check out the Bagel Cheesecake (a choco-cranberry bagel with cream cheese and strawberry jam) or the Bagel Burgel sandwich, with havarti and ground beef from nearby Grinder Butcher. Slide into one of the cozy booths, perch yourself at a window counter stool, or take it to Pointe des Seigneurs, a nearby park that’s right on the Lachine Canal.

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