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On the Hunt for the Best Bagels in LA

November 18, 2021

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Where can you find the best bagels in Los Angeles? There are lots of them! Let’s look at the greatest of these great bagels.

 

Western Bagel

Naysayers may have a negative view of this big franchise operation; Western Bagel has eleven locations in the LA area. And they have a massive retail supply business. But bagel-lovers would be foolish not to consider why Western has had such success. You just have to consider the staggering variety: roasted onion, cinnamon spice, honey wheat, pumpkin, sesame, chocolate chip, jalapeño, rye, and so many more. Plus, about two dozen different bagel sandwiches, not to mention the wide variety of toppings.


 


Original Brooklyn Water Bagel Co.

The battle between New York and LA over who makes the best bagel may never end with a victor. But that doesn't affect LA's Original Brooklyn Water Bagel Co.—an outfit based in Florida (go figure). And while not native to LA or New York, the transplant offers some of the best New York-style bagels in the Southland, making the bagels with a signature 14-step process which includes the "Brooklyn Water Works" system that recreates the mineral-rich water that gives East Coast bread its distinctive flavor.


 


Manhattan Bread & Bagel

Those unfamiliar with the LA area might mistake Manhattan Bread and Bagel for a New York operation. But they began their bagel adventures in LA County's Manhattan Beach in the early 90s, intending to give a New York spin on Southern California bagels by the sea. Boiled and baked bagels come in varieties such as Cranberry Flax, Egg Onion, Eight Grain, and Bialys.


 


Pop's Bagels

Pop's makes absolutely no attempt to recreate New York cuisine with their bagels; they fully embrace LA-style with signature toasted and chewy bagels that have the toppings baked right in. Bagels are made at their Culver City location in small batches throughout the day to guarantee freshness. Even their butter and cream cheeses are made on-site from scratch each day. While toppings vary, Pop's keeps things simple with just three flavors: plain, everything, and cinnamon raisin.


 


The Yeastie Boys

Yes, the name may be a cringe-worthy pun of a defunct hip-hop group, but don't let that sway you away from any of the Yeastie Boys Bagels food trucks. You'll find the truck schedules on Instagram or you can order for pick-ups on Sunset Boulevard, Ventura Place, or Melrose Place via their website. The Yeastie Boys offers some of LA's most creative bagel sandwiches, such as the Mishka with roasted bell pepper spread, red onion, tomato, and sprouts on an everything bagel, and the Lox Deluxe with smoked salmon, scallion schmear, and capers.


 


Gjusta

With a breezy tree-shaded patio space set a few blocks back from the beach in Venice, Gjusta offers an array of locally sourced baked goods. But their bagels are particularly popular, golden outside, soft and chewy inside, with a hint of maltiness that reminds of artisanal beer. Order one of their creations topped with lox, garlic labneh, or perhaps salmon roe. Or just keep it basic with locally made cream cheese.


 


The Bagel Broker

Head to the Fairfax District to savor over three decades of bagel-making experience. Run by the same family since 1987, the Bagel Broker is known for its popular breakfast sandwiches and for being one of the few places in Los Angeles that makes traditional marble-rye bagels. Although their extensive menu may tempt you to try something else, with cheese onion, jalapeño cheddar, corn rye, and garlic bagels among the fresh-made offerings.


 


Hank's Bagels

Hank's Bagels may not have the history of some of the other top bagel shops—they opened in 2019—but the Burbank spot quickly made a name for itself with hand-rolled bagels, served as sandwiches or topped with your choice of a dozen schmears. So much so that Hank's has already opened a second location in Sherman Oaks. Order unique sandwiches like their Number Three with gravlax (cured salmon), scallion cream cheese, radishes, and capers.


 


Courage Bagels

While so many bagel joints look to New York for inspiration, Courage Bagels goes farther north: Montreal. So, what are Montreal-style bagels? They're boiled in honey-water and wood-fired, resulting in bagels that are thinner, denser, crispier, and more burnt than traditional bagels. But don't think of burnt as bad! Try one of Courage's burnt everything bagels and you may never go back to New York-style again.


 

When is the last time you’ve treated yourself to a good bagel? Maybe your next breakfast in Los Angeles will include some delectable California bagels.

Written by William McCleary for Knockaround.

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