Food

The Best Bagels in the World? Oui! Oui!

Bagels from Montreal’s St-Viateur, made by hand and finished in a wood-burning oven, are worth the mail costs. Photograph by Matthew Worden.

Sorry, New Yorkers—the best bagels in the world are in Montreal. And now, thanks to a change in shipping laws, the legendary Montreal bakery St-Viateur Bagel (stviateurbagel.com) is again shipping its bagels to the States.

Smaller and lighter than their New York cousins and with a larger hole in the center, the bagels are artisanally handcrafted—no machine stamping—and baked in a wood-burning oven. Handmade bagels mostly vanished here in the 1960s, victims of the new bagel machines.

The St-Viateur bagels lose a little something in the three days it takes them to arrive by mail, but popping them into the toaster for a few minutes brings them back almost to their original, glorious state.

You can find cheaper bagels—including shipping, a minimum order of six dozen costs around $60—but not better bagels.

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Ann Limpert
Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Logan Circle.