Best bagels photo
(Bill O'Leary)

Best bagels

Alex Baldinger  |  Updated 10/21/2011

We get it -- D.C. isn't New York City, and as anyone that espouses that bit of taxicab wisdom will tell you (and tell you, and tell you), there are simply no bagels worth their lox in or around the nation's capital. But until they open a Tal Bagels or a Zabar's down here, D.C. bagels will do just fine, thank you very much...provided you know where to look.

 

Bagel City

Rockville, MD

Rockville Pike can be an intimidating obstacle en route to bagel heaven, but this strip mall standby is worth the trip every time. Fresh bagels are churned out at a near-constant rate, and the hoopla over the tantalizing salt bagels is well-founded. Grab a freezer pack of Bagel City's pizza bagels for home.

 

Bagel Place

College Park, MD

If you can tolerate (or are among) the hordes of hungover college students occupying this College Park staple during the proverbial morning after, you'll find bagels that measure up well to Big Apple standards. Need proof? Thousands of the university's undergraduates hail from the New York/New Jersey area, and from what we've seen, they like the bagels just fine. Go for the Terrapin: your favorite bagel slathered with whipped cream cheese and then topped with even more cheddar.

 

Bethesda Bagels

Bethesda, MD

This humble bagelry occupies a spot along one of Bethesda's most well-heeled streets. It also has a tendency to out-duel its across-the-street neighbor, Georgetown Cupcake, for longest line on the weekend. Those willing to wait are rewarded with a crunchy, glistening exterior that conceals the chewy goodness within. Order yours toasted with roasted red pepper cream cheese if you want something a bit out of the ordinary.

 

Brooklyn Bagel Bakery

Arlington, VA

This Arlington favorite serves up plus-sized bagels that, while a bit on the doughy side, get the job done in a neighborhood lacking in options beyond Cosi and Bruegger's. The long line may be off-putting, but the service is efficient and, at times, reminiscent of a certain "Seinfeld" soup purveyor, meaning you'll be enjoying your bagel in no time.

 

Cafe Phillips

Washington, DC

Sometimes you just need a bagel sandwich to take the edge off a weekday morning, and for downtown workers, there's no better place to pick one up than this expanding local deli chain. There's nothing particularly fancy about the bagels here, but they toast up perfectly, and when they're given the crave test, they pass with flying colors. In fact, we're eating one right now. One downside: All Cafe Phillips locations are closed on weekends, so you'll still have to look elsewhere for your Sunday crossword bagel fix.

 

Calvert Woodley Liquors

Washington, DC

You don't expect to find a taste of New York inside a Van Ness liquor store, but then again, Calvert Woodley is no ordinary liquor store. The shop's delicatessen, La Cheeserie, trucks H&H Bagels into the store, and when combined with the robust selection of cheese, whitefish and baked goods, it might just be the closest thing we have to the famed Upper West Side institution Zabar's.

 

Chutzpah Deli

Fairfax, VA

You'll have to venture out toward Dulles to get there, but that journey won't be nearly as long as that of Chutzpah Deli's bagels, which arrive from New York City's H&H Bagels and are then baked in-store daily.

 

The Georgetown Bagelry

Bethesda, MD

If only political pundit George Will had known about the Georgetown Bagelry, tucked at one end of the Kenwood Station shopping center, he surely would have been more tolerant of the "angry anarchy" he saw in the parking lot and described in a 2009 column about the agitated state of the nation's Prius drivers. Our political commentary? They were all just trying to get their hands on a dozen of the bagelry's everything bagels.

 

Izes Deli & Bagelry

Rockville, MD

The bagels at Angie and Lee Greenberg's Rockville Pike joint are plump and delicious enough on their own, but they also house some of the best bagel sandwiches the area has to offer. Like the Empire: A toasted onion bagel that holds sliced roast beef, cheddar cheese and horseradish mayo in delectable balance; or the Cheese Please, which layers grilled ham atop scallion cream cheese and tomato. It's also impossible to pay Ize's a visit without grabbing a handful of the cinnamon-sugar bagel knots.

 

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