Look out, New York. According to a recent data analysis, San Francisco is the second-best city for bagel lovers in the U.S.
Of course, we already knew that Bay Area bagels are the best—even the New York Times conceded that point last year—but it’s vindicating to know that we now have the data to prove it.
Sure, New York may still be the No. 1 city for wonderful wheels of dough, but the City by the Bay is not far behind. What’s more, it may actually be easier to score a to-die-for lox-on-everything, open-faced bagel-wich in the 415 than it is in the 212. According to the same analysis, San Francisco has the most bagel vendors per square mile of any major American metro.
Since Jan. 15 is National Bagel Day, we thought it would be nice to assemble a list of the Bay Area’s favorite bagel shops. Given the sheer volume of fantastic local choices, we understand if you’re battling a little bit of analysis paralysis.
📍 235 Cortland Ave.
Get your orders in for this popular bagel brand specializing in naturally leavened bagels, organic cream cheese, sustainable fish toppings and homemade jam. Pre-orders for Friday pickup open at 9 a.m. on Wednesdays and pre-orders for Saturdays start at 10 a.m. on Fridays. Walk-ups are welcome on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to noon, but the store closes after the last bagel is sold, so be sure to be up bright and early to snag one of these highly rated balls of dough. Follow its Instagram for updates.
Dogpatch | Ferry Building
📍 2535 Third St. | 1 Ferry Building
This Dogpatch bakery specializes in wood-fired bagels and makes handmade cream cheese and butter sourced from Marin County. In addition to these toasty bagels, Daily Driver also offers bagel dogs, bagel chips, pizza bagels and sandwiches at its minimalist brick-and-mortar and outpost at the Ferry Building.
📍 5030 Geary St.
This San Francisco establishment has been baking New York-style bagels the traditional way since 1962, and they won’t let you forget it. The neighborhood institution outlines how it makes its “real New York Bagels” on its website: Start with high-protein flour, malt, brown sugar, yeast, salt and pure Hetch Hetchy water, rest the bagels overnight on wooden boards to ensure perfection, boil the bagel—“if it’s not boiled, it’s not a real bagel!” the bakery insists—and bake the dough on stone the authentic way.
📍 646 Irving St.
Find whole wheat and vegan- and vegetarian-friendly options at this boutique bagel shop founded by Chez Panisse and Tartine alum Nick Beichter. Spread options include homemade cashew cream cheese, apricot jam and almond butter if dairy or cream cheese aren’t your thing. And we’re told that the sweet buckwheat black sesame bagel is worth the trip to the Inner Sunset.
📍 3933 24th St.
This beloved neighborhood spot makes mean breakfast bagel sandwiches from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. on weekdays and stays open until 3 p.m. on weekends. You’ll be impressed with how much eggs, turkey, cheese, spinach, mushrooms, bacon and sausage can fit in between two spherical slices.
📍 2049 Irving St.
You may debate with your friends whether bagels or donuts are the better breakfast food, but at Uncle Benny’s you don’t have to choose. Bagels and donuts are served side by side. And while the donuts are the focal point, we’ve heard that the BLT bagel sandwich with avocado is not to be missed.
📍 1263 Fell St.
Bagel lovers rejoiced when this popular pandemic-born pop-up finally secured a brick-and-mortar spot. Chef James Lok’s New York-style bread bites are distinctively baked with seeds on one side, giving these bagels an extra toasty crunch. The options are minimal but classic: plain, sesame, poppyseed, onion, sea salt and everything with your choice of scallions, garlic, baked tomato or chopped lox cured in-house to top off a smear of whipped cream cheese.
Berkeley | Palo Alto
📍 3170 College Ave. | Town & Country Shopping Center
The line at Boichik Bagels in Berkeley is usually long, but worth the wait. If you don’t take my word for it, read the New York Times’ poetic food porn on the spot. Whether you choose a classic everything bagel or go for an inverted bialy with sauteed onions and poppy seeds, you’re bound to bite into something delicious at Boichik.
📍 5004 Telegraph Ave.
The flavors for these hand-rolled bagels are inspired by California. Here you can find an heirloom tomato-inspired bagel, the pastry swathed in black truffle chive cream cheese and local honey, and even a vegan sunflower “cream cheese.” Ingredients are sourced locally, like from the farmers’ market or a nearby dairy, and toppings come from a local spice shop.
📍 Various Locations
Born on the Peninsula over 30 years ago, this bagel brand has become a Bay Area staple. The business claims that its original owner invented the asiago bagel, and our staff says that its breakfast sandwiches whip.
📍 Delivery | Various Locations
This delivery-only bagelry delivers around the Bay, and devotees know that it pops up at Hidden Cafe in Berkeley on Sundays serving up cheekily named sandwiches, like the PB&J-inspired Beanie Bagel and a classic bagel and schmear combo with smoked salmon called Lox Tycoon.
Delivery | Oakland & Various Locations
📍 3033 MacArthur Blvd.
These Oakland-based bagels are certified kosher and vegan and can be delivered straight to your door or picked up at some of your favorite markets. Grand Bakery also offers Jewish culinary favorites like challah and serves up sweets like honey cakes, almond logs, coconut macaroons and Russian tea cookies.
📍 Various Locations
This San Francisco-born bagel brand that’s now expanded across the Bay and into Los Angeles serves Jewish culinary classics with a California mindset. Wise Son’s pastrami and beef brisket is hormone and antibiotic-free, their rye is double-baked and their bagels are boiled in malt-inflected water before being baked.
Christina Campodonico can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org