D.C. Area Bagel Guide: Part 1

Photo by Caroline Antonipillai.

There is no Saturday morning breakfast better than a fresh bagel, so on a humid August day your Augur Bite writers (graciously chauffeured by friend Caroline Antonipillai) set out to taste some bagels for the first installment of our definitive D.C. Area Bagel Guide. For the sake of consistency, we ordered the same two bagel sandwiches at each shop: an everything bagel with plain cream cheese, and a plain bagel with smoked salmon and plain cream cheese. 

We considered several criteria while taste-testing these bagels: the bagel dough, the everything bagel seasoning, the smoked salmon, the cream cheese and its texture, the value and the overall taste. We determined the value not just by looking at the cost, but by taking into account the bagel’s size and taste.

Bullfrog Bagels food truck

4810 Wisconsin Ave NW, Washington, D.C., 20016

Photos by Leah Belber.

The bagel sandwiches we tried at Bullfrog Bagels were noticeably smaller than the others and their fillings and textures brought almost nothing to the table. If you eat Bullfrog bagels for lunch, we would recommend ordering two in order to be filled up enough to go to sports practice in the afternoon. On a Saturday morning, we expected the bagels to be soft and fresh, but the dough tasted dense and stale, not crispy or toasty. While the dough left much to be desired, the everything bagel seasoning was the best of all three we tried. Bullfrog’s signature Scottish-style smoked salmon was cut and distributed well but too salty for our taste. 

Review of Everything Bagel

  • The bagel dough itself—2/5
  • Everything bagel seasoning—5/5
  • Cream cheese and its texture—4/5
  • Value: $3.45—3/5
  • Overall taste—3/5

Review of Bagel Sandwich

  • The bagel dough itself—2/5
  • Smoked salmon—2/5
  • Cream cheese and its texture—4/5
  • Value: $8.45—2/5
  • Overall taste—3/5

Georgetown Bagelry

5227 River Rd, Bethesda, Maryland, 20816

Photos by Leah Belber.

The Georgetown Bagelry produced our favorite bagels of the expedition. The bagels tasted like they had just come out of the oven, though they could have been toasted more. The cream cheese was well schmeared as well. There was not a ton of everything bagel seasoning, and what was there was mostly sesame seeds, but it still tasted like a solid everything bagel. The salmon is from D.C.-based Ivy City Smokehouse, and it was less salty than the Bullfrog salmon. However, it was cut too thick, and had a little bit of a fishy flavor. We do admire that they didn’t skimp on the fish, though!

Review of Everything Bagel

  • The bagel dough itself—4/5
  • Everything bagel seasoning—3/5
  • Cream cheese and its texture—4/5
  • Value: $3.50—4/5
  • Overall taste—4/5

Review of Bagel Sandwich

  • The bagel dough itself—4/5
  • Smoked salmon—3/5
  • Cream cheese and its texture—4/5
  • Value: $9—4/5
  • Overall taste—3/5

Bethesda Bagels

4819 Bethesda Ave, Bethesda, Maryland, 20814

Photos by Leah Belber.

Although the bagels from Bethesda Bagels tasted like they were baked that morning, they were still quite dense and fairly doughy rather than light or toasty. The everything bagel seasoning was disappointing, mostly because the quantity of salt in the seasoning was excessive. Both the bagel size and cream cheese amount seemed well balanced and filling enough to be a full breakfast meal. Like Georgetown Bagelry, Bethesda Bagels used Ivy City Smokehouse salmon. It was similarly cut too thick and unevenly distributed on the bagel we got.

Review of Everything Bagel

  • The bagel dough itself—3/5
  • Everything bagel seasoning—2/5
  • Cream cheese and its texture—5/5
  • Value: $3.60—4/5
  • Overall taste—4/5

Review of Bagel Sandwich

  • The bagel dough itself—3/5
  • Smoked salmon—3/5
  • Cream cheese and its texture—4/5
  • Value: $9.50—3/5
  • Overall taste—3/5

Although some readers may consider this first expedition an underwhelming view of the bagel scene that D.C. has to offer, we learned a lot about the options and what qualities make a truly excellent and well-rounded bagel. From how filling they are to how well proportioned each component is to the taste profile of each ingredient, a perfect bagel is hard to find (especially outside of New York City). But we are confident a delicious bagel does exist in the DMV. Keep an eye out for our next installment to read reviews of Call Your Mother Deli, Pearl’s Bagels and Baked By Yael!

Miriam Akhmetshin ’22 and Leah Belber ’22

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