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.

Get Our Weekend Newsletter

The best DC news, delivered straight to your inbox.
Or, see all of our newsletters. By signing up, you agree to our terms.

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.