Bay Area Bites Guide to 10 Favorite East Bay Bagels

Over the last few years, the number of places to get a bagel in the Bay Area has increased, along with the diversity of bagels offered: the puffy, “roll with a hole” bagels California is infamous for have been jettisoned for more intriguing options. This list highlights ten of the best places to get a bagel in the East Bay, ranging from traditional New York style bagels to bagels with a decidedly Bay Area twist, like gluten-free bagels and vegan cream cheese.

Your favorite’s not on the list? Let us know in the comments.

Authentic Bagel is the product of two Rhode Island brothers who made their way West and decided to replicate the bagels of their childhood with the skills they picked up at culinary school. Their dense, chewy bagels are the result of an East Coast meets West Coast combination of their grandmother’s recipe and sourdough starter, with the same mentality extending to the rest of their menu: classics like a corned beef sandwich (a bagel piled high with their tender house made corned beef) share space with Bay Area friendly offerings like a tempeh and vegan cream cheese sandwich.  Don’t miss their custom Roast Co coffee blend or the bagel-sized chocolate chip cookies.

Authentic Bagel Company
463 2nd St, Oakland, CA 94607 [map]
Ph: (510) 459-1201
Hours: Wed-Mon 8am-3pm
Facebook: Authentic Bagel Company
Twitter: @BagelCo
Price Range: $ (Entrees $10 and under)

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Sometimes when you toast a bready bagel, there’s no textural difference between the crust and interior, just an endless flabby mass. The bagels that Baron Baking produces are the antithesis of that doughy hell: they’re a wonder, with a crunchy exterior that gives way to a pleasantly chewy interior. They’re available at several locations around the Bay Area, but Stag’s Lunchette gives them the royal treatment with their bagel plate, where they’re topped with a hefty portion of smoked trout.  Ex Saul’s Deli cook Dan Graf developed his recipe after a series of obsessive tests to discover what made the perfect bagel, and the care is evident in each bite. But don’t just take my word for it: even The New York Times approves.

Baron Baking
Available at Saul's Restaurant & Delicatessen, Chop Bar, Stags Lunchette and the Oakland Whole Foods.
Facebook: Baron Baking
Twitter: @BaronBaking
Price Range: $ (Entrees $10 and under)

The bagels at Beauty’s are the only ones in the East Bay made in the Montreal style: they’re boiled in honey water, baked throughout the day in their wood fired oven, then tossed in the air before being covered in toppings:

Beauty's Bagels owner Blake Joffe taking bagels out of their (10,000 pound) wood fired oven
Beauty's Bagels owner Blake Joffe taking bagels out of their wood fired oven

The process leaves the bagels with a crisp crust and tender interior.  Try one of their decadent lunch options (the fried chicken with beet coleslaw, or the After School Special with liver and pickled onions) on their exceptional salt and pepper bagel.

Beauty's Bagel Shop
3838 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94609 [map]
Ph: (510) 788-6098
Hours: Tue-Fri 7am-3pm, Sat-Sun 8am-3pm
Facebook: Beauty's Bagel Shop
Twitter: @beautysbagel
Price Range: $ (Entrees $10 and under)

Berkeley Bagels is a place of excess: You want choices? The staggeringly large menu stretches the length of the store’s wall. Like cream cheese? The ungodly amount they use is enough for three bagels. Fan of poppy seed bagels? How about upgrading to a Super Seed bagel? The bagel sandwiches are huge, the jalapeño cream cheese pleasantly spicy, and you won’t even resent them for the nap you’ll need afterwards.

Berkeley Bagels
1281 Gilman St, Berkeley, CA 94706 [map]
Ph: (510) 524-3104
Hours: Mon-Fri 6:30am-5pm, Sat 7am-5pm, Sun 7am-4pm
Price Range: $ (Entrees $10 and under)

The Berkeley institution makes one bagel, and it’s a good one: a pitch black, caraway heavy rye-pumpernickel option that’s not overwhelmingly bready, despite being made with the bakery’s sourdough starter. And it’s cheap: since it’s only a dollar, you’ll have money left over to grab something from the nearby cheese counter.

The Cheese Board Collective
1504 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley, CA 94709 [map]
Ph: (510) 549-3183
Hours: Mon 7am-1pm, Tue-Fri 7am-6pm, Sat 8am-5pm Bagels available Tue and Sat
Facebook: The Cheese Board Collective Twitter: @CheeseBoardColl
Price Range: $ (Entrees $10 and under)

If Beauty’s, Baron Baking and Authentic are part of a second wave of Bay Area bagel makers, Bagel St Café is unabashedly first wave: an unpretentious place to go for a large, stately bagels topped with excessive amounts of cheese and meats. The bagel flavors are creative (honey corn, pumpkin), the prices are low, and the thing to get is a pizza bagel, of which they offer an impressive five varieties, all piled high with toppings and boasting a layer of lightly browned, perfectly melted cheese.

Bagel Street Cáfe
2148 Center St Berkeley, CA 94704 [map]
Ph: (510) 704-0199
Hours: Mon-Fri 6am-6pm, Sat 7am-5pm, Sun 7am-5pm
Facebook: Bagel Street Cáfe
Price Range: $ (Entrees $10 and under)

This dependable Alameda institution boils and bakes their bagels every morning and sticks mainly to the classics (although they do offer honey butter as a topping and an intriguing sounding French toast bagel that was sold out when I got there) with good results: a supple bagel with a crispy crust that’s slightly taller and slightly larger than most. Order any of the deli sandwiches on a bagel for a towering, filling lunch.

Levy's Bagels & Co
730 Atlantic Ave, Alameda, CA 94501 [map]
Ph: (510) 523-1080
Hours: Mon-Fri 6am-5pm, Sat-Sun 6:30am-4pm
Price Range: $ (Entrees $10 and under)

The bagels at this gluten-free mecca are made from their standard blend of brown rice flour, potato starch and tapioca flour. The result?  A bagel with a slightly biscuit like quality, lightly browned exterior and a subtle sweetness, perfect for the "gluten freek” in your life.

Mariposa Baking Company
5427 Telegraph Ave, Unit D3, Oakland, CA 94609 [map]
Ph: (510) 595-0955
Hours: Mon-Fri 9am-6pm, Sat 9am-5pm, Sat 10am-5pm
Facebook: Mariposa, Artisan Crafted Gluten Free Bakery & Café
Twitter: @mariposabaking
Price Range: $ (Bagels $10 and under, other menu items $$, with entrees $11-$17)

While their name evokes an old school East Coast deli, the boiled then baked bagels at this Rockridge café are anything but traditional. (Turns out, the Brooklyn they’re referencing is not the New York borough, but a former city in Alameda County, now annexed to Oakland.) And that’s a good thing: while a Spinach Asiago bagel may not be authentic, Old Brooklyn’s version is delicious, solid enough to give your mouth a workout and not too bready. They offer the standard flavors like poppy seed and everything, but the real draw is the assortment of unusual bagel flavors—pesto, orange-cranberry--and intriguing toppings, like hummus and Nutella. Let the New York bagel snobs sneer. For anyone in the Bay Area that secretly enjoys Noah’s Bagels' wild flavors but who craves a better tasting option, Old Brooklyn’s are the perfect East meets West bagel.

Old Brooklyn Bagels & Deli
6000 College Ave, Oakland, CA 94618 [map]
Ph: (510) 658-4963
Hours: Mon-Fri 7am-5pm, Sat-Sun 8am-5pm
Facebook: Old Brooklyn Bagels & Deli
Price Range: $ (Entrees $10 and under)

Odd Bagel’s bagels are a revelation for several reasons: not only did owner Brent Woodard manage to create a gluten-free bread product with no lingering chemical aftertaste or bizarre texture, he also managed do so without any eggs, making them probably the most inclusive bagels in the country. Most impressive, however, is the fact his bagels don’t taste good for being a gluten-free bagel. They just taste good, period: dense, chewy and satisfying.

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Odd Bagel
Currently available at Saul's Restaurant & Delicatessen in Berkeley and Miglet's Gluten-Free Bakery & Grocery in Danville. Will soon be available on Good Eggs and other retailers.
Facebook: Odd Bagel
Twitter: @OddBagel
Price Range: $ (Entrees $10 and under)

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