New York's Best Bagel & Lox: Zucker's Bagels and Smoked Fish

Bagel Oasis, Ess-a-Bagel, Brooklyn Bagel & Coffee Company and Sable's Smoked Fish in top five

A bagel with lox represents what we love most about sandwiches. Bagels are not originally from New York. Lox are not originally from New York. But it was New Yorkers who created this mash-up, and the result is one of the most sublime sandwich combinations to grace a deli counter.

  • Mile End
    New York

    Named for the artsy neighborhood in Montreal. Mile End is the name of a Brooklyn delicatessen and a Manhattan sandwich shop that brings Montreal flavors to the New York bagel scene. The bagels are a little smaller and denser with a touch of honey, and the meats carry a flair of Montreal seasoning. The bagel and lox comes with an inspiring quantity of old fashioned belly lox, cream cheese, red-onion slices and a tomato on a warm bialy. Can’t go wrong with this New York Classic with a twist.
    Photo courtesy of Jeremy Keith / Flickr

  • Russ & Daughters
    New York

    This New York institution has been around for over 100 years. Only the highest grade and freshest fish gets smoked to perfection; each salmon in their collection is known for its unique characteristics depending on its sea of origin, diet, size and smoking process. They only slice by hand at Russ & Daughters and each order is fulfilled by a master slicer.
    Photo courtesy of Todd Chalfant / / NYC & Company

  • Murray's Bagels
    New York

    Open for nearly 20 years, Murray’s prides itself on hand-crafted methods to produce their delectable bagels. Their amazing selection of bagels – 13 in total – are hand-rolled and made fresh every day from just a few simple ingredients. The process, handed down through generations, turns these simple ingredients into something “a bit magical.” They boast the right combination of crispy crust and chewy inside and have a strict “no toasting” rule. Murray’s pairs their bagels with great ingredients, including a selection of lox.
    Photo courtesy of Violet Faversham / Flickr

  • Tompkins Square Bagels
    New York

    A relative newcomer to the bagel landscape, Tompkins Square Bagels are hand-rolled, kettle boiled and oven baked on planks. Tompkins claims their bagels are "simply the best you can get” – a claim that's difficult to dispute.  The cream cheese is even better ,with 27 varieties and an additional 11 tofu spreads.  A fan-favorite is the wasabi cream cheese and lox combo.
    Photo courtesy of Tompkins Square Bagels

  • H&H Midtown Bagels East
    New York

    Opened in 1974 and under new ownership since 1979, H&H has continued its legacy of making New York Bagels the old-fashioned way. They are hand-rolled, kettle boiled and baked on burlap-covered wood boards in vintage revolving tray ovens. This labor-intensive process, they claim, is essential to making the perfect bagel. With upwards of 20 bagels selections, as many cream cheese options and top notch Nova Scotia smoked salmon, it's no wonder this establishment is still beloved by locals and visitors alike.
    Photo courtesy of H&H Midtown Bagels East

  • Sable's Smoked Fish
    New York

    Claiming the best smoked salmon, sturgeon and caviar in the world is not taken lightly in New York, but Kenny and Danny Sze stand by that claim. Originally from Hong Kong, neither spoke English when they arrived in 1972 and began learning their craft at various New York fish houses. In 1990 they opened their own shop, now considered among the New York greats.
    Photo courtesy of Sable's Smoked Fish

  • Brooklyn Bagel & Coffee Company
    New York

    With three locations in Queens and one in Manhattan, Brooklyn Bagel and Coffee Company utilizes old-school baking methods to ensure the classic combination of crunchy exterior and chewy center that a classic New York Bagel should have. With an astonishing 17 bagel varieties, they also offer spelt bagels so those with gluten sensitivities can enjoy this New York favorite. They have upwards of 20 spreads and introduce a spread of the week to surprise and delight patrons. Delicious lox top it all off.
    Photo courtesy of Ryan Raffa / Flickr

  • Ess-a-Bagel
    New York

    In a food culture where smaller is often touted as better, Ess-A-Bagel claims – without shame-- that they have the largest bagels in the city. The story goes that there was an error in the refrigeration process of the dough that caused the bagels to puff up beyond the normal size. The response was so great to the oversized bagels that the error was re-created and locals and tourists alike now flock here in droves to wait in line. Ess-a-Bagel doesn’t stop at its 16 varieties of bagels, they also offer close to 20 varieties of cream cheese, and a spread of great lox.
    Photo courtesy of Ess-a-Bagel

  • Bagel Oasis
    Queens

    If you find yourself in need of a bagel fix in the middle of the night, hope you are near Bagel Oasis, as they are open 24/7 every day of the year. They are open and honest about their old-school baking practices; they blend water with flour, salt and malt syrup (instead of sugar) and then boil them in a kettle before they hit the oven. Bagel Oasis hasn't changed a thing about this formula since they opened in 1961. They offer 16 varieties of bagels and 15 cream cheese spreads with lox to help create a customized bagel and lox sandwich.
    Photo courtesy of Bagel Oasis

  • Zucker's Bagels and Smoked Fish
    New York

    On opening day of Zucker’s owner Matt got word that his bagel machine operator could not report to work. In a scramble, he found someone who could hand-roll and kettle-boil bagels, and the response to the bagels was so fantastic the business model changed immediately. The machine was destined to collect dust. Zucker's pairs their bagels with lox from Acme Smoked Fish, a four generation institution out of Brooklyn.
    Photo courtesy of Zucker's Bagels and Smoked Fish / Facebook

USA TODAY 10Best and Sandwich America asked readers to vote for their favorite bagel & lox in New York, and after four weeks of voting, the results are in.

The top 10 winners in the category Best Bagel & Lox in New York are as follows:

  1. Zucker's Bagels and Smoked Fish
  2. Bagel Oasis
  3. Ess-a-Bagel
  4. Brooklyn Bagel & Coffee Company
  5. Sable's Smoked Fish
  6. H&H Midtown Bagels East
  7. Tompkins Square Bagels
  8. Murray's Bagels
  9. Russ & Daughters
  10. Mile End

A panel of experts picked the initial 20 nominees, and the top 10 winners were determined by popular vote. Experts Doug Keiles (Ribs Within BBQ Team) and Maria Lisella (10Best Local Expert) were chosen based on their familiarity with New York's dining scene.

Other best bagel & lox nominees included 2nd Ave Deli, Absolute Bagels, Barney Greengrass, Best Bagel and Coffee, Black Seed Bagels, Gotta Getta Bagel, Hot Bialys & Bagels, Sadelle's, Shelsky's Of Brooklyn and Zabar's.

Congrats to all our winning bagel shops, and keep this list handy next time you're feeling hungry in the Big Apple.

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Jennifer Daskevich

Jennifer Daskevich

Terry French

Terry French

Doug Keiles

Doug Keiles

Maria Lisella

Maria Lisella