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15 best places to find smoked meat in Montreal

Carlen Oliveira

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Montreal smoked meat

Montreal has become a foodie’s heaven. Every year, thousands of food lovers flock to Montreal to enjoy some delicious eats. On their list are some of Canada’s most iconic foods, including Montreal’s famous smoked meat sandwiches. So, if you’re planning a trip to the city, here’s everything you need to know to find the best foodie spots, including the best smoked meat in Montreal…

The history of smoked meat in Montreal

Smoked meat is a traditional Jewish-Romanian dish that has become ingrained in Montreal’s culture. There is much debate held around who is solely responsible for bringing this dish to Montreal from Eastern Europe. One of these stories dates back to 1908 with Kravitz Schwartz and his wife bringing their old family recipe of brisket-curing to Montreal from Lithuania.

However many claim that it is in 1928 when smoked meat was perfected by Reuben Schwartz, which can today be enjoyed at Schwartz’s Deli. Either way, it was passed down through the generations and Montreal’s smoked meat sandwiches have won over our hearts, and more importantly, our tummies.

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What is a smoked meat sandwich?

A lot of preparation goes into making the perfect smoked meat sandwich. Made of beef brisket, Montreal smoked meat is deli meat that is salted and cured. The end result is a hybrid between corned beef and pastrami. The flavouring and seasoning are key to what makes Montreal smoked meat so special, which includes black pepper, coriander, garlic and mustard seed.

To make the sandwich, the meat is then sliced thinly and piled high on top of rye bread with some yellow mustard and served with a side pickle. Most restaurants will let you choose between the cuts of meat, ranging from lean to fatty. Pair it with a can of Colt soda and fries for the full experience.

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Where to find the best smoked meat in Montreal

Looking for the best place to find Montreal smoked meat? We’ve wrapped up 15 of our favourite spots in the city…

1. Smoked Meat Pete

This charming old-school diner serves award winning smoked meat sandwiches, so good the Prime Minister of Canada even stopped in for a visit. And if that isn’t enough to sell you on this spot, you can also enjoy live blues music, 7 nights a week.

Although it’s a little ways away from the main hustle and bustle of downtown Montreal, the journey is worth it for Smoked Meat Pete. Take a detour to the west island of Montreal called L’Île Perrot to enjoy their smoked meat sandwich.

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2. George’s Deli

If you’re staying closer to Laval or live in the north end of Montreal, you’re in luck! George’s Deli is a popular smoked meat spot in the area, so you don’t have to travel too far to enjoy quality smoked meat. The owner, George, actually worked at Schwartz’s Deli for over 30 years before opening up his own place, so you can rest assured you’ll enjoy every bite. 

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3. Lester’s Deli

With multiple locations scattered around the city, Lester’s Deli has been proudly serving the people of Montreal since 1951. With 50s vintage inspired decor and antiques, this family run diner is a Montreal staple.

Lester’s Deli is known for their tender smoked meat. You can enjoy it as a sandwich or over a bed of fries, poutine-style. And if you’re on the way out of the city, grab a sandwich from Lester’s at Dorval airport to go.

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4. Fameux Viande Fumée Et Charcuterie

For all you night owls, this is the place to go. The earliest you’ll find this classic deli diner closed is midnight, so you’re sure to be able to grab one of their tasty smoked meat sandwiches after a late night shift. And on weekends, they keep their doors open until 4 AM, so you may find both early risers and late night goers mixed about waiting for their order to be called! 

5. Snowdon Deli

With over 70 years under their belt, this deli is a family run business through and through. Created by three brothers in 1946 and now run by their children and grandchildren, Snowdon Deli serves some of the best smoked meat in Montreal. 

Expect to enjoy tender smoked beef slices, cooked to perfection with rye bread, mustard and a pickle. Their specialty is their club roll which features their smoked meat, but they offer a variety of other types of meats as well.

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6. Beaubien Deli

Located east of the city in the Rosemont–La Petite-Patrie neighbourhood, Beaubien Deli is a deli that puts its customers first and serves up some mouth watering smoked meat. Lucky for us, their menu isn’t limited to just smoked meat. Expect a full menu of options including pizzas, salads, subs, BBQ chicken and steaks. You’ll often even find the owner of the restaurant wandering around the building checking in on guests and taking suggestions for new menu items!

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7. Chenoy

If you’re looking for a spot that will be open long enough to satisfy any late night cravings, Chenoy is another great option! Open till midnight on Friday and Saturday, what better way to end a night on the town than by loading up on one of Montreal’s staple smoked meat sandwiches. Welcoming customers since they opened their doors in 1936, you can satisfy your sweet tooth at this shop as well – they make a variety of absolutely stunning cheesecakes too! 

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8. Gerry’s Delicatessen

If you’re on the hunt for a whopping smoked meat sandwich, you won’t be disappointed by Gerry’s Delicatessen. These iconic sandwiches are loaded to the brim with their tasty smoked meat and are accompanied by a generous serving of fries and a surprisingly large pickle. They also have an affordable breakfast menu if you’re craving crepes and eggs to go with your meat! 

9. Moe’s Restaurant and Bar

If you want to grab some drinks and enjoy a night out while munching down on your smoked meat sandwich, Moe’s Restaurant and Bar is the place to be. Whether you’re heading out on a night on the town, having a business meeting or catching up with friends, Moe’s has a wide menu that’s sure to please everyone. Not to mention they have a happy hour every day and deals on draft beer when a sports game is live! There’s even Latin Fridays where you can go salsa dancing to live music.

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10. Deli 365

Located in what was once referred to as “the trendiest neighbourhood in the world” you can grab a smoked meat sandwich from Deli 365 in the heart of Mile End. The area is filled with trendy vintage stores, bakeries, art galleries and some of the best bagels Montreal has to offer. This restaurant embraces the history and trends of the neighbourhood by offering their smoked meat sandwich on a baguette, as well as the traditional slice of rye.  

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11. Dunn’s Famous

Dunn’s Famous has been around for over 90 years, and is still in the hands of family – the founder Myer Dunn’s great grandson now has the keys to the place and works hard to uphold the standard and quality of his family’s legacy. 

Today, the chain has expanded across Quebec with 5 different locations. They have a full menu of options, which features different ways to enjoy their signature smoked meat. Having multiple locations across the province makes it easy for you to grab a bite to eat no matter where you are. 

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12. Le Roi du Smoked Meat

At Le Roi du Smoked Meat, you can enjoy a traditional dinner menu served alongside their signature Montreal smoked meat sandwich. The name itself, which translates to The King of Smoked Meat, may even make you just a bit hungry to try their version of Montreal’s smoked meat sandwich again and again and again…

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13. Jarry Smoked Meat

This local restaurant is open 7 days a week, with the same hours of operation every day, open from 11 AM to 11 PM! Jarry Smoked Meat is an authentic deli that has been a Montreal staple in the St-Leonard neighbourhood for almost 50 years. You can expect a full menu at this cute, elevated diner, plus the faves like a Jarry special poutine.

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14. Reuben’s Deli & Steak House

Many locals argue that Reuben’s has the best smoked meat sandwich in Montreal. You can enjoy the dish right in the heart of downtown on Sainte-Catherine Street West. 

Tradition is revered at this location – all of their meats are hand carved with care. The dining experience itself is quite unique: with a casual atmosphere, a touch of Jazz, and an art deco style, it’ll be love at first bite..

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15. Schwartz’s Deli

Centrally located in downtown Montreal, this Jewish deli is arguably the most popular spot on the list. It’s become a local landmark in the city and has welcomed countless celebrities and travellers from around the world since it opened in 1928. 

Still working out of their original location, Schwartz’s Deli has perfected their smoked meat recipe. You will have to work a bit harder to enjoy this meal though – the deli is known for their long lines, but good things come to those who wait. We recommend coming at off-hours or visiting during the winter months to avoid the longer lines.

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Luckily for us, Montreal smoked meat isn’t where your foodie journey stops in the city. Get ready to dive into some delicious Canadian foods in Montreal, ranging from the iconic Canadian dish poutine to bagels that rival those of New York City. Plus, there’s plenty of things to do in the city to ensure it is the Canadian trip of a lifetime.

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