The bagel situation around the Bay Area remains a dicey one — and many a New York transplant is quick to say that it is downright dismal, and we should be ashamed, and the very fact that Noah's has become an institution is proof positive that we are a provincial, taste-challenged bunch over here. But! Things are changing. When SFist did this list of the five "most adequate" bagels around two years ago, we didn't yet have places like Wise Sons and Marla Bakery doing more than adequate — some might even say stellar — work in the bagel department. So, allow us to update our thoughts in this controversial arena, and to point bagel-starved former New Yorkers in the right direction, at least until such time as Schmendricks comes back online.

20th Century Cafe
Pastry chef Michelle Polzine (formerly of Range) knows her way around proper European baking traditions, from her knishes and honey cakes to her proper, boiled and baked bagels, liberally crusted with poppy seeds, or onion, or just plain naked. The bagels are dark, yeasty, and chewy, with a hint of honey in the dough, and Polzine prefers to call them "San Francisco bagels" lest any purists try to call her out. Still, these are some delicious, fresh-from-oven wonders (baked twice daily!), and you owe it to yourself to have one the next time you're in Hayes Valley. — — Jay Barmann
198 Gough Street at Oak


Beauty's Bagel Shop
Hand-rolled, Montreal-style: that's the name of the game at Beauty's Bagel Shop. With seeds enough to stock a birdhouse, these bagels also draw long lines. But those move quickly, and you'll be rewarded with the wood-fired goods before you know it. Lots of cream cheese and topping options await, from the traditional to the tofu, and then there are the bagel sandwiches, which definitely standout. Yes, they're organic, and yes, those eggs are free-range. — Caleb Pershan
3838 Telegraph Avenue, Oakland, between 38th and 39th Streets

House of Bagels' poppy seed bagel. Photo: HOB/Yelp

House of Bagels
This Richmond District bakery and storefront's been churning out "NY Style" bagels for 50 years, which has got to count for something, right? With a decidedly un-NY list of bagel flavors (Apple Ginger?) purists should note that HOB is also kosher-style, not kosher. But they're swift to assure you that they "carry NO pork or shellfish products of any kind." Casting aside those issues, how do they taste? Not too bad! Boiled and baked every day, as the good lord intended, if you stick with HOB's plain, poppy, or salt you'll get a firm, not-too-cakey bagel with a nice spring to it. Just as important, their staff is really, really nice. If only more people realized what HOB does, that the flavor of one's food can be dramatically enhanced by friendly service! — Eve Batey
5030 Geary Boulevard between 14th and 15th Avenues

Izzy's Brooklyn Bagels
Keeping it kosher in Palo Alto is Izzy's, where they're doing Brooklyn-style bagels just like "back east." One of those places that people invoke as the best bagel in the Bay Area, it's certainly worth a visit for top-notch fare, including baked goods like babka and gourmet lox. Also of note: great deviled eggs, and catering, because who doesn't want a huge plate of smoked salmon? — Caleb Pershan
477 South California Ave, Palo Alto

Katz Bagels
Boiled bagels at Katz, some might complain, are a bit compact. But classics like salt, garlic, and poppy seed are indeed super fresh boiled. Cream cheeses run the gamut, though I'll put in a plug for the chive. You'll also find numbered bagel sandwiches including good old bacon and egg. The cash-only establishment plays great jazz, has a nice bar slash counter to hang out on, and serves coffee. But you can also bring a bagel over to Stanza across the street, where there's better brew. Don't worry, they won't mind. — Caleb Pershan
3147 16th Street between Albion and Valencia Streets

Marla Bakery's bagel plate. Photo: Eugene M./Yelp

Marla Bakery
Every day, Marla Bakery staffers get up before the rest of us to make their salted, poppy, sesame, and multi-seed bagels, which are available to all comers in increments as high as the half-dozen (they ask that you call in an order if you want more than that at any one time). This daily practice shows — while some places' bagels feel like they've been hanging out for a bit (no shade, that might be part of their charm), those at Marla feel fresh as a daisy. They're a little softer and chewier than some on our list, but their crust is one of our favorites, a smooth finish that never feels sticky. If you decide to dine in, check out their sophisticated take on the bagel plate, with herbed farmers cheese, Marla's house-smoked sable and their homemade pickled vegetables. — Eve Batey
3619 Balboa Street, between 37th and 38th Avenues

Nopa's sea salt bagel with lox and dill farmer's cheese. Photo: Facebook

I'm guessing that unless you're a Nopa brunch fanatic you didn't even know that pastry chef Anna Lee has been doing small batches of bagels every weekend, to be served as special with lox or smoked trout and dill farmer's cheese. They're yeast-risen, boiled in salted, malted water, and come topped with either sea salt or sesame, usually. You need to be part of the early brunch crew to get one, because Lee only makes about three dozen of these by hand each Saturday and Sunday. — Jay Barmann
560 Divisadero at Hayes

Photo: Greg Z

Posh Bagel
They may not be the most authentic around, and in fact some of them are just balls-out California with their jalapeno and occasional pesto-laden tops. But I like these bagels anyway, dammit. They're the correct consistency, chewy and not too bready, and superior to Noah's in every way. Assuming you don't have serious New York snobbery about things like asiago cheese or blueberries in your bagel — and also assuming you don't mind eating delicious things in secret for fear of judgment from your authenticity-obsessed friends — we suggest you try this place. You might be a convert. — Jay Barmann
There are 14 Posh Bagel retail locations located throughout the Bay Area.

A plain Wise Sons bagel with cream cheese. Photo: Caviar

Wise Sons Deli
Though a recent fire in the Mission has delayed their plans for a daily bagel operation, on Saturdays you can still nab a four-pack of bagels at their 24th Street location, and singles with cream cheese are often available in their Mission spot as well as at their Ferry Building Farmer's Market location on Tuesdays and Thursdays and their Contemporary Jewish Museum location (though bagels are unlisted on both of those spots' online menus). The flavors are blessedly limited: a plain, sesame, salt, or everything. Most respectable of the bunch is the plain, with just the right amount of chew and heft, and maybe a little bit of a sourdough finish. — Eve Batey
3150 24th Street at Shotwell

Honorable Mention: The delicious bialys at Alta CA, which we've gushed about before.

Beauty's Bagel Shop via Facebook