Oh holy bagels, how we love thee. For many of us, carbs are the firmly in enemy territory until confronted by the humble bagel. It is the perfect dense, chewy vessel to let our favourite ingredients shine. While gluttonous (and glutinous), we’ll always make an exception for these rotund beauties.
We absolutely cannot get enough of bagels, and judging by their popularity at eateries Auckland-wide, neither can you. Almost every place that feeds the hungry masses in this city seems to offer a bagel of some description on their menu and here’s our pick of the lot.
Auckland CBD, Newmarket
They may not be the prettiest bagels around, but Al’s bagels are perfection in the flavour stakes. Wood-fired in a manuka wood oven, Best Ugly’s unique and unsightly misshapen bagels have a face that only a hungry Aucklander could love. Many of the other places on this list use these very bagels as their base, but it’s pretty hard to beat one straight from the source. With their trademark crispy exterior and chewy insides, these bagels are quite honestly fantastic topped with anything at all from the menu at their City Works Depot and Newmarket stores.
Must-try: If we have to choose just one, we’d have to go with the modest TAB: tomatoes, avo, basil and fennel olive oil. Those with a sweet tooth will go nuts for the bananarama topped with indulgent maple mascarpone, chocolate sauce, peanuts and slices of fair-trade banana. Ok that’s two; we suggest going with an equally bagel-obsessed friend and splitting both.
Let the masses lead you to bagel heaven. You certainly need not take our word on this one. Simply stroll past (of course we mean drive—this is Auckland after all) on a weekend morning and you’ll see for yourself. People simply flock to this minuscule joint for their bagel fix. Goodness Gracious’ menu is seriously extensive, and almost every option comes sitting atop a perfectly chewy bagel. We’re yet to try something from GG that hasn’t quite hit the mark, so you really can’t go wrong.
Must-try: We’re gonna go with veggie again—their vege bagel is packed with the fresh flavours of avocado, tomato, halloumi, rocket, aioli, tabasco and tomato pesto. But, if you’re like us and suffer from chronic menu anxiety or order envy, go for the sampler that lets you choose three options served on mini bagels.
New Lynn, you’re really stepping up your game! The Tannery with its wood-paneled walls and exposed ceiling reminds us of our granddad’s shed but is far more deserving of a centerfold in an interiors magazine. This Westie spot does a whole hoard of killer bagel options for you to fret over. Using the infamous Best Ugly Bagels, there’s a mix of old classics and seasonal specials to keep things interesting.
Must-try: The current seasonal spesh: ricotta and figs on a cinnamon raisin bagel drizzled with honey—100x yes.
Vulcan Lane Bagels
Most inner-city slaves will be familiar with this little hole in the wall bagel spot. Vulcan Lane Bagels have capitalised on bagels as a quick, easy and delicious breakfast or lunch, just perfect for time poor phlebs on the run. Great flavour combos on the perfect vessel—what more could you want on your way to that dreaded morning meeting?
Must-try: For when you slept in or had a slightly big one on a work night (we’ve all been there), try the scrambled eggs with prosciutto and thyme.
There’s possibly no more of a classic bagel flavour than the old salmon and cream cheese. At this favourite Victoria St hangout of uni students and suits alike, they do this just so well. It’s simple in the best way possible, and the presentation is spot on. Scarecrow’s meticulously rolled up spirals of salmon elevate it to a little work of art. Props for the locally smoked salmon from Matakana Smokehouse too.
Must-try: It’s the only option but we’d pick it from a long list any day—the salmon bagel with cream cheese, capers, red onion and avocado.
Geeks on Sainsbury
Morningside for life! These geeks know a good bagel when they see one, and they’ve got a solid selection to pick from. There’s something for everyone, from a bacony brute to a wellness warrior-friendly kale and pecan pesto. Geeks on Sainsbury is perched on an unassuming suburban corner and is a favourite with families and groups of brunching friends.
Must-try: The bagelfied BLT—bacon hock, lettuce, tomato, chutney and melted gouda. This will save your Sunday morning for real.
Little Bird Unbakery
Ponsonby, Kingsland, Auckland CBD
Ok, so maybe bagels need not be an indulgence. Do your gut a favour and give the raw bagel from Little Bird Unbakery a go. You may be understandably suspicious of a raw piece of bread, but trust us here. Raw bread proves to be seriously delicious in these bagels, and filling too—with this many seeds you’ll be feeling more like a bird than our old mate Nelly Furtado.
Must-try: The avocado, kraut and alfalfa will give your digestive system a much needed helping hand while remaining solidly in the delicious category with all that avo.
If you’re lucky enough to work in the area or are one of those lucky sods who can work out of office, chances are you’re already acquainted with Welcome Eatery. Those of us chained to our desks during living hours may not have made it to this gem that isn’t open in the weekend. But truth be told, their bagels are reason enough to call a mental health day…
Must-try: We are massive fans of Welcome Eatery’s rawtella bagel, which gives that satisfying chocolatey, hazelnutty deliciousness without consuming a year’s worth of sugar in a jar.
Dear Jervois isn’t exactly a novel suggestion for brunch and most of us have been there, done that. But if you haven’t tried one of their bagels, we suggest you run, not walk your sorry self back up there and fix this issue stat. Using sesame seeded uglies, the flavour combos are amazing, with quality ingredients high up on that bloody delicious bagel.
Must-try: Just in case you hadn't gathered already, we have a mild obsession with avo, so Dear Jervois soars in our books for chucking smashed avos on three of their four bagel options. But our fave? It has to be the halloumi, watercress, cream cheese, fresh basil and basil pesto.
Black and Gold
Fear not Shorelings, we hadn’t forgotten about you. You’re winning in the bagel stakes too and definitely don’t need to cross the bridge for a slice of the bagel action. Rosedale’s Black and Gold has you covered with their two solid options. Grab a spot in this light-filled space with the paper and a fantastic Supreme coffee for the perfect bagel enjoying experience.
Must-try: Black and Gold gives the classic salmon a grownup makeover with beetroot cured salmon, fennel, artichoke and caper cream cheese. So adult, and so damn great.
This one seems to often skip under the radar as a prime bagel spot, favoured more as a drinking hole. It doesn't deserve this undercover status and while the regulars may be a bit miffed we've given away this little secret; you'll be mighty glad you gave it a go. The Station make their own bacon jam which is just as sticky, salty, and delicious as it sounds. This special sauce features on many of their novel bagels and is well worth a taste.
Must-try: For a bressert to be reckoned with check out their blueberry bagel topped with banana, bacon and maple.
From the some of the hands that brought us Vulcan Lane Bagels, there’s a new bagel spot in town. Well in Ponsonby to be exact—right on the fringe of that imposing construction site, soon to be a supermarket. Another tiny little spot, Roost has an industrial interior and sunny window to perch while you savour your bagel.
Must-try: For a solid winter warmer, we’re big fans of the melts—the best of which, in our opinion, is the prosciutto with hot, wholegrain mustard and melted Swiss cheddar.
More of a waffle guy or gal? Check out The 13 Best Waffles In Auckland.
Image credit: Best Ugly Bagels via Facebook