Delicatessen | Jewish | Sandwich Shop
Worth driving from anywhere!

The window of Schwartz’s, a storefront cafe opened as a steak place in 1928 by Rumanian immigrant Reuben Schwartz, is filled with smoked meat – piles of briskets packed with coarse, black spice. You’ll likely have time to admire the display, because the line waiting for a counter stool or chair at one of the communal tables in the 60-seat storefront nearly always stretches out the door.

“Is your smoked meat corned beef or pastrami?” we ask our waiter.

“Neither. It is smoked meat,” he answers, explaining that Montreal’s way with brisket is to cure it a week or more, smoke it several hours, then store it in a steam box packed with spice a few hours more. The result is a pillow of beef striated with fat and fragile enough that it must be expertly hand-cut with a knife because an automatic slicer would disintegrate it.

Schwartz’s counter men assemble each sandwich with meat piled up so high that the bread perched precariously atop one half invariably tumbles off as you seize the other half to eat. Smoked meat retains the soft flavor of brisket; and its exact nature depends on how you order it. Schwartz’s offers lean (but warns against that as too dry), medium, and fatty. Medium is juicy; fatty is wildly succulent.

One thing that makes Schwartz’s smoked meat sandwiches good is the bread. It is old-style rye with a leathery crust and muscular crumb. The thump of the automatic bread slicer cutting loaves sets the beat of a delicatessen melody, the libretto of which is never-ending chatter among exuberant customers.

What to Eat
Schwartz’s, Smoked Meat Sandwich
Smoked Meat Sandwich
'Fatty' sandwich: warm, spicy meat infused with succulence
Schwartz’s, French Fries
French Fries
First-rate fries are no surprise in Montreal.
Schwartz’s, Pickle
Hors d'oeuvre
Directions and Hours
closed now
Sunday10am - 10pm
Monday8am - 9:30pm
Tuesday8am - 9:30pm
Wednesday8am - 9:30pm
Thursday8am - 9:30pm
Friday8am - 9:30pm
Saturday8am - 9:30pm
This restaurant is featured in the following eating tours.
5 stops | 272 MILES | 4 hr 46 min

Made from a cured and smoked brisket, the smoked meat of Quebec is a cousin of the pastrami found in U.S. delis. It is luxuriously fatty, packed with spice, and so fragile that it demands careful hand-cutting. Here are a couple of top sources in Montreal and a few along the byways of the province.

Open Year Round
Meals Served
Lunch, Dinner, Late Night
Credit Cards Accepted
Alcohol Served
Outdoor Seating

Other Nearby Restaurants

  • St. Viateur


    Montreal bagels are boiled in honey water and baked in a wood-fired oven to become one of North America’s best breads. St. Viateur sets the gold standard.

  • Snowdon Deli


    Snowdon is a full-service deli with great breakfast and some of Montreal’s best smoked meat — radiant with spice, on good rye. Have it fatty, medium, or lean.

  • Patate Ben-Venue

    Mont-Tremblant, Québec

    One of the top casse-croutes (snack bars) of Quebec, Patate Ben-Venue serves the best French fries along with fine cheeseburgers, hot dogs, and corn dogs.

  • Papa Pete’s Snack Bar

    North Hero, Vermont

    Papa Pete’s is a tiny summertime snack shack known for hand-fashioned burgers, weekend BBQ, and the unique local chili dog known as a Michigan.

  • Moishes

    Montréal, Québec

    Moishe’s is Montreal’s high-end steak house with a Jewish accent. Side a gorgeous filet mignon with latkes (potato pancakes) or twice baked Monte Carlo potato.

  • Stash Cafe

    Montréal, Québec

    Stash’s is a comfortable Polish bistro in Montreal with a traditional menu that ranges from beet borscht to wiener schnitzel to chocolate poppy seed cake.