This is the most famous smoked meat restaurant in all of Montreal. It's been a local institution since 1927. There's really not much I can say about it other than I had to try it out for myself!
After waiting in line, I was seated next to my friend and a local family of 4. The atmosphere is fast-paced, busy, seemingly-chaotic but under control. It really feels like you're in an old movie taking place in New York, like you stepped back into the 1930's. The place was always buzzing. The workers, dressed in white aprons and hats, were running around with the food and orders. Old photos of actors and musicians - famous customers who had once dined here - lined the walls. Definitely not a quiet atmosphere, but the fast pace of this establishment is half its attraction...
Favorite Dish: ... the other half is the smoked meat! You want lean meat? Fatty meat? Largely stacked or tiny? With mustard smothered on rye, there's no other way to try the famous Schwartz's smoked meat sandwich. Apparently it's not complete unless you have a kosher pickle and a black cherry soda... so that's what I had. Hmmm. Now I have a craving!
I was so disappointed by Ben's I thought we just have to try Schwartz's to see how it compares. So after eating that HUGE portion of poutine at La Banquiese, we headed over to Schwartz's for our last meal in Montreal. It was about 2:45 pm when we arrived and although they were busy, there wasn't a huge line like I expected. Perhaps the key to eating here is to go a little off normal lunch and dinner hours. We sat at the counter, good thing as our first sandwich arrived and it was slathered with yellow mustard, the most fiendish of condiments. Our server caught my sandwich before it was delivered and changed it to sans mustard, WHEW! I happily gazed upon my sandwich before inhaling it, now this was a SANDWICH!
One of the guidebooks suggested this was a bit of a tourist trap but I have to disagree as my definition of a true tourist trap is overpriced, underwhelming food. Although I wouldn't have wanted to wait in a long line with all the terrific options for food in Montreal, it's definitely a place worth a visit. Just be sure not to go at peak lunch and dinner time, Schwartz's is a much smaller restaurant than Ben's. On the up side though, the sandwiches are so good that you practically inhale them so the turnover of tables is pretty darn fast, this isn't a linger over your meal kind of place.
Favorite Dish: The sandwich here was SOOOOO much better than the ones we had at Ben's, the meat more like corned beef, spices coating the edges, juicy, plenty of fat, stacked high like a real sandwich should be, I had meat falling out all over the place. Our server asked us if we wanted dry or moist, I assume now that means with a lot of fat or not, I went for the moist. Order with a cherry coke for the authentic experience. YUM!
You can also opt for the low carb version (ha, ha) and get a HUGE plate of smoked meat without the bread. Also, you can get smoked meat to go, I'm pretty sure US Customs would snatch it away though if they knew we had it. And then they'd probably eat it ;-)
Schwartz's has been slicing smoked meat in Montreal since 1927. It is the tradition of traditions when it comes to restaurants.
Does it offer the best smoked meat in the city? Not necessarily, but it has a very interesting ambience and it's wonderful to be able to say, "I've been to Schwartz's"!
My rule of thumb would be to wait no more than 15 minutes. If you can get in then great; otherwise look for another great meal elsewhere. In Montreal that isn't difficult!
Schwartz's is a small restaurant on St-Laurent. Don't be deceived by the looks. It is definetly the best smoked meat sandwich I have ever had! I had good feedback from my buddy regarding the pickles as well (I'm not a big fan). You can also just order a plate full of meat I think. I wish I had known since I would have done that! Next time I guess. I definetly reccomend this restaurant. It is a different atmosphere which I found interesting and the food is amazing!
Favorite Dish: The smoked meat sandwich!
People lineup patiently outside to get in as though waiting to get into a trendy nightclub. Once inside, Schwartz's looks more like the floor of a stock exchange than your run-of-the-mill deli. People occupy absolutely all the tables, every stool at the counter is taken by people eating large sandwiches; standing room only. And it's still crowded! A waiter fights his way through the throng of people to ask, "How many?" He leads me and my companions to a table that unbelievably has a few empty seats and we find ourselves sitting with three complete strangers. That's how it works at Schwartz's--the deli is so popular that there's no room for pretension, so you sit down wherever seats are available.
Like it's primary smoked-meat competitor, Ben's, Schwartz's has changed very little since it was first opened in 1927 by Reuben Schwartz. Schwartz was a Jewish immigrant from Romania, and his restaurant, a single white-tiled room containing several rows of long narrow tables, has been in the same location on Saint-Laurent Boulevard since its inception.
Schwartz's prepares its smoked meat using a secret blend of fine herbs and spices; the meat is marinated for 10 days.
The sandwiches and fries are great! The meat is warm and tender; it has a little more consistency and chew than the meat at Ben's Deli.
So who eats at this small blue-collar diner? Halle Berry, Angelina Jolie, Tim Allen, Jerry Lewis, Guy Lafleur, Celine Dione, Jean Chretien, and the Rolling Stones---just to name a few.
Favorite Dish: They will recommend their specialty to newcomers: A smoked meat sandwich, fries, and a black cherry soda. Do order a kosher pickle to go along with your meal!
I used to live right by that restaurant so would stop there whenever I can. It's opened very long hours so you can go at almost anytime.
The restaurant is tiny. No reservation and no chatting for hours in there... The 60yrs-old ave staff will make you feel like it's time to get out... You don't go there for service or atmosphere, you go there for the food.
I'm quite impressed that although the place is so popular, they always kept themselves from opening a big flashy restaurant instead of their tiny place.
MY TRICK: Skip the line up, go directly for "take-out", then walk up to Parc Jeanne Mance and have a relax meal there !!
TRICK#2: Did you know that they ship abroad !? If you love their smoked meat, they will ship it to your house, send them a fax at: 514-842-0800, they will indicate you the procedure.
Favorite Dish: Smoked Meat of course:
Order the extra pickle, fill the sandwich with an ocean of mustard and enjoy.
Their smoked meat is 10X better than the one at Reuben's or Ben's. Most places in Montreal get their Smoked Meat from the same vendor, not Schwartz.
Unargueably the best smoked meat in town, in Canada, perhaps the world. And no, it's not corned beef, and it's not pastrami either (*gasp*! to call it such is almost blasphemous!!) - so good in fact, that people from all over the world have it shipped out and tourists usually end up taking at least a pound or so home with them.
This place won't win any awards for decor, ambience or cozy atmosphere - in fact, expect to be sitting elbow-to-elbow at the linoleum tables, or if your lucky, you may get a seat at the bar-stool deli counter - that is, if you don't mind waiting in line first. Space is tight, but probably what adds to the unique atmosphere of this all night deli.
Renamed "Charcuterie Hebraique de Montreal, Inc" (due to the provincial government's restrictive language laws) - most locals simply refer to this long-standing Montreal icon as "Schwartz's".
I am convinced tourists and locals alike all return to Schwartz's for their fix of smoked meat the way muslim pilgrims return to mecca. I watched in amazement from a restaurant window across the street one summer night in July - as limousines, taxis, family vans, bus drivers, all pulled up at the door and waited patiently to order one of these succulent smoked meat sandwiches.
Favorite Dish: Succulent tender smoked meat rubbed with black peppercorns to give it that special and unique taste, sandwiched between two fresh slices of rye bread, mustard served on the side..
When in Montreal - do as Montrealers do: the order of the day is a smoked meat sandwich, served with fries and a dill, with Cott's black cherry cola. Yummm...
Montreal smoked meat is synonymous with Montreal, so you really can't say you've been to Montreal without trying it! There's a line-up outside Schwartzs pretty much anytime you wanna eat here. But don't worry, there usually isn't that long of a wait. If you're lucky you'll get a seat even if you're not at the front of the line, simply because there's a space available for your group number. So be prepared to share a table with strangers. It's not really a bad thing, considering tourists are usually pretty friendly, and the locals are even friendlier. I can honestly say I've never had an unpleasant table buddy here.
Go with a friend and share a small platter, or a large platter if you're big eaters! It's basically a plate of meat, and you'll get rye bread on the side to make your own sandwiches. You can get 4-5 sandwhiches out of a large platter. You'll be asked if you want lean, medium or fatty meat. Lean's really too dry, and fatty is just cardiac arrest on a plate, so I'd go with medium. You can remove the obviously fatty bits if you're still feeling guilty. They also sell sides like dill pickles, coleslaw and chips for $2 - $3 CAD.
Schwartz's is Montreal's world-famous Hebrew deli. What makes it so famous is its smoked meat, which has been voted many of times the best in town. Several other restaurants in Montreal also serve smoked meat, but Schwartz's has that special touch, perhaps because it has stayed in the same, seemingly unchanged building for 80 years. (This means there is always a lineup, whether it's 12 p.m. or 12 a.m.!)
Basically, if you are in Montreal, you simply must try a smoked meat; and if you must try a smoked meat, you might as well make it a Schwartz's smoked meat!
Schwartz's is a small place on the St. Laurent Boulevard, but it's super-famous for its smoked meat. Lots of celebrities have eaten there. There are usually crowds of people waiting outside, though if you're alone or only a party of 2, you won't have to wait long since they can seat you at the bar instead of waiting for a table to be available.
Don't even bother coming in if you're a vegetarian, this is a meat-lover's heaven! Aside from smoked meat, there are steaks, liver steaks, chicken, and sausages.
As I live close to Schwartz's, I've learned this lesson the hard way (though it wasn't an unpleasant lesson to learn) - never walk past Schwartz's on an empty stomach. The smell coming from the place is just too tempting...
Favorite Dish: I usually get a medium smoked meat sandwich (I find lean to be a little dry) and a pickle. I never order a sandwich there without a pickle! That's enough to fill me up. Occasionally (if I'm REALLY hungry) I'll also get a plate of fries and/or a cherry coke. I've tried the Schwartz's combo (steak, sandwich, frankfurter sausage, fries, pickle, bread) and though it was delicious, I can't believe I ate the whole thing (well, except the bread - I brought it home with me!).
This small restaurant has been around since 1928. There is always a line up to get in on any nights. Very plain inside, the wall is decorated with newspaper and magazine clippings about the world famous restaurant. The place has an old diner atmosphere from the 70s. If you get to sit at the 'bar', you can see stacks of fresh whole smoked meat. The food is served quickly. The wait to get inside is quick as well, especially for small party. They open for long hours everyday. (Check their website for details).
Favorite Dish: I've tried other smoked meat sandwich elsewhere, no doubt this is the best! The taste is just perfect, and they use only natural ingrediants. Order a side dish of pickle or coleslaw. The locals usually order cherry coke for drink.
World famous Schwartz's, serving the best smoked meat from the original recipe of spices since 1927. Schwartz's prepares smoked meat the old-fashioned way using a secret blend of fine herbs and spices marinated for 10 days.
Imagine walking through the door and taking a step back 75 years into "Main Street" history in Montreal. A "true" Montreal landmark that has welcomed celebrities and visitors from all over the world. The Rolling Stones, Angelina Jolie, Celine Dion, Tim Allen and Halle Berry are some of the few celebrities who are known to have been there. I, personally, was once there and sitting next to Quebec's Prime Minister Lucien Bouchard many years ago. They litterally sit you next to strangers. Be prepared to order because waiters there dont have time to wait for you to pick something! :)
It's open most days until 12:30am and later on Fridays (1:30am) and Saturdays (2:30am).
Come to the oldest deli in Canada and enjoy their smoked meat sandwich and you never know you might see!
Favorite Dish: Their famous smoked meat sandwich with fries and a pickle.
HOLY CRAP! The smoked meat sandwich here is delicious and big! It doesn't look big but damn, it was filing.
The dining area is often packed so when we were there, we just got the sandwich to go and ate in the comfort of the a/c'ed McGill lounge. HEHEHEHEH
Favorite Dish: The smoked meat!!!!!!!!!!!!!! sandwich. The meat was flavourful and just melts in your mouth.
I live in a suburb of Montreal and yes we have a great city. If you want to have the full Montreal experiance(if the weather permits)have a drink on one of the many terrasses in the old port, Cresent street or Saint Laurant/ St. Lawrence Blvd. Also try one of our deli's one of the best is Schartz's on the Main St. Lawrence Blvd. Good luck, I hope I was helpful.
Favorite Dish: SMOKED MEAT!!
OK, I admit it, a deli is my idea of good food. I've been to delis from NYC to LA and each one has its own distinct and inimitable flavor and when planning the trip to Montreal, first on my list was a trip to Schwartz's, of which I had heard a lot. I wish I had had a conflict the night we went to try it, however; it would have spared me the disappointment. After eating, I wasn't sure I had been at the correct restaurant since everything I had heard had been positive; perhaps I'm just a little more picky than everyone else.
If you've never been, this is a small hole-in-the-wall restaurant opened early in the century by one of the forbearers of current ownership and they achieved their reputation with their smoked meat. In my opinion, they have been riding this reputation just a tad too long and it's now time to diversify the menu and improve the service. Drastically.
The meat was dry and no amount of mustard improved the texture or flavor. The service, or what passed for service, was centered on upselling, or delivering things without their having been ordered and then playing the guilt card when it was brought to their attention. All in all, a sub-standard meal from what I had hoped would be a first-class deli.
Favorite Dish: none