It’s kind of a tease visiting great delis in different cities since you can’t always take the perishables home with you. But if you’re looking for the best fresh cuts of meat and classic sandwiches, here are 10 delis across the country everyone should try at least once.
ABC Euro Deli (Toronto, ON)
You can walk into ABC Euro deli and pick up some classic European comfort food like giant cabbage rolls, but peruse the aisles and you’ll find more than a few interesting items to try, like brined watermelon, eggplant spread and more.
Ben’s Meats and Deli (Edmonton, AB)
Bologna, beer sausage, house-smoked hams, braised meat sandwiches (like their “rib on a bun”) — you name it, they’ve got it. If you’ve got a bit of a sweet tooth, Ben’s has a great selection of European candies (like licorice) as well.
Boucherie Atlantique (Montreal, QC)
Aside from having a large selection of prepared meats, fresh salads like potato salad or the slightly more unusual pickled herring salad, mustards and preserves, Atlantique also has a tasty array of fresh produce.
Bulk Cheese Warehouse (Saskatoon, SK)
Don’t let the name fool you — this Saskatoon institution offers a whole lot more than just cheese. With a butcher in the back and a main room full of salads, appetizers, fresh-made pasta and, of course, cheese (among other tasty things), Bulk Cheese is basically a one-stop shop.
Italian Star Deli (Regina, SK)
Next year, Italian Star turns 50, which is no easy feat in today’s food scene. Initially, the market focused solely on Italian imports but now prides itself on offering unique food products from places like Greece, Eastern Europe and South America, to name a few.
The Italian Store (Calgary, AB)
Although you can pop in here and pick up anything from mortadella and salami to fresh mozzarella and ricotta, the true highlight of this deli would have to be its little cafeteria. They offer paninis, pizzas, pastas and a lot more at prices that won’t break the bank. It takes a bit about 20 minutes or so to get there from downtown but trust me, The Italian Store is well worth the drive.
The Italian Store (Halifax, NS)
With the same name as Calgary’s popular Italian deli, it can be assumed that you’ll walk into this shop and find similar products as far as produce, preserves and pastas go, but it’s fresh daily offerings is where these two spots differ. The (slightly calorie rich) pates made with smoked salmon and mascarpone are like the cheeseball’s cooler cousin, and it’d be a shame if you missed out.
La Bottega (Ottawa, ON)
This bustling specialty Italian food shop has more types of canned tomatoes and balsamic vinegars than you can shake a stick at. Walk to the back and you’ll find a large selection of cheese, cured meats, as well as their signature sandwiches, at a counter that garners long lines almost every day over the lunch hour, so you know they must be good!
Myer’s Deli (Winnipeg, MB)
Sure, you can buy a lot of different items here like pickles, cheese and prepared foods, but if you’re getting a little hungry while you shop, opting for a classic corned beef or pastrami sandwich is definitely the right thing to do.
Max’s Deli (Vancouver, BC)
If you thought Italian Star’s near 50 years in business was an accomplishment, then Max’s 66 years slicing meats and serving Vancouverites will impress you even more. Obviously much has changed in the city’s dining scene over two-thirds of a century, but people still appreciate simplistic sustenance and no-hipster-frills of Max’s.
Dan Clapson is a food writer and culinary instructor based out of Calgary. He is constantly creating new recipes and striving to expand his culinary horizons. He thinks yam fries are overrated.