The Best Smoked Meat in Montreal – and the World!

Schwartz's Deli/Facebook

One of the things that sets the smoked meat apart in this city is that it’s always hand-sliced. The machine is skipped to make sure the tender meat doesn’t crumble and disintegrate. Check out some of the best smoked meat in Montreal, located in different parts of the island.

Restaurants keep briskets whole and let them steam with their juices until ordered. Then, they slice and serve the meat warm and fresh. Mmmm…delicious.

Even fresh hand-sliced meat leaves behind leftover shavings. Montreal smoke meat shavings are used for poutine with French fries, cheese curds, and gravy, or they’re served on pizza or as spaghetti Bolognese.

If you’re more of a sandwich person, try a Montreal-style smoked meat sandwich. They come on seedless rye bread and are piled 2-inches high, at least, with hand-sliced smoked meat. They’re topped off with yellow mustard to deliver a taste that’s purely unmatched.

These Montreal smoked meat sandwiches step out of the classic sandwich box. There’s way more meat than bread, no extra toppings, and just one simple condiment. But it’s their simplicity that makes it work.

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Smoked meat sandwiches are a Montreal food classic. Eating one of these sandwiches reminds you of all Montreal is, maybe even more than poutine, bagels, or Portuguese chicken. When you take your first bite of a Montreal smoked meat sandwich, you’ll understand the city itself and the depth of the its food culture.

Lester’s at 1057, Rue Bernard Quest, Montreal

Looking to fit in with the locals? Head over to Lester’s. The diner is in Outremont, in a quieter spot away from the noise of downtown and the Plateau.

Lester’s Deli/Facebook

The family run business is a quaint spot and offers fantastic service. You can enjoy your sandwich over good conversation with friends and family, and you won’t have to wait too long in line, like at Schwartz’s.

You’ll even strike up a friendly chat with their servers. The meat at Lester’s is super tender and delicious. The flavor of the meat itself is intense like at The Main, but once it’s paired with Lester’s vinegar French fries and pickles, you’ll be delighted.

The Main – 3864 St Laurent Blvd, Montreal, H2W 1Y2

The Main is considered by many to be Schwartz’s number one rival. Since they are right across the street from each other, the battle goes on day after day.

Recently, some people started questioning the quality of the meat after The Main changed management.

But when it comes to taste, The Main nails it with fatty smoked meat. It’s as juicy as you’d want it without falling over the line of too greasy. It even stays in the bread even though it’s staked so high. If you prefer a milder flavor in your smoked meat sandwiches, you’ll love The Main’s take. Each component stands out clearly as you eat.

Reuben’s on 1116 Rue Sainte-Catherine Quest, Montreal

Reuben’s is the spot that draws the most first-timers through its doors. The deli and restaurant are located right at the core of downtown on Saint Catherine’s Street.

Reuben’s cares about giving customers the true Montreal experience. They love meat and you’ll see just how seriously they take smoked meat as you pass by their front window.

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Their larger, fancier restaurant is definitely a cool experience, but the smaller deli is more fit for eating a Montreal smoked meat sandwich.

The smoked meat at Reuben’s looks and tastes fresh with every bite with the color and juiciness of the meat leaving you more than satisfied. Their bread stands up to the challenge of holding all the meat in place while you enjoy. Reuben’s special smoke and rub flavor is easily detectable in their cured meat.

If you’re really hungry grab a milkshake to go with your meat sandwich and just appreciate these little things in life.

Dunn’s – 1249 Metcalfe St, Montreal, QC H3B 2V5

Dunn’s wins big points because it’s open 24 hours. So, if you find yourself needing a midnight snack or something to take your mind off a night gone wrong, this is the place to come.

Dunn’s Famous

Their meat falls in the middle between Schwartz’s and Lester’s when it comes to toughness. The texture feels just right as you chew. Their rye bread is also a frontrunner with its fluffy texture and unique flavor. It may even be the best part of the sandwich.

If you want to enjoy a sandwich without going over the top, Dunn’s will take care of you. They have reasonable portions that will leave you happy not totally bloated. No worries, though. If you’re trying to stuff yourself to your limits, just grab a poutine on the side. The duo will be the best choice of your day. And, don’t forget a slice of Dunn’s cheesecake.

There’s also a second location in the West Island in the Marché de l’ouest.

Chenoy’s at 3616, St-Jean Blvd (West Island)

There’s something about the smoked meat sandwich at Chenoy’s. The meat itself is where the secret lies. It’s hard to pinpoint, you just need to experience it for yourself. Their meat is chewy and soft for easy eating while you let the perfect salty balance brighten up your taste buds. Chenoy’s gets crowded at night since it’s open late and is a cozy spot to eat and hang out.

Le Fameux  at 4500 Saint-Denis St. Montreal

This spot has such delicious smoked meat that they use it in almost all their dishes. Le Fameux is known for its special smoked meat poutine. The poutine is amazing, of course, but the sandwich is the classic way to go.

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The smoked meat is cut thick and salted nicely. It reminds you of a big hunk of wood. The bread is also soft and just flows into the sandwich as a whole. Le Fameux takes it easy on the mustard for a milder effect. If you’re looking to sit yourself down in a diner-style leather booth and enjoy a classic Montreal smoked meat sandwich, step into Le Fameux.

Schwartz – 3895 St Laurent Blvd, Montreal, H2W 1X9

Schwartz holds the top spot when it comes to representing Montreal and its famous smoked meat sandwiches. The spot is probably the most famous smoked meat restaurant in North America. People have visited Schwartz from around the world for more than 70 years to try their smoked meat.

Schwartz’s Smoked Meat

There’s always a substantial line to get a seat. You’ll even get to see the meat cured right in front of you in their deli and restaurant. The best course of action at Schwartz’s is to go with the classic.

You’ll get a medium cut meat sandwich, French fries, a pickle, and a cola. That’s the store’s most popular meal. Schwartz has become an iconic spot loved by customers because they deliver exactly what you’d want in a smoked meat sandwich and more.

Everything is on point from the flavor to the fat and spice. Give it a try and you won’t be disappointed – we guarantee it!

But, as with everything, everyone has their own personal taste with regards to the best Montreal smoked meat. Try them all out and choose for yourself.