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Jun 25, 2009 11:18 PM


I'll never understand why people stand in line at restaurants, especially this one. I think it's only because they spend more money advertising for tourists. My friends and I much prefer the Main across the street, or Snowdon Deli or Deli Boys.

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  1. probably because it's the best of the smoked meat restaurants. it's also fun to go to. its not a depressing diner where old ladies treat you like crap. its in the middle of a popular street. now honestly, who the heck still goes to deli boys - the food is garbage and the staff are even worse.

    5 Replies
    1. re: celfie

      Deli whaaa? Never even heard of it.

      Schwartz's is the best smoked meat, no contest.
      Yes, the experience is fun too (the staff is energetic and hilarious), even when rushed. Not that it's always rushed or with lineups. If you're a local, there's no reason to visit 11-7 on weekends along with the dorks in the Leafs sweaters (personally, I don't think they should get service wearing enemy colours, but I digress...)

      The Main is fine if I want to take up space with a large group, esp post-drinking, or if I feel like eating something different like liver or latkes. There's only one go-to for smoked meat.

      1. re: Shattered

        As a New Yorker (and a nominal Jew, FWIW), I'll pipe in and say that the smoked meat at Schwartz's is better than any Jewish deli pastrami or corned beef currently in New York, and much cheaper. It's also far superior to any other smoked meat I've tried in Montreal. My strategy is to go at 11:30 for an early lunch and beat the crowds. I was scared off of the place for years by the lines, then one day I discovered that most of the line was waiting for takeout and I was able to get a counter spot for an early dinner (around 5:30) without waiting, and this was during high tourist season.

        1. re: Peter Cherches

          Got there Friday around 11:30 AM. A long line out the door. Then I realized you could go into the newish take-out annex and find a spot in the back to eat a sandwich without waiting. Exquisite again.

          1. re: Peter Cherches

            Dude! I wanted that to stay on the down-low!

      2. re: celfie

        If the old ladies treat me like crap I remind them that tip is bigger when they smile ;)

        If the waiters at schwartzs have attitude I tell them off and no tip!

        I like the main's smoke meat over scwartzs because it's less salty in my book.

      3. What's the point of your post? So your personal choice is to not like Schwartz's. Oh okay, I don't like them anymore either. Just because you said so.

        Schwartz's is a Montreal institution, loved by many (not all, and really who cares??) serving first rate smoked meat in an atmosphere that is well, unique. Nobody claims it's Haute Cuisine and nobody says you have to go there.

        1. The Main good if you want speck in your sandwich ( the last I know that keeps it available) But what about Lesters on Bernard I think they offer up the best old fashion in Montreal.Schwartz is riding on a reputation that is no longer reality.

          2 Replies
          1. re: finefoodie55

            ┬źSchwartz is riding on a reputation that is no longer reality┬╗

            Have trouble reconciling the above statement with the fact that I've been eating smoked meat at Schwartz's since the early '70s and have detected no change in quality -- certainly no decline nor any improvement for that matter. I also find the enthusiasm for Lesters hard to understand, though I admit I've not been in years (because I always found it unworthy of the enthusiasm I find hard to understand).

            1. re: carswell

              i lived right next to lesters for 3 years and i can assure you, it is the most over priced deli in town. the smoked meat doesnt even come close to schwartz's. it is bland and tastes of the plastic vacuum seal it comes out of. the staff are also incredibly rude. oh did i mention the prices are outrageous?

          2. You like what you like, and I'll like what I like, thank you very much!

            On the topic of Lester's...I like their Turkey Romanoff sandwich (with swiss cheese extra) and they deliver! It's a meal in itself for me, with a pickle on the side.

            3 Replies
            1. re: devilishlyj

              Schwartz's, even thought they have expanded and things are not the same that they used to be, make some really good smoked meat.
              As far as I know, all the others do not make their own - they simply buy it and put it in the steamer.

              Schwartz's smoked meat has a distinct flavour that no other meat has, except of course Abie's, which is a copycat.

              1. re: devilishlyj

                Carswell here's the deal since Morris the Violinist died and Johnny Hiam the cutter retired it hasn't been the same.The meat has become shreddy and the briskits are now half covered in spice. When I qualified Lesters as the best that was for an Old Fashioned Medium ( if I am going to kill myself it better be worth it).The cutter a Lester's cuts directly through the briskit and leaves the fat in the middle at Schwartz the not so good cutter lumps it all together and does not leave the fat in the middle of the sandwich.That for me makes a big difference in the overall taste.My suggestion is to try Lester's instead of panning them after you " have not been there in years"

                1. re: finefoodie55

                  Well thomasein the tongue is curious just how far back in Schwatrz's history you are going?

              2. I'll never understand why people stand in line at restaurants, especially this one.
                I always get my smoked meat to go, and sit on the ledge in front of Berson like I have done for decades :)

                1 Reply
                1. re: bomobob

                  people typically wait in line when they wish to purchase a product and there is a line