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Montreal bagels
Montreal bagels
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Montreal's Jewish Food Traditions, Mapped

Bagels, smoked meat, and much more

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Montreal bagels
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When you talk about Jewish food in Montreal, you’re probably going to be talking about history and tradition. There are the delis, bakeries and breakfast spots, some open for 60-plus years, passed down from generation to generations. You've got plenty of options here. Does Schwartz’s, The Main, Snowdon Deli or Lester’s make the best smoked meat sandwich? Are you a Fairmount or St-Viateur person? Cheese or no cheese on a Wilensky’s special?

It’s still an evolving dining scene too, one where you can pick up challah on Fridays at Hof Kelsten, line up for weekend brunch at Arthurs Nosh Bar, or visit the Museum of Jewish Montreal’s Fletchers Espace Culinaire for a gefilte fish sandwich and a walking tour. Beyond the Plateau-Mile End cluster, there’s also traditional Sephardic cuisine to discover in Côte-Saint-Luc at places like Chez Benny and La Marguerite, or in plates of fresh falafel at Sumac in Saint-Henri.

If nothing else, between sandwiches and sides, matzo ball soup and shakshuka, Jewish food is good comfort food — and it seems there’s never been a better time for that.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
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Falafel Yoni

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The newest falafel-slinger on the block takes a pared down approach to the Israeli classic. Their truncated menu keeps things simple and straightforward: take your pick from a falafel pita, falafel salad, sabich (pita stuffed with eggplant and hard boiled eggs) or hummus plate. All good choices, best accompanied by fries and a house-made lemonade.

St-Viateur Bagel (multiple locations)

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Pick up a dozen fresh sesame seed bagels to go at the 24-hour landmark St-Viateur shop, or sit down for a smoked salmon sandwich or bagel spread at one of their cafes on Mont-Royal or in Dollard-des-Ormeaux.

Deli 365

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This kosher lunch spot on Bernard does sandwiches, including smoked meat and chicken schnitzel, and has a few falafel and shawarma options. It’s a relatively new underdog, but the food shapes up.

Boulangerie Cheskie

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Come for the chocolate babka, stay for the rugelach, cheese crowns and black and white cookies at this beloved Mile End Jewish bakery, better known as Cheskie’s.

Wilensky's Light Lunch

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What’s better than a Wilensky’s Special? The grilled all-beef bologna and salami sandwich with mustard, maybe with a pickle or egg cream soda on the side, is one of the most dependable, and affordable, eats in the city. Read Sharon Wilensky’s memories of the lunch counter, open since 1932, here.

Fairmount Bagel

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Founded by Russian immigrant Isadore Shlafman, the Mile End bagel shop is now into its third generation with grandson Irwin Shlafman carrying on the hand-rolled, wood-fired bagel legacy. Nearby St-Viateur might now be the bigger operation, but Fairmount is the original.

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Lester's

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The Outremont deli, marked by its iconic yellow awning, holds its own in Montreal’s smoked meat sandwich face-off. Not much has changed within the walls of this institution since its inception, and that’s exactly how devoted fans like it.

Hof Kelsten

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Jeffrey Finkelstein’s bakery and café is among the forefront of Montreal’s next-gen Jewish cuisine. The rye, raisin and challah consistently get raves, plus weekend brunch dishes like shakshuka and schnitzel plates.

Beautys Luncheonette

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A breakfast and brunch standard, Beautys has history (open since 1942), retro charm (booths and stools for all) and its own breakfast classics (Mish-Mash omelet and the special). It’s tough not to love what what the dearly-missed maitre d’ Hymie Scholnik created for Montrealers, weekend lineups and all.

Espace Culinaire Fletchers

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Housed in the Museum of Jewish Montreal and helmed by The Wandering Chew co-founder Kat Romanow, Fletchers is a cultural eating experience. The menu draws inspiration from Montreal’s Ashkenazi and Sephardic communities and features sweet snacks like massafan (almond cookies made with cardamom and rosewater) and sprinkle cookies. There are also food tours and pop-up dinners on offer.

Moishes

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Old-school elegance pervades this classic Jewish steakhouse, open since 1938. Its late-night fixed-price menu, available after 9 p.m. from Thursday to Saturday, is a popular option for the budget-conscious. Every other night of the week, regulars young and old fill the storied dining room, tucking into favourites like chopped liver, verenikas, Monte Carlo potatoes and some of the best steaks in town. Moishes was recently sold to a corporation, but is still family-run.

Schwartz's Montreal Hebrew Delicatessen

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The landmark deli has been in the same spot since it was opened by Romanian immigrant Reuben Schwartz in 1928 — and now is part-owned by Céline Dion. Lines may be long, but it’s tough to beat a medium on rye with a pickle, fries and cherry coke.

Main Deli Steak House

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The Main's smoked meat sandwich (and smoked meat poutine) has its share of devotees, and no lines like nearby Schwartz's, although it did stop smoking its own meat. You’ll also find classics like matzo ball soup, latkes and a reuben.

Snowdon Deli

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This Côte-des-Neiges deli turned 70 last year, and is still a go-to for traditional Jewish deli fare like smoked meat, chopped liver and knishes. It’s also a favourite spot for breakfast, with a bagel plate and smoked meat benny. Plus, party sandwiches.

You’ll find all-kosher pizza, pasta, and Asian dishes alongside Israeli offerings including a falafel plate and ziva (a puff pastry stuffed with cheese and olives), plus plenty of fish dishes.

In Saint-Henri, Chef Rachel Zagury draws on her Sephardic roots with fresh, veg-friendly dishes like salade cuite (slow-cooked tomatoes. roasted sweet peppers), falafel and sabich (fried eggplant, hard boiled egg, cucumber pickles, amba mango pickle).

Arthurs

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The fish-focused nosh bar — and much fawned-over favourite of TV chef Rachael Ray — features modern Jewish cuisine set in chic, cheerful environs. Brunch is big here, with shakshuka, a latke smorgasbord and a very decadent Caesar, topped with a pickle and loaded mini bagel sandwich. Beware of the line-ups.

La Marguerite

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The Côte-Saint-Luc kosher caterer also has a storefront where you can find Moroccan soups, salads, couscous and more. It’s only open Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Sunday.

Pâtisserie Adar

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The kosher bakery in Côte-Saint-Luc offers Moroccan lunch and dinner options, plus pastries and cakes.

Falafel St. Jacques

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This popular Ville-St-Pierre counter is one-part Jewish, one-part Muslim, and equal parts healthy(ish) and delicious. Everything is vegetarian and the fake meat shish taouk is almost as perfect as the falafel, which is arguably the most perfect in town.

Falafel Yoni

The newest falafel-slinger on the block takes a pared down approach to the Israeli classic. Their truncated menu keeps things simple and straightforward: take your pick from a falafel pita, falafel salad, sabich (pita stuffed with eggplant and hard boiled eggs) or hummus plate. All good choices, best accompanied by fries and a house-made lemonade.

St-Viateur Bagel (multiple locations)

Pick up a dozen fresh sesame seed bagels to go at the 24-hour landmark St-Viateur shop, or sit down for a smoked salmon sandwich or bagel spread at one of their cafes on Mont-Royal or in Dollard-des-Ormeaux.

Deli 365

This kosher lunch spot on Bernard does sandwiches, including smoked meat and chicken schnitzel, and has a few falafel and shawarma options. It’s a relatively new underdog, but the food shapes up.

Boulangerie Cheskie

Come for the chocolate babka, stay for the rugelach, cheese crowns and black and white cookies at this beloved Mile End Jewish bakery, better known as Cheskie’s.

Wilensky's Light Lunch

What’s better than a Wilensky’s Special? The grilled all-beef bologna and salami sandwich with mustard, maybe with a pickle or egg cream soda on the side, is one of the most dependable, and affordable, eats in the city. Read Sharon Wilensky’s memories of the lunch counter, open since 1932, here.

Fairmount Bagel

Wikimedia Commons

Founded by Russian immigrant Isadore Shlafman, the Mile End bagel shop is now into its third generation with grandson Irwin Shlafman carrying on the hand-rolled, wood-fired bagel legacy. Nearby St-Viateur might now be the bigger operation, but Fairmount is the original.

Wikimedia Commons

Lester's

The Outremont deli, marked by its iconic yellow awning, holds its own in Montreal’s smoked meat sandwich face-off. Not much has changed within the walls of this institution since its inception, and that’s exactly how devoted fans like it.

Hof Kelsten

Jeffrey Finkelstein’s bakery and café is among the forefront of Montreal’s next-gen Jewish cuisine. The rye, raisin and challah consistently get raves, plus weekend brunch dishes like shakshuka and schnitzel plates.

Beautys Luncheonette

A breakfast and brunch standard, Beautys has history (open since 1942), retro charm (booths and stools for all) and its own breakfast classics (Mish-Mash omelet and the special). It’s tough not to love what what the dearly-missed maitre d’ Hymie Scholnik created for Montrealers, weekend lineups and all.

Espace Culinaire Fletchers

Housed in the Museum of Jewish Montreal and helmed by The Wandering Chew co-founder Kat Romanow, Fletchers is a cultural eating experience. The menu draws inspiration from Montreal’s Ashkenazi and Sephardic communities and features sweet snacks like massafan (almond cookies made with cardamom and rosewater) and sprinkle cookies. There are also food tours and pop-up dinners on offer.