If you’re looking for the best bagels on the Upper East Side from someone who lives here, then you’ve come to the right place.
New York City bagels are top-tier and once you’ve had one you’ll wonder what you’ve been doing accepting those crummy bagels from the chain spots.
Moving to the Upper East Side a few years ago, I was excited to discover just how many great bagel spots are in the neighborhood.
My week isn’t complete without at least one fresh, warm bagel from a local shop. Ideally, before or after a walk around the neighborhood in Carl Schurz or Central Park.
Here’s my list of the best bagels on the upper east side – and I’ve tried them all!
These will be shared in order of location, starting with the north end of the UES.
A newer, but very welcome, addition to the Upper East Side bagel offerings is Grabstein’s Bagels. Their shop is bright and friendly with fun vibes. The bagels are a good size with a nice chew.
They also offer a variety of vegan options including Impossible sausage, vegan eggs and tofu cream cheese and a gluten-free bagel so everyone can enjoy Grabstein’s.
What I love about Grabstein’s is that they are also a member of Too Good To Go in NYC, meaning they offer some of their food at a highly discounted rate to reduce food waste.
Grabstein’s is located on E 96th, near Madison Avenue, basically just one avenue from Central Park. Meaning it’s a great option to grab a bagel to go to enjoy inside the park.
This location is likely part of the reason you can expect prices here to be on the higher end compared to the options below.
What to try: The Extreme BEC that includes a hash brown in your breakfast sammy – yum! The egg everything bagel with your choice of schmear is also a popular choice.
Address: 50 E 96th St., near Madison Ave
Bagel Shop – My Fave Best Bagels on the Upper East Side
The Bagel Shop is probably the most popular Bagel spot on the Upper East Side and for good reason. They live up to their name as “Bagel Shop.”
Bagel Shop consistently delivers fresh, tasty bagels and they have a true organized system for ordering and pickup. So, if you see a line, don’t be deterred. They’ll serve you right up very quickly with their efficient (and friendly!) system.
And the bagels are quality with a light crispness on the outside and a good, chewy inside. Plus, they have tons of cream cheese options.
In addition to the bagels and cream cheese, they offer a massive menu of breakfast sandwiches, salads, wraps and deli sandwiches.
If you see a list for “Best Bagels on the Upper East Side” and Bagel Shop isn’t listed, then that person must be greatly mistaken! Or the list was written by a robot. 😉
What to try: If you want to get creative, you can try one of their unique cream cheese spreads such as the birthday cake flavor, Doritos flavor, and the always tasty Jalapeño option.
Consider The Diablo for a spicy breakfast sandwich or The Roasted Hippie for a filling & nutritious lunch option.
Address: 1659 3rd Ave., on the corner of E 93rd Street
Bagel Bobs is another longstanding Upper East Side bagel shop with other locations throughout the city. They’ve been around for over 21 years with their old-fashioned made bagels, oven-baked throughout the day.
They are conveniently located for a visit to Carl Schurz Park, just an avenue away, so you can take your bagel to go and grab a bench or picnic in the park.
What sets Bagel Bobs apart from other spots is their dough which is a high-gluten flour mixed with NYC water. They offer 14 options of boiled and Kosher bagels.
What to try: They are making bagels throughout the day so I recommend just ordering whatever is most fresh so it’s warm from the oven and adding your favorite cream cheese and/or smoked fish.
Address: 1641 York Ave, between 86th and 87th Street
Tal Bagels has two locations on the Upper East Side to serve all of us bagel fiends.
The location on E 87th has been a go-to, especially when I’m headed to the E 86th subway station. It makes for a convenient stop before heading towards Central Park too.
Tal has friendly service and offers up a variety of bagels with no preservatives added.
I’ve had a few hit or miss experiences here with less-than-fresh bagels, but they are very generous with cream cheese portions so if you love a lotta CC, then this might be your spot!
What to try: Mix and match sweet and savory and try an everything bagel with their fresh strawberry cream cheese.
Lexington Ave, on the corner of 87th Street
1228 Lexington Ave, between 83rd and 84th Streets
H&H is another one of the most popular bagel spots on the Upper East Side.
They have been serving up their original artisanal water bagel recipe since 1972 in several locations throughout the city including their beloved UES shop.
The shop can get a little crowded during their busy hours, but the service is friendly and they’re consistently serving up hot, fresh bagels throughout the entire day.
I lucked out on my last visit when they just finished a batch of Everything Bagels in the oven so I got to enjoy an extremely fresh and warm bagel topped with veggie cream cheese. A dream!
Consider trying: Go for smoked salmon and scallion cream cheese on a whole wheat bagel.
Address: 1551 2nd Ave., between 80th and 81st Street
B&B Bagels is a new addition to the UES bagel scene, but it took no time for them to become a neighborhood favorite. It’s one of the higher rated spots on the Upper East Side considering Google reviews (and my own opinion lol).
The interior is sun-filled with a simple but clean set-up. They have indoor & outdoor seating and some great coffee – I’m also a fan of the matcha latte here.
What to try: Mix it up with a breakfast sandwich on your favorite bagel. Try egg, avocado and a swipe of your favorite cream cheese flavors for a filling sandwich.
Address: 1370 1st Ave., on the corner of 73rd Street
Bagelworks is another neighborhood standby for consistently great bagels. This popular neighborhood spot has been serving the UES for years at their cozy, “hole in the wall”-style spot.
They’re known for serving up fresh bagels all day and very quickly so you can get your bagel, a coffee and go. The cucumber dill cream cheese is a popular option, especially paired with lox, tomato and onion on an everything bagel.
What else to try: If you want to get very indulgent, they offer a bacon cheddar cream cheese spread – I think this would go amazing on a rye bagel or whole wheat everything.
Address: 1229 1st Ave., 1st Ave and 66th Street
Tompkins Square Bagels
With a tentative date of Winter 2023, Tompkins Square Bagels is coming to the Upper East Side! Tompkins Square Bagels are very popular and some consider them the best bagels in New York City, let alone the UES.
I’m pumped they’re opening a location in the neighborhood – once they do I’ll be updating this post with my findings.
I’ve visited their other location and gobbled up an everything bagel BEC with an herby garlic cream cheese.
The location will be 3rd Ave between 67th and 68th Streets.
What makes a good bagel spot:
This is all up to personal preferences, but I want a fresh bagel that has a nice bite with a chewy middle. The cream cheese needs to be fresh and flavorful, nothing watered down or bland.
And the cherry on top is friendly service and an organized ordering system.
My personal favorites & go-to order:
B&B Bagels and Bagel Shop are my favorites if you want the very best bagels on the Upper East Side.
The Bagel Shop has been a consistent and very tasty option for me that is also literally a few minutes walk from my apartment.
I often take any guests staying with me here for their first NYC bagel experience because I can trust that it will be a positive one.
And B&B Bagels has been my other fave since it opened up this last year. The shop is bright and open, with fresh bagels and very friendly service.
The bonus is that they also have outdoor seating making for a very enjoyable bagel eating experience.
Best Bagels on the Upper East Side Recap
- Grabstein’s Bagels
- Bagel Shop
- Bagel Bob’s
- Tal Bagels
- H&H Bagels
- B&B Bagels
- Tompkins Square Bagels (Winter 2023)
Must Try Best Upper East Side Bagels Map
Why are NYC bagels so much better?
Because they are boiled and the NYC water! The water here is more “soft” vs. “hard” water meaning the dough ends up being more chewy and delicious.
What bagel to get in New York?
My top recommendations from the list above would be to get a bagel from Tompkins Square Bagels or Bagel Shop. As for type, go for an everything bagel.
Looking for more NYC recommendations and things to do?
Casey is the founder of Casey La Vie & has been running this travel and lifestyle blog since 2016. She’s on a mission to balance her career as a social media manager with exploring her home of New York City and seeing more of the world.