Schwartz’s Delicatessen in Montreal

When I say that I travel for food, I’m not kidding.  Minutes after landing in Montreal and checking into my hotel, I was off in search for Schwartz’s Delicatessen, famous for Montreal’s best smoked meat sandwich.  I’ll confess upfront that I’m not the biggest fan of overly-stuffed meat sandwiches (I prefer to eat my meat with a knife and fork) and didn’t expect to be impressed by Schwartz’s sandwiches.  But I ended up being pleasantly surprised.
Schwartz’s Delicatessen is surrounded by swanky boutiques.

Schwartz’s Delicatessen has been serving smoked meat since 1928 in the same location, using the same techniques.  They marinate their meats for 10 days, then smoke it daily.  The window of the shop is loaded with smoked briskets, waiting to be sliced and served.  When I arrived mid-afternoon, the shop was still crowded with people even though it was well past lunchtime.  The restaurant is one large room full of community tables on one side and a bar running alongside the kitchen on the other.  I sat down on a stool at the bar and ordered a smoked meat sandwich ($6.32 CAD) and a side of fries ($2.95 CAD).

Now this is a meat sandwich.

The sandwich was barely that.  More accurate would be a pile of meat in between two slices of bread (not toast, just plain ole bread) with mustard.  That’s it.  And it’s amazing.  It’s served with a knife and fork (to my enjoyment) and, trust me, you’ll need the utensils to keep the over-flowing meat between the slices–and to pick up any morsels that fall out of the sandwich as you eat it.  Available in lean or fatty options, the waiter recommended I order medium for a mix of both.  The beef is wonderful, tender and juicy.

Smoked meat waiting to be eaten by happy customers.

Schwartz’s is famous for their smoked beef but they also have chicken, ribs, turkey and liver (it is Montreal, after all) in both sandwich form and plain on a plate.  Sides include pickles, fries, or coleslaw, but you’ll barely notice them compared to the delicious sandwich.

With meat this good, all you need is mustard.

The tables here are cramped, the drinks are served in their cans, and plates are sat on paper place mats.  You come to Schwartz’s for one thing and one thing only: smoked meat.  And yes, it’s worth hunting down while you’re in town.

Schwartz's Montreal Hebrew Delicatessen on Urbanspoon

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