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Schwartz Smoked Meat Deli

When it comes to Montreal’s culinary landmarks, Schwartz’s Smoked Meat Deli stands out as an iconic destination that has captivated both locals and tourists for nearly a century. No visit to Montreal is complete without a visit to the historic and by now legendary Schwartz Smoked Meat Deli.

Located on ‘The Main’ (That would be St. Laurent street for those not in the know…) in the well known Plateau Mont Royal neighbourhood of Montreal, Schwartz Smoked Meat Deli has been serving up some of the most delicious smoked meat (Also known as Pastrami for those south of the border…) you can get your hungry hands on for close to 100 years. Schwartz’s is more than just a deli; it’s a living piece of Montreal’s history and culture.

Established in 1928 by Reuben Schwartz, a Jewish immigrant from Romania, Schwartz’s Deli quickly became famous for its smoked meat sandwiches. The deli’s recipe for curing and smoking meat has remained unchanged, passed down through generations, preserving the authentic flavor that patrons have come to love.

Walking into Schwartz’s is like stepping back in time. The deli’s décor is simple and unpretentious, with narrow aisles, communal seating, and a bustling atmosphere. The walls are adorned with photos and memorabilia, showcasing its rich history and the famous faces that have visited over the years, including celebrities and politicians.

The star of the show at Schwartz’s is, of course, the smoked meat. Prepared with a secret blend of spices, the brisket is marinated for ten days before being smoked to perfection. The result is a tender, flavorful meat that is hand-sliced and served on rye bread with mustard. The classic order is the medium-fat sandwich, offering a perfect balance of lean and fatty meat that melts in your mouth. Pair it with a side of fries, a pickle, and a cherry soda, and you have a quintessential Montreal meal.

One thing you’ll quickly notice about Schwartz’s is the line. It’s not uncommon to see a queue stretching down Boulevard Saint-Laurent, especially during peak hours. But don’t let the wait deter you; the line moves quickly, and the experience is well worth it. Many regulars believe the anticipation only adds to the flavor.

Insider Tips

  • Timing is Everything: To avoid the longest lines, try visiting during off-peak hours, such as mid-afternoon on weekdays.
  • Cash Only: Schwartz’s is a cash-only establishment, so make sure to bring enough for your meal.
  • Takeout: If you’re in a hurry, consider ordering takeout. You’ll still get to enjoy the legendary smoked meat without the wait.
  • Chat with the Staff: The staff at Schwartz’s are not just servers; they are storytellers and keepers of tradition. Don’t hesitate to strike up a conversation and learn more about the deli’s history and culture.

Schwartz’s Smoked Meat Deli isn’t just a place to eat; it’s a Montreal institution that embodies the spirit of the city. Its enduring popularity is a testament to its quality and the devotion of its patrons. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a lifelong fan, Schwartz’s offers an authentic taste of Montreal’s culinary heritage that continues to stand the test of time.

Next time you find yourself in Montreal, make sure to stop by Schwartz’s. Take in the sights, savor the flavors, and become part of a tradition that has delighted taste buds for generations.

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