Smoked meat and Montreal are almost synonymous. Even more so than poutine, Montreal has become widely known for its take on the smoked meat sandwich. Prepared by salting and curing beef brisket in unique spices over a period of time, smoked meat sandwiches are generally kept simple, without fancy condiments or fillers - just an excessive amount of meat between two pieces of bread and perhaps some mustard. A trip to the delis listed below for the classic lunch meal is a must on any visit to Montreal. While you can’t really go wrong with the plethora of options available in the city, there are a few fail-proof spots to score the perfect meal below.
The Main Deli Steak House
Featured on the Food Network’s ‘You Gotta Eat Here’, this classic Montreal deli features some of the best smoked meat sandwiches in the city. With a very casual and friendly vibe, the diner has been around for over 40 years, and continues to attract tourists and locals on their search for an authentic taste of the coveted smoked meat. Their smoked meat sandwich is prepared in the classic style of sky-high packed cured meat, between two slices of rye bread with mustard, and of course, a pickle on the side. The Main is directly across the street from the famous Schwartz’s Hebrew Delicatessen, and is largely seen as the best competitor to the landmark deli. The smoked meat is prepared with a mix of highly secretive spices, creating a milder taste than some of the other local delis, but the intense flavor makes up for the lack of spice. The diner is a staple in the community and is easily accessible on St. Laurent Boulevard.
If you are looking for a one-stop shop for all Montreal related cuisine, Dunn’s has you covered. Order the ‘old-fashioned’ marinated beef brisket sandwich, with a side of classic poutine to check off two of your foodie bucket list items. Dunn’s offers a variety of twists to the classic smoked meat, including the Reuben sandwich with traditional smoked meat, swiss cheese, dressing, and sauerkraut, served on pumpernickel bread. For a truly unique twist on Montreal smoked meat, why not try the Fresh Rice and Smoked Meat platter, complete with mounds of smoked meat, fried rice, peppers, onions, and tomatoes. They also offer a smoked meat option on a traditional Montreal style bagel with cheese, lettuce, and tomatoes, for those looking for a mixture of the traditional smoked meat, and classic fillings of a good sandwich. Your options really are endless at this diner- making it an obvious spot for modern twists on a classic.
Whether you are looking for a simple Montreal smoked meat sandwich, or want to explore more unconventional options, there are diners across the city to suit your needs. No list on Montreal smoked meat would be complete without mentioning the local favorites such as Lester’s Deli and Smoked Meat Pete, and Reubens. You cannot go wrong at any of these landmark institutions- go ahead and try them all. The only problem will be satisfying your craving once you leave!