Fine Bagels, a family-owned establishment, has been delighting Berliners with their authentic New York-style bagels since 2013. Laurel Kratochvila’s bagel journey dates back to 1897 when her great-great grandfather, Hyman Cooper, declared that he was moving to New York City for one simple reason: “The bagels are better.” Although he ended up in Boston, running a fix-it shop, his declaration set the stage for four generations of bagel devotion within the family.
What began as a small addition to the English-language bookstore Shakespeare and Sons has become a destination in its own right. Laurel brought her family recipes to Berlin, recreating the authentic homemade bagels she missed from her New York roots. Her partner, Roman, who owns other bookstores in the Czech Republic and worked at the famous Shakespeare and Company bookstore in Paris, complements the culinary experience with an extensive collection of English and some French books.
Bagels are hand-rolled daily in small batches. Overnight proofing, rapid boiling, and hot baking process lend to an old-fashioned flavor across varieties from poppyseed to cinnamon raisin and rosemary sea salt. A variety of homemade schmears and toppings, including sandwich options with lox and whitefish salad, keeps the bagel game interesting for a dedicated legion of regular customers.
Know Before You Go
Look for the sign that says “Books and Bagels” inside the store. On weekends, an array of Jewish baked goods from Laurel’s family recipes, including babka, rugelach, and challah, are also on offer.
Laptop workers and leisurely diners flipping through books keeps the turnover of tables full. If the cafe is packed, consider taking to-go and eating at the nearby park at Comeniusplatz. It’s a seven-minute walk away and has plenty of leafy grass and some benches.