When well made, a sandwich can be heavenly, a perfect portable meal that’s entirely satisfying. Below is a list of 10 of Montreal’s best sandwiches– from a sandwich starring grilled halloum cheese topped with crunchy coleslaw to an in-house cured gravlax on freshly baked rye and caraway seed bread, there’s something here guaranteed to knock your culinary socks off. And they’re all tried, tested and highly recommended by yours truly…
The place: Titanic, 445 Rue Saint Pierre, (514) 849-0894
The sandwich: Pork loin with grilled pineapple, labneh, spicy homemade tomato sauce, grilled peppers and veggie of the day, herbs, and a touch of olive oil
It’s no secret why the iconic Old Montreal spot Titanic is still around after all these years. The consistently great sandwiches are what keep people coming back day in, day out. The extensive menu is filled with delicious options but for a taste that’s a little bit out of the ordinary, this sandwich is a great choice. The meats are all cooked on-site, like the slow roasted pork loin used here. It’s paired with tangy sweet grilled pineapple and an abundance of ingredients from a homemade spicy sauce to a heap of grilled veggies prepared daily.
The place: Dépanneur Le Pick Up, 7032 Rue Waverly, (514) 271-8011
The sandwich: Grilled halloum cheese topped with crunchy coleslaw laced with fresh mint and a touch of honey
I discovered this Mile-Ex hidden gem of a dépanneur slash lunch counter a few years ago and have had a constant craving for their food since day one. Some people swear by the pulled pork (and it’s one of the best in town) but it’s the grilled halloum cheese sandwich that keeps me going back. The balance of salty cheese, sweet honey and fresh mint is a winner and has become a classic.
The place: Campanelli, 4634 Notre Dame West, (514) 933-7770
The sandwich: Homemade meatball sandwich with parmesan and provolone
So many people chimed in to say that Campanelli’s meatball sandwich was one of the best in town that I really had no choice but to give it a try, even if it meant driving to the other side of town. The people spoke and they were right, this sandwich laden with homemade meatballs, oozing cheese and tangy tomato sauce on a soft bun is indeed a fine example of what a sandwich should be.
The place: Hof Kelsten, 4524 Saint Laurent
The sandwich: Gravlax on Hof Kelsten’s outstanding rye and caraway bread
Turns out that Jeffrey Finkelstein – the wizard baker behind the fantastic Hof Kelsten breads – is also a wizard sandwich maker. His are made on his very own bread (which is already a big bonus) and are filled with his homemade meats (like the delicious brisket and amazing chopped liver) and fish, including the gravlax used in this sandwich. And because Finkelstein doesn’t do things the traditional way, the gravlax is also smoked just enough to give it an extra layer of flavour. The addition of thinly sliced cucumber and fennel, marinated onions, capers and dill cream cheese makes this fresh sandwich one of the best in the city.
The place: la récréation, 378 Saint Paul West, (514) 507-5449
The sandwich: Le Sept-Îles: shrimp, horseradish, avocado and bacon (optional) on a beet bun
Located inside the beautiful furniture store Maison Pépin, la récréation is the new spot for food lovers in Old Montreal. Helmed by the Chez Victoire team, this winning recipe includes sandwiches by chef Alexandre Gosselin and fresh juices by sommelière Sindie Goineau. Filled with succulent Matane shrimp, zesty horseradish, smooth avocado and crispy salty bacon and served on a soft and slightly sweet beet bun, la récréation’s Sept-Îles sandwich has been a hit since day one.
The place: Olive & Gourmando, 351 Saint Paul West, (514) 350-1083
The sandwich: “Poached egg on your face” panini: Sriracha and fine herbs poached eggs, Comté cheese, speck and slow roasted tomatoes
For the last 10 years, O+G has been everyone’s go-to place for great sandwiches and pastries. It has that certain je-ne-sais-quoi that keeps you coming back for more. The Cuban is one of O+G’s most popular sandwiches – and one of my personal favourites – but I am nominating their breakfast sandwich for this list. It’s filled with spicy, oozing eggs, salty speck and rich Comté cheese and served on their homemade bread. Be careful, it can quickly become addictive!
The place: Café Vasco da Gama, 1472 Rue Peel, (514) 286-2688
The sandwich: Duck confit, homemade caramelized fig purée, St-Jorge cheese and mango
Located on Peel Street in the heart of downtown Montreal, Vasco da Gama is a favourite and always jam-packed at lunch time. They offer a variety of burgers and sandwiches, the most popular of which is this delicious duck confit one. The duck and the fig purée are cooked on site and piled on a soft bread, topped with the tangy and buttery Portuguese cheese São Jorge then grilled to perfection. The result is a simple-looking yet flavour-filled sandwich.
The place: Boucherie Lawrence, 5237 Saint Laurent, (514) 277-8880
The sandwich: Any of the available daily choices
Boucherie Lawrence has quickly become a sandwich aficionado spot in Montreal. All the sandwiches I’ve had there have been memorable – be they stuffed with fresh ham, porchetta, smoked merguez sausage or roast beef – which is why I hesitate to single out one specific sandwich. The fillings vary and depend on availability but are always fresh and made on site using carefully sourced meat from small local producers. They also make their own bread. I may have been heard calling these sandwiches “the best in Montreal” on several occasions.
The place: L’Express St-Zotique, 555 Rue Saint Zotique Est, (514) 495-3202
The sandwich: The grilled veggies with goat cheese: sun-dried tomato tapenade, arugula, mushrooms, onions, arugula, sautéed peppers with homemade eggplant caponata
L’Express St-Zotique is another dépanneur dishing out some great food. The meats – including slow-roasted leg of lamb, the roast beef, duck confit or pork roast – are all cooked on site with great care and expertise and paired up with homemade condiments and fresh toppings. That being said, I fell hard for the veggie sandwich on pita bread. It is filled with perfectly grilled vegetables, a delicious homemade eggplant caponata and topped with perfectly complementary tangy goat cheese. It will make a veggie believer of the most fervent carnivore.
The place: Café Pavé, 243 Rue Notre-Dame West, (514) 507-5102
The sandwich: The Philadelphia: steak, aged cheddar, baked red onion, tomato, homemade ranch served on warm ciabatta
The extensive menu at Café Pavé makes it hard to make a choice but the Philly sandwich came highly recommended. Pavé’s take on the Philly steak sandwich is well executed, with juicy roast beef cooked on sight, roasted red onions and homemade ranch dressing that pulls it all together. It may look simple but it’s filled with big taste and is definitely a must-try.
Noteworthy: All of the sandwiches listed above are on their way to becoming classics in Montreal. However, if you’re looking for sandwiches that are a part of the very culinary fabric of the city, ask any Montrealer and the answer is likely to be one of these three legendary creations: the Wilensky Special, Schwartz’s smoked meat sandwich or a Beautys special.
Photo Credit: Mayssam Samaha
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