What is the common thread that binds religion, politics, sports and bagels, of all things? If your card says tribalism, you’ve won the prize.
While debate abounds regarding the effects of toxic tribalism in our society, one thing is clear: people have their own favorite bagel spot, and they will defend it to the death. Whether it’s Los Angeles, California or La Crosse, Wisconsin, the topic of the best bagel in town is not one for those with no opinion.
But with our loins girded and bellies full, today we give you five LA bagel spots that go beyond the binary “good or bad.” We have no doubt you will not agree with the list in toto — but rest assured that at least one of the names below will deliver a bagel over which you will slaver.
Best Old-School LA Neighborhood Bagel Joint: Bagel Broker
Since 1987, Bagel Broker has represented the very best of the bagel experience to those on the Left Coast. No frills, no fanfare, Bagel Broker has not only been serving their own very-satisfied customers for three-plus decades, but delis city-wide also come to Bagel Broker in hopes of stocking their shelves with some of the greatest ringed gluten in the city.
Order: The Bacon, Egg and Cheese on an Everything Bagel. You could go with a plain bagel, an egg bagel or a jalapeno-cheese bagel for the added kick, but for our money, the everything bagel showcases the classic flavors of a breakfast sandwich that cannot be outdone.
Best Bagel from a Non-Bagel Spot: Gjusta
It feels a lot like cheating to put Gjusta on any list, because everything they do it amazing, but there’s no doubt that if there’s a discussion about quality breakfast foods in Los Angeles, Gjusta must be a part of the discussion. Use it as a gateway to get your bagel philistines in the door — there’s something on the menu they will love, and you’ll have them noshing a bagel in no time.
Order: The Everything Bagel and Lox, in whatever version or variety your prefer. The Smoked salmon is divine and the everything bagel is coated perfectly, with equal parts crunch and chew. It’s hard to believe that Gjusta can outpace so many spots who only make bagels. But, as your darling Jewish Nana will tell you, “Life isn’t fair, bubby.”
Image via Karen P / Yelp
Best New York Bagel Experience: New York Bagel & Deli
Between the New York kitsch that’s loaded on the walls (a bingo board of Yankees photos, Manhattan landmarks, even Ol’ Blue Eyes mugshot) and the staff who look like they just got off a direct from La Guardia, the charm of N.Y. Bagel comes purely from the first two letters in the name.
Order: Shut the hell up and pick a freakin’ bagel already, ya big mook! (Or a Cinnamon Raisin, and grab some schmear from the fridge behind you.) Don’t forget to pick up a black-and-white cookie while you’re there — classic deli move.
Image via Maury's
Best Farmers’ Market Bagel: Tie, Maury’s and Courage Bagels
Silver Lake, Hollywood, Echo Park
Farmers’ markets in Los Angeles have been a not-so secret sitting out in the open for all to take advantage of. The produce is a superior production. The flowers seem to come from a different, more advanced species of flora (for half the price, too). The meat is … meatier. And of course, to no surprise, this uptick in quality across the board qualifies for the two bagel spots on the list. We just couldn’t decide between them. However, Courage will be the sole owner soon, as Maury’s will open a brick-and-mortar on the east side later this year.
Order: Maury’s has a slew of whitefish, smoked sable, gravlax and roe options to garnish your bagel, so this one’s a choose-your-adventure for your chompers. At Courage, they add honey to the Montreal-style bagels (the same style as Brooklyn Water Bagel — which just missed the cut), giving them a succulent slap of sweetness. Go with a sesame and cream cheese, and savor the flavor.
Best Bagel, Worst Name: Yeastie Boys
West Hollywood, Downtown LA, Silver Lake
Yeastie Boys — a name only a mother could love. But the bagels? What’s coming out of this food truck with a permanent residence in West Hollywood and Silverlake is nothing to laugh at. Truth be told, if you’re the kind of person missing out on great food because you can take a pun, then maybe the problem is with you.
Order: If you can wait, we have it on good authority that “very soon” their nostalgia-packed Pizza Bagel will be returning to the menu (I slid up in their DMs). After having a bite of that and transporting back to the ‘90s, but like, with a good pizza bagel this time, all we can do is beg forgiveness for our snark about their name. Yeastie Boys forever.
Tues. – Weds.: 8428 Melrose Place A (Alfred Coffee & Kitchen) (map)
Thurs. – Fri.: 806 S Santa Fe Ave. (Stumptown Coffee) (map)
Saturday: 4334 Sunset Blvd. (Dinosaur Coffee) (map)
Sunday: 3337 Sunset Blvd. (Alfred Coffee & Kitchen) (map)
Main image via Maury's