In Search of a Decent Bagel

Photo courtesy of
courtesy of ‘star5112’

I’m not a huge breakfast person, but, in my opinion, one of life’s most precious graces is the bagel. I feel like in most major cities, particularly in NYC, decent bagel shops are a dime a dozen.  There are enough that there can be significant controversy as to which shop is the best in the city, or even the best in a particular neighborhood.  Unfortunately, this is not the case in DC.  I’ve got my regular bagel shop, but my choosing it was more based on scarcity than on it actually being the best.  So, readers, am I missing something, or are decent bagels a rarity in DC?  Thus far, I’ve only found one shop that I’d call “good” and that’s Best Buns in Shirlington.  What are your favorites?

Kirk is a Maine-born, military brat who moved no fewer than 12 times during his childhood. He came to the DC area in 2004 for his undergrad and decided that it was the place for him. Since graduating, he’s nabbed a job with the Fed and spends most of his free time hunting for cheap thrills in the city. Find out why he loves DC.

24 thoughts on “In Search of a Decent Bagel

  1. Having lived in NYC before as well, Whatsa Bagel in Cleveland Park was the closest thing to a NY bagel that I’d ever had. There were a lot of disappointed customers when they left that location.

    So’s Your Mom in Adams Morgan carries their bagels. Bethesda Bagels is the main distributor.

  2. Bethesda Bagels is really good, so is Bagel City in Rockville. I live in AdMo, which makes So’s Your Mom my weekend morning standard, and also having lived in NYC — I approve.

  3. Ize’s on Rockville Pike (just north of White Flint Mall)..they import their dough from Long Island weekly because of the mineral content in the water there that makes them better

  4. I agree with everyone else Brooklyn Bagel in Court House is great! I miss living close to there. Now that I live on Capitol Hill, I frequent Bagels and Baguettes by Union Station. Not as good as Brooklyn Bagel, but still good.

  5. there is a little place in the old post office that has very decent bagels, not really a NY bagel per se, but very good, not like the “piece of bread shaped like a bagel” from ABP.

  6. Bagel City on Rockville Pike. Awaiting the opening of Goldberg’s on Georgia just inside the Beltway too.

  7. When downtown, K Street Bagel is the best, in Arlington I agree with the masses- Brooklyn Bagel in Courthouse is the way to go.

  8. My take is that if a person doesn’t want to find decent [insert food name here], similar to what he/she finds in [insert city name here], he/she won’t.

    Others may disagree.

  9. Its out of DC, but The Bagel Place in College Park has been there for over 20 years and is smashingly delicious.

  10. Brooklyn Bagels and Bethesda Bagels are both good. Bagels And… in Annapolis is also really good. There used to be a good place in Georgetown but that shut down. Within DC the only half-way decent place is Brueggers, but it is totally hit-or-miss.

  11. Bagels Etc in Dupont Circle (21st and P) is (in my humble opinion) the best bagel place in the city. They’re not NY-style, but they’re moist, chewy, and delicious. They also have outstanding schmear. I’ve missed them ever since moving out of Dupont 2 years ago. In Capitol Hill SE (my new hood), I think the best bagel is sold by Marvelous Market’s Eastern Market store. I don’t know who bakes them.

  12. OK I’ve pretty much given up finding good bagels in DC proper, I’m sorry Bagels Etc is BAD, K Street Bagel is BAD. So’s Your Mom is OK. Being from MA, I actually think Brueggers is a good option (and I don’t usually advocate chains) but the quality is reliably better than most DC options people have mentioned. I used to go to this place in College Park when I visited friends at UMD (totally forgot the name) that was good. Haven’t been anywhere else outside DC so can’t speak to them.

  13. I’ve grown increasingly fond of Goldberg’s from what I’ve had from their Rockville store and am psyched that they are opening a location on Georgia just above 16th Street. I’m from New Jersey and think I know a good bagel when I have one and I’ve been impressed with the homemade bagels my wife has made from a recipe she adapted from the King Arthur cookbook. You can all come over for brunch if you bring the lox and whitefish (and I don’t mean whitefish spread — I mean a whole smoked whitefish that just stares at you as you eat its salty, oily insides).

  14. Bagels Etc is yummy! Though a bit overwhelming at first if you go in while they’re busy… feels like getting yelled at. But now that I’ve gone a few times they see me walk in and with just a nod they start making my usual. Ultimately, good people and good bagels.

    They do make their bagels daily, and not all days are created equal :)

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