Food and drink fads come and go at an alarming rate. A couple of summers back everyone was sipping an Aperol spritz and, during the lockdowns, newly-converted home bakers were eagerly swapping sourdough recipes.
Now I like the bitter-sweet tang of Aperol as much as the next girl and have just fed my sourdough ‘mother’, but what I’m really excited about is the current foodie trend for all things bagel.
In case you haven’t noticed, the humble bagel is definitely having its moment.
Whether it’s a trendy breakfast option at a hipster cafe or a fully-loaded lunchtime take away, bagels are suddenly everywhere.
Of course, Melbourne has always had a handful of traditional bagel producers. However, there’s a new batch of dedicated bagel bakers cropping up across the city, turning out both classic flavour combinations and totally original ones.
So where should you go to get your bagel fix?
Well, here’s our guide to the best bagels in Melbourne. Whether you like a dense, chewy, old school boiled bagel or a lighter, more modern version, read on. We’ve got the lowdown on where to go for whatever type of bagel you’re craving.
Locations: 14-16 Johnston St, Fitzroy, VIC 3055 Ph: (03) 9419 0780 & 1 Wilkinson St, Brunswick, VIC 3056 Ph: (03) 7014 8698 & 115 Burnley St, Richmond, VIC 3121 Ph: (03) 9973 3695
You know the bagels are good when punters are queuing around the corner of the shop on a Sunday morning. And that’s what we found when we headed down to the Mile End Bagels outpost in Richmond.
The Richmond bagel shop itself it minimal in the extreme. Plain walls and a simple board detailing “Sandwiches” (that’s bagels) and a selection of hot and cold beverages. A long, uncluttered counter top and a large high table for those either waiting to collect their orders or who decide to hop up on a stool and eat-in.
Yep. At Mile End it’s all about the bagels. Chewy, crunchy, wood-fired bagels with a variety of toppings and a mouth-watering array of fillings.
Here, the almost-a-Reuben ($15) is a fabulously stacked Brisket Pastrami, Hot ‘n’ Sweet Mustard, Cream Cheese & Pickles. It’s a sublime balance of salty, sweet, rich, juicy and crunchy. Similarly outstanding is the Chicken Salad ($16) , Avocado, BBQ Sauce, Tomato, Onion, Rocket & Tasty Cheese.
And though I’m generally not a sweet bagel fan, the Crunchy Peanut Butter & Raspberry Jam ($8) looked so tempting, it almost made it on to my order.
Try a bagel from Mile End and you’ll understand the line of people snaking out the door. They have a cult following for a reason and are currently baking some of the best bagels in Melbourne.
Want to sample the Best Sandwiches in Melbourne? Here are our recommendations
5 & Dime Bagel
Locations: 16 Katherine Pl, Melbourne, VIC 3000 Ph: (03) 9621 2128 & 45 Collins St, Melbourne, VIC 3000
We’re moving on with our look at the top bagels in Melbourne with a much-loved brand that bakes New York Style bagels, daily. Well, what else would you expect when the founder (Zev Forman) comes from New Jersey?
Initially the business found a following at farmers’ markets (eg. Abbortsford, Gasworks and Alphington), but as word grew the bagel joint expanded operations. These days it has a couple of outlets in the city and supplies a number of cafes around Melbourne.
And no wonder. If you dream of fat, boiled rounds of joy with a good crunchy outside and that all-important chew in the middle, this is your kind of bakery. The unique chewy texture of a 5 & Dime bagel is produced using no fats or dough enhancers, but instead by putting the dough through a particularly slow cold rise.
Struggling to cut a fresh bagel evenly? Then consider a bagel guillotine to slice it perfectly. They’re safe, inexpensive and they work.
Filling-wise, it’s hard to go past the Bacon Maple Chipotle if you like a bit of smokiness against the sweetness of bagel dough. Meanwhile, the classic Lox is everything that you’d hope for. And in a nice touch those crowd-dividing Gherkins are delivered as a side – though personally, I’ve never met a gherkin I didn’t love!
And with diet sensitive options like their Blueberry Bagel with Vegan Cream Cheese, this gem really does have something for everyone. You’ll also find specialty coffee and artisan pastries.
Editor’s Note: When we went to revisit 5 & Dime Bagel (Oct 2022) for this article we were disappointed to find that the business has now closed its doors. We wish Zev and his team well in their next ventures and thank them for pioneering the New York bagel in Melbourne. The awesome mozzarella pizza bagel was one of life’s guilty pleasures.
Fortunately, there are now some excellent Melbourne alternatives to try instead – eg Mile End Bagels, Glicks or Lawson’s Bagels. Happy bageling!
Location: Glicks Balaclava, 330 Carlisle St, Balaclava, VIC 3183 Ph: (03) 9527 2198 Check website for further locations – Malvern, Caulfield South & Bentleigh
My first ever Melbourne bagel was a Glicks and I remember it with great fondness.
A friend took me to their Malvern store early one Saturday morning and I recall the old-style shop interior with its wooden fixtures and the wonderful aroma of freshly baked bread. And, of course, bagels.
A mainstay of Melbourne’s Jewish community for upwards of 40 years, Glicks is an institution. Nothing much has changed over the years, which is a good thing if traditional bakes are your thing. Fortunately, their bagels are legendary. From Poppy Seed through to innovations like their Pizza Bagels, these delights fly out the door.
If you choose to eat in their cafe, you can get a bagel filled to order. My bagel of choice all those years ago? The ‘Everything’ – soft, Smoked Salmon, a rich wedge of Cream Cheese and salty Capers. Yum!
However, if you lean towards a Pastrami-stuffed Reuben or a modern Australian Chicken and Avo, then Glick’s isn’t the place for you. There is no meat on the premises.
Apart from making some of the best bagels in Melbourne, Glicks bake a fantastic array of breads – including Sourdough. This is also the place to come if you’re looking for Jewish delicacies like glossy, golden Challahs.
See our post on Bagel Toppings for ideas on breakfast, lunch and dinner ideas
Lawson’s Bagels – South Yarra & Hawthorn
Location: 51 Toorak Rd, South Yarra, VIC 3141 Ph: (03) 9820 1603 & 729 Burwood Rod, Hawthorn East, VIC 3123 Ph: (03) 9813 3720
Lawson’s Bagels in South Yarra (also called Lawson’s Cafe South Yarra) has cast its net over to Hawthorn with a sleek, tiny outpost on Burwood Road.
Light and bright, this shrine to the bagel is knocking out a lighter style of baked good. If you want a dense, chewy texture, this possibly isn’t the bagelry for you – though that advice is admittedly based on only a couple of visits. At Lawson’s Bagels the circular rolls have a more open dough, making for an airier bagel.
That said, they are very generous with their delicious fillings. There’s a substantial Bacon, Scrambled Eggs, Cheese & Chipotle Mayo number that is a great take on brekky in a bun. If that doesn’t appeal, perhaps the colourful Herbed Feta, Avocado and Beetroot Relish is may to your tastes?
When we visited, the communal table was packed with students from nearby Swinburne Uni wolfing down a quick lunch. They were washing their bagels down with Plant-Based Smoothies – which are the cafe’s other big attraction. The Tropical Detox – Pineapple, Mango, Banana, Turmeric & Coconut Water sounds particularly divine.
But at the end of the day, it’s about the torus rolls. And we can confirm that Lawson’s should be on you list of the finest bagels in Melbourne.
Location: 1543 High St, Glen Iris, VIC 3146 Ph: 0408 500 048
The spread of the bagel into the ‘burbs continues.
Rosebud’s busy, The Bagelry Co. has opened an outlet next to Glen Iris Station – within staggering distance of Deeds Brewing.
Sitting on a corner block, there’s a cafe section for those who wish to eat in and plenty of bagel action in the display cabinets in the main part of the shop.
For $9.20 you can pick your bagel – poppy seed, plain, rye and more – and then choose a cream cheese ‘Schmear’ to go in it. We almost went for the Smokey Bacon option, but ended up side-tracked by the main menu.
This list has all the old favourites. There’s a De Lox of Smoked Salmon, Cream Cheese, Dill, Capers, Avocado, Red Onion, Rocket & Cucumber for $19.50. And if you’re a plant-based kind of person, the Veggie ($15.80) with Grilled Eggplant, Capsicum, Zucchini, Pumpkin, Swiss Cheese, Pesto and Rocket is appealingly colourful.
We decided to give the Chicken Avo ($16.50) a try along with the Bagelry Co’s Reuben ($19.50)
Our verdict? Well, the bagels were perfectly pleasant, but not the best we’ve tried for the money. These are bagels in the lighter, airier bracket, which seem to be very popular at the moment. As we’ve said before, we’re big on chewy, dense bagels – but that’s our preference.
The Chicken Avo bagel promised Chicken Breast Fillet, Dill, Aioli, Swiss Cheese & Avocado. It was tasty, but when I order chicken fillet, I don’t expect it minced up and mixed in with dill and aioli, unless the menu says so.
As for the Reuben – Corned Beef, Sauerkraut, Russian Dressing, Swiss Cheese & Pickles – there was a lot of sauerkraut, but we couldn’t find any Russian dressing. The corned beef was nicely cooked, but for nearly $20, hardly generous. However, we had it in a dill bagel and that was a great choice, flavour-wise.
Overall, the Bagelry Co bagels were – nice. But not very substantial for the price.
Location: 112 Koornang Rd, Carnegie, VIC 3163 Ph: (03) 9568 3866 & 13 Como Parade West, Mentone, VIC 3194 Ph: (03) 9585 4131
We’re back to New York vibes with Huff Bagelry, a family-run business with a couple of outlets currently open.
With no website and no posts on their Insta account, you can either order in advance via the Skip App or make the pilgrimage to one of their bagel shops in person. But we’re sure you won’t regret the trip. These folks make some of the best bagels in Melbourne.
Huff Bagelry has a pretty extensive range of delicious, freshly baked bagels to choose from. The Tuna Melt w. Tomato Relish ($13) really hits the spot whilst the Meatloaf, Cheese, Tomato Relish & Tomatoes is an unusual filling, but really tasty. As fans of a NY Lox in all it’s varied forms, we recommend the Smoked Salmon, Cream Cheese and Capers on the Garlic Bagel. That little hint of garlic in the dough is an inspired touch.
Drinks-wise, there’s tea, coffee and iced beverages.
Our top tip, if you visit the Mentone Huff Bagelry, is to get your coffee and bagel to go and enjoy it walking along the seafront. Just watch out for seagulls. Bagels this good can’t have gone unnoticed by the local birdlife!
Just round the corner from Huff’s you’ll find Saul’s Sandwiches – check them out here.
Locations: 562-564 High St, Thornbury, VIC 3071 Ph: (03) 9480 3371 & 3 Railway Pl, Cremorne, VIC 3121 Ph: 9428 2249
If you don’t know about Sable, then you’re in for a treat. Especially if you follow a vegan diet.
Sable Thornbury was the first outlet to open and quickly made an impact with an innovative 2-pronged attack. During the day, Sable knocks out stunning bagels and cookies and then in the evening it pivots to an Italo-American (think pizza and pasta) menu.
So successful has this model proved, that Sable Richmond is now up and running. Over in new foodie hotspot Cremorne, Sable solely focuses on a breakfast and lunchtime trade in ‘Bites’, cookies and yes – bagels.
Cremorne is also home to some of the finest pastry in Melbourne at Tarts Anon. Read more here.
In both locales, the fare is 100% plant-based. Which makes reading the menu a fascinating trip through a newly developed faux-meat and fish wonderland.
You can start off gently with the 1800 Avocado ($17). Stuffed with Smashed Avo, Beetroot Relish, Feta, Rocket & Chilli Jam, it doesn’t challenge the conceptions of vegan food too much. After all, vegan feta isn’t that unusual. However, the possible Add-ons include Egg, Bacon or Maple Bacon. Now that’s a bit more surprising.
For lunch, things get even more exciting. Rudy’s Smokehouse ($19.5) is a monster featuring Whisky Infused Pulled BBQ Brisket, House Pickles, Garlic & Onion Cream Cheese, Feta, Rocket and more. There’s even a take on the classic NY Lox ($17), complete with Smoked Salmon. And if you’re unsure what to order, the team at Sable also offer a handy Build A Bagel option where you can mix and match ’til your heart’s content.
All this means that not only is Sable putting together some of the top bagels in Melbourne, they are also, arguably, one of the most creative vegan restaurants in town.
Location: 13 Beatty Ave, Armadale, VIC 3143 Ph: (03) 9125 160
Although it may have taken a while, the lucky people of Armadale now have their own shiny, new temple to the bagel.
Sitting right across the road from Toorak Railway Station, Hank’s is knocking out a vibrant range of bagel-based sandwiches.
We’re big fans of the Poached Chicken, Mayo, Spring Onion, Tarragon, Celery & – get excited! – Fried Chicken Skin ($16). Whilst the Grilled Bacon, Folded Egg & Harissa Mayo ($15) is as good a breakfast on the go as you’re ever going to find.
When we last visited, we went classic with Pastrami, Cream Cheese, Sauerkraut, Russian Dressing, Pickles & Swiss Cheese ($15) and it was definitely up to scratch. Even better, we enjoyed it with a portion of Cheesy Crinkle Cut Hot Chips ($6) on the side. How good it that?!
Get yourselves down to Hank’s and give their menu a whirl. They are making some of the finest bagels in Melbourne.
Incidentally, Hank’s Cafe & Bagelry is from the people behind Mammoth cafe, just up the road. For information on Mammoth and more of the Best Cafes in Melbourne, see here.
Location: 111 Bridge Rd, Richmond, VIC 3121 Ph: 0413 534 531 & 312/314 Glen Huntly Rd, Elsternwick, VIC 3185 Ph: (03) 9523 0326
The Bissel B. bagel shop near the Epworth Richmond Private Hospital on Bridge Road is a beacon of hope at the (currently) rather quiet end of the street.
What’s more, if you love a ring-shaped roll, it 100% should be on your route for the top bagels in Melbourne.
Why? Because the crew a Bissel B. oversea one of the most comprehensive bagel menus in town.
If you feel like a spin on breakfast, try their Bodega ($15). With Fried Egg, Smashed Avocado, Bacon & American Cheese it’s a substantial sandwich. Prefer to go vegetarian, but want something with a kick? The Midtown ($14) has Chive Cream Cheese, Smashed Avo, Chilli Oil & Crispy Onions and packs a punch.
For those who appreciate the classics, the Brooklyn ($16.5) offers the bones of a Reuben, but with a different name. It’s a monster of a mouthful with Pastrami, Swiss Cheese, Sauerkraut, Horseradish Mayo & Homemade Pickle. Similarly, the Lox & Schmear ($18) stays true to its root.
For the more adventurous, the Apple Crumble ($12.5) takes all the best bits of everyones’ favourite pudding and pops them between 2 halves of a bagel. Maybe it shouldn’t work, but it definitely does!
Finally, our new obsession is the Little Italy bagel ($17). This inspired sandwich contains Homemade Meatballs in Napoli Sauce, Bechamel Sauce, Buffalo Mozzarella & Fresh Basil. It’s a rich, saucy, gooey mess of deliciousness.