Bagel Showdown- Toronto
North America has a love affair with the bagel.
As a child I hated eating sandwiches. However, pack a bagel smeared with a hearty portion of cream cheese and you will have one happy child at the lunch table. As mentioned, Toronto is home to one of the most diverse communities in the world. There is an abundant Jewish population, making bagel shops and bakeries prevalent within the city. To search for the best bagels offered in Toronto, Blog TO does a comprehensive list of ‘the bests’ in TO:
Last summer, my mom and I went through this list and tried their number 1, 3, 5, and 7 (did not intentionally choose odd numbers by the way!). We were not so impressed with blogTO’s number 1 choice, Gryfe bagels. The bagels at Gryfe do not regularly come out piping hot so this time we decided to resample 3, 5 and 7 to compare again which came out as the bagel champion. There are two types of bagels in Toronto: New York VS Montreal.
|Ingredients||Malt + salt||Malt + sugar|
|Baking Method||Boiled in water prior to bake||Boiled in honey-sweetened water and baked in wood fired oven|
|Appearance||Puffy, larger bagel||Smaller bagel, larger hole|
|Taste||Light fluffy interior||Chewy and sweet|
On the list: #7- What a Bagel
What a Bagel is a self-serve bakery chain with various locations across Toronto. We went to the What A Bagel that has a restaurant offering a sit down area for breakfast food. An array of bagels to choose from- sweet to savoury.
They regularly come out freshly made and nothing beats a hot piping bagel. There is also an array of bite sized treats from rugelache, filo pastry goods to mini chocolate croissants
They have a takeaway sandwich bar with a diverse range of cream cheese fillings.
The restaurant serves mainly breakfast goods. If you go for their egg option it comes with a choice of one side: fresh fruits/ salad/ sweet potato fries and a bagel of your choice.
Cinnamon and raisin bagel + vegetable omelette + sweet potato fries
A piping hot bagel is one of the pleasures of life. At What a Bagel, their bagels are New York styled- large, crunchy on the outside but light and fluffy inside. Hmmm. The sweet potato fries were also highly Moorish. When you have one, you just can’t stop!
Pancakes with Canadian Maple syrup
Living in Europe for the past 6 years, I’ve been subjected to European ‘pancakes’ which are thin and crepe like. No offense, but the North American in me loves her light and fluffy pancakes more. When these came out- the entire table was giddy with excitement- no more thin pancakes, we were finally back in the land of thick pancakes!
#5- Bagel House
Bagel House is located midtown serving the community fresh piping hot Montreal styled bagels. It is open 24 hours, make it extremely convenient for the locals in the area. For less than 6 dollars- I got the lunch special; roast beef mustard on pumpernickel sesame seed bagel with self-serve vanilla coffee.
Unlike What A Bagel, Bagel house bagels are wood-oven baked and smaller in size. They also have a chewier texture and at the end of each bite, there is a lingering sweetness which goes very well with the roast beef.
Roast beef was moist and tender- I know many people would have wanted more filling but, for me that would have detracted from the amazing bread. We also bought some to take home to sample- a cinnamon raison (my favourite) and an ‘everything’ bagel (so it has sesame, poppy seeds)
#3- St. Urbain Bagel This stall is part of St. Lawrence Market and also makes Montreal styled bagels. You can see the bagels freshly made to order behind the cashier.
We bought a dozen bagels- blueberry (in the front), onion, sesame, poppy seed, pumpernickel, and plain.
(in the picture two are missing since they were eaten – we couldn’t resist)
My favourite was the blueberry.
The bagels are St. Urbain are sweeter than Bagel House- and perhaps due to timing and lunch time rush, the bagels at St. Urbain were instantly off from the oven when we bought them. My verdict (drum roll please!) – from top to bottom 1. St. Urbain 2. Bagel House 3. What A Bagel. Next time I am eager to try the others on the list – it could be a bagel crawl!