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Gotham New York Bagels and Eats

In a word: You know that guy who whines whenever you bring bagels that they're not real bagels? Take him here.

The specs: #0267
Address, hours & details via Isthmus; reviews at Isthmus, and again, and again, Christopher Robin's Fresh Foods, Dane101, Quomodocumque, Fringe Foods, Yelp, 77 Square, the Culinary Adventures of Jahboh and Tossy, the Sconz, MuchAdoAboutMadison; TDPF; pre-opening buzz at Dane101 and Letters in Bottles; article on S. Park St. location opening; official web site, Gotham New York Bagels & Eats on Urbanspoon

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JM ate the "G" sandwich on a plain bagel.
Nichole ate the "V" sandwich on an everything bagel with an Illy coffee.
We also got 3 bagels and 8oz. of cream cheese to go.
The bill was $19, or $9.50/person, plus tip.
JM gave Gotham a B+; Nichole gave Gotham an A- (see our grading rubric).

Gotham has gotten an amazing amount of buzz online, which we think is just testament to the dearth of "real bagel" places in Madison. We won't venture a guess as to how authentic the bagels are here - we'll just say they're very good bagels. As for authenticity, the Poland Springs water and Dr. Brown's soda are spot on.


The artisanal, local cream cheese goes over better if you try not to expect it to be anything like commercial cream cheese. It has a softer, grainier texture and far less bite - more cheese than cream. The bagels themselves require some fabulous ripping and tearing with teeth.

The breakfast sandwiches at Gotham are tasty, it cannot be denied. The "V" included a cornucopia of fresh veg (scallion, avocado, tomatoes) and the aforementioned cream cheese. Only the too-bitter greens detracted from it.

Gotham V

Nichole discovered she's not all that fond of Illy coffee. It has less body and substance than she'd like, the flavor somehow hovering on her tongue without settling down.   

Gotham G

Both of us yummed up the bagel chips that accompanied each sandwich. They were better than JM's entree, in his opinion. The "G" came with fried egg, which did not make JM happy (scrambled would have been better for him).  It also turns out that JM is on the Bagels Forever side of the Great Bagel Dispute '97TM. He doesn't find these bagels in any way superior to those offered by countless local establishments. You probably disagree -- but don't write in just to make him feel bad about it. JM has never been that kind of foodie and you know it.

Gotham's Bagels do fill a previously unfilled space in the Madison dining scene, and we wish to encourage culinary diversity.  Of course, when JM was in New York for the first time this February - it wasn't bagels he was looking at longingly on nearly every block. It was donuts.


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Ho, man. You have got to try the Spanish Harlem. It's meateriffic. And the Williamsburg (pastrami on rye) smells and looks wonderful, but the dime I'd have to drop to get one has, to date, put me off it.

Strangely, I too was unimpressed by the Illy coffee. The fair trade brew is much more satisfying. It was surprising, because I've heard so much about Illy in the espresso world. I expected it to be better.

Meateriffic - heh, awesome.

Definitely agree with Kyle. That Spanish Harlem is one of the best sandwiches in town.

They have their own (very minimal) website, but it does include a PDF menu and their hours (now open on sundays too!): http://www.gothambagels.com/

Thanks for the link, JB!

Good bagels, no question, but I didn't think they were really crispy + chewy like some NYC bagels.

(open on Sundays is good news!)

The Williamsburg, while expensive, is indeed very satisfying. Now you guys have convinced me to go the Spanish Harlem route next time I'm there -- I haven't found a really good Cuban sandwich in Madison yet. (Cafe Soleil's is fine, but not inspiring.)

We came here the first week it opened. Of course, having been to NY a few times and hailing from Chicago, I went right for their hot pastrami. Honestly we were very disappointed, though we'd be willing to try it again. Basically the pastrami sandwich was almost 10 dollars, came with no side dish, and had a miserly serving portion. For that money (again, with no side dish) I expected a reasonably filling sandwich. No luck, and the pastrami was lukewarm at best. My friend got the lox bagel, and once again there was a miserly serving of tepid salmon. I admit that a return trip may be necessary now that it seems that they've hit their stride. But when I'm around the capitol I'm usually attracted to the Old Fashioned for their amazing bacon cheese burgers--which incidentally are two dollars less than the pastrami and come with fries.

Just had the Spanish Harlem; pretty good but I still think the Cuban sandwich at Soleil is the best I've had in town (though I don't think a really great Cuban sandwich exists here at present.) And I stand by the pastrami. I tend to be a pretty hungry man, and you'd have to be a much hungrier man than I not to be filled up by that sandwich. And it does come with a side dish, the only one appropriate for a pastrami sandwich -- a pickle.

That said, if Old Fashioned has an amazing six-dollar burger I'll definitely give it a go.

Mah Gawd. I tried this place pretty much immediately after reading this entry as I am quite the bagel enthusiast, and I am in love. This place is in my weekly routine, and thanks to you guys for introducing me!

Just to be fair I went back to try the Williamsburg on the way to work the other day. Much improved! Big slices of fresh hot pastrami, and a cous cous side dish that made sure it was enough food. They seem to have a new deli chef with a more generous disposition. Bigger slice of pickle too. Next time I'll get around to trying their bagels.

Wowsers, nice taste, good looking place, comfy (I could never understand why Jacobsons didn't have a counter at the window to sit at...silly)but...and it's a BIG BUT was that for the "heaping" amount of pastrami promised I was given very little..for $9.50 with no side dish (no, an irradiated over large tasteless pickle does not classify as a side dish...potato pancakes, slaw, chips sumthin..and for 9.50 I should get a drink too)...good bagels....measly serving continued for my lunch mate as well as MINUTE sized dessert...2 bites of Rugala for 1.50?????

The thing about a good deli is not only good tasting food...but GREAT Value...this ain't even close. Too bad.

great bagels! so high in carbs and fat you'll gain 3 pounds from just one. terrible meagerly portioned sandwiches and 'salads'. the curry potato salad was inedible and old.

Awesome bagels, hideously overpriced compared to a genuine NY bagel shop (says this native Lawn-Guy-Land-er).

I love this place! As far as value, a bagel and some of the tastiest cream cheese i've ever tasted, plus tomato, arugula, and onion sets me back less than 5 dollars and fills me up. Also, their lemon-chickpea soup will seriously make you swoon!

Try the bialys, it is fantastic! One thing I have noticed on my recent visits is the unfriendliness by staff however.

Loved their bagel and cream cheese. A+. Hated my salmon sandwich. An embarrassment. D-

Their bagels are so good! The side dishes are overpriced and look like they've been sitting around for a while, so I haven't ordered any yet. But I had a sesame bagel with salmon cream cheese the other day and thought it was really tasty.

I think the bagels here are terrific too but the service is soooo slow. I've been in here on a not-too-busy day and ordered a bagel and cream cheese to wait for over 15 minutes, even with 3-4 guys working behind the counter. Not sure if it's indicative of NYC insolence or Madison incompetence.

Today I had pastrami and mustard on a toasted everything bagel. Maybe the sandwich has a name, the Williamsburg? I'm not sure, I just asked for pastrami and mustard on an everything. Good christ did they put a lot of pastrami on there. I would guess it was about 10oz or so. I had a hard time finishing the whole thing and I am a big eater. It was delicious, lots of nice bark on the pastrami. If I worked anywhere near downtown I'd probably eat one once a week for lunch. The little side salad was bland and boring, but it didn't even matter, I was stuffed.

$9.50 for a sandwich, and I wouldn't call it overpriced.

Since my earlier posts on Gotham I have to admit that I've become a big fan of their bagels and cream cheese, and breakfast bagel sandwiches with egg and cheese. I gave up on ordering meals or sandwiches from here, but for a quick breakfast on the go this place is among the best downtown. The bagels are huge.

good olive cream cheese, aloof staff, a tad overpriced. i waited to be acknowledged saturday morning, and the counter guy who was not occupied just ignored all of us customers in the q for a good few minutes. well, based on rudeness alone, they're definitely bringing new york to madison.

Inconsistent food, shoddy service. Don't go here if you're in any sort of hurry, and by hurry I mean if you're annoyed waiting 20 min. for them to ladle a cup of soup.

They are slow. Methodical, even. I don't mind that in the same way that I don't really mind having to recharge my iPhone battery more often than if I had a Moto Q or something.

Will probably get there this weekend for a whitefish salad sandwich. Had a sample before the holidays, and it was KILLER.

Ohhh, their whitefish is really good. I guess I just had a bad soup experience and felt the need to complain. It, by the way, had indecipherable chunks/strands of what what supposed to be chicken in it. It was no lemon chickpea, which I hope they add back into rotation soon!

I always get a pumpernickel bagel with salmon cream cheese. Delicious, filling, and cheaper than the cooked sandwiches. That leaves me with cash to spend on the pineapple/mint juice which is SO good. Gotham now has a location next to St Mary's Hospital. My son was born on a Sunday morning and I sent my husband for bagels and pineapple juice just as soon as we were all settled!

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