Montreal's Jewish community is one oldest in the city. With over 100,000 strong, some families can trace their Montreal lineage all the way back to the 18th century.
This foundational community has contributed much to the Montreal cultural landscape! Montreal classics such as smoked meat and bagels are famous, with names like Schwartz's and St-Viateur echoing in the farthest corners of the world. Today, I bring you 12 of the finest and most authentic Montreal Jewish delis.
TL;DR We all love smoked meat and Jewish delis, so sit back and enjoy 12 of the best and most authentic Jewish delis in Montreal. These spots are sure to satisfy your craving for cured meats and most will transport you back to a simpler time, where all you needed to be happy was a slice of smoked meat on rye.
Wilensky's Light Lunch
Opened in 1932 by Moe Wilensky, this classic Montreal deli counter is known for 'The Special," a grilled salami and bologna sandwich with mustard on a kaiser roll. The mustard is compulsory. Again, you cannot call yourself a Montrealer if you haven't been to Wilensky's.
Where: 34 Fairmount O.
In 1946, the Morantz family established their Snowdon Deli in the West End and haven't looked back since. As yet another traditional Montreal Jewish deli that needs to be experienced, hurry up and go there. Smoked meat, matzah ball soup, you know what to expect.
Where: 5265 Decarie
As a relative newcomer to Montreal's deli scene, Deli 365 is as classic and authentic as they come. Fusing the classic and the modern, Deli 365 brings you your classic deli fare along with poutine, chicken wings, and burgers. Come discover the new kid on the block!
Where: 365 Bernard O.
Though not "technically" a deli, Cheskie's deserves a mention because it's one of the best and most established Jewish bakeries in the city. The chocolate babka is probably the best you'll find this side of Brooklyn. Other classics like lava cake, black and white cookies, and cheesecakes are to die for.
Where: 359 Bernard O.
For over 60 years, Lester's Deli has been serving some of the finest smoked meat in the city. While specializing in bulk orders for restaurants and grocery stores, the deli is still open to the public and makes a mean sandwich. As yet another classic Montreal Jewish institution, it's impossible that you haven't eaten Lester's smoked meat at some point in your life.
Where: 1057 Bernard
Again, while not technically a deli, Hof Kelsten is an awesome Jewish bakery that also serves brunch and lunch. Housed in a modern storefront on the Main, Hof Kelsten is probably Montreal's favourite place to get bread. Their borscht is a pleasant surprise and you'll also be amazed at the freshness of their bagels and lox.
Where: 4524 St-Laurent
Since 1942, Beauty's Luncheonette has been serving the Plateau with some of the finest and most inexpensive breakfast and lunch. The diner still retains its original 1942 charm and holds up as one of the best choices for a messy breakfast. Their mishmash and bagels and lox are out of this world.
Where: 93 Mont-Royal O.
Fletcher's is located in the Museum of Jewish Montreal and is chiefly known for delightful brunch and light lunch options. They skew towards modern Isreali cooking with gefilte fish tacos and sababa salad. Don't be deterred, however, they stay true to traditional Jewish roots and offer some of the finest Isreali dishes this side of Tel Aviv.
Where: 4040 St-Laurent #R01
Bagels on Greene
A well-kept Westmount secret, Bagels on Greene makes awesome bagels and deli platters in a huge 4,000 square foot market space. While you're having a nosh, be sure to peruse through the store to get some groceries. They even have ready-made lunchboxes if you're in a rush!
Where: 4160 Saint-Catherine
Reuben's Deli & Steakhouse
We conclude our deli tour of Montreal with yet another classic Montreal institution. Reuben's Deli and Steakhouse is a little more upscale than most of the restaurants on this list, but don't let that distract you from the fact that they make some of the best smoked meat in town. Again, if you haven't gone at least once, who are you?
Where: 1116 Saint-Catherine O.
I don't think Schwartz's needs any introduction. Since 1928, Schwartz's has been known for one thing: amazing smoked meat. Montreal is synonymous with Schwartz's and vice-versa. Can you even call yourself a Montrealer if you haven't been here?
Where: 3895 St-Laurent
The Main Deli & Steakhouse
Right across the street from Schwartz's is The Main Deli and Steakhouse. People will literally get into fights over which one is better. This was Leonard Cohen's favourite spot. I personally prefer the Main because I don't like lineups, but it really doesn't matter which one you go to. Go to both!
Where: 3864 St-Laurent