Life in the big city, and everything in between.

David’s Bagels vs. Ess-a-Bagel

In Food on January 6, 2011 at 1:40 pm

On First Avenue, you will find two of Manhattan’s Bagel competitors. David’s Bagels and Ess-a-Bagel are only a short two blocks away from each other, which is why I had to try both.

My first stop was David’s Bagel where I ordered a whole wheat bagel with lox. The bagel was nice and warm. The dough was soft and sweet on the inside and the crust was thin and almost caramelized on the outside.

David's Bagel

The overall taste of the bagel alone was moist and nutty. The lox were fresh and tender with just the right amount of chewiness. I was expecting the lox to be cold against the warm bagel but I was pleasantly surprised that the overall texture and flavor were just right. David’s is a no frills kind of place which I love. The service was fast and the bagels were amazing.

David's Whole Wheat Bagel with Lox

My next stop was Ess-a-Bagel, a short distance away from David’s. I walked in and was greeted by the owner. I ordered the same, whole wheat bagel with lox. I was told since their bagels are always fresh they don’t need toasting. I can appreciate that, especially if the bagel is really warm and fresh. However, once I tasted the bagel I wasn’t blown away. It was pretty hard and not warm at all. The taste of the bagel was somewhat bland and not very easy to chew. It almost hurt the roof of my mouth just eating it. The lox were no where as fresh as David’s. They also had somewhat of an artificial color which really turned me off.

Ess-a Whole Wheat Bagel with Lox

I went into both places with no expectations, but for me David’s far exceeded Ess-a-Bagel in every way. The ratio of crunchy on the outside to chewy on the inside at David’s is right on. Although the bagels may be slightly larger at Ess-a-Bagel (which may justify why they are more expensive) the overall taste has nothing on David’s Bagels.

If your not blessed with a bagel shop as amazing as David’s on your block then it’s time to make your way to First Avenue for their nice and fluffy, soft and chewy bagel. But don’t just go by my experience, try both for yourself.

David’s Bagels:

331 1st Ave
(between 19th St & 20th St)
New York, NY 10003
Neighborhoods: Stuyvesant Town, Gramercy

(212) 780-2308


359 1st Ave
(between 20th St & 21st St)
New York, NY 10010
Neighborhoods: Stuyvesant Town, Gramercy

(212) 260-2252

  1. I think you may have had an unfortunate experience as essa. I love both davids and essa! Essa is better for shmear and davids is better for egg sandwiches! Give essa another try! You won’t be let down twice

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