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Smoked meat in Toronto

Well folks,
it's official I've had the worst smoked meat of my life. After almost one week of research on the net and following the very well written Montrealer70's comments on Smoked meat in Toronto I opted to go check Montreal Deli on Dundas in Mississauga recommended by a friend that works near there.. When the waitress brought my sammy I thought she had made a mistake and delivered a ham sandwich instead of the real deal. I had to ask about the peppercorns and spices so she exchange my sandwich and got me an old fashioned smoke meat telling me that this one is spicier. It wasn't even close to a smoke meat sandwich, the rye bread was dry and stale, there was absolutely no flavour. It certainly wasn't the poor waitress's fault, her job is to delivery the grub. She was very nice (as far as Toronto waitresses go), but she didn't get it or care about the "étiquette of smoke meat" and . To be honest my first was clue should have been that nobody else was eating any smoke meat. The fries no bad and pickle was good. So it cost us $25.00 for 2 sandwiches, 1 french fry, 1 disgusting coleslaw 2 half pickles and 1 coffee. So I took 2 bites and I was done. Guess who eating the rest of lunch at work tomorrow? The boyfriend...that's right folks, he's from Toronto so he doesn't mind. Now if anybody is driving to Montreal and needing a dose of great Smoke Meat without going downtown, hit Pete's Smoke Meat in Ile Perrot right next to the Dairy Queen and Montrealer Motel right before taking bridge across to Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue. Mapquest it. God! I'm homesick enough as it is, this was the last straw and made me feel even more melancholy. In fact if anybody going to Montreal and would care to bring a couple of packages of Pete's smoke meat...I'm just saying I still haven't found a good Deli to satisfy my craving. No it wasn't worth the drive from Acton. We were in Montreal in november and pulled in on our way back at 10:00 in the morning to have my fix and bring some home before hitting the highway. The waitress was a real sweetheart and we had a great time. Oh! and by the way they have live music every night. The place looks like something out the Flinstones and also displays an incredible inventory of God's meat in antique refrigerators. His slogan is "YOU CAN'T BEAT PETE'S MEAT" Love it. And the waitress is from Niagara Falls, loves it in Quebec and would never move back. She loves the "joie de vivre" and is loving her job and it comes thru quite nicely. So if you're looking to treat yourself to a great smoke meat sandwich, DON'T go the the Montreal deli.
And that's all I have to say about that.
kristinaroxboro.

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  1. I am not sure how you researched your choice, but Montreal Deli in Mississauga has never been a hit on these boards. The contributor you mentioned has not been active here for 2 years.
    Current smoked meat afficianados would probably go to Caplansky's, Free Times, or Stockyards.
    Or for at home, Goldin's, or Dunn's pouches from Costco
    Since you are based in Acton, Mississauga might be convenient, but there is no good smoked meat there.

    -----
    Free Times Cafe
    320 College St, Toronto, ON M5T1S3, CA

    Caplansky's
    356 College Street, Toronto, ON M6J, CA

    21 Replies
    1. re: jayt90

      Concur with jayt90 -- I've not heard mention of Montreal Deli on these boards (although I also didn't know Stockyards was doing smoked meat).

      1. re: EarlyDrive

        You are right about smoked meat at Stockyards. The current website indicates they have smoked brisket, and the FAQ's say they have been struggling with pastrami.

      2. re: jayt90

        Hi!
        It was suggested to us by a friend who works near there. I had mentioned to him that I was on the site and didn't know where start that would in the west end.

        1. re: jayt90

          Thanks for the suggestion, I would be interested in the Costco option for sure. I'm also on the hunt for a good Italian joint. When I first moved here 13 years ago I checked out Zorro's in Brampton, Excellent service, nice joint but quite expensive.

          1. re: Kristinaroxboro

            Costco has refrigerated pouches of Dunn's smoked meat. They are well spiced, but not all of them are fatty.
            They used to have, at some locations, slabs of Dunn's smoked meat, some of them well marbled, but that was discontinued, probably lack of sales.

            1. re: jayt90

              Thanks for the info Jayt90, well worth checking it out.

              1. re: jayt90

                Slabs discontinued because they were never stocked at the locations where they might sell? Just sayin'....

                1. re: jayt90

                  Weak, the slabs are gone now jayt90? The ones at the Queensway location? I used to travel there all the way from Brampton just to pick them up a couple times a year

                  1. re: duckdown

                    Yeah, the slabs are gone from Ajax. Seems like they try new things, like Moishe's all beef franks, and drop them after a few months of poor sales and poor marketing.
                    I'll definitely be a Goldin's fan if he keeps producing every week.

                    1. re: duckdown

                      I luv the Dunn's smoked meat pouches at Costco. I even took some friend in somewhat isolated location and can;t buy them and he luved them too and this guy grew up in Montreal. Nice fatty center and spiced well IMO.
                      Never tried the big slab that I saw sometimes there. I also luved the smoked meat pizza which they used to sell pity can't find it anywhere anymore.

                      1. re: elvisahmed

                        Elvis,

                        I tried the Dunn's pouches once and although edible and priced resonably , I much prefer Goldin's smoked meat. You should try it out if you have a chance to.

                        1. re: foodyDudey

                          Ok I will bite where can I get Goldin;s Smoked meat?

                          1. re: elvisahmed

                            You can either order a sandwich at Free Times Cafe, or order the meat from him directly. Details can be found here, although prices and availability may have changed over time:
                            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6026...

                            1. re: Wahooty

                              Haha, it's called Free Times Cafe ;)

                              -----
                              Free Times Cafe
                              320 College St, Toronto, ON M5T1S3, CA

                              1. re: magic

                                Ack! Edited to fix my mistake. Two very different places indeed. :)

                              2. re: Wahooty

                                I think that sounds like a great option, that's the route to go! Got my vote.

                                1. re: Kristinaroxboro

                                  Goldin's is probably the closest you'll find to what you're missing in Toronto. He makes good stuff - just don't expect it to taste exactly like Schwartz, etc. and you'll be fine.

                            2. re: elvisahmed

                              I've seen the smoked meat pizza at Newmarkey Costco-gonna try it tomorrow

                              1. re: Wiley1

                                Thanks I saw it on my last trip too and picked it up apparently its only at Wilson location in Toronto as I couldn't find it in the Etobicoke branch. They have reduced the spices quite a bit but its still better than any frozen pizzas I have tried IMO.

                    2. I don't know if you are willing to go downtown for good smoked meat, but if you are, I second Caplansky's, just remember to order it medium. Order lean and the flavour and moistness is dramatically reduced.

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                      Caplansky's
                      356 College Street, Toronto, ON M6J, CA

                      1. Having lived in both places, I'd like to respectfully suggest that, if you're looking for Toronto to be like Montréal, you're going to be disappointed just as surely as if you are looking for Montréal to be like Toronto. Where food and drinks are concerned, there are lots of great things to be found in Toronto that Montréal can't compete with, and vice versa.

                        If you want Montréal smoked meat, have it in Montréal (or the environs), but if you want to enjoy the best of Toronto, don't look for copies of Montréal.

                        My two cents, anyway. Sorry about the homesickness!

                        3 Replies
                          1. re: trombasteve

                            Agreed. I solve this problem by not eating smoked meat outside of Montreal.

                            A nice brisket on the other hand... Toronto does nicely.

                            1. re: trombasteve

                              I totally agree. Toronto used too known for corned beef. the cities are different, but most of the old Jewish deli's are gone or changed.

                            2. Montreal is ''the'' place for smoked meat. Centre Deli (1136 Centre Street, Thornhill) does not beat Schwartz but the meat is cut by hand, to your taste, and you have the choice between the Montreal Old Fashioned and the lean one. Very busy spot, mainly on week-ends, but reallty worth the trip.

                              1. K, I agree completely about Pete's smoke meat - it's great. In TO Caplansky's is the best, though I did go there once and they were out of it. Pastrami at the Stockyard's is wonderful.

                                -----
                                Caplansky's
                                356 College Street, Toronto, ON M6J, CA

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: gilbert1111

                                  hey Gilbert1111,
                                  I moved from Ile Perrot to Ontario in 1998 when Pete's was operating out of a little basement ex-apartment location below my hairdresser's shop. He has done very well and now has that prime spot right before you hit the Ste-anne's bridge. Next time I visit I'll to sure to check out the live music.
                                  Thanks for the reply.

                                  1. re: gilbert1111

                                    Good time to try Caplansky's. If you have not already done so, they are selling Groupon deals for: both dinner and lunch. Basically half off the price.

                                    -----
                                    Caplansky's
                                    356 College Street, Toronto, ON M6J, CA

                                  2. I vote for Goldins (never tried it from the cafe)
                                    I thought Caplansky's was tasty, but much preferred Goldins
                                    I am also a fan of Lou Dawg's Smoked Beef Brisket Sandwich - I much prefer it over the pulled pork (both in sandwich form and poutine form), but overall I'd say that Goldins tops what I've tried in Toronto.

                                    Erin
                                    http://www.cookiesandtomatoes.com

                                    -----
                                    Caplansky's
                                    356 College Street, Toronto, ON M6J, CA

                                    1. Coincidence only because it has nothing to do with your Pete's but Peter's on Eglinton is an excellent deli http://www.petersoneglinton.com/index...

                                      1. Do yourself a favor and trek out to the Thornhill area for some Center Street Deli, handcut smoked meat from the steam table just like Montreal, where the owners are transplants from. Also Pancers on Bathurst Street just north of Wilson has some of the best pastrami and baby beef in town, and Steeles Deli at Yonge and Steeles has some great deli options as well. Personal fave tho, Center Street Deli, where it's at!!!

                                        6 Replies
                                        1. re: jroth27

                                          I know I'm putting more fuel into the fire, but, I've been disappointed with both Montreal and Toronto (Caplansky is still on my TDL).
                                          New York (in my opinion) is the only place.

                                          1. re: jroth27

                                            I just had a smoked meat sandwich at Pancer's on Saturday (medium fatty, hand cut) and I have to say it was one of the best I've ever had (in Toronto or elsewhere, and I've had a lot of deli). The meat was moist, tender, and had a perfect spice level. It was truly fantastic.

                                            On the other side of things, my wife had a pastrami sandwich (lean, not hand cut - both against my recommendations) and it was decidedly mediocre (at best). The meat was dry and didn't have much taste. Sure it was lean, but I still don't expect it to be dry.

                                            Anyway, just had to throw props to Pancers for the smoked meat. Absolutely delicious. If this what they're putting out, I'll have to make the trek out there more than once a year or so.

                                            1. re: Strongbad789

                                              Is this the one at Maj. Mac. and Duff??

                                              DT

                                              1. re: Davwud

                                                On Bathurst just north of Wilson. I didn't even know about the other one...are they related? (the one on Bathurst is "Moe Pancer's Delicatessen" and the other one is "Pancer's Deli Emporium")

                                          2. I see mention of Dunn's pouches at Costco, but how about Dunn's, the deli on King St.? Is it the same/better?

                                            3 Replies
                                            1. re: mayaishi

                                              I'm not sure, but the one time I got a sandwich from there it was awful so I'd say if you're in that area try the Corned Beef House on Adelaide instead.

                                              -----
                                              Corned Beef House
                                              303 Adelaide St W, Toronto, ON M5V1P7, CA

                                              1. re: terrycar

                                                Highly recommend Corned Beef House's Club Sandwich.

                                                -----
                                                Corned Beef House
                                                303 Adelaide St W, Toronto, ON M5V1P7, CA

                                              2. re: mayaishi

                                                There's no connection between the two. My experience with King St was reliably awful.

                                              3. Switzer's 7310 Torbram Road, Unit 2, Mississauga, ON, L4T 3X2, It aint pretty but its the real deal friendly staff & perfect smoked meat I drive 90mins just for their Reuben! close your eyes & you are back in Montreal (or Spadina 20 years ago!)

                                                -----
                                                Switzer's
                                                7310 Torbram Rd, Mississauga, ON L4T, CA

                                                3 Replies
                                                1. re: pagan1

                                                  Curious about Switzer's. The name rings a bell for some reason. Were they not located in Downtown Toronto many years back? Also, are they making their own smoked meat or buying from somewhere else? With all of the re-selling of other people's products I have decided to purchase my own smoker this year.

                                                  -----
                                                  Switzer's
                                                  7310 Torbram Rd, Mississauga, ON L4T, CA

                                                  1. re: Poorboy

                                                    Switzer's used to be on Spadina next to Shopsy's when Spadina was the garment district before Chinatown took it over! Not sure if they still smoke their own but it tastes like it!

                                                    -----
                                                    Switzer's
                                                    7310 Torbram Rd, Mississauga, ON L4T, CA

                                                    1. re: Poorboy

                                                      Switzer's used to make their own brined corned beef and pastrami on Spadina. Torbram is the same owner and his daughter. I doubt that they still make their own, but don't know for sure. They certainly don't make their own smoked meat.

                                                      If they make the same beef knishes they made on Spadina (again, I don't know), these were wonderful.

                                                      -----
                                                      Switzer's
                                                      7310 Torbram Rd, Mississauga, ON L4T, CA

                                                  2. The Centre Street Deli is owned by Cheryl, the daughter of the owner of the esteemed Snowdon Deli at Queen Mary and Decarie. Order an Old Fashioned with extra fat and you'll feel like home. Other than that, Peter's on Eglinton in Mississauga serves a monster smoked meat sandwich on rye of acceptable quality Lester's from Montreal. Other representations of "Montreal smoked meat" in Toronto are not worth the bother if you're from Montreal. Having said that, even in Montreal, there are a lot of places that are trading on past reputation and aren't as good as in the past. Even the legendary Scwartz's serves the occasional meh sandwich.

                                                    -----
                                                    Centre Street Deli
                                                    1136 Centre St, Thornhill, ON L4J3M8, CA

                                                    3 Replies
                                                    1. re: Big Kahuna 1

                                                      I've had a tough sandwich or two from Schwartz's, which is why I usually just go to the Main Deli across the street.. Less people, less busy, and a very good product

                                                        1. re: duckdown

                                                          I will be doing my own tasting of the two on Friday! I will report back ;-)

                                                      1. There's been a couple mentions of Free Times Cafe here. Has anyone ever tried Goldin's at Free Times Cafe?

                                                        Well, I did. Hoping for a decent, even comparable experience to real Montreal smoked meat - NOT. Extra lean, dry, microwaved, many pieces were hard as leather. Took 15 mins to prepare / reheat too. Sadly, waitress believes what I got is the norm. I really hope it was an abberation. I will consider trying again, but only if a manager is around - or at least someone willing to proactively do something about it.

                                                        Goldin's might want to do some quality control of their served product here - cause it is not good.

                                                        -----
                                                        Free Times Cafe
                                                        320 College St, Toronto, ON M5T1S3, CA

                                                        2 Replies
                                                        1. re: JonSlid

                                                          Hi Jon,
                                                          Unfortunately we had the same experience recently.
                                                          Couldn't eat it.
                                                          I asked the Owner who was wandering around if they ever slice it fresh, possibly on the Weekend, and she told me, no that this is the way the always serve it
                                                          Yuk!
                                                          Would never return..

                                                          1. re: JonSlid

                                                            Free Times does a horrible job preparing the brisket. A sandwich there vs Goldin's brisket at home is like night and day. They cut it badly, heat it badly, there's no good mustard ... they don't even use the drippings!

                                                            It's fine if you want to sample Goldin's flavour profile, but keep in mind that it's a really poor caricature of what you get when you prepare it properly.

                                                          2. Goldin's just sent an update to their mailing list that Free Times will now distribute vacuum sealed briskets. No more sketchy mailbox drop-off brisket runs!

                                                            -----
                                                            Free Times Cafe
                                                            320 College St, Toronto, ON M5T1S3, CA

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. Pre-sliced and re-heated is just asking for trouble.. That's very unfortunate to hear

                                                              I just got some from Goldin's a few weeks ago directly after he won the Deli Duel and it was his "award winning" batch, prepared at home and it was excellent as always..

                                                              It's cool that they're selling the whole briskets there now, which is the best way to buy the product for sure -- but it's worse for me. Less parking and further away.. Hopefully still be able to make the odd pickup at his original location

                                                              Cheers

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: duckdown

                                                                Better for those of us who live downtown.

                                                              2. I've gotten annoyed enough at the smoke meat situation in Toronto that I've learned to make my own. It requires a few uncommon items (smoker, XXL ziplock bags, Readycure/pink salt, a slicing knife) and take a lot of time (about 2 weeks) but the product that comes out of it at the end is outstanding and very much the equal of anything that comes out of Montreal (big words, but I stand by them).

                                                                Seriously. I was astounded at how good the meat came out. So if any of you have the craving and absolutely positively need to feed it, you can find the complete story here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/794033

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: biggreenmatt

                                                                  Pickle Barrel if you like it lean
                                                                  Ask them to flat pack it, those plastic containers are a pain to open and close.
                                                                  Yorkdale Shopping centre location near the bay , lots of free parking

                                                                2. Check out the smoked meat sandwich at Stack Smmmoked on Yonge just south of Hogs Hollow. Not "Montreal" Smoked Meat but their own blend of spices and then treated as MSM. It's awesome.

                                                                  DT