Two questions that are liable to get you in trouble: 1. What constitutes a sandwich, exactly? 2. What is the best sandwiches in Montreal?
Well, bring on the trouble because here’s that latest iteration of Eater Montreal’s sandwich board. It is a formidable map, with everything from banh mi to grilled cheese, and no less than 25 items on the menu. Note that burgers, hot dogs, and wrap-like creations were all excluded, though we got some of that covered here, here, and here.
Steak Panini at Ciociaro
QC H1P 3C8, Canada
This Saint-Leonard hideaway is popular among the local Italian community, but well worth a stop for anyone heading out East. Its steak panini, packed with the regular lettuce, tomato and cheese fixings, as well as marinated eggplant and hot peppers, may be the lesser-known option compared to rival Café Milano, but it’s arguably just as good (some say even better).
Breakfast Sandwich at Hélico
It has got fennel sausage, a fried egg, and cheddar, but it’s the barbecue sauce slathered inside that really drives this one home. The porchetta sandwich is also quite good — should you be there past brunch.
Fried Chicken Sandwich at Mitch Deli
QC H2G 2N9, Canada
Started by a teacher from the École des Métiers de la Restauration et du Tourisme de Montréal, Mitch Deli sought to create jobs for students during the pandemic, but also to build on Rosemont’s flourishing sandwich scene. Its fried chicken sandwich is an absolute must.
Famous Chicken Cutlet Sandwich at Café Gentile (multiple locations)
This decades-old Italian haunt in the Garment District up on Chabanel recently opened a shinier location in Westmount to cater to, well, arguably, much of the same clientele. In any case, its sandwiches are an undisputed highlight of both parts of town. The Famous Chicken Cutlet — served with lettuce, tomato, mayo, and bomba (spicy Calabrian pepper spread) — basically speaks for itself.
Banh Mi at Hung Phat
Located just steps away from Marché Jean-Talon, Hung Phat remains the undisputed king of banh mi in Montreal. Order yours with marinated beef, mayo, pickled carrots, daikon and lemongrass, or fall back on the Vietnamese-style pâté for a more traditional approach. While there, might as well pick up some banh bao (filled steamed bun), too.
Grilled Haloumi Sandwich at Dépanneur Le Pickup
Rarely can you find yourself ordering a grilled cheese sandwich of this magnitude, but the grilled haloumi sandwich at Le Pick Up is a marvel. Served with mint slaw, honey and harissa mayo, it arguably outshines the (also very good) pulled pork option that made a name for this lunch counter.
Le P’tit Talbot at Ma Poule Mouillée
Many who flock to Ma Poule Mouillée do so for its Portuguese take on a Québécois classic: the poutine. However, its traditional chicken sandwich, called Le P’tit Talbot, featuring charcoal-roasted chicken with piri-piri sauce on papo seco bread — nothing more — is also among the best in the city.
Porchetta Sandwich at larrys+
The beloved porchetta sandwich once served out of Boucherie Lawrence is now being offered a few doors down at larrys+ (formerly Lawrence). But the homemade sourdough bun and meaty mount of porchetta filling hasn’t changed. The breakfast sandwich is a fan favourite, too.
Special Sandwich at Wilensky's Light Lunch
All-beef salami, all-beef bologna, mustard, on a roll, pressed flat: it’s what this corner lunch counter has been serving since 1932. With a cherry-pineapple soda or egg cream, please.
Chopped Liver Sandwich at Hof Kelsten
The chopped liver sandwich is one of several stellar options on offer at Jeffrey Finkelstein’s Mile End bakery. The house-made bread hits all the right textures and flavours, while the saltiness of the liver is offset by a healthy dose of sweet and tangy cabbage. A complex masterpiece.
Le Big Nan at Capitaine Sandwich
This veritable hole-in-the-wall on Duluth is rather inconspicuous, with a neon sign as the primary marker of the tiny storefront. While the haloumi or meatball sandwiches are strong contenders, the crown belongs atop Le Big Nan: folded and grilled naan bread filled with beef, pork, cheese, “Big Nan sauce,” lettuce, and pickles that conjure up a wonderfully Indian version of the famous fast food burger with a similar name.
The Smoked Meat Sandwich at Schwartz's
The quintessential Montreal sandwich. Period.
Jamón Serrano Sandwich at Libreria Española
Libreria Española is completely no-nonsense about its flagship sandwich, which is nothing more than Serrano ham on an olive oil-brushed baguette. They make it look easy. You can throw in some additional flavours by adding Ibérico or Spanish cheese, even lettuce and tomato, but there’s no problem with just sticking to the classic.
Carne Mechada at Arepera
Some may balk at our classification of the arepa as a sandwich, but few would contest the deliciousness of Arepera’s corn-dough creations stuffed with braised meats, avocado slices and cheese. Go for the carne mechado (shredded beef in tomato sauce), or one of the variations on this classic.
Sausage Sandwich at Slovenia Salaison
Some Montrealers might associate this grilled sausage sandwich with street sales and festivals along Saint-Laurent Boulevard during the sultry summer months. Yet this combo of Eastern European-style sausage served with a healthy dose of pickled cabbage is available year around, and worth it.
Cuban Sandwich at Olive & Gourmando
After all these years, Olive & Gourmando’s Cubano continues to earn praise from both locals and tourists. It’s hard to beat the undeniably flavourful combination of ham, braised pork, Gruyère, chipotle mayo and pickles, pressed between fresh bread. Tip: if you’re taking it to go, stuff your pockets with plenty of napkins before hitting to the streets.
Spicy Grilled Chicken at Joes Panini
While no one can really figure out how the prices haven’t changed in almost a decade, nobody is complaining. Joe’s Panini, open 24 hours, remains a go-to option for students, Habs fans looking for a pre-game snack, or party goers on the hunt for a late-night fix-me-up. The spicy grilled chicken is the star of the show (even if it’s not much to look at) — but with over 20 panini to choose from, you really can’t go wrong.
Chicken Sandwich at Antep Kebap
QC H3H 2N4, Canada
This cash-only, Concordia-adjacent Turkish kebab spot has been feeding university students for a a very reasonable $8-a-sandwich for years. Many opt for the grilled chicken (with yogurt, hot sauce, and on a house-made sesame-dotted bread), but really everything on the menu is good.
Jambon Beurre at La Bête à Pain
Quite possibly the most classically French sandwich on the list, this baguette is smothered in Dijon and stacked high with ham, aged comté and plenty of gherkins. The fresh bread, baked on site, gives this sandwich the clear upper-hand compared to others in this rapidly-changing part of town. (Note that the sandwich isn’t on the regular menu at La Bête à Pain in Ahuntsic.)
Satay Sandwich at Satay Brothers
Montreal’s favourite Southeast Asian bros are responsible for putting Singaporean street food on the Montreal map, and with a full-time restaurant and a market stall set up at the Atwater Market half the year, there’s no sign of this love affair dying out anytime soon. While the pork belly steamed buns arguably made them famous, the satay sandwich — always on rotation — is a peanutty delight.
The Italian Sausage Sandwich at Clarke Café
This longtime Mile End counter recently had a rebirth of sorts in Pointe-St-Charles, adding some Italian flavour to a once predominantly Irish, working class neighbourhood. With plenty of cold cut options to choose from — including prosciutto cotto, Genoa salami, mortadella and capicollo — the Italian sausage and Porchetta sandwiches are the real highlights.
McArthur at Arthurs
Breaded chicken, iceberg lettuce and pickles shouldn’t be this satisfying, and yet here we are. The schnitzel sandwich, formally known as the McArthur, has become a staple of the restaurant and is large enough to share (if you want to, that is). The challah bread and spicy mayo help to round out the sandwich nicely — and the schnitzel has the Rachael Ray stamp of approval.
Meatball Sandwich at Campanelli
The best meatball sandwich in the city combines a San Pietro ciabatta with San Marzano sauce, provolone and delicately seasoned and sauce-poached veal polpette.
Sausage Sub at Momesso
Open since 1978, the family-run caffé-sportivo amidst the strip mall vibes of Upper Lachine serves a sausage sub that makes the trek well worth it. Come hungry and enjoy it with a Brio.
Creation Sandwich at Cosmos
It’s far from the trendiest place around town — and an unfortunate family incident a few years back probably didn’t help its popularity — yet the Creation from Cosmos remains a classic, even with a new owner at the helm. Containing a fried egg, bacon, all-beef salami, melted Kraft cheese, lettuce, tomato and mayo, this is one of those heart attack-inducing meals you won’t soon forget. Oh, and you can choose between challah, rye, marbled, pumpernickel or a bagel.