Ben's Delicatessen & Restaurant Inc.Price range : $
Rating : 3
Terrasse : No
This is considered by some as an institution in Montreal (mostly by tourists who visit Montreal frequently... just kidding). The decor has probably changed since it opened (1908), but it has stayed the same for a long time so it has a 40's look with its yellow formica panelling and green trim. It looks exactly like what you would imagine, including the old man sleeping in the corner, the 40's menus and the photographs of celebrities that ate there.There are three kinds of smoked meat places in Montreal : the places that sell industrial smoked meat (that comes in pouches to be boiled.. you should stay away from those. They are easy to spot, the meat is sliced very thin and the sandwiches are about the size and shape of a small fist), the places that don't make their own smoked meat but buy it from a local supplier (Ruben's, Dunn's which is closed now, Lester's, Nickels... and Ben's) and the places that make their own smoked meat (The Main and Schwartz's). Since Ben's uses the same supplier as some other places, it tastes the same as the others (good but not the best). Ben's smoked tastes more like pastrami than The Main's for instance, which tastes like smoked roast beef. Ben's is also less tender but certainly less stringy than the industrial kind. So if you are in a hurry to taste Montreal smoked meat and can't get to The Main or Schwartz's (on St-Laurent blvd. just north of Des Pins ave.), Ben's the place... or one of the places altough the other ones don't have the same history.I ordered the Big Ben ($7.95), which is a double portion of smoked meat with fries, a pickle and coleslaw. The meat was as described above : large slices but tastes too much like pastrami and the meat wasn't as tender as it should be. The real disappointment was the fries, pickle and coleslaw. The fries were dry but not crispy (tasted like those frozen store-bought fries), the pickle was minuscule and the slaw was in a tiny little paper cup that came apart (it was probably sitting there for a while). Again, much better fries, pickles and coleslaw at The Main.The service is said to be much friendlier than at the other two delis on St-Laurent blvd., which would be a reason to go to Ben's instead, but it was more "less rude" than friendly (the guy looked like he was very tired of doing his job). By the way, they sell t-shirts at the cash register if you are interested.
Always call before going to a restaurant, just in case the restaurant is closed or are on vacation. You can also check if you need to make reservations.
The reviews on this site only reflect my opinion and I am not a professional restaurant reviewer.
Web site :
Address : 990 de Maisonneuve west, corner of Metcalfe.
Metro station : Peel, de Maisonneuve exit or through the Cours Mont-Royal
Tel : (514) 844-1000