Our Favorite Bagel Spots In NYC, And How Much Schmear They Use

Bianca Bahamondes Bianca Bahamondes

Our Favorite Bagel Spots In NYC, And How Much Schmear They Use
New Yorkers LOVE a good bagel with schmear. We may not eat them as often as we’d like, but they really are the best in the one-and-only New York City.

With that said, most people vary immensely on what they prefer on their bagel, as well as how much cream cheese they think is too much cream cheese. To help you decide where to get your next bagel (and depending where in the city you live) here are some of our favorite places around the city and how much cream cheese they use:

Absolute Bagels

Where: 2788 Broadway

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Everything Bagel with Jalepeno Cream Cheese 👌

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At the top of every bagel list reins Absolute Bagels. This UWS spot has lines that curve around the block all weekend. While they make all sorts of great bagel sandwiches, they also don’t skimp on the schmear. Absolute definitely spreads a hefty amount on their bagels, and we’re not complaining. For that, they make the top of this list. If you appreciate cream cheese itself, you HAVE to try their’s. We recommend the lox spread.

Tompkins Square Bagels

Where: 165 Avenue A

Tompkins Square Bagels comes in close second when it comes to their spreads. The bagels are perfect and the cream cheese is even better (if that’s possible?). You won’t be disappointed with any bagel order at TSB. Just be sure to have cash before getting to the register!

Browns Bagels

Where: 132 W 31st St.


A go-to for people rushing to work, or having a morning meeting (or any time of day really, we don’t judge). Browns kills the bagel game and never overdoes it. However, it may still be more than you’d like if you prefer minimal schmear. But the place is small, so know what you want and keep it moving!

Murray’s Bagels

Where: 242 8th Ave

Murray’s Bagels was a toss up for us. If you’re only getting cream cheese on your bagel you may end up having to put some to the side. But, if you load it up with tomatoes, onions, and some lox you’ll have a better ratio of schmear to bagel. For this reason it lands dead center on our list. Depending on your sandwich of choice it’ll vary. We have confidence that whatever you choose will be on point anyway.

Black Seed Bagels

Where: Multiple Locations

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Sunday Loxday 🐟. 📸: @onehungryjew

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The bagels at Black Seed tend to be a tad smaller than you might be used to from some of the other bagel shops around town, but don’t let that fool you. These hand-rolled bagels are magical and wood fired, which in our eyes makes them perfect for sandwiches. Our favorite is the Lox Schmear sandwich with radish, sprouts, and their tasty lox & dill cream cheese. They always put just enough where you can see and taste the flavors of the cream cheese, but not too much where it drowns out all of the other delicious elements of the sandwich. Perfection.

Russ & Daughters

Where: 179 East Houston

One of Secret NYC’s go-to spots for a morning bagel, Russ & Daughters is a classic. While they don’t have a dozen of crazy cream cheese options like some other spots on this list, Russ & Daughters has a handful of high-quality cream cheeses. Some of the most notable include their caviar spread, lox spread, and goat cheese spread. The bagels are fresh and the creaminess adds a wonderful small touch to the bagel itself. Ideal for people who don’t mind a little cream cheese but find themselves scraping off the cream cheese from other bagel places.

Bagel Cafe

Where: 429 3rd Ave

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The bagels here are amazing and unique. They’re light like a croissant but have the outer crunch that a bagel has. If anyone has ever put a light spread of cream cheese on a fresh croissant, that’s what these bagels taste like. They spread just enough for the schmear to start melting over the warm dough.

Featured image source: Facebook/Tompkins Square Bagels

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