Food/Service Dissonance: New York Bagel Cafe

May and I met up on Victoria Day to catch up over brunch. While holidays are a lovely opportunity to linger with a friend over coffee, it was easier said than done. Most of the independent restaurants I could think of were either closed for the holiday, or closed on Mondays, so we resorted to options across the river. We ultimately ended up at New York Bagel Café (8430 Gateway Boulevard), the charming and cozy eatery a stone’s throw away from the bustle of Whyte Avenue.

My only previous visit was an exercise in patience, in both the wait for a table and the delay in getting our food at the table, and this experience was no different. We were second in line, but it took staff more than ten minutes to even acknowledge our existence, and no one so much as stopped to provide a ballpark estimate of the wait time. Granted, I did not envy the job of the two servers on the floor, run ragged and only halfway through the afternoon, but for such a well-established restaurant, it surprised me that they presented such a poor first impression.

After we were seated (about forty minutes later) away from the entrance and with a view of the still-shuttered patio, we were finally able to relax. Our server was friendly and she was thankfully calm at the table where she was frantic in the lobby.

While I still have qualms about their lack of drip coffee on the menu, I was satisfied with my espresso-based house coffee ($3.25) this time, served piping hot and made creamy with the addition of a side of steamed milk.

House coffee

The food was quite good as well, living up to their reputation of having great bagels and benedicts. My cheddar bagel was cheesy and toasted perfectly, and I thoroughly enjoyed the rest of my classic breakfast ($13), including my perfectly cooked scrambled eggs and well-seasoned potatoes (where a morsel of coarse salt would occasionally burst forth). The fruit accompaniment, while not necessarily rivalling Cora’s in quantity, definitely strikes a prettier note.

Classic breakfast

May equally delighted in her eggs benedict with duck ham ($19), a rich and savoury way to start the morning (my taste of the duck ham led me to believe it would make a steadfast rival to traditional bacon). Though she found the sweet apple an unusual inclusion, she still declared it among the best benedicts in the city.

Smoked duck breast and grilled apple benedict

The only other blemish during our stay came when we asked for our bill. It took the server more than fifteen minutes to bring it by. Though we didn’t mind drinking in the sunshine and ambiance, we assumed her lengthy time away meant the demand for tables had died down. However, when we later approached the door, bill in hand to pay at the register, we were surprised to see that the line was even longer than before. For New York Bagel Café’s sake, I’m hoping that day was a blip in their service delivery, because their food deserves better.

New York Bagel Café
8430 Gateway Boulevard
(780) 432-2003

7 thoughts on “Food/Service Dissonance: New York Bagel Cafe

  1. I haven’t been to the New York Bagel Cafe since they were in their original location that burnt down. It was the same there — a tiny handful of tables and a long wait. Now their new location is the same. I never thought the food was so extraordinary that it justified the wait and slowness.

  2. It’s a nice place. I agree with you on the service though.

    Next time you aer in the Whyte Ave area, check out the new Cha Island Tea on 81ave between 103 and 104th St. They make amazing iced teas.

  3. I have the exact same thoughts about the Bagel Café. The food is wonderful, and I’ve never had a bad meal there, but the wait times there are painful. It’s gotten to the point that I don’t go there unless someone else insists, which is sad, because I really do love the food there.

  4. Debra and KatyBelle – it’s nice to know others have had similar experiences in the past!

    Steve – I didn’t know there was a new cafe there, thanks for the heads up.

  5. Must agree with the other comments. I like to go there, but there is almost always a long wait, which becomes even longer once you sit down! Always love the food and coffee tho!

  6. I’ve heard many complaints about NY Bagel over the years but for some reason I always have good luck with the service. Perhaps because I tend to go in the middle of the week, in the middle of the day. I always just go up to the counter to pay rather than wait for a bill to come, it certainly speeds things along. And, yes, the food is delish!

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