by Nick D'Arienzo
Feb 25, 2009 | 50208 views | 0 0 comments | 3129 3129 recommendations | email to a friend | print
While it may be the case that the economy seems to have temporarily removed things like the occasional steak and lobster from our dining habits, it surely doesn’t mean that there aren’t a whole host of other places we ought to be looking for value these days. Nor does it mean that we have to give up EVERY-thing we love. For one thing, we’re always going to love our bagels, wouldn’t you say??? Wouldn’t you??? (Anyway, here’s a couple of places we particularly love here at “BEST OF THE BEST,” so keep noshing, people!)



71-02 Grand Avenue

(718) 478-4343

CS BAGELS are without question among the best you’re going to find anywhere. They’ve been at it for more than ten years at this point, and do a huge business in bulk deliveries to various diners, coffee shops, etc. who know where to get the good stuff. Chewy, doughy, fluffy – all true absolutely, but where CS BAGELS really shines is the variety of spreads they offer, and in Tofu and Low-Fat variations, too. (Walnut Raisin and Chive Onion are particular favorites of ours here, by the way.) But we really dig CS BAGELS at lunchtime, as well, when we just can’t decide between Egg Salad, Tuna Salad, or Chicken Salad. Mind you, CS BAGELS will cost you just a wee bit more than some other places you could go, but then again, it’s also a café (with some terrific wraps and paninis, too), and you know what, it’s well worth it. (A word to the wise, though – make sure you get out of here before I.S. 73 spills out onto the streets of Maspeth, because this tends to be their first port of call!)

Forest Hills


107-09 71st (Continental) Avenue

(718) 793-1640

The thing that always strikes me about how you can tell GOTTA GETTA BAGEL is such a happening destination – and the first thing you notice as you pass by! – is the way the windows fog up as the masses crowd the place as early as possible each morning. (And by the way, please do not ever think you’re going to get a seat in here – it’s extremely rare!) All of which is a tremendous, tremendous good sign that you’re in exactly the right place for a great bagel. They’re all to your left as you line up facing the counter – like Rye, Onion Pumpernickel, and just about the best Everything bagel you’re going to find. Meanwhile, along your right side, you’ve got a vast array of beverage options – Tropicana, Snapple, Poland Spring, etc. But what we feel really sets GOTTA GETTA BAGEL apart from so many others – this is where you go for truly delectable (and authentic) spreads like Whitefish Salad, Chopped Herring, etc. (Or perhaps Garlic & Herb cream cheese, or Sun Dried Tomato & Egg is more to your liking.) Either way, you certainly can’t go wrong here, no matter what you decide. And by the way, when you finally do make it up to the counter, you’re probably going to want to peek down at the Rugelach they’ve got right there, and ask that a couple of those be thrown in your bag, too!

Fresh Meadows


183-12 Horace Harding Expressway


Literally a stone’s throw from the LIE, the venerable BAGEL OASIS is exactly that, an oasis of calm along the expressway’s service road that is a lot cleaner, a lot brighter, and a whole lot nicer than you might expect if you were just driving by. “We’re Not Good by Accident, We’re The Best On Purpose” is their motto here, and it’s a rather fitting one at that. They’ve been serving the community since 1961, but the brains behind BAGEL OASIS these days is Jon Bendrihem and the extra hours and tremendous commitment he puts into the place clearly shows. Everything is unassailably fresh here – which is definitely saying something when your establishment’s open 24/7. The reason, as Bendrihem points out, “We don’t do just one or two bake-outs like some places.” Salt, Everything, Pumpernickel, they do it all here, and you’ll probably notice they do a pretty substantial Flagel (flat bagel) business, too – certainly more than most other places. As for spreads, cream cheeses like Scallion, or Strawberry and Blueberry, are among the most popular, but if it’s lunchtime when you arrive (or perhaps the wee small hours of the morning), you ought to take special note also of their outstanding Chicken Salad here. Regulars swear by it (and we heartily agree!) – it’s among the creamiest and freshest you’re ever going to taste. (Hey, by the way, if you’re looking for an added taste treat here, make sure you get a Salt Stick or two, a nice little pretzel-like creation that sure packs a whole lot of flavor into just a couple of bites.)

Rego Park


63-56 Woodhaven Boulevard

(718) 507-0839

Whether you’re “Guy The Writer,” “Wally B.S.” or any of the cops, firefighters, doctors, lawyers, etc. who might stop in here, everybody who visits ADAM’S BAGEL & DELI gets called “Boss” – but with a tremendous sense of affection and respect. It’s a great place to come for quick and great service, and their bagels – proudly on display right before your eyes the moment you enter – are always fresh. The other thing, they really know how to melt butter here, and any toasted, buttered bagel – Salt, Onion, Everything – always puts a particularly sunny smile on our face. It should be pointed out that ADAM’S BAGEL & DELI is open 24 hours, and while some of their other breakfast offerings (like the Big Bite on a Roll!) are pretty great, so too are their heroes and paninis like “The God Father,” or their “Here’s The Beef.” Not only that, but it’s also the perfect place to pick up a newspaper while you’re waiting!



754 Metropolitan Avenue

(718) 782-5856

If you can stand the almost-huffy hipsterism of the huddled masses who fill this place every weekend, this is without a doubt one of the most inventive bagel places around. Nowhere else are you going to find, for example, their newest creations like Raisin Bran bagels, or even Jalapeno Cheddar. Also of note, and the thing that first got us hooked on this place: their unparalleled, unforgettable French Toast bagel. But where THE BAGEL STORE really stands out is its eclectic variety of cream cheese spreads, too – like Blueberry, Pumpkin, Cannoli. And if you like what you see here (and taste here), you should also know that they specialize in a one-of-a-kind Party Bagel, for $30. Now, that’s some serious bagel making, folks!



188-02 Union Turnpike

(718) 217-7755

To say that they know from bagels at BAGELS & CO. would be, to put it mildly, a tremendous understatement. The fact that said bagels are in racks on the wall, high above the counter, gives you some idea of their lofty stature at this popular kosher enclave. Everything’s fresh here, and they’ve got a number of popular breakfast spreads – Walnut Raisin, Garlic & Herb, among others – but to be honest, in our humble opinion, it’s lunchtime where BAGELS & CO. really grabs us. That probably has a lot to do with their Baked Salmon spread, for example, or their Whitefish Salad, or their Israeli Tuna. (And come to think of it, we probably ought to include a little hummus or baba ghanoush to that mix, because both are really good here.) What can we say, in a neighborhood with a demanding and discerning palate, BAGELS & CO. really stands out.

Middle Village



79-05 Metropolitan Avenue

(718) 326-8510

It’s officially called P&C BAGELS, but you’ll probably know it as HOT BAGELS, right there in the Village Square mini-mall on Metro. Your first clue that you’ve found the right place is the long lines that populate this establishment on mornings and weekends. (It moves quickly, though, and is well worth it!) Along your left while you’re waiting, a whole host of beverage options, one of the most extensive we’ve seen – Tropicana, Snapple, Boylan, Arizona, vitaminwater, etc. And in the glass cases to your right, some of the creamiest and freshest-looking spreads around – Chive Onion, Scallion, Walnut Raisin, etc. But what distinguishes them – like their Chocolate Chip cream cheese and Strawberry cream cheese, in particular, are the actual chips themselves, the actual strawberries themselves, right on top of each freshly whipped tub. The secret to the success of this place is clearly the hard work of the ladies Tamburello, namely mom Angela Rojas, and her daughters Francesca and Agnes. Their friendly and sunny energy is exactly what we need on Sunday mornings. And they make some darn good eggs and bacon, too! (PS – There is also a second location – appropriately called HOT BAGELS II – at 82-01 Eliot Avenue, laid out in exactly the same fashion, but we have to confess we found it slightly cramped, and the service just a tad less pleasant. But then, it’s always hard to improve on the original – and their bagels still happened to be as delectable and delightful as those on Metro, which after all, is really what matters most.)

Kew Gardens


81-09 Lefferts Boulevard

(718) 847-1930

“Wow, wow, wow” were the first words that came into our head as we bit into an Everything bagel here, toasted and buttered to perfection. Slightly sweet, slightly tart, creamy, chewy… yum! There’s quite a bit of seating here at BAKER’S DOZEN, with a nice panoramic view of one of our favorite little strips going, that section of Lefferts between Grenfell and Austin. We were politely warned that starting this week, their Wednesday special of a dozen bagels for $6.00, would now go up to $7.00, but you know what, people, that’s still a heck of a bargain. Great soups here, too, by the way, and the perfect stop before heading into the city via the LIRR, or even some quick noshing before a movie at the KEW GARDENS CINEMAS next door.



247 Bedford Avenue

(718) 218-7244

Well, this is absolutely the largest bagel emporium we ever did see, what with its expansive seating area, and huge cathedral-style two story windows looking out onto Bedford and North 3rd. But more importantly, this is an establishment which prides itself on even bigger flavors. The bagels are top-notch, chewy, doughy, tasty, but it’s the spreads where they excel here: Pumpkin cream cheese, Cake Batter cream cheese, Cannoli cream cheese, in fact, more than you can even take in at first glance. And then there’s this unforgettable creation – their French Toast Bagel, which is best enjoyed with, yep, butter and syrup. (For lunch, we were impressed by a variety of different kinds of chicken, too – Grilled Chicken, Lemon Chicken, Buffalo Chicken.) And while we definitely wish the coffee could have been better, the congenial woman at the cashier who tells everyone, “Enjoy your bagel, have a nice day” (and the sure-to-come-in-handy bathroom!) more than make up for it.



28-12 Ditmars Boulevard

(718) 728-5169

Loved, loved, loved the ASTORIA BAGEL SHOP. And don’t let the low ceiling here fool you. This may look like a small place, but it’s all about big, big bagels, and even bigger flavors. It still boggles the mind, but somehow this may be the only place you’ll find where the bagels are soft and chewy on the inside, but slightly crusty and crunchy on the outside. And it’s contrasts like that which often make our taste buds even more appreciative than usual, isn’t it? We decided to try a Shrimp Salad Sandwich here for lunch one day (on an Everything bagel), and oh what a perfect selection that turned out to be! Delightfully creamy, with the tiniest and tenderest shrimp you’ve ever had, and packed with the kind of flavor that instantly puts a smile on your face. (By the way, bags and bags of bagel chips for sale at the counter here, as well – consider yourself advised to make sure you take one of those home, too!)



19-09 Utopia Parkway

(718) 352-2586

A little bit out of the way, near 19th Avenue and Utopia Parkway, but definitely worth the trip. Firstly, one of the largest seating areas you’re going to find. But more so, some of the most inventive flavors you’re going to find, too. Spinach Bagels, Cheddar Cheese Bagels, Sourdough Bagels, Egg Bacon Bagels. And when I remarked that a certain spread looked pretty appetizing, I was immediately asked if I wanted to try it first. Now, that’s something you don’t see every day. By the way, it was Garlic & Cheese (a cool combination of red and yellow) and spread atop an Egg Bacon Bagel – what’s the phrase, “indescribably delicious.” Because, you know what, I think you’re just going to have to get there and try one yourself!



788 Manhattan Avenue

(718) 349-2222

This second installment of the BAKER’S DOZEN outfit is by far one of the most fun bagelries we visited. The staff clearly have a good time working here, and especially on the weekends, the spacious airiness of the place, combined with some pretty upbeat music, really makes it an appealing breakfast/brunch/lunch destination. Spreads here always seem to look a little fresher than most, probably because they’re kind of whipped to a neat curl, something that definitely makes them that much creamier looking and far more appetizing than some of the static cross-hatching that other places do. Having said that, we absolutely flipped for the Jalapeno Cream Cheese here, one of the best combinations of tart and spicy with cool and sweet that we’ve ever had - even on a Plain Bagel. (And by the way, they also make some fantastic soups here, and have a nice special on Soup ‘n’ a Bagel, for as little as $3.25 depending upon the type of spread – something you can bet we’ll be checking out next time we visit!)

CORRECTION: In a prior version of this story, we incorrectly referred to local scribe (and ADAM'S BAGEL & DELI patron) Guy Arseneau as "Gary The Writer." He is, and ever shall be, "Guy The Writer." Sorry, Guy!
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