10 Best Bagels In Montreal, Ranked

Poutine and meat sandwiches from Schwartz's are some of the most iconic foods to eat in Montreal. But a Montreal bagel is the crown jewel of the city. This historic baked good even dares to stand up against New York bagels, with many claiming it is the better of the two. We're not here to decide who's best between these North American rivals. After all, the bagels made in Montreal and those made in New York are completely different

Bagels made in Montreal are smaller, thinner, and contain a larger hole than their New York counterpart (via Daily Hive). In taste, Montreal bagels are sweeter and less salty. As for mouthfeel, Canadian bagels tend to be more dense and chewy (via HuffPost). Different recipes and baking methods explain these divergences in taste and texture. Montreal bagels are made with honey, eggs, and no salt, explaining their uniquely sweet flavor (via NPR). They also are hand-rolled before they are baked in a wood-fired oven, which contributes to their different appearance and texture, according to First We Feast. As for toppings, Montreal is not so different from what you'd see in New York. Flavored cream cheeses and savory breakfast foods are the usual add-ons.

Montreal is a bagel city, for sure. But the question is, where should you get them? This iconic food is sold at bagel shops and delis throughout the city. Read on to find out which are worth your time. These are the 10 best bagels in Montreal, ranked.

10. Bagel Etc

Bagel Etc was famously a favorite spot of musician Leonard Cohen. According to Eater Montreal, the Canadian singer-songwriter would order a bagel, bacon, eggs, and an allongé for his usual. An owner of Bagel Etc even once told the outlet, "Leonard Cohen was and always will be a great friend of the Bagel." Aside from having the approval of the beloved songwriter, Bagel Etc is a crowd-pleasing breakfast spot.

This particular Montreal diner serves one type of bagel: sesame. As it seems to be the top choice of bagel in the city, it's a safe bet to have on the menu. Per Bagel Etc's DoorDash profile, there is at least one type of cream cheese available, as well as smoked salmon toppings. There are also several different breakfast platters of potatoes, eggs, and protein sold here. Bagels are reportedly sourced from Fairmount, a nearby bagel shop in Montreal. Bagel Etc is not the only shop to source from other bakeries. A few others on the list source from Fairmount's competitor, St-Viateur.

This historic diner — open since 1982 (via Instagram) — has a long-running feud with Beautys (via Eater). The diners are located near each other and are both known for their bagels. Although the places are similar, Beautys sources its bagels from St-Viateur. Overall, Bagel Etc is worth mentioning as a place to enjoy Fairmount's beloved bagels with fixings in a charming diner setting.

9. Beautys

Beautys Luncheonette, which opened in 1942, is one of the oldest spots on this list. It is a vintage diner with an extensive menu, not just a bagel shop. The most famous dish from Beautys is "Mish-Mash," an egg hash made with hot dogs, salami, green bell peppers, and onions, according to the menu.

Bagel offerings at Beautys are not extensive. You can get a sesame seed bagel, shown on the spot's Instagram. There are limited cream cheese options, as well. The thing to get in terms of bagel sandwiches is called the "Beautys Special," also known as the "Big Mac." It is a smoked salmon bagel sandwich with tomato, red onion, and capers. This is the sandwich that culinary star Anthony Bourdain sampled on his travel show "The Layover" during the Montreal episode. After eating Beautys' bagel sandwich, the culinary celebrity was forced to reconsider Montreal bagels compared to his beloved New York bagels. Bourdain ended up revealing that he appreciated the crispness and sweetness of the Montreal-style bagel.

While all this is great to hear, we have to rank Beautys towards the bottom. The main reason is that it gets its bagels from St-Viateur, per Frommer's. If it wants to be ranked higher, it needs to make its own bagels.

8. Hinnawi Bros Bagel & Café

Like the last two spots, this business does not make its own bagels — it sources them from St-Viateur. It means that Hinnawi doesn't have its own recipe or bagel-making method. It could also mean that the bagels aren't always as fresh. By lunch, bagels shipped earlier that morning are getting a little stale. At least one Yelp reviewer noticed this occurrence at Hinnawi.

But Hinnawi had to do something to get our recommendation. For one, the spot sources great bagels that are deliciously sweet and dense (via Thrillist). Second, it turns those bagels into something beautiful: a variety of delicious bagel sandwiches. As Quartier Latin said of it, "Montreal is famous for its bagels, but have you tried bagel sandwiches? You can eat a St Viateur bagel in the form of a sandwich!" Hinnawi may not know how to make a bagel, but this place knows how to turn it into a savory meal.

At this small chain, you can get classic sandwiches like a bagel with cream cheese, a B.L.T., or an egg and cheese. Per the menu, there are even more unique sandwiches to choose from. The "Montreal" is made with smoked meat, cheddar, pickle, dijon, and mayo. The "Toronto" has grilled turkey, bacon, mozzarella, avocado, and tomato. If you want to venture away from cream cheese, Hinnawi Bros is the Montreal bagel spot for you.

7. R.E.A.L. Bagel

R.E.A.L. Bagel is a Montreal bagel shop hidden behind an unassuming storefront and casual interior. But the food is anything but average, with repeat customers bragging about their decades-long patronage (via Restaurant Guru). The shop's hard-shelled Montreal-style bagels are made in a wood-fired oven. Before you feel the crunch, you'll see the golden-brown color on R.E.A.L. 's treats.

This eatery makes classic bagel flavors such as sesame seed (especially popular in Montreal), poppy seed, and everything. But it has also sold trendier, more colorful bagels sold as part of the rainbow bagel trend. R.E.A.L. Bagel made red and green colored bagels for Christmas and blue bagels for Hanukkah, shown on Instagram. It even released a heart-shaped red and white bagel for Valentine's Day. These kitschy releases are exciting to some but may turn away others.

Reviews for the shop are positive to mixed, placing it near the bottom of this ranking but still earning it a mention. One review even described these bagels as unusually thick for a Montreal-style bite, saying that the goods served at R.E.A.L. "could serve as an introduction to the Montreal-style for those who are more familiar with American bagels." While this is a generous idea, we're looking for something more authentic.

6. Dizz's Bagels

The founders of Dizz's Bagels have decades of experience in the Montreal bagel business. According to the website, the original location of Dizz's opened in 1995. A second launched in 2019 in the neighborhood of Pointe-Claire. Both locations are beloved by the city's culinary community for "hand-rolled, hearth-fired bagels, complete with a secret ingredient that gives them a hint of sweetness," according to Dizz's Bagels online.

Per the menu, bagel flavors include classics like sesame seed, poppy seed, and pumpernickel. There are also more novelty bagel flavors, such as rainbow and french toast. The toppings selection is also a mix of the familiar and unique. Scallion and lox schmears are options, but so are rare flavors like birthday cake and black truffle cream cheese. For fans of a heartier bagel, there's a breakfast menu featuring various bagel sandwiches. You can even get a side of latkes and sour cream. Dizz's menu is unique, even for a bagel shop. It's a delicious blend of the crave-able and the unexpected.

The founders of Dizz's told the Montreal Gazette that its bagels are made to taste especially sweet — referencing that secret ingredient once again. At least one Yelp reviewer picked up on this sweetness, calling the bagels "A little on the sweet and heavy side." Even if not everyone agrees, we think focusing on sweetness and secrecy is unnecessary. Montreal bagels are traditionally made with honey. There's no need to make them even sweeter.

5. Beaubien Bagel

According to the bagelry's Facebook page, this casual Montreal bagel shop uses a wood-burning oven (in the traditional Montreal way) to produce its celebrated baked goods. In addition to bagels, you'll find bread, cookies, mini bagels, and other baked goods at this local favorite.

Thrillist described the eatery as "a barebones space in Little Italy," serving bagels with a crisp, crunchy exterior. According to the outlet, this spot's bagel flavors include sesame seed, onion, and blueberry. These offerings may seem similar to a New York-style bagel shop, but by just looking at the bagels, you can tell they are made the Montreal way. A Facebook photo shows dozens of them pouring out of a wood-burning oven, all with that signature large hole and golden-brown (almost burnt) looking shell.

The humble space is a standby for Montreal bagels, but it doesn't exactly stand out. Several Foursquare reviews complain about receiving a cold, stale bagel. One person wrote, "They're pretty good right out of the oven, but they become very average once they cool down." Another said that you must eat the bagels the minute they are bought. "Eat one fresh out of the wood oven as you leave the store," they advised. Beaubien Bagel is a good bet for getting a Montreal-style bagel in the city, but our top recommendations go to bakeries with a better reputation for freshness.

4. Bagels on Greene

It may have "bagels" in the name, but this Westmount business serves just about everything. Online, Bagels on Greene describes itself as "a one-stop shop for people in the neighbourhood, the local lunch place for workers around the area, and the catering guru for local businesses." The large size of the space — 4,000 square feet — is only part of the way that Bagels on Greene brings in a diverse clientele. Having an extensive menu also helps.

Sesame seed, pumpernickel, cinnamon raisin, and more familiar bagels are on the menu. Unlike other shops in the area that use honey to make Montreal-style bagels, Bagels on Greene uses molasses. Ingredients like Philadelphia cream cheese, smoked salmon, tomato, and other classic toppings can then be added to your order. But this section of the menu is just the tip of the iceberg. It's no wonder that MTL Blog called Bagels on Greene one of the best places for Dawson College students to eat, saying it's "guaranteed to fill you up during that study break."

The eatery offers several different sandwiches, salads, soups, and desserts. The menu gets international with Thai-inspired soups, Indian curries like Channa Masala, and Jewish pastries like rugelach. Reviews on Tripadvisor attest to the quality of everything offered. However, we prefer a more focused approach. This place is a good neighborhood spot but not the best place to experience Montreal bagels in particular.

3. Bagel St-Lo

Since 2014, Bagel St-Lo has been one of the most celebrated bagel spots in Montreal, especially in the neighborhood of Verdun, where it is located. On its website, the shop outlines a passion for supporting the surrounding neighborhood. "This is reflected as much in the choice of its various partners and suppliers as through the members of its dedicated team," writes Bagel St-Lo.

St-Lo offers sesame, poppy seed, and cheese bagels, per the shop's Instagram. Unlike many of the spots in Montreal, Bagel St-Lo also has a huge variety of cream cheese flavors. According to the menu, the cafe offers plain, chive, jalapeño, blueberry, and more. The menu also features different "Benedictines," varieties of eggs benedict, another specialty of Bagel St-Lo. Since the shop offers some more involved dishes, indoor seating is available for guests to completely relax and enjoy the food.

It may not be the oldest spot in town, but Bagel St-Lo is one of the most beloved. On Restaurant Guru, it is ranked the ninth-best out of nearly 5,000 cafes in Montreal. Cult MTL called it the third-best bagel shop in the city. Due to the many feuds in the city — (Beautys vs. Bagel Etc and Fairmount vs. St-Viateur) — this spot isn't always center stage. But this is one reliable bagel spot. We think it deserves more attention for its fresh, Montreal-style bagels.

2. Fairmount Bagel

Depending on who you ask, Fairmount Bagel is the second-best, or best, place to get a bagel in Montreal. On the internet, Fairmount Bagel seems to have less of a fan base. The Atlantic conducted a reader poll saying so in 2009. Local website CultMTL did a similar one in 2022 with the same results. Both times Fairmount came in second to a nearby competitor. Critics will say that Fairmount lacks the subtleties — not enough smokiness and too much sweetness.

It may be second in some people's eyes, but Fairmount Bagel was the first to open. According to its website, the location that still stands today opened its doors in 1949. Since then, it has maintained its reputation as a place with quality, Montreal-style bagels. Condé Nast Traveler recommends the place, saying, "Their recipe is what made Montreal the bagel capital of Canada, and Fairmount Bagel the best in the city." Gayot also approves. "The place serves up crunchy-crusted, slightly sweet bagels that are fresh-boiled-and-baked in front of guests," the outlet wrote.

Not only does this historic spot have an authentic recipe and a reputation for serving extra fresh bagels, but it has a huge amount of options. Fairmount even serves caraway seed bagels, a flavor that is lesser-known in the States. Cream cheese flavors are more familiar, with options like chives, onion, and strawberry.

1. St-Viateur

St-Viateur is one half of the real bagel feud — the one against Fairmount Bagel, not New York City. Fairmount is the oldest bagel shop, but St-Viateur is the longest continuously running (via New York Times). However, St-Viateur also opened in the 1950s, making it close in age to Fairmount. Truth be told, the places are very similar. As Frommer's writes, "Both bakeries make darn good bagels." The superiority of St-Viateur comes down to the details.

For one, St-Viateur sells bagels at two of the other most popular spots in Montreal: Beautys Diner and Hinnawi. Fairmount provides bagels to only one other top spot on this list: Bagel Etc. To add to the predominance of St-Viateur, the small chain now operates at least four different locations. It even has a food truck.

There is even more to love about this place. According to Bon Appétit, the spot is casual, and the food is meant for taking on the go. One Yelp user also preferred the shape, writing, "St-Viateur tends to make more attractive and functional bagels." We appreciate an authentically small, handheld bagel that can be enjoyed while exploring the city. St-Viateur wins in our eyes, but the battle rages on. In the end, at least two bagel spots stand above the rest, even if it's not always clear which is number one.