Bagels are one of the most versatile foods out there. They come in all shapes and sizes; some are round and soft, while others are dense and chewy. Not to mention, the spread and sandwich possibilities are endless.
That’s why bagels are my absolute favorite breakfast food. Fortunately for me, Philadelphia has bagelries on every corner, and more are literally “popping up” every week at pop-ups across the city!
So, keep reading to learn where to find the freshest bagels, the tastiest BEC/SEC/PEC (that’s pork roll, not Taylor ham, for you New Jersey natives) and the sweetest schmears.
Best Bagels in Philadelphia
1437 E Passyunk Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19147
Essen Bakery is a popular spot in Philadelphia to get bagels. It’s known for its cozy and welcoming atmosphere and incredibly delicious baked goods.
The bakery is well-known for its pastries, bread, and bagels, as well as its cookies and assortment of cakes.
You can also get freshly roasted coffee there and try out their Jewish-inspired bakery items created by Chef Tova du Plessis.
If you’re planning on visiting, keep in mind that Saturdays and Sundays can be quite busy, as this bakery is a neighborhood favorite.
1700 S. 10th St. Philadelphia, PA 19148
Bagels and poetry is a combination like peanut butter and pickles; you wouldn’t expect it to be good, but once you have it, you’ll crave it again. Korshak Bagels not only provides a delicious bagel, but also some words of wisdom when you pick it up.
Their website says, “The bagels will feed our bodies. The love and respect for the bagels will feed our hearts.” And these bagels will definitely nourish your body and your soul.
Phil Korshak, the self-proclaimed “bagel monger” and a native of Brooklyn, the bagel capital of the world, uses a wild yeast fermented starter named the “Helen Mirren.”
The “Blue Angel,” blueberry compote with lemon zest, and “Lady Bunny,” shredded carrots, walnuts and raisins, are popular spreads, but “it’s not a New York bagel. It’s a Korshak bagel,” truly one-of-a-kind.
The Kettle Black
631 N 2nd St, Philadelphia, PA 19123
Phone: (877) 585-1085
The Kettle Black is another husband and wife-owned microbakery, except they are French inspired and have been whipping up quality breads, pastries and, of course, bagels in Northern Liberties for years.
They’re not the easiest bagels to acquire; they’re only open until noon Thursday through Sunday, and all service is walk-up, first come, first serve, so you may be waiting in line for a bit, especially during COVID times.
But good things come to those who wait, and you’ll feel pretty good about yourself after digging into one of their appropriately named black bagels.
Pair it with vegan lox, vegan cream cheese and a coffee, which you can request to make stronger, chocolate or (staying with the theme) vegan!
1525 Frankford Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19125
Kismet Bagels took Philadelphia by storm in 2020, partnering with businesses like Di Bruno Bros, Rally Coffee and Riverwards Produce, and quickly becoming the newest bagel sensation. After hosting pop-ups around Philadelphia and down the shore — which were sure to have lines around the block — this husband and wife-run bagel shop finally has its own brick and mortar space in Fishtown.
These bagels, which are freshly baked every morning, are unlike any other bagel in Philly; they’re thiccc (with three c’s) and extremely chewy. Seriously, these are not for sensitive teeth.
And every centimeter of their everything, sesame or poppy bagels is covered with seeds, which pairs perfectly with their golden milk or spicy everything schmear (both on the bagel or as a snack). Check out their Instagram to stay up-to-date on where they’re popping up next!
Four Worlds Bakery
4634 Woodland Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19143
Four Worlds Bakery on Woodland Avenue is a Philly bakery that is known for its bread-making and high-quality ingredients.
They are known for using the freshest and best local ingredients and for their special bread-making process, which you can learn more about when you visit.
They offer everything from sourdough to whole grain, rye, and specialty bagels. If bread isn’t your thing, I highly recommend their pastries as well.
If you’re in a rush, you can also order ahead. They take orders starting at 2:00 P.M. the day before (something that I recommend as it can be pretty busy there in the morning, and you’re not going to want to miss out on your favorite).
725 Walnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19106
Phone: (267) 519-9920
Like Schmear It, Knead is not your typical run-of-the-mill bagel shop. While they offer the classics, like plain and cinnamon raisin bagels, they also have togarashi (a citric Japanese spice), flax and superfood bagels.
And that’s just the bagels. Wait until you hear the spreads and sandwiches. Charred long hot cream cheese pairs well with a black sesame bagel, whereas roasted tomato cream cheese pairs well with a fennel seed and sea salt bagel, according to their bagel spreadsheet.
Ever heard of a banh mi…bagel? Well, Knead has done it, and they have special cream cheeses and bagels of the day that are sure to be unlike anything you’ve ever had before.
1611 E Passyunk Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19148
Vanilya is another fantastic bakery in the Philadelphia area. Located on Passyunk Avenue, the bakery is known for its delicious bagels with cream cheese (choose from jalapeno, cinnamon raisin, candied orange (my choice!), and more).
They also design custom cakes and have some pastries for sale, like danishes and croissants.
Something that sets this bakery apart is its classes. For example, their “Tall Cake Class” will teach you how to make tall cakes created using the double barrel stacking technique.
Keep an eye on their website for all of their upcoming classes!
3945 Lancaster Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19104
Phone: (215) 596-5157
Bart’s Bagels in University City is everything. I’m not just quoting their website; I mean it. Not only do they have some of the freshest, most consistent bagels in the city, but they have great customer service too.
Order a half dozen of their bagels and keep them in your freezer for an easy breakfast, or order one of their sandwiches and have it delivered for a hangover brunch.
Good luck picking just one from their unique selection of egg and smoked fish sandwiches though.
The most popular sandwich on the menu is the Uncle Leo, which is nova, a fried egg, scallion cream cheese and caramelized onion (lox, egg and onion, get it?).
The most underrated sandwich, on the other hand, is the hot smoked (kippered) salmon. Just don’t get the “Plain Jane” or I will judge you.
110 S 19th St, Philadelphia, PA 19103
Phone: (267) 800-7200
K’Far Cafe is one of those places I could eat at every single day and never get sick of. From Kubaneh toasts, to chocolate babka bread and pistachio sticky buns, to Yemenite lattes, K’Far has so many options, you just can’t help but want to order the entire menu.
However, their real claim to fame is the Jerusalem bagel. A Jerusalem bagel is a long, flat, sesame seed bagel pressed in a panini press and served warm.
As much as I love New York and Montreal style bagels, Jerusalem may be my favorite.
As I mentioned in my Best Brunch article, I recommend ordering a smoked salmon bagel and an egg and zaatar bagel and splitting the two among a fellow bagel lover.
More of a lunch person? Order their grilled cheese bagel and get ready for an Instagram-worthy cheese pull.
Philly Style Bagels
1451 E Columbia Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19125
Phone: (215) 802-2952
Looking for a Philly Style bagel in Fishtown or Old City? Look no further than Philly Style Bagels, not to be confused with Fitzwater Street or Chestnut Street Bagels.
Philly Style is a lot more traditional than some other bagel spots on this list, but they still have a few tricks up their sleeve, like only serving whole wheat and whole wheat everything bagels on Thursdays and Fridays and blueberry bagels on Saturdays and Sundays.
But you’re guaranteed to get a delightful bagel every day (except Monday when they’re closed). There are also plenty of vegan spreads besides just peanut butter and jelly or hummus.
The Bagel Place
404 Queen St, Philadelphia, PA 19147
Phone: (215) 551-2387
Last but not least is the Bagel Place, the place to get bagels in Queen Village. Whether you’re ordering lox with dill cream cheese, a monte cristo on a french toast bagel or deviled egg salad with pickle cream cheese (I am not making this up), you’re sure to make your friends jealous and hungry.
There’s infinite combinations to try, like a rosemary and cracked pepper bagel with apple cinnamon cream cheese or a chicken cutlet sandwich on a pretzel bagel.
It’s hard not to just copy and paste the whole menu here because everything sounds so good!
Sadly, the day I wrote this article their brand new oven broke, so they had to close impromptu. Nevertheless, they’re usually open 7-2 daily, and they donate leftover bagels to organizations to feed the homeless.
310 Master St, Philadelphia, PA 19122
Eeva is a bakery and cafe that offers some incredible dishes as well as amazing bagels. You can order everything from pizza to sandwiches, bagels with cream cheese, and bagel sandwiches.
This is one of the best places to go in the city for a quick, high-quality lunch or to spend the afternoon working on your laptop in peace.
I highly recommend trying out their smoked salmon bagel that comes with cream cheese, tomato, salmon, red onion, capers, and dill.
If you’re looking for something simpler, you might also like to try their artisan toasts, like their ricotta and honey toast.
262 S 20th St, Philadelphia, PA 19103
Phone: (215) 545-0626
Spread Bagelry, which has multiple locations in Philadelphia and its suburbs, is one of the only Montreal style bagelries in the city. To be honest, I’m not exactly sure what a Montreal style bagel is, but all bagels are beautiful in my eyes.
Get the pizza bagel, tomato and gruyere melt or bagel grilled cheese, which (unlike K’Far’s) is an inside out bagel with tomato and bacon.
Unfortunately, they don’t sell tomato soup here, but you can go to one of the plethora of diners nearby and grab some al a carte.
If it’s too early for lunch (unless you’re one of those weird people who likes eating lunch food at 8 A.M.), there’s a full menu of spreads and breakfast sandwiches available all day.
Go outside the bagel box and try the jalapeno lime, strawberry basil, maple bacon or pistachio honey cream cheeses.
New York Bagel Butler
New York is notorious for their bagels, and many New Yorkers may claim that Philadelphia can’t hold a candle. But what if you could have fresh New York style bagels without having to drive 2+ hours away?
New York Bagel Butler delivers fresh bagels straight to your door, giving Philadelphians a taste of the Big Apple and even bigger bagels; they are literally bigger than my head!
The “bagel butler” wakes up at 3 a.m. every Friday and Saturday to bake and deliver tons of bagels. Just remember to order yours in advance every Wednesday and Thursday before 1:00 pm. Check out their delivery zones on the site to see what delivery day you fall in to.
These bagels are the antithesis of Kismet Bagels, but comparing them is like apples and oranges. Get the egg everything, something I’ve yet to see on any other menu, or the “berry” blue blueberry.
Bakery Schmear It
19 S 12th St, Philadelphia, PA 19107
Phone: (877) 585-1085
Schmear It has two locations, one in the East Market and one in University Village, but they also offer delivery around the city. So, no matter where you’re located, you can get your bagel fix.
They’re known for, you guessed it, their schmears. Personally, I think if you can still see parts of the bagel under the schmear, you didn’t use enough.
Luckily, Schmear It does the opposite; they load their bagels with so much schmear, like mango sriracha, s’mores and stuffed french toast, you can hardly get your mouth around it.
I recommend adding a scoop of whitefish to the “loxsmith,” a lox sandwich with lox schmear, because you can never have too much smoked fish.
Philly Bagels (multiple locations)
2001 Fitzwater St, Philadelphia, PA 19146
Philly Bagels is a well-known bagel shop with multiple locations across the city. They are known for their very fresh bagels that are made in the New York style.
When you visit, you’ll have the choice to choose from plain, sesame, poppy seed, everything, cinnamon raisin, asiago, jalapeno, blueberry, and many more.
Without a doubt, you’re sure to notice my favorite part about these bagels, their crispy exterior and soft interior.
They also offer spreads to add to your bagels and a few specific deli meats to make sandwiches.
If I could eat a bagel for every meal, I would (carbs are life!) Philadelphia may not be as famous for its bagels as New York City, but they’re definitely the underdog when it comes to these starchy baked goods. Plus, they’re cheap, good on-the-go and vegan (most of the time).
I don’t think I’ve ever met someone who doesn’t like bagels, so I’m not even going to try to come up with an excuse as to why someone wouldn’t want one, but check out my articles for the best Indian or Italian food for dinner tonight.
Did I miss your favorite bagel cafe? Please let me know in the comments so I know where to go for breakfast tomorrow!