Chef Mark McEwan tastes Toronto's best bagel and cream cheese combos

We scoured the city's top shops for this particular schmear campaign

First, we asked T.O.’s top bagel shops for their best bagel and house cream cheese, then chef Mark McEwan chose the winning duo. Next chef sampled smoked salmon from the city’s foremost fishmongers and finally he chose his favourite lox and bagel/cream cheese combo.

BAGEL& CREAM CHEESE:

A) WINNER:GRYFE’S BAGELS
This poppy seed bagel has a “beautiful interior and crust,” and is “super tender and light inside,” according to McEwan. “This bagel wins hands down,” he announces.
3421 Bathurst St., $8.40/dozen

B) RUNNER-UP:WHAT A BAGEL
McEwan loves that this everything bagel was very tender on the inside. “It’s a larger bagel,” he says, “but it has a very good mouth feel, and the cream cheese is nicely whipped.”
808 York Mills Rd. and otherlocations, $7.00/dozen

C) ST. URBAIN
This Montreal-style sesame bagel has the best topping says McEwan. “It’s good quality cream cheese, and then you lighten it up by whipping it. For me, it makes the sandwich a lot less heavy,” he explains.
93 Front St. E., #11, $8.50/dozen

D) BAGEL HOUSE
This everything bagel is very visually appealing according to McEwan; however, he finds it slightly doughy. “I like the size of it, he says. It’s Montreal style, and a little dense and heavy.
1722 Avenue Rd. and otherlocations $9.99/dozen

E) BAGEL WORLD
“This is a New York–style bagel,” says McEwan. He likes that this pumpernickel bagel has a nice skin on it and a really tender interior.
10 Disera Dr., $9.00/dozen

F) KIVA’S
“This one has a lot of seeds and is very interesting,” says McEwan of this everything bagel. “It has a nice size, nice form and great cream cheese.”
2496 Yonge St. and other locations, $13.80/dozen

G)BAGELS PLUS
For McEwan, the highlight of this sesame bagel is that it was baked so that it formed a delicious, slightly firm, exterior crust.
634 Sheppard Ave. W., $8.95/dozen


SMOKED SALMON:

WINNER:DE LA MER
“Well-rounded texture, oil flavour and underlying smokiness.“
728 St. Clair Ave. W.,$31.99/lb

KRISTAPSON'S
“Mild on the smoke side but very well done.”
3248 Yonge St., $14.75/150 g

HOOKED
“It has beautiful colour and the body of the fish is very nice.”
206 Baldwin St.,$86/kg

PISCES GOURMET
“A good quality smoked salmon in that it still has its natural oil.”
1097 Yonge St., 42.99/lb

MIKE'S FISH MARKET
“Very clean on the palate and a really nice texture.”
93 Front St. E., $34.99/lb