Bagels are undoubtedly a popular breakfast food in the UAE, with venues specialising in New York-style bites to more Montreal-inspired baked goods. Here are some of the best offerings across the Emirates.
Bagels & More
This friendly neighbourhood spot can be found in The Sustainable City. The team of bakers is busy making fresh bagels every day, while the cafe also serves up sandwiches, salads, wraps, soups and desserts with a range of hot drinks. Bagel toppings include the classic smoked salmon and cream cheese to the more substantial burger-style offerings topped with Angus beef and melted cheddar cheese. There's also one for the vegetarians, with grilled Portabella mushrooms, roasted vegetables and feta cheese.
Uncle Jay, who worked for decades in the food industry in Philadelphia, US, wanted to bring the perfect New York-style bagel to Abu Dhabi, and so he opened Bagel Factory in the capital's World Trade Centre Souq. Grab a plain or sesame bagel, or one of his specialty options, which incorporate everything from cinnamon and raisins to honey-wheat and pumpernickel. Choose classic toppings (think cream cheese or peanut butter), signature varieties (such as the roast beef club) or a more gourmet offering, such as the Uncle Jay Supreme, with filet mignon steak, Swiss cheese and sauteed mushrooms, plus a side of baked potato.
The Bagel Bar Coffee House
There are a few venues of The Bagel Bar Coffee House scattered about Dubai, at Festival City Mall, in Jebel Ali Village and Dubai Marina. It's a franchise that hails from Dublin, Ireland, where it first opened its doors in 2001. The UAE is one of six countries you can find it in, but plenty more expansion is in the works for this brand. That's because not only are its internationally influenced bagel toppings a hit (from the Bangkok to the Mexicana and the Italian Job), but its menu also encompasses tasty wraps, paninis, toasties, soups, salads and a healthy helping of sweet treats.
Dubai, Abu Dhabi
While Circle Cafe may not necessarily be known for its bagels any more, that's how it all started. More than a decade ago Dubai mums Mira and Rama were in New York enjoying an authentic bagel with smoked salmon and cream cheese when they realised they wanted to bring the taste of the Big Apple to the UAE. In 2003, they opened Circle Cafe, which now has branches across the UAE and Saudi Arabia, and its menu has expanded to include all manner of hearty, healthy and wholesome, generously portioned dishes.
Big Apple Bagels
Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Fujairah
Big Apple Bagels was born in Illinois, US, back in the early 1990s, but the brand now has four branches in the UAE, too, with three more to open up within the first quarter of this year. The slogan is "something big is always baking" and the bagels range from plain to honey oat, and wholewheat to jalapeno, with a plethora of toppings, including their own signature range of flavoured cream cheeses. The menu also features plenty of other dishes, such as pancakes and French toast, burgers and burritos, cakes and frozen yoghurt.
The Al Safa venue is passionate about serving homemade, Montreal-style bagels created "the old traditional way", with 100 per cent natural ingredients. Each is hand-rolled, boiled in honey-infused water, then baked in the cafe's wood-fired oven. That means they're chewy on the inside, crispy and golden on the outside, with a slightly sweet taste. Toppings range from plain cream cheese to nut butter and more Middle Eastern flavours, such as za'atar or labneh. There's also a whole section on the menu dedicated to egg-laden bagels, plus those topped with gourmet produce, including bresaola, gruyere cheese and homemade pesto.
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