A Hunt for the Best Bagel

The best RI bagel I've had comes from Bagel Gourmet.

Having grown up in New York City, I have fairly high standards for my bagels. To me, a proper bagel is one hot out of the oven from H&H Bagels and preferably eaten on the way to a relaxing stroll through Central Park. So when I woke up Saturday morning craving a bagel, I woke up with a mission.

I already knew that Bagel Ole on Thayer didn’t cut it, and although I do love the seeded bagels at Olga’s, they’re really not bagels in my opinion, but a tasty bread in the shape of a bagel.

Awhile back, we had read that the supposedly amazing Barneys Bagels (since closed) has been reincarnated through Palmeri’s Bakery. We had gotten these once before, but I couldn’t quite remember how they ranked, so we started there. I’m sorry to report the bagels were way too thin and dry (more like a piece of toast than the soft, doughy bagel I was hankering for) with a stingy amount of cream cheese. Time to move on. (As an aside, their challah bread, on the other hand, is absolute perfection).

Bagel Gourmet offers a selection of bagels baked fresh daily on the premises.

After my half-eaten attempt, we headed over to Bagel Gourmet on the East Side. This place is beyond unassuming — a dated sign hangs over their tiny shop in a mini strip-mall. But when I walked in, I could smell the bagels — mmm. Then I placed the same order — everything bagel toasted with cream cheese. When I got to the car to unwrap my prize, I was pleasantly surprised — a soft airy center with a chewy outside (and slathered in cream cheese).

No, it’s not H&H. However, to be fair, I’ll have to show up at Bagel Gourmet at 6 am when the bagels come out of the oven, since for optimal deliciousness, a bagel’s half-life is only a half hour. Which is why it doesn’t even pay to have bagels to shipped from H&H. Not to mention, when a ‘wooly’ strikes, even next day delivery isn’t soon enough.

Bagel Gourmet
250 Brook Street
Providence, RI 02906
(401) 453-5560

Palmieri’s Bakery
147 Ridge St
Providence, RI 02909
(401) 831-9145