The Seattle Bagel Power Rankings guide image


The Seattle Bagel Power Rankings

A definitive ranking of the best bagels in town.

Let's call a spade a spade—Seattle is not a bagel town. Historically, grocery store variety packs and mediocre sacks of Blazing Bagels have supplemented the halo-shaped holes in our hearts. But now, the bagel craze has officially infiltrated the PNW. And while we can only count on two hands the truly great spots, they do exist. Whether your bagel order is scooped, lightly toasted, open-faced, extra-schmeared, poppy seed-covered, za'atar-dusted, lox-topped, or just plain, these are the best bagels in Seattle, ranked.


Mt. Bagel

Who knew that we would live in a world where in exactly 60 seconds, a batch of bagels could sell out like a highly anticipated sneaker release? These bagels are not only Seattle's finest, but they have ruined basically all others. A spoonful of the spicy scallion cream cheese is phenomenal on its own, but when smeared on a coveted everything bagel that has a crackly outside and soft, malty inside, all becomes well—flowers begin to bloom, the sun shines, and butterflies start landing on you like in a Disney movie. If you can get your hands on some fresh Mt. Bagel beauties from their Madison Valley kitchen, freeze a few to trade as currency for when the apocalypse comes. They'll probably be worth more than the newest Air Jordans. 

Mt. Bagel may have the best bagels, but Bagel Oasis in Ravenna is the best bagel shop. No need to set alarms or wait in line for eternity—just stroll in and grab an exemplary bagel on your own time. (What a concept.) For the folks looking for a carbon copy of something you’d find on the East Coast, this is it. Bagel Oasis makes extremely basic but foolproof New York-style dough circles in a space that smells exactly like a Long Island deli. There’s a tender crackle with blistered bubbles, a light and soft middle, and a spongy squish that’s just as excellent covered in cream cheese as it is in breakfast sandwich form. Whatever you do, don’t miss the sourdough flavor.

There's a stupendous sesame bagel located inside this Portage Bay market that exclusively sells fancy picnic items. Sure, the bagels are on the smaller side, but where they lack in size, they make up for in soft, stretchy texture, great bready flavor, and seeds that stick to the crunchy shell like the last party guest who can't take a hint. The salt and pepper bagel is also a standout. Just make sure to grab their garlic and herb cream cheese, which is one of our favorite schmears in Seattle, and potent enough to ward off a vampire.

As the name clearly suggests, Rachel’s serves bagels and burritos. Their breakfast burritos are some of the best in town. Likewise, we’re thrilled to report that these Ballard bagels are also rightfully in our top five. And while you’ll find experimental flavors like za’atar, togarashi, and Stoup spent grain, you don’t need any of those—the classic everything is a near-perfect specimen of crunchy dried garlic, onion, and seeds that all stay put. The best move is to keep it simple by way of plain cream cheese spiked with their everything-spiced chile crisp. 

Set aside the fact that Oxbow’s bagels have a shelf life of an hour or so before they turn into bricks. They have supreme “a pleasure to have in class” energy before that happens. The bagels at this Montlake bakery have a Magic Shell-like exterior, complete with a doughy toughness and slightly sour tang. Our favorite combination of the bunch is a garlic bagel, charred dehydrated flakes and all, spread with briny calabrian chili cream cheese. Don't forget to grab a scone or rye chocolate chip cookie as a little treat.

There are two types of people: those who are smitten with sweet bagels, and those who’d like to run those raisin-loaded suckers over with their car. If you’re in the latter camp, the cinnamon sugar bagel from this online operation and pop-up (currently available every day at Good Voyage in South Park) is a mind-changer. The dough is great on its own, but with swirls of spiced warmth and a crystallized crunch across the top, it’s like french toast, without the agony of cooking french toast. Slather on some salted butter and tell the dessert bagel-haters to kindly kick rocks.

The exceptional smoked fish at Beacon Hill's Loxsmith is the best in the city and a worthy sidekick to their bagels. And with options like unagi, whitefish, sturgeon, and sable, it makes a lot of sense that the owner has a sushi background. While slices of the buttery lox trend a little thick, it’s so good that we don’t care about getting chunky salmon strands stuck between molars. A foolproof order is the namesake Loxsmith sandwich, complete with nova lox and scallion schmear on an everything bagel topped with tomato, caper, and onions.

If you need carbohydrates in Fremont but aren’t in the mood to wait in the line that spills out of Sea Wolf, walk next door to Old Salt. This breakfast operation located inside Manolin serves bagels every Thursday-Sunday. Come with a well-oiled jaw and empty stomach, because these bad boys are massive and dense. The black sesame bagel has seeds that shed like craft glitter, so stick to the plain, spiced up via chili spread with aleppo pepper and light hints of lemon zest.

The best thing about the bagels from this Pinehurst Jewish deli is the chew—there's a lot to sink your teeth into without posing a concern for your mandible, paired with a sturdy, crusty shell. Go with a one-topping variety—like garlic or sesame—and due to their overall heft, order it with schmear over something like a pastrami breakfast sandwich. We’re big fans of the neon pink lox spread, complete with a not-overwhelming amount of salt and consistent smoked salmon flavor. 

When it comes to this vegan Jewish deli on Capitol Hill, you're in good hands with any bagel that involves the fluffy—and very convincing—egg substitute. Like a BEC with melty yellow "cheese" and meaty strips of "bacon." Or for something heartier, order the egg, cheese, and latke sandwich, topped with a dollop of applesauce. Plant-based or not, these sandwiches are straight-up winners.

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photo credit: Brooke Fitts

The Seattle Bagel Power Rankings guide image