If you want to truly woo and win me over, just put a ring on it. And make sure that ring is palm-sized, coated in sesame and poppy seeds and shmeared to perfection. A proper bagel fills your tummy with carbs, salt and a lot of love. Luckily in Atlanta, we’ve got some standout bakeries and Jewish delis that know the proper balance of crusty outside, squishy inside and enough surface area to capture the ideal ratio of cream cheese to lox.
Here are a few of our favorite hot spots for Atlanta bagels, serving the most heavenly, halo-shaped breakfast goodies. Whether you travel OTP, ITP or somewhere in between, these authentic Atlanta bagel restaurants are all worth the schlep.
We can’t have a story about Atlanta bagels without including Goldbergs at the top of the list. This New York-style delicatessen, started in 1972, is the OG of Atlanta bagels – so much so that in addition to the six locations throughout the Metro area, Goldbergs has locations at busy Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport as well as The Battery Atlanta. Besides their fabulous po’ boys (that come in wonderful choices like salami, corned beef and turkey), it’s Goldbergs’ bagels that have kept such a strong fanbase. There are more than 32 flavors, as well as plain and onion bialys (think of them like Jewish English muffins – whereas bagels are boiled, these are baked with a hole that doesn’t quite go through). And the only way to truly enjoy their crusty breads is by smothering them in homemade Goldbergs cream cheese (I’m partial to lox or chive, but there’s green olive or pumpkin for the more adventurous). Want something with a bit more protein in the morning? Goldbergs’ egg-and-cheese bagel sandwich is a little bite o’ heaven (my go-to: everything bagel with cheddar cheese and scrambled eggs). And on those colder afternoons, make sure to order their homemade chicken noodle soup with matzah balls (think of an airy, matzah meal dumpling), served with a side of their famous bagels in sliced chip form.
You can’t go wrong on the Goldbergs menu. In fact, if you ever need to reach me in person, check my house first, then try the Goldbergs at Toco Hills – you’ll probably find me with a warm bagel in one hand and a big, cream-cheesy smile on my face.
2869 N. Druid Hills Road, Atlanta, GA 30329 • (404) 315-9016
Hours: Sunday through Thursday, 6:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 6:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Speaking of Toco Hills, there’s a fierce bagel rivalry in this shopping center with Bagel Palace Deli & Bakery. Though not as flashy or fancy as some of its competitors, Bagel Palace has a loyal following because of their traditional roots and dedication to keeping their family recipes alive. The list of offered bagels is fairly standard (everything, poppy, garlic), but it’s Bagel Palace’s cream cheese flavors that are walks on the wild side – pineapple, peach pecan, lemon, vanilla walnut raisin and more. Whether you go exotic or traditional, make sure to try Bagel Palace’s excellent fish salads and appetizers. It may sound scary to those of you without a Bubbe or who never lived back east, but I promise creamy whitefish salad pairs perfectly with a bagel, and chunks of sable and lox only enhance an already delish breakfast sandwich.
Try to save room in your stomach after that bagel feast, and hit up Bagel Palace’s delectable bakery. Grab a black and white cookie for the road and a box of rugelach in flavors like apricot, chocolate and raspberry, and chocolate chip mandlebrot (like a Jewish biscotti).
1257A Glenwood Ave., Atlanta, GA 30316 • (404) 343-3758
Hours: Monday through Friday, 6 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Saturday & Sunday, 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Welcome to the new kid on the Atlanta bagel block. Opened earlier this year, Emerald City Bagels is a simple restaurant with one goal — to offer the best bagels to Atlanta patrons. The East Atlanta restaurant has a nostalgic feel — the bakers, clad in wedge caps, painstakingly prepare their bagels and call customers by name to pick up their order, where they can eat it at the counter, facing Glenwood Avenue, or take it on the go. When a bagel flavor runs out, it’s out, so visit Emerald City early to make sure and try wonderful flavors like rosemary sea salt and jalapeño cheese. Their dill cream cheese is one of the best toppings I’ve ever tried (and I consider myself a bagel connoisseur). It’s bursting with dill flavor and is fantastic on their belly lox sandwich with cucumber and pickled red onion. If you splurge and add capers to that combo, stick with a basic bagel flavor (like plain or poppy seed) so the fillings really get highlighted. Rounding out that feel of the past, Emerald City Bagels offers time-tested beverages like house-made seltzer and egg cream.
The mother-daughter team of Deanna and Jackie Halcrow opened Emerald City Bagels after making and supplying bagels in Atlanta for years. The familial connection, combined with the sentimental look and feel of a deli from the past, has already started to build a new bagel dynasty focused on good food and human connection.
1540 Avenue Place, Atlanta, GA 30329 • (678) 927-9131
Hours: Breakfast, Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.; Lunch, Monday through Friday, 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.; Dinner, Sunday through Thursday, 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. and Friday & Saturday, 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.; Brunch, Saturday and Sunday, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Deli, Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Chef Todd Ginsberg has created a modern American restaurant inspired by classic New York Jewish delis. His menu elevates traditional fare and shows a new side to the favorites, including The General Muir’s hand-rolled, kettle-boiled bagels. The list of bagel and cream cheese flavors may not be as long as some of the others on this list, but it’s the quality and how The General Muir creates fantastic open-faced sandwiches that’ll keep you coming back. If you want a classic bagel combo, go with their Avenue D, featuring lox, a schmear of cream cheese, salmon roe, cucumber and chives. I would recommend the Avenue C as it features one of my favorite ingredients: smoked trout salad. I could spread their smoked trout on crackers, cucumbers, toast, probably on my car bumper, and be a happy girl – it’s that good. The General Muir serves it with crème fraîche, pickled onions and parsley, all on the bagel of your choosing. The restaurant also has some delicious offerings for lunch and dinner, including deli classics like a stuffed reuben bursting with corned beef, Russian dressing and sauerkraut, and larger plates like duck breast with sweet potatoes and stewed kumquats, and red wine-braised short ribs with black trumpets, kale and turnips. And by the way, you will be doing a disservice to your taste buds and stomach if you don’t leave room for dessert — the pastry department makes all their creations in-house and offers insanely delectable items like Brooklyn blackout cake (lots o’ layers), chocolate babka (my personal favorite), cinnamon rolls and much more.
770 McFarland Pkwy., Alpharetta, GA 30004 • (770) 475-1818
Hours: Monday through Friday, 6 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.
When it comes to bagel loyalty, BB’s Bagels is serving it by the dozens. This Alpharetta bakery opened in 2007 and has built a huge fan base for their crunchy yet chewy water-boiled bagels and their super creative cream cheeses. Seriously, the regular bagel flavors and specialty ones are great (the French toast bagel is rad), but the taste gets even better with one of their creamy spreads. BB’s Bagels displays their cream cheese like vats of gelato with one-of-a-kind flavors like olive pimento (salty), horseradish bacon (savory), apple cinnamon crunch (tangy), Kit Kat (exactly what you’re thinking – sinfully sweet) and lots more. Besides the spreads, BB’s Bagels offers a huge menu of breakfast goodies including delectable omelette platters, breakfast burritos and fluffy buttermilk pancakes. Trust me, BB’s Bagels is definitely worth the drive!
Whether you like them shmeared, toasted or stuffed with tasty fillings, Atlanta bagels are always good for a nosh. And don’t forget to bring a dozen home — breaking
bagel bread is the universal way to connect.
Find more amazing places to dine in and around Atlanta in our “Food & Dining” section. Click HERE!