Tracking the Best Bagel in DC, Part 1: The Contenders

Last weekend, Adam and I finally checked out the new Call Your Mother location on Barracks Row (don’t worry, we’d been to the original one in Petworth already) and it inspired me: we need to figure out the best bagel in DC. 

We’re beyond lucky that there are FOUR bagel shops in walking distance of us. But, which one is the best bagel in DC? We’ve taken it upon ourselves to find out. It’s going to be a tough job. Today, I’m going to introduce you to the contenders. Then, next weekend, we’re going to spend a morning getting everything bagels with plain cream cheese from each place and doing a taste test. Why everything with plain cream cheese? I figure that’s a standard that we can get across all four bagel shops and use as a metric.

The Contenders for The Best Bagel in DC

Okay, so, full disclosure, the contenders are simply the bagel shops that are in walking distance of our home. But, fortunately for us, those also happen to be repeatedly referred to as the bagel shops in DC. So, I like to think this is representative of the entire city.

Let’s get into it.

Bullfrog Bagels: This is my old favorite, my go-to neighborhood spot. It’s perfectly located for grabbing after a morning of strolling around Eastern Market. And, while I’m typically a simple bagel and cream cheese kind of girl, their Oriole sandwich, with its Baltimore brisket and muenster cheese, might be one of the best bagel-wiches in town. On a nice day in normal times, I love sitting on their front porch watching everyone go by while I devour my bagel.

Call Your Mother: The new kid on the block. Call Your Mother has been super hyped up after its opening last year in Petworth (prior to that, they’d been at farmers markets around town). I’m not going to lie, their bagel with za’atar seasoning is close to unbeatable — but that won’t be what I’m considering in our taste test. The first time I had it, a friend had dropped off bagels and I didn’t realize what it was. I just knew that it was the most incredible bagel I’d ever had. Their 90s turquoise and magenta color scheme is an added bonus to how good the food is.

Bethesda Bagels: Look, I don’t want to get any hate for this, but I love Bethesda Bagels for one reason: they have a chocolate chip bagel. Everybody, sit down, it’s going to be fine: yes, I like sweet bagels. And, Bethesda Bagels delivers on that sweet bagel seduction. This was my spot back when I lived right near their Dupont location and now we go to Navy Yard, which stays equally busy. It’s a classic DC area institution.

Buffalo and Bergen: In case you didn’t know, Buffalo and Bergen opened up a Capitol Hill location (previously, they’d been in Union Market) right near Union Station on Mass Ave. Buffalo and Bergen is interesting in that its both a bagel shop (really, a restaurant), plus, they have brunch cocktails and old-fashioned diner style sodas. Think floats, egg creams, etc. Also, omg, while looking through their menu right now: the Mountain Shiksa, fresh lox, maple-pecan cream cheese, bacon, on an egg bagel. I need this.

Okay, so there you have it, the four bagel shops that I’m going to taste test in my search for the best bagel in DC. Stay tuned.


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