Top 6-17: Bagels in Boston

Whether you’re looking to shake up your Sunday brunch routine or you want to start carb-loading early for the Boston Marathon a few months early, Very Local has your number. We’ve tried many of the bagel places in the area, and here are some of our favorites. 

by Chelsea Kearin
April 4, 2022

New York. Montreal. Boston? 

Sure, the 617 might be best known for clam chowder, Indian pudding, and Sunday roasts. Over the past few years, however, a series of small-batch bagel shops have risen – like yeast, you might say – around the Greater Boston area. Whether you’re looking to shake up your Sunday brunch routine or you want to start carb-loading early for the Boston Marathon a few months early, Very Local has your number. We’ve tried many of the bagel places in the area, and here are some of our favorites. 

Goldilox

📍186 Winthrop St, Medford, MA 02155

At the head of the pack is Goldilox, a bakery that opened in the fall of 2019. After testing their bagels at home and putting together some pop-ups, Lindsay Gaudet and Ed Thill took over a storefront on the Medford Hillside that’s open for take-out three days a week. 

The bagels from Goldilox have a slightly sweet flavor that contrasts with both the standard bagel toppings and the monthly specials. The dough bakes up into a pleasantly light round that is still dense enough to support your favorite sandwich fillings. While you can make a delicious sandwich on these bagels, they’re also great on their own with cream cheese or the spread of your choice. 

Black Sheep Bagels

📍56 John F. Kennedy St, Cambridge, MA 02138

Walking through the doors of Black Sheep Bagels in Harvard Square can feel like stepping into a time machine. The leafy green decor and quirky sheep decorations look like something you’d see in the Cambridge of the 1970s. Their unusual bagel varietals and new versions of classic sandwiches (care for an avocado toast on a za’atar bagel?) have a California-crunchy quality that’s similar to the healthy fare that many mid-century Cambridge restaurants made. 

The bagels are a bit on the dense side to support the toppings on their open-face sandwiches. Black Sheep balances the sweeter taste profile of bread with a more savory flavor, which complements the toppings and fillings. If you’re looking for a great sandwich bagel, Black Sheep is the place to go. 

Levend Bagelry

📍100 Hanover St, Boston, MA 02108

If you’re in the Financial District and looking for a good breakfast or lunch option, check out Levend Bagelry. The distinctive crackling crust of their bagels allows toppings like salt and everything to seep into the dough, and the delicious umami flavor – which comes in part from the use of sourdough culture – is a nice complement to sandwich offerings like smoked salmon. 

Levend is the brainchild of Bolton native Alex Jong, who was disappointed in the frozen bagels and local chains available to Boston residents. The entrepreneur perfected his bagel recipe and sold his wares at pop-ups and farmer’s markets. When the Boston Public Market opened in 2015, Levend Bagelry was a natural fit for the market. If you’re picking up bagels in person, make sure to watch the employees roll and boil the dough–it’s fun to see how bagels get made! 

Better Bagels Boston

📍83a Seaport Blvd, Boston, MA 02210

The bagels made by this hole-in-the-wall bakery might remind you of a Kaiser roll. The swirled crust, with its flecks of cornmeal, and the chewy, layered insides give it a hybrid bagel/roll feel. Better Bagels’ bagels have a subtle, savory flavor, and their toppings don’t overpower the toppings and sandwich fillings. While they have a somewhat squishy texture, the fillings stayed in place. 

The bakers behind this low-key bagel shop made a name for themselves in the 2010s as the bagel suppliers for various high-end local restaurants. Their standalone storefront opened in the Seaport in 2017, where they sold out their grand opening weekend and have done great business ever since. 

Kupel’s Bakery

📍421 Harvard St, Brookline, MA 02445

If you want a real throwback, head out to Coolidge Corner for Kupel’s Bakery. This bakery opened on the site of the local chain Bagel King, and has been serving up traditional New York-style bagels and kosher baked goods for over four decades. 

The dough has a savory, yeasty flavor that borders on the bland, and some of the flavors of the toppings tend to overwhelm it. The dough strikes a satisfying medium between airy and dense, making this a great sandwich bagel. 

Bagelsaurus

📍1796 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02140

This small bagel shop has come a long way in the past nine years. Owner Mary Ting Hyatt started selling homemade bagels at the Brookline sandwich shop Cutty’s, developing unusual and delicious flavor combinations (honey-rosemary cream cheese on a salt bagel, anyone?) before opening a standalone bagel shop in Cambridge’s Porter Square. 

The use of a years-old sourdough starter gives Bagelsaurus’s bagels a pleasantly umami flavor that compliments the house-made cream cheese, and the crackly crust gives toppings a good grip without overwhelming the flavor of the dough. The texture of the bagels, however, falls solidly in the airy category, which means that some of the fillings might fall out. (The delicious smoked salmon tasted just as good eaten out of the bagel wrapper as it did on the bagel.) 

While these six bagel shops represent some of the best bagels Boston has to offer, they only represent the tip of the iceberg (bread-berg?). Did we miss your favorites? Sound off on Twitter or join us in the comments!

CHELSEA SPEAR is a frequent contributor to The Arts Fuse, Crooked Marquee, and Early Bird Books. Her byline has also appeared in Mental Floss, the Nashville Scene, and Star Trek Dot Com. She lives in Boston.

More Local Stories

Eat Play Stay Orlando: Sanford

On this episode of Eat Play Stay Orlando explore what’s new in the Northern part of town. Sanford has a plethora of breweries, bars, and delicious dining options to choose from.

Hometown Tragedy: The Pike County Massacre

On this episode of Hometown Tragedy: Missing in Milwaukee, we’ll explore what happened to Jerica Banks, her children, and how it impacted their community.

Six New Orleans parks that are perfect locations to celebrate 4th of July

Head to one of these six New Orleans parks to celebrate Independence Day in the city.

Cheap Date Orlando: Punk Rock & Pooches

Two Orlando couples shop vintage, search for the perfect slice, visit a post-apocalyptic saloon, and take the stage on blind dates in Orlando.

Fit and Fab: Free summer workouts in Boston

Cover photo courtesy Getty Images Looking to get fit for the summer? Still wary of COVID-19 or just looking for some sunshine while you sweat? Here are some Boston free summer workouts across the city so you can keep moving all season long! Seaport Sweat May 2 to Sept. 29 Boston’s biggest free workout series…

What’s On the Menu?: Farm-to-table

The farm-to-table movement brings locally grown foods to your plate. Not only will enjoying farm-to-table meals allow you to indulge in fresh, nutritional, seasonal dishes, but farm-to-table dining helps the environment and supports the local economy.  Check out these delicious farm-to-table restaurants in Greenville, South Carolina on the latest episode of What’s On the Menu?. …

A guide to some of the best Black-owned brunch spots in NOLA

Gather the crew together, make those reservations, and celebrate all things Black at brunch. 

A guide to Pittsburgh’s summer events must-do list

Check out our roundup below for the can’t-miss events happening in the city over the next few months.

Eat Play Stay Orlando: Tarpon Springs

In this episode of Eat Play Stay Orlando you’ll be transported to a thriving Greek community nestled on Florida’s gulf coast. From sponge diving to flaming cheese to a Greek bakery that supplies a ginormous amount of baklava to the entire country, you’re sure to fall in love with Greek culture in Tarpon Springs, Florida.

Dorchester doughnuts that pack a paczki

These traditional Polish pastries are the real deal.

Dorchester doughnuts that pack a paczki

These traditional Polish pastries are the real deal.

Cape Cod

Guide to a Weekend Getaway in Cape Cod

Let a naughty mermaid be your guide to a finger-licking, dune-humping, lobster-rolling, ghost-hunting good time in this charming and historic seaside community.

Blind Kitchen: All in the Family

Patrick Shea, Chef and Owner of CK Pearl and Decklyns in Essex and Gloucester and Chef Kladji Plaku, Chef de Cuisine at City Table, City Barn & Solas in Boston engage in a battle of culinary skill. Will a surprise guest judge change everything?

Exploring Somerville’s Bow Market

Between full-time tenants and temporary pop-ups, Bow Market has become the place to come try out a diverse offering by local small businesses.