Seems like the bagel is the latest hot comfort food in these parts, with several new bagel shops opening up – especially in Oakland.

One that got a lot of buzz when it first opened a few months ago is Beauty’s Bagel Shop on Telegraph Avenue (a couple of blocks from the MacArthur BART station). While other bagel shops try to lure those hankering for a New York-style bagel, Beauty’s does its bagels Montreal-style.

What’s that? Well, according to its website, Montreal-style bagels are boiled in honey water and then baked in a wood-fire oven, giving the final product a slightly sweet and soft interior with a crispy shell.

The brick wall at Beauty’s give that urban feel

I checked out Beauty’s with my friend Vera this weekend, and we went early after hearing about the long lines. The shop has a quaint bakeshop feel with a brickwall and wooden tables and chairs. We were able to snag one of the tables and there luckily wasn’t much of a line when we ordered at the counter. (The line did ebb and flow during the time we were there.)

Beauty’s sell the typical offerings of bagels (i.e. the everything, sesame, wheat, poppy, onion) but it has substantial offerings like bagel sandwiches to make it a nice spot for breakfast or lunch.

Vera went a bit old school with the “After School Special” ($7.50), which was a bagel sandwich with chopped liver, Swiss cheese and pickled onion. (She ordered an everything bagel as her base.) I tried a bit of the chopped liver and it really had a liver taste. (I admit, I’m not a fan of liver, but if you like pate, this would be right up your alley.)

I decided to try one of the special breakfast item – an omelet ($9) with lox and caramelized onions with a bagel and cream cheese (I went with a sesame bagel).

Everything we ate seemed fresh and well done, but the bagels didn’t seem to shine. While they were good, we didn’t feel that they tasted any different than other bagels in town.

Vera and I checked out another bagel shop, dropping in on Authentic Bagel Co. in Jack London Square area and trying the everything bagel.

In fact, Vera wanted to compare Beauty’s to the others in town so she convinced me to head to Jack London Square to try the new Authentic Bagel Co., which is a small shop off Broadway.

There we shared an everything bagel with cream cheese and smoked salmon, and I actually thought Authentic had a tastier bagel, although just slightly better. Still, it’s nice knowing that I have two pretty good spots for my bagel fix in Oakland. And it’s always nice to have options in life.

Beauty’s Bagel Shop, 3838 Telegraph Ave. (near 40th), Oakland. PH: 510.788.6098. Open Tuesday to Friday, 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Saturday, Sunday, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. (Closed Mondays). www.beautysbagelshop.com

Authentic Bagel Co., 463 2nd St. (at Broadway), Oakland. PH: 510.459.1201. Facebook page.

Beauty’s has a busy kitchen, with a guy manning the wood-fire oven and others prepping the other breakfast dishes.

The After School Special ($7.50) is a bagel sandwich with chopped liver and pickled onions

Beauty’s has a nice casual dining area, giving it a bigger space than a deli and allowing you to sit down and enjoy your bagel

Breakfast special of lox omelet and a sesame bagel with cream cheese ($9)

Over at Authentic Bagel Co., I was tempted by these bagel dogs. I guess I’ll have to same them for next time.

3 Responses to A Bay Area Bagel Bonanza

  1. Carolyn Jung says:

    Ooh, those bagel dogs look incredibly tempting. I’m surprised you didn’t take a few home. I sure would have! 😉

    • Ben Ben says:

      You’re right, I should have bought one to go. But you know how it is when you’re full, you just can’t imagine eating any more. That’s kind of how I felt at that moment. But now I regret it. Guess I have to head back soon!

  2. Row says:

    I tried Montréal-style bagels in, uh, Montréal 😉 a few years back. I remember the dude saying, “We walked for how many blocks in the pouring rain for bagels?!?”. Anyway, the bagels were good, but I prefer the texture and taste of the New-York style bagels. Btw, those bagel dogs look really good. Please try one for me? 🙂