Line up below the sign reading “Charcuterie Hebraique” (“Jewish Delicatessen”) at the landmark Schwartz’s, which has been open since 1928 and inspired Brooklyn’s own Mile End. Stick with the classic and order the smoked-meat sandwich ($6.30) for a juicy stack of brisket that rivals anything you’ll find in New York. The interior is nothing fancy—think fluorescent lights and cramped seating—but that doesn't deter the crowds who wait until well past midnight on weekends.
Have a pondside lunch in the lush backyard at Café Santropol, one of the city’s oldest vegan- and vegetarian-friendly eateries. Opened 30 years ago as a desperate but successful ploy to keep the houses on its block from being demolished, the restaurant focuses on hearty soups, like homemade vegetarian chili with cheese ($8.50), and creative sandwiches including the Sweet Root ($7.75), made with grated carrots, raisins, coriander, and eggless mayo.
Get your Gallic fix at L’Express, where you’ll need a reservation to have dinner at what is arguably the city’s best bistro. Much like the décor—mirrored walls, a zinc-topped bar, and a black-and-white checkered floor—the food is unfussy and timeless, with meaty dishes like roasted quail with wild rice ($22), and savory pot-au-feu ($21). Be sure to try the maple syrup tart ($8) for dessert; it’s a traditional Quebecois treat.