The Bay Area’s bagel scene is small but mighty, and lucky for us, it’s growing every year. And any local bagel enthusiast will tell you that soft, chewy, golden-brown bagels aren’t too difficult to find - you just have to know where to look. Here are 12 great bagel spots in SF and the East Bay to check out right now.
When we originally published this guide, we hadn’t yet made it to Poppy Bagels (and the Internet had some thoughts). But we finally checked them out and are here to tell you to do the same, immediately. This Oakland-based pop-up is making incredible New York-style bagels that are perfectly chewy, and have a crackly crust that’s covered in a lot of seasoning (ready your vacuums - it will get messy). And the bagels are made even better when topped with one of their fresh, thick housemade schmears, like jalapeño, scallion, or beet and poppy seed. If you want to get your hands on these bagels, place an order online for delivery or pick-up in SF or the East Bay - and note the 12 bagel minimum.
The wood-fired bagels at Daily Driver are some of the best in San Francisco. They have a chewy interior and a thin, crackly crust that’s even better toasted. Get one in sandwich form with bacon, egg, and cheese, or with pastrami (if you’re willing to shell out $15). You can pick up their bagels and sandwiches at several locations in the city: their brick-and-mortar spots in Dogpatch and the Ferry Building, their kiosk in Hayes Valley, and, more recently, at Mission Cheese.
We’ve eaten a lot of bagels, and Boichik Bagels in Berkeley makes some of our favorites, ever. They have a satisfying, crunchy crust, and are always perfectly springy on the inside. Yes, they’re smaller, and are slightly more expensive than other places ($3 each) - but they’re worth it. You can also top them with lox and tubs of whipped cream cheese, or whitefish, egg, or salmon salad. Order on their website for pick-up or delivery, or walk up to order.
The Bagel Bakery
The Bagel Bakery in China Basin has been turning out fresh New York-style bagels since 1976. You can get them by the dozen, but the real move is to order their veggie bagel sandwich. It comes with cream cheese, cucumber, tomato, onion, and a slightly sweet balsamic dressing. We like it better without lettuce.
Beauty’s in Oakland made excellent wood-fired bagels, but since joining forces with Wise Sons in August, they’ve shifted to kettle boiling their bagels. The new versions are less chewy than we remember, and better when toasted, but they’re still some of the better ones in the East Bay. Their menu has also changed to include Wise Sons classics, like pastrami and latkes. But don’t worry, you can still get Beauty’s great lox or the fried chicken bagel sandwiches, every day from 7am-3pm at their Temescal location.
House Of Bagels
This Jewish deli has been around since the ’60s, and it’s a Geary Blvd. institution. They sell pastries (there’s hamantaschen year-round) and challah, but you’re here for their great selection of New York-style bagels that are baked fresh daily. House of Bagels isn’t toasting bagels or making sandwiches to-go right now, so on a recent visit, we ordered one and toasted it at home. The everything seasoning was on the lighter side, but it was still salty and flavorful.
Saul's Restaurant & Deli
Saul’s recently started boiling and baking their own bagels in-house. If you want them when they’re warm and fresh out of the oven, order when Saul’s opens at 11:30am. The bagels are soft, chewy, and moist, and have a golden-brown crust. Don’t be surprised when you eat at least two out of the bag on the way home. Currently, Saul’s is making five types of bagels: plain, everything, sesame, poppyseed, and onion. Note the cap of six bagels per order.
If you’re someone who likes bagel flavors that go beyond the classic sesame, plain, or everything, head to Holey Bagel. They make spinach, sun-dried tomato, and chocolate chip bagels, to name a few. We especially love them with their house-made chive cream cheese, or as a fluffy egg sandwich.
This Hayes Valley cafe used to be one of our favorite places to spend a late morning over pierogies and bagels. But right now, the European-inspired spot is only open Fridays and Saturdays. Make sure to pencil these dates into your calendar now - their bagel sandwich with buttery lox and pickled shallots is worth the effort. Order by noon on Thursday or Friday to schedule a pick-up.
If you’re looking for a quick breakfast spot, and you’re near Noe Valley, head to Noe Bagel. They make a delicious bacon, egg, and cheese bagel sandwich, and at $5.95, it’s a great deal, especially considering how filling it is. You can also get bagels by the dozen, if you want to stock your freezer with something other than half-opened bags of frozen fruit.
Uncle Benny's Donut & Bagel
This spot in the Sunset has breakfast down to a science. They have cases full of colorful, pillowy donuts, pastries, and great bagel sandwiches, like veggie, lox, or sausage, egg, and cheese. The creamy, salty lox schmear is a standout, and one you should definitely wash down with a Vietnamese iced coffee.
Wise Sons gets bonus points for covering their entire bagels with seasoning, something we wish more bagel spots did. The bagels are on the denser side, but still have a solid chew to them. They’re currently offering two DIY bagel kits: the lox sandwich (it comes with four bagels, lox, schmear, and toppings), and the bodega egg and cheese sandwich (comes with six bagels, and their house-made crispy pastrami). Wise Sons is open for pick-up at their Hayes Valley, Mission, and Fillmore locations, and at the Contemporary Jewish Museum.