Layla vs. Courage…Los Angeles Bagel and Restaurant Review

Holey Bagels.

Layla’s in Santa Monica, California is a standout newcomer to the Los Angeles bagel scene, a  valid  comparison to the ever-busy and creative Courage Bagels in Virgil Village.

Layla rolls out sourdough bagels, hand rolled and made fresh each morning.

According to owner Sergio Espana, a Tartine and Gjusta alum, what makes the bagels great is  incorporating levain, better known as sourdough, into the mix.

The bagels, flavorful and light, come plain, poppy, sesame and are a cross between Montreal and New York style bagels.

On a recent Sunday afternoon the line to order snaked down the block and was a 30 minute wait.

Once inside the tidy place, Kai was a big help.

We ordered The Laila on a sesame bagel with silky smooth and delicious smoked salmon, tomato, cucumber, pickled onion, capers and dill with a herb cream cheese shmear ($16).

The other selection was the simple yet outstanding Scarlett with fabulous heirloom tomatoes, lemon zest, chili flakes and cream cheese on an everything bagel ($10).

The bagel sandwiches were fresh and delicious and the bagels were soft and tasty.

Chef Sammi Tarantino oversees the full menu, which includes coffee, lighter breakfast options like a parfait and overnight oats, plus nine different bagel sandwiches that are available in full and half orders.

I need to wrap my head around $3 bagels. Food costs are insane.

The 1,500-square-foot bakery has indoor and outdoor seating.

It is nice to have a great bagel place 15 minutes away as opposed to the 30-45 minute trip to Courage.

Courage menu items include The Run It Thru The Garden on a Burnt Everything bagel with homemade cream cheese, tomato, cucumber, capers, onion, dill, lemon, salt and olive oil. It was beyond delicious and fulfilled all expectations ($7 half).

The Hand Sliced Smoked Salmon with homemade cream cheese, tomato, onion, caper, dill, pepper, lemon and olive oil on a Sea Salt Sesame bagel was divine ($9 half in 2020, half now $10)

The pinnacle of fabulosity was the wildly fresh tasting Wild Alaskan Salmon Roe with cream cheese and dill on an Everything bagel ($18 whole in 2020, now $22)).

Courage bagels are delightfully crunchy and crispy, more Montreal-style than New York-style.

To be honest, I prefer the Courage bagels because I love the crunch. The Layla and Courage selections are similar, but you cannot beat the Wild Alaskan Salmon Roe.

Both bagel joints are outstanding and worth a visit.

I have to admit that Courage makes the best bagels I have ever tasted and I have been bobbing for bagels since I was a toddler.

Layla Bagels 1614 Ocean Park Boulevard Santa Monica, California. Layla is open Wednesday through Sunday from 7:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and plans to expand its hours soon. Street parking.

Courage Bagels 777 North Virgil Avenue Virgil Village, California. Open Monday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday 7am-2pm.

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