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“Supposedly Just As Good As Schwartz's”

The Main Deli Steak House
Ranked #298 of 6,221 Restaurants in Montreal
Price range: US$ 5 - US$ 15
Cuisines: Diner, Deli
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Restaurant details
Dining options: After-hours
Neighbourhood: Plateau Mont-Royal
Reviewed 8 September 2017

We went on a food tour and afterwards, the guide gave us some tips.

One of the things he said was that the line at Schwartz's Deli was always too long.
If we hit a line, he suggested we go across the street to Main Deli.

So of course, on a rainy afternoon, we did just that, the line at Schwartz's was down the block and around the corner.

So the debate among us was as follows:

If we wait on the line, we get in and it's either the best deli we've ever had, or its a disappointment. If we go across the street, we will never know, but it will either be good deli or bad deli, without the wait.

We walked over to Main and got in after a two minute wait.
I can't compare to Schwartz's, but everyone in Main seemed to be enjoying their meal (instead of getting wet in the rain). They seemed to have a more varied menu that Schwartz's.

The smoked meat sandwich was good, not exactly like NY-style corned beef or pastrami, but certainly good enough to satisfy all but the most adamant purists. Unfortunately, they do not use deli mustard, only French's Yellow Mustard, which is OK, but not best suited for real (i.e., NY Style) deli.

The wives had matzoh ball soup, which again was not up to NY standards, but good.

The poutine was good and the soda selection was interesting. Prices were reasonable.
Service was good, they didn't rush us, and the waitress told us a bit about the rivalry.

All in all, a satisfying meal.

    • Value
    • Service
    • Food
Thank ajfsurvey
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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JPMiles / Payback Arrow
JPMiles / Payback Arrow
Reviews (353)
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55 - 59 of 353 reviews

Reviewed 4 September 2017

We were like most people - who gravitated to The Main Deli, because of the lines at Schwartz!!... but since you "Gotta Eat Here" reviewed it, we said its gotta be good!
Well, I think the show should've changed the name to "You Better NOT Eat Here...."
The service was terrible...but its difficult to knock our server, because there were only two of them covering the entire restaurant and the patio...they very under staffed!!

She forgot our drink order. The fries were cold....I asked for water that never came...etc...But she was also running around - with her head cut off!! She was TOO BUSY. They need more staff..............

BUT I cant knock the smoke meat, because it was very tasty, juicy and fresh.

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Thank Italianman69
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 September 2017 via mobile

A very good sandwich. For the person from Luxembourg who called it pulled pork, I think something was lost in translation. You would not look for a "traditional" pulled pork sandwich in a traditional Montreal Jewish deli. That's a bit too treyf. What you had was smoked beef, not pork!

Thank mleitman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 August 2017 via mobile

Because this place is right across the street from Schwartz's they get a lot of spillover when the Schwartz's line is long. Also many locals recommended it so I was expecting it to be very good but it wasn't really. It wasn't bad, just wasn't particularly good.
The service is good and friendly but the food is not that that great.
The smoked meat taste more like processed cold cuts than good Jewish style deli. Definitely over-processed and over preserved.
On the plus side they have their special on the menu that includes a smoked meat sandwich, small cup of coleslaw, small pickle, french fries and a soda for one price.

Schwartz's has a better product but the main has no line and I guess it's a better price.
I would return to Schwartz's if I ever come to Montreal again but I would not return to The Main.

Thank LepkeB
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 August 2017 via mobile

We did not want to wait at Schwartz's so our guide suggested the main deli right across the street. We got a nice table outside and had amazing service and great food. My wife and I shared the Reuben which was easily big enough for both. We had the potato latkas which were almost as good as my grandmother's. We tried poutine as that is something to do in Montréal but we did not like combo of French fries, gravy and cheese. It is too rich

Thank Chuck M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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