Montréal Eats: A Roundup Of Iconic Foods

Montréal has a well-deserved reputation as a foodie destination, and is home to a number of iconic dishes that are humble yet delicious. No visit to the city is complete without checking at least a few of these classic dishes off of your must-eat list, and you might find yourself returning for seconds.

Smoked Meat Sandwich

Schwartz’s Deli
3895 Saint-Laurent Blvd.; schwartzsdeli.com

Schwartz’s smoked meat sandwich is possibly the most iconic of classic Montréal eats. The endless lineup at Canada’s oldest deli is part of the tradition and shouldn’t deter you from trying this specialty at least once. Order your meat medium (you want some fat) and always order a side of pickles.

Tip: you can avoid the line by getting your order to go.

Schwartz's deli smoked meat Montreal

Poutine

Chez Tousignant; 6956 Drolet; cheztousignant.com
Au Pied de Cochon; 536 Duluth East; aupieddecochon.ca

Although it sounds simple enough, a good poutine is hard to achieve. The fries have to stay crispy, the fresh cheese curds have to melt yet retain their “squeakiness,” and it has to have just the right amount of flavourful gravy. It’s imperative to try a classic, no frills, poutine like the one from Chez Tousignant, but it’s just as necessary to dig into the decadent foie gras poutine at Au Pied de Cochon, a Montréal institution and a mecca for authentic Québécois cuisine.

Au Pied de Cochon poutine Montreal
Au Pied de Cochon poutine Montreal

Bagels

Fairmount Bagels; 74 Fairmount West; fairmountbagel.com
St-Viateur Bagels; 263 St-Viateur West; stviateurbagel.com

Montréalers are fierce partisans of either team Fairmount or team St-Viateur. The two rival bagel shops are located only a couple of blocks from each other and churn out piping-hot bagels 24/7. Montréal bagels are eaten plain, as they don’t need any toppings when they’re fresh and warm. If you insist on dressing them up, a tub of cream cheese can be purchased.

Fairmount Bagels St-Viateur Bagels Montreal

Steamé

Montreal Pool Room
1217 St Laurent Blvd

Open since 1912 (although it moved to its present location in 2010), Montréal Pool Room is no longer a pool room per say, since it no longer has a pool table. This Montréal institution does, however, serve the best steamé in town, which refers to a hot dog with the bun steamed instead of toasted. This is not a glamorous venue by any means, but the shabby vibe is legendary, and so are their hot dogs.

Montreal Pool Room Steame

Julep

Gibeau Orange Julep
7700 Décarie Boulevard

The impressive three-story orange sphere that houses Gibeau Orange Julep has been around in its present incarnation since 1966. Although it sits somewhat out of the way from downtown, it has been a major roadside attraction for many Montréalers since its heyday. It serves the usual fast food fare of burgers and hot dogs, but it’s most famous for the Julep, a thirst-quenching, nostalgia-inducing, foamy orange drink whose recipe is a well-guarded family secret.

Orange Julep Montreal

Wilensky’s Special

34 Fairmount Ave. West; top2000.ca/wilenskys

Wilensky has been serving its “light lunch” special since 1932, and not much has changed since then, from the vintage décor to the people behind the counter. All-beef salami and bologna are cooked on a 70-year-old grill and served on a pressed roll with mustard on the side. You can add cheese to your sandwich, but nothing else. They’ve perfected the formula and it’s pretty delicious. Don’t forget to order an old-fashioned cherry cola to go with your sandwich.

Wilensky's Special Montreal