Hundreds of youth and student travel industry professionals from around the world will gather in Montreal for the 2017 World Youth and Student Travel Conference (WYSTC) on 26-29 September. While the three-day conference is a packed programme of trading, networking, and the latest youth and student travel insights- undoubtedly conference delegates will want to venture beyond the Palais des Congres to see, and taste, what Montréal has to offer. WYSTC contributor Chris Harrison took on the tough task of reviewing one of the city’s legendary dining destinations- just a quick trip away from the conference centre.

outside Schwartz's deli

I’d heard of Schwartz’s Deli and its world famous smoked meat sandwich well before I got to Montreal and there are plenty of imitators around town, but I wanted to try the real deal. The small diner is clearly one of Montreal’s most renowned eating and meeting places for locals and visitors alike, as both mix easily in this unique food establishment.

I arrived early- too early is seemed as not much happens around here much before 10am anyway. There was cold meat available but I knew it was a hot, smoked meat sandwich that I wanted…and it was a 20 mins wait.

Johnny, one of only three staff members on that early, offered me tea or coffee. I took a cup of tea ($2.00) to chew the time. I needn’t have worried, that 20 mins was easily the most entertaining wait I have experienced in a café anywhere in the world.

Johnny and the other staff know each other well and have an easy repartee and all have a canny sense of humour. The switching between English, French and Hebrew (Schwartz’s is a Jewish Deli) only added to its value and authenticity. So infectious was this that as another staff member or customer arrived they all seemed to join in. I just sat back, listened, smiled and was also included.

Enough about the ribbing and conversation, what about the sandwich? Excellent of course and well worth the wait. The Smoked Meat sandwich ($9.75) is their best known but by no means only dish, a wide variety of full meals are available. Plus you can dine in (as I did and recommend) or take out.

Getting there: Schwartz deli is 30 mins walk, 20 mins bus (along Boul. St Laurent) or 10 mins and $7-12 by Uber from the Palais des Congres, the conference centre for the 2017 World Youth and Student Conference (WYSTC). You might find a que waiting outside the door if you arrive at the busiest hours, but don’t let that deter you. The line moves quickly.

Address: Schwartz’s – Montreal Hebrew Delicatessen 3895 Saint-Laurent Boulevard, Montreal