The Best Jewish Delis in Montreal

A classic smoked meat sandwich at Schwartz's | © Alan Levine/ Flickr
A classic smoked meat sandwich at Schwartz's | © Alan Levine/ Flickr
Photo of Emily Paskevics
4 December 2017

There are many world-class Jewish delis in Montreal, a city where smoked meat sandwiches are a must-try foodie experience. Jewish culture in the city is integral to its past and present, with particular roots in the Mile End, Outremont, and Côte Sainte-Luc neighborhoods. Here is a sample of some of the best, and most famous, Jewish delis in Montreal.

Schwartz’s Deli

Deli, Restaurant, Canadian, French, $$$
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smoked meat
At Schwartz's | © Bryce Edwards / Flickr
Schwartz’s Deli is one of the most famous foodie institutions in Montreal. Located on St-Laurent, there’s almost always a long line to enter. The wait is not usually too long, though! Customers typically order the classic smoked-meat sandwich with a side of fries and a black cherry soda. The deli has a retro vibe to it and boasts an 80-year, celebrity-endorsed history of being a beloved city landmark.

The Main Deli Steakhouse

Restaurant, Dessert Shop, Deli, European, Mediterranean, Steakhouse, Fast Food
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The Main is a classic, old-school Jewish deli located right across the street from Schwartz’s. They have a wider variety of options on their menu, however, including different Jewish staples such as potato latkas and verenekes, and matzoh ball soup. Established in 1974, The Main also offers smoked meat poutine and smoked meat burgers.

Wilensky’s

Deli, European, Fast Food, Canadian
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If you’re interested in time travel, then head over to Wilensky’s in the Mile End. This deli has been operating since the 1930s, serving up the famous Wilensky special (grilled salami on a kaiser roll, and don’t forget mustard!) with a hand-mixed old-fashioned soda. The décor makes it feel like a museum, which adds to its charm, and the prices are budget-friendly. Wilensky’s was listed in Travel + Leisure magazine’s “Best Sandwiches From Around the World” in 2012, and the little deli has also been featured in The Mind of a Chef PBS series with Anthony Bourdain and David Chang.

Snowdon Deli

Deli, European, Vegetarian, Vegan, Fast Food
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Snowdon Deli has a loyal clientele, and they come for the delicious matzoh ball soup, matzoh rolls, and even the rich cheesecake. They have a diverse menu that includes corned beef, kasha knish, roasted brisket, and, of course, smoked meat sandwiches. Operating since 1946, Snowdon Deli is a great place if you don’t want to linger in the lines at Schwartz’s.

Reuben’s Deli

Deli, Restaurant, European, Fast Food, Pastries, Vegan, Vegetarian, BBQ, $$$
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Montreal Smoked Meat Sandwich
Montreal Smoked Meat Sandwich | © Guilhem Vellut / Flickr

Casual and quick, Reuben’s Deli sits in downtown Montreal. On the pricier side of the city’s Jewish delis, portions are generous, and you can enjoy items such as chopped liver, juicy burgers, BBQ pulled pork poutine, Bolognese spaghetti topped with smoked meat, and more. Unusually, despite the emphasis on smoked meat sandwiches, there are also vegetarian options here.

Lester’s Deli

Deli, European, Fast Food, Vegetarian, Vegan, $$$
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Located in the Outremont neighborhood, Lester’s is another great choice if you don’t want to wait in line but still want a retro-themed Jewish deli experience. Whether you go for some smoked meat poutine, a brisket sandwich or, of course, a smoked meat sandwich, you won’t be disappointed. Rumor has it that Leonard Cohen was a regular at this spot.

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