Few, if any, dishes can be credited with having put this city on the map as much as Montreal smoked meat. A signature style of preparing brisket by seasoning and brining it for as much as two weeks before smoking, steaming and stacking it up, it’s as iconic as it is seemingly simple. Fatty or lean, on rye bread with some ballpark mustard or a poutine, it’s a great dish — if not the greatest — to enjoy at any one of the following addresses.Read More
14 of the Most Delicious Spots for Montreal Smoked Meat
These delis and diners don’t disappoint when craving Montreal’s most iconic sandwich
Jarry Smoked Meat
This St-Leonard mainstay has been serving locals since 1974, and it is a favourite among east-end night hawks looking to grab a snack late at night. Serving up smoked meat in a variety of ways, some opt to get it as a sandwich, scattered atop a plate of poutine or as a pizza topping here.
This Polish-Ukrainian neighbourhood deli and grocer in Rosemont was founded by a sausage-maker nearly a century ago, and today it remains a quaint little place for hard-to-find eastern European fare. At the sandwich counter, their smoked meat comes with a slice of Swiss cheese and a swipe of Dijon mustard in a challah bun — somewhat of a departure from the other smoked meat sandwiches on this map, but tasty.
This no-nonsense Laval deli hasn’t been around for quite as long as many of the city’s other historic venues, but its owner worked at Schwartz’s for over 30 years before opening up the spot. The brisket is dry-rubbed with a spice mix, aged, and smoked on-site — and the results are as tasty as ever.
Le Roi du Smoked Meat
Lipstick red booths. Retro diner fare. Visiting Le Roi du Smoked Meat, tucked along Plaza St-Hubert, is like entering a time warp. They may not brine their own brisket, but it’s one of few places dishing up solid smoked meat in the Rosemont–La Petite-Patrie area.
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This family-run diner has been serving smoked meat to Outremont for nearly 70 years. Little has changed in that time, with the walls still adorned with memorabilia and kitsch. Their smoked meat is tender and decently marbled with a punchy kick of spice, served alongside other Jewish delicacies including lox that’s smoked on-site as well as karnatzel, a Jewish garlicky dried beef sausage.
Wildly popular, this Jewish deli inching towards its centennial is a legendary culinary institution in the city. In 1928, it firmly established itself as a kosher deli using Romanian smoking techniques. It’s since changed hands several times (Celine Dion is famously a stakeholder), but the quality of its spiced smoked meat has not declined.
It’s common knowledge that if you find the snaking lines at Schwartz’s discouraging, skip across St-Laurent to Main Deli, just as the poet Leonard Cohen used to do. Its smoked meat is wonderfully moist with peppery undertones, though the restaurant no longer smokes its meat on-site after the original owner Peter Varvaro passed away in 2013.
Dunn’s Famous opened around the same time as Schwartz’s in 1927, but only started focusing on Montreal smoked meat in the 1970’s. Today, it’s one of the rare local delis to have become a chain, expanding to encompass multiple locations across Quebec. Despite the corporatization, it’s still quite serviceable.
Reuben's Deli & Steakhouse
Reuben’s can seem rather touristy with its prime downtown location and kitschy theatre-style lights, but it has kept up the quality. If you’re famished (and brave), try tackling the massive 10 ounce Famous Super Sandwich or the even more tremendous one-pound Big Bang Sandwich.
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Opened in 1946 by three brothers returning from the Second World War, Snowdon Deli is a local gem. Its smoked meat is some of the best in town, with a mélange of spices imparting a bold, peppery and garlicky flavour onto the brisket. The rest of the menu is extensive, with over 100 Jewish delicacies such as chopped liver, matzo ball soup, and latkes.
Decadence reigns supreme at this homegrown diner: This Dollard-des-Ormeaux spot is known for both its smoked meat and, some say, its cheesecake as well. Its current iteration may not be its original location that dates back to 1936, but its present-day spot and its huge themed smoked meat platters — like “the Japanese” served with teriyaki chicken or “the Twist” with a side of butterfly shrimp for example — are built to satisfy hunger.
Les Aliments Felix Mish
A deli dating back to 1961 that uses Polish methods and smoking with maple, this Côte-Saint-Paul haunt has long been a favourite for many in the southwest side of the city. While it’s first and foremost a grocer and takeaway counter, the shop serves plenty of sandwiches to grab and go with a freshness few can hold a candle to. The same goes for their dill pickles, kielbasa, and spicy salami.
Located in Pointe-Claire, the cramped quarters of this smokehouse produce a product that many locals in the area swear by, with some going so far as to say that it gives Schwartz’s a run for its money. At the very least, Delibee’s stands out for its willingness to use Montreal smoked meat in Reuban sandwiches, in addition to cooking up Texan-style brisket and St. Louis-style ribs. Consider also grabbing a seat at the Mayfair Tavern next door; order from a server and enjoy your food with a cold one.
Smoke Meat Pete
Nestled off Highway 20 in Île Perrot, west of Montreal, Smoke Meat Pete is well worth the trip. Founder Peter Varvaro worked alongside his father (also Peter Varvaro, who founded Main Deli) for two decades before starting his own venture. Many consider it among the best in town, and it has garnered a loyal following for its thick, tender, and well-spiced slabs of smoked meat.