Okay, you may be thinking, Toronto is not a city famous for bagels. Leave that to New York City, or just maybe Montreal, but not Toronto. Well, you’d be wrong – Torontonians are just as picky and discerning about their bagels as anyone else, and in the debate over where to get the best bagels, What A Bagel is always in the mix.
What A Bagel is a completely unpretentious bakery moving hundreds of rounded baked delights to hungry business people on their way to the office, or to leisurely brunchers on the weekend. They have several locations in the city, but my neighbourhood joint is a 15-minute walk from my house (and tourist attraction Casa Loma) and it’s my favourite.
Step inside to be surrounded by coolers full of smoked fish and pre-made soups, then to stacks of freshly baked Challah bread and rugelach – small Jewish chocolate pastries. Bagels are inextricably linked to North American Jewish culture, and Toronto has a thriving Jewish community. But you don’t need to be Jewish to enjoy a doughy everything bagel with a schmear of cream cheese and lox, or (my personal favourite) a plain toasted bagel with chicken salad and vegetables. It’s my ritual after my monthly haircut at the Forest Hill Barber Shop to pop over for this delicious sandwich.
It’s a totally unfussy spot with some seating in the back, but if you’re on-the-go while sightseeing, I’d recommend just grabbing one to go and heading on your way. Enjoy!