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There are few meals that I’d consider life changing, and this one was declared on first bite. The Smoked Meat Sandwich ($5.50) at Schwartz’s in Montreal is an experience I can only describe as a foodie high. It’s something you’ll always remember and a something you’ll never be able to shake. I went back for my second fix recently and it was just as good as my first hit.

This Jewish deli is a required stop for any meat-eater visiting Montreal. The meat is smoked daily, seasoned with fine herbs and spices, and marinated for 10 days. They use no preservatives and have been around for 80 years. However, there are several obstacles you’ll have to overcome when you visit Schwartz’s. First, you must ordering your meat properly. You have three choices of smoked meat — lean, medium and fatty. I understand why someone would order “lean,” but I feel you’re missing out on the whole experience. The fatty bits that hold the meat together elevate your tummy to a higher consciousness so I always go with “medium.” I’m not sure what “fatty” looks like, but I don’t think my guilty conscience would allow me to enjoy it as much as I should. The sandwiches are given a squirt of mustard and served on rye bread. Slather on some extra mustard and get ready to ascend to foodie heaven.

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The other thing to keep in mind about Schwartz’s is there’s almost always a line-up outside. This photo was taken at 4:30 pm on a Sunday and as you can see, there was at least a 15-minute wait. To pass the time, I did an awkward hungry jig, jumping from foot-to-foot in anticipation. It’s important to note that this is a very short wait-time for Schwartz’s. The key is to go during off hours, even for take-out (shown to the left of the restaurant), since there was already a snaking line inside at this time. On a previous visit, I waited over an hour for a seat, and the take-out line was even longer.

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In terms of sides, a massive pickle ($1.50) is a must, or a plate of coleslaw ($1.95). Packing away some vegetables with this indulgently fatty meat may make you feel a little better about yourself. After you’ve enjoyed your meal, avoid tackling that take-out line and order the items you’d like to-go from your waiter. I went for a small jar of pickles ($5.85) and a pound of smoked meat ($11.95/pound). I’ve heard people ship Schwartz’s meat to Toronto for parties, so I feel like a pusher with my own stash right now. If it’s been awhile and you’re feenin’ for a Schwartz re-up, stay away from my supply. This stuff is mine, all mine!

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Schwartz’s / 3895 St. Laurent, Montreal
514 842 4813‎ / Sun.-Thurs 8 am – 12:30 am, Fri. 8 am-1:30 am, Sat. 8 am-2:30 am

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