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Where to Find the Best Bagels in Sydney

Sydney's bagel game includes everything from beachside delis to bagel drive-thrus.
By Zach Karpinellison
October 11, 2021
By Zach Karpinellison
October 11, 2021


Sydney's bagel game includes everything from beachside delis to bagel drive-thrus.

Bagels are a contentious food. When Cynthia Nixon ran for Governor of New York in 2018, the internet reeled when she revealed her breakfast of choice was smoked salmon and cream cheese on a cinnamon and raisin bagel. In Sydney, a city with far fewer bagel opinions, Nixon's faux pas barely registered. Bagels landed here a long time ago, but have only picked up steam in the past few years.

So what makes a great bagel? A bagel always needs to be chewy. The gluten developed by boiling a bagel in poaching liquid before whacking it in a blistering oven is the secret to its distinctive texture and taste. At a minimum, you're looking for something with a little more chew than a bread roll. From there, bagel bliss is achieved by layering toppings and striking a harmonious balance. Each bite should be texturally interesting, with a smack of salt, sugar and tang. This is why lox (smoked salmon), cream cheese, onions, and capers is such a classic choice.

You can find them in places old and new all over our city. Here are the city's best bagel makers to please everyone from beginner to die-hard fanatic.

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    Budding Bondi takeaway venture Lox in a Box offers the best bagels for a picnic lunch (or brunch) down by the water. A thoughtful menu guides your choices, with seven holey options. If you’re looking for a classic combo, you can get a lush schmear of cream cheese spiked with lemon, dill and shallots underneath lox, tomato, capers and red onion. Alternatively, indulge in the LP’s cheeky reuben bagel that comes with smoked beef cheek, Russian dressing, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese and pickles; or the veggie bagel, topped with jalapeno cream cheese, vintage cheddar and a heap of salads. Your choice is neatly placed in a cardboard box ready to be seasoned by the seaside air.

    Image: Kimberley Low

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    Staying in the east, head over to Iggy’s for this author’s personal Sydney favourite. This bakery is home to some of the chewiest bagels in the country. But, that’s it — you won’t find any lox or schmear here. So, pick up your preferred bagel variety — the poppyseed is the best — head home and customise it with tasty fillings and accoutrements of your choice. You could even pick up your lox from Lox in a Box for an unholy Bondi creation. If you’ve ever bought packaged bagels from a supermarket you’ll know you have to toast them. Visiting Iggy’s for freshly baked bagels is an opportunity to buck that trend, channelling a New Yorker’s proclivity for the untoasted. Just be prepared to wait, as Iggy’s is known to have a line.

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    As suggested by the name, Brooklyn Boys is inspired from the New York borough. It’s a mix of hardcore authenticity and boundary-pushing bagel engineering that results in both classic staples and more inventive creations like Brooklyn Boy’s hyper-coloured rainbow bagel. You used to only find these doughy treats at farmer’s markets, but you can now get them delivered or head to the team’s warehouse in Marrickville where they just opened a bagel drive-thru. An array of savoury selections are available here including pumpkin seed and za’atar bagels, and it’s great for sweet-tooths too, with options like the famous blueberry bagel, the aforementioned rainbow bagel, and even – yes – a cinnamon-raisin. Slap on some of its house-made cream cheese and you have a simple and moreish breakfast that can’t be beat.

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    Good Fella Coffee is The Hills’ hidden gem, serving up specialty coffee brews and tasty bagels in Bella Vista. Here you’ll find white, rye and multigrain bagels topped with all the classics. From a smoked salmon and caper cream cheese combo, to the cafe favourite of avocado, lime and chilli salt. If you’re after something a bit more hearty, turn your attention to the breaky bagel which is equipped with pastrami, egg, cheese and Russian dressing; or the Sweet Boy with ricotta, banana, toasted almonds and honey. While the Good Fella team are master baristas, if you’re feeling cheeky later in the day, you can also opt for a can of Grifter’s pale ale.

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    The quietly expanding suburb of Dulwich Hill is home to some top-notch cafes — and some of the best bagels in Sydney. Small Talk is owner Sam Terrey’s answer to North American delis, and he’s turned this simple concept into a go-to destination for pastries, doughnuts and Montreal-style bagels. Small Talk’s main offering is the “all-dressed” (aka everything) bagels — that include a mix of poppy, sesame and caraway seeds. Schmear your bagel with classic chive cream cheese for a fiver, or turn it into a proper sanga. Options include the BLT and the lox, plus, the pastrami with sauerkraut, pickles and mustard and the extra cheesy brekkie bagel with egg and jalapeño relish.

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Top Image: Lox in a Box by Kimberley Low


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