Ben's Deli: "This landmark has finally closed for good." Ben's Deli - CLOSED Tip by Carmanah

Ben's Deli - CLOSED, Montreal: 9 reviews and 9 photos

  Inside Ben's Deli during a particularly quiet time
by Carmanah

Note - Ben's Deli has finally bit the dust. It's no longer open. I'll still keep this review.

Like other city's around the world known for a certain kind of food, Montreal is known for its smoked meat. This isn't any ordinary smoked meat, but a local recipe of smoked corned beef which is then sliced into sandwiches served on rye bread with mustard and kosher pickles. This is the Montreal tradition.

For Christmas my boyfriend got me a book called Montreal: The Unknown City, which is full of Montreal secret trivia that even the locals don't always know about. The book mentioned Ben's, saying that it was Montreal's first-ever smoked meat restaurant. We had just visited the McCord Museum which was a few blocks away, so off to Ben's we went.

Ben's, upon first view, looks like something from a 1950's movie set. It's this large bright yellow diner with Life Saver candy-coloured chairs: red, orange, yellow and green. It was mostly empty when we were there, despite there being enough tables to seat several hundred. There was only one waiter too, dressed from head to toe in white, from his apron to his hat. Above the main door was a sign: "Through these doors pass the nicest people on Earth: our customers! " There were black and white photos of Ben's clients through the years near the ceiling. You truly do feel like you're stepping back in time. It's like a timewarp.

Favorite Dish: We had the Ben's special... for about $12 you get a smoked meat sandwich (light rye bread with an inch and a half of thinly-sliced smoked meat), a kosher pickle, half a plate of french fries, and a cherry coke. We paid extra for melted Swiss cheese on the sandwich but the bottle of mustard was (surprise), free. While the smoked meat is tasty, it is far from fancy, yet quite filling. I wasn't hungry for hours later.

Address: 990 Blvd de Maisonneuve, Montreal
Price Comparison: less expensive than average
Directions: On the south-east corner of Maisonneuve and Metcalfe in downtown Montreal
Phone: (514) 844-1000
Rating: 3
Theme: Diner

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Feb 16, 2007
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