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–Leslie Brenner,
Dallas Morning News
Fearless Critic restaurant review
DC
Food
Feel
Price
7.7
6.0
$10
Sandwiches, Baked goods
Counter service

Hours
Mon–Sat 6:30am–5:00pm
Sun 7:00am–3:00pm

Features Delivery, veg-friendly
Bar None
Credit cards Visa, MC, AmEx

www.bethesdabagels.com

Bethesda, MD
4819 Bethesda Ave.
Bethesda, MD
(301) 652-8990
Bethesda Bagels
Some of the best bagels in the area—even a New Yorker will be impressed

Even if you have trouble adhering to the doctrine that real bagels do not exist outside the confines of New York City, it requires no exceptional insight to note that DC is not really a bagel town. Most often, the choice you’ll encounter is one of Starbucks versus Au Bon Pain, which is to say, no choice at all, bagel-wise (the former is compact and stale, the latter is sprawling and dry; both are bad). If you’re lucky enough to live or work near Bethesda Bagels, however, the difficulty of decision-making will present itself only once you’ve entered the store.

For the aforementioned lucky eaters, the burden of good options will be evident immediately: should you elect the lox or salami? (The first is thicker than most, the second thinner than most.) Should your beef be roast or corned? (We prefer the former, but only slightly.) Do you order roasted red pepper or raisin walnut cream cheese, or do you stick to the straight-and-narrow plain? (Depends on your bent.) Not to mention the need to decide between over a dozen types of bagels. These options may not seem insurmountable to those who’ve grown up with a good deli nearby (or, for that matter, to those who have learned decision-making skills from an impatient deli owner), but if your domain of debate has been confined to the Starbucks-ABP showdown, the bounty of choice may indeed overwhelm.

We’ll offer a typical (but reassuring) stock phrase: there’s no such thing as a bad choice, so long as your choice includes at least one bagel. These bagels are compact, chewy, and slightly tangy. They are baked on fine cornmeal, some of which remains on the bagel bottom for a nutty texture and taste. The bagels become dry, tubular rocks after just two days, but with some foresight (advanced slicing) are wonderful toasted, with melted butter or cold cream cheese.

Forgive us if we sound like dogmatic and evangelical New Yorkers still fretting the departure of that “little shop on the Lower East Side,” when we pronounce: just go here. It’s hard to find a better bagel. At least in DC.

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