Montreal's culinary scene has much to thank its Jewish community for; starting with smoked meat and bagels, followed by the institutions – Schwartz's, Fairmount and St-Viateur Bagels – that brought us these staples. Another example is Beauty's, the landmark Mont-Royal Avenue luncheonette popular for its breakfasts and brunches.
If, like us, you refuse to line up for food, be sure to show up early on weekends; we aimed for 9AM and were seated immediately. Otherwise, you can expect to be squeezed into the fishbowl at the entrance, waiting with other hungry and possibly hung-over patrons.
tagged: EARLY BIRD
Open since 1942, the interior evokes the diner style of the period, with booths, banquettes and round laminate tabletops. Owner Hymie Sckolnick, who founded Beauty's and is as much a fixture here as the walls, still greets and seats every party at the door. Today's (mostly) Anglo crowd spanned several generations from octogenarians to children (ours included), highlighting the fact that this is a family business first and foremost.
The menu comprises two pages; one for breakfast/brunch, the other for lunch. The former covers the usual suspects of eggs, bagels and pancakes alongside Jewish specialties such as blinis, potato latkes and challah french toast. The lunch selection lists deli favorites as in burgers, sandwiches and salads. One iconic breakfast item is the Beautys Special, consisting of smoked salmon, cream cheese, tomato and red onion in a sliced bagel.
Although we've spent many mornings here, we somehow never went for this signature sandwich; probably owing to the fact that it is simply an assemblage of readily-available ingredients. We'll trust our judgment next time and stick to those delicious omelettes because, for $11 we were expecting more than a thin slice of salmon and maybe something as a side to the bagel.
"cream cheese, smoked salmon, tomato & onion on bagel"
tagged: WHERE'S THE REST?
Our excellent and amicable waitress notwithstanding, we weren't too pleased with the last few minutes of our stay. From the excessive, automatic 18% group tip – we were only five – to the subtle cues "pressuring" us to leave as soon as we paid our bill, we weren't impressed with this less than hospitable behaviour. We get it; a highly coveted spot where people don't linger can get away with such things, but still…
We stepped out of Beauty's just after 10AM to find the expected pack of diners queuing in, near and just outside the entrance. Despite our mild disappointment with today's food and slightly uncongenial conduct, we're still fans of this historic establishment, and consider it a "bucket list" kind of place. On our next visit, we'll make sure to order something we can't whip up ourselves in under three minutes.
tagged: PLAN B.
Price per person: $18.75
Montreal restaurant and bar reviews brought to you by two regular guys who like to eat and drink. We will go anywhere and we will say it like it is.