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The Bell Centre arena during the 2017 playoffs
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Where to Eat and Drink Around the Bell Centre

Hot tips for before and after matches and shows

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The Bell Centre arena during the 2017 playoffs
| Getty Images

Headed to see a game or a show and considering picking something up from a concession stand inside the Bell Centre? Here’s a hot tip: don’t. Unlike many American stadiums, which feature a range of eating options on site, the Bell Centre’s options are standardized. The stands within the centre sell mostly the same things — dry pretzels, soggy poutine, Pizza Pizza slices, and lots of Molson — all at premium prices.

The few venues attached to the building aren’t much better (see: La Cage Aux Sports); and while Montreal’s hockey team opened a huge restaurant right nearby and reviews were somewhat mixed. A food hall concept was recently added inside, improving the situation somewhat, but it’s still best to venture further afield.

The following suggestions (including a range of cuisines and prices) go no further than around five minutes from the Bell Centre: to Sainte-Catherine Street (or thereabouts) in the north, Mackay to the west, Mansfield to the east, and St-Jacques to the south. (And purchase tickets here from our partner Stubhub.)

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
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N sur Mackay

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Classy yet unpretentious, N sur Mackay keeps its head down, focusing heavily on great cocktails yet without ostentation. Note: it’s a bar, and there’s not really a food program. Open until 3 a.m. daily.

Chez Bong

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Korean fried chicken, jigae stews, japchae noodles and more reign at this low-key Mackay street Korean spot. Open until 10 p.m. daily (closed Wednesday).

Tteokbokki
Junho B./Yelp

Garage Beirut

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Relatively fast and casual but still a decent spot for a sit-down meal, Garage Beirut has garnered a following for juicy Lebanese-style grill and garlic and tahini-laden mezzes. Open until 10 p.m. Tuesday to Sunday.

Parma Café

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A casual spot for comforting Italian eats, Parma’s focus is panini, pizza, and calzones, along with staples like arancini and meatballs. Probably best for a pre-game or pre-show bite to eat, as it closes at 9:30 p.m. daily.

Gyu-Kaku

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This DIY barbecue chain is a big deal in its Japanese motherland, and after various expansions across North America, it set up shop in Montreal in 2017. The schtick is to order marinated beef (or other meats) and have them delivered to the table to cook as desired, but there’s karaage, gyoza, and more, for those who prefer that their food arrives cooked. Open until 10:30 p.m. daily (11:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday).

Kinton Ramen

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One of few Toronto imports to really, truly get a solid foothold in the Montreal market, Kinton does affordable ramen with chicken or noodle broth (there’s the option of ordering it rich, with added back fat), with classic toppings like nori or egg, and some more gimmicky choices like Swiss cheese.

A post shared by KINTON RAMEN (@kintonramen) on

Brigade Pizzeria Napolitaine

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Wood-fired Neapolitan-style pizza has had a wee renaissance in recent years (see: Pizzeria No 900’s rapid expansion), and Brigade is a reliable go-to in this part of downtown for it. They have a build-your-own pizza option (which can rapidly degenerate into a sloppy mess of toppings, given the relatively thin bases), so the better option may be to their well-structured menu of set toppings. Open until 11 p.m. daily (midnight Friday and Saturday).

Brutopia

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The vast beer selection at this Crescent Street brewpub is the primary draw, making it great for an affordable drink in a slightly grungy space. The mostly pub-style food menu is fine, but it’s much better as a bar than an eatery. Open until 3 a.m. daily (kitchen closes at 11 p.m.)

Ferreira Café

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Montreal’s go-to high-end Portuguese restaurant has been doing fine seafood and excellent grilled meats for over two decades on Peel — and if you head after 10 p.m., it’s $30 for an appetizer and a main. Open every night until 11 p.m. (10 p.m. Sunday), and for weekday lunch.

Mister Steer

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This half-century old diner and burger spot is something of an institution, and a pre- or post-hockey favourite: burgers are the go-to here, but they have a range of sandwiches, barbecue chicken and more. Open until 10 p.m. most weeknights, midnight on Friday-Saturday.

Escondite

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Tidy downtown taco-maker Escondite added this second location just steps away from the Bell Centre back in 2017. With an eclectic interior and a mix of classics (al pastor, tinga) and new creations (Korean steak ‘n’ cactus tacos), it hits the sweet spot of being sleek, without pocket-burning prices. Open until 10 p.m. Sunday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, and until 11 p.m. Thursday to Saturday — it will also reportedly open Mondays when shows or matches are on at the Bell Centre, but it’s best to call ahead to confirm.

McLean's Pub

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Is McLean’s a culinary destination? Absolutely not. It’s just a fantastically friendly watering hole, mercifully free of the hordes of drunken students that can plague nearby Peel Pub (or there are at least fewer of them). Open until 3 a.m. daily.

Shawarmaz

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Those who thought Boustan had the shawarma game all locked up downtown are wrong: Shawarmaz has emerged as a worthy competitor for shredded rotisserie meat wrapped up in a pita or on a platter. Easily the most fast-food leaning option on this map, it’s open until 1 a.m. daily (3 a.m. Friday and Saturday).

Dominion Square Tavern

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Hearty meals like mussels and bangers and mash straddle the line between homey and upscale at this 90-year-old stalwart. The neat and fairly classic cocktail list combined with a gorgeous interior also makes it a worthy spot for a nightcap or pre-game drink. Open until midnight daily.

Balsam Inn

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Owned by the same group as nearby Dominion Square Tavern and Mile End bar Henrietta, Balsam is a classy but still slightly casual trattoria with a tight menu of simple dishes: house-made pastas, osso bucco, alongside a creative set of Italian cocktails. Open until 11 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday.

Nora Gray

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For some, it’s the city’s top Italian restaurant, and in any case, it’s one of Montreal’s best venues, period. Nora Gray might not be hoity-toity in atmosphere but a reservation is highly recommended for its on-point wine service and seasonal Italian fare.

N sur Mackay

Classy yet unpretentious, N sur Mackay keeps its head down, focusing heavily on great cocktails yet without ostentation. Note: it’s a bar, and there’s not really a food program. Open until 3 a.m. daily.

Chez Bong

Tteokbokki
Junho B./Yelp

Korean fried chicken, jigae stews, japchae noodles and more reign at this low-key Mackay street Korean spot. Open until 10 p.m. daily (closed Wednesday).

Tteokbokki
Junho B./Yelp

Garage Beirut

Relatively fast and casual but still a decent spot for a sit-down meal, Garage Beirut has garnered a following for juicy Lebanese-style grill and garlic and tahini-laden mezzes. Open until 10 p.m. Tuesday to Sunday.

Parma Café

A casual spot for comforting Italian eats, Parma’s focus is panini, pizza, and calzones, along with staples like arancini and meatballs. Probably best for a pre-game or pre-show bite to eat, as it closes at 9:30 p.m. daily.

Gyu-Kaku

This DIY barbecue chain is a big deal in its Japanese motherland, and after various expansions across North America, it set up shop in Montreal in 2017. The schtick is to order marinated beef (or other meats) and have them delivered to the table to cook as desired, but there’s karaage, gyoza, and more, for those who prefer that their food arrives cooked. Open until 10:30 p.m. daily (11:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday).

Kinton Ramen

One of few Toronto imports to really, truly get a solid foothold in the Montreal market, Kinton does affordable ramen with chicken or noodle broth (there’s the option of ordering it rich, with added back fat), with classic toppings like nori or egg, and some more gimmicky choices like Swiss cheese.

A post shared by KINTON RAMEN (@kintonramen) on

Brigade Pizzeria Napolitaine

Wood-fired Neapolitan-style pizza has had a wee renaissance in recent years (see: Pizzeria No 900’s rapid expansion), and Brigade is a reliable go-to in this part of downtown for it. They have a build-your-own pizza option (which can rapidly degenerate into a sloppy mess of toppings, given the relatively thin bases), so the better option may be to their well-structured menu of set toppings. Open until 11 p.m. daily (midnight Friday and Saturday).

Brutopia

The vast beer selection at this Crescent Street brewpub is the primary draw, making it great for an affordable drink in a slightly grungy space. The mostly pub-style food menu is fine, but it’s much better as a bar than an eatery. Open until 3 a.m. daily (kitchen closes at 11 p.m.)

Ferreira Café

Montreal’s go-to high-end Portuguese restaurant has been doing fine seafood and excellent grilled meats for over two decades on Peel — and if you head after 10 p.m., it’s $30 for an appetizer and a main. Open every night until 11 p.m. (10 p.m. Sunday), and for weekday lunch.

Mister Steer

This half-century old diner and burger spot is something of an institution, and a pre- or post-hockey favourite: burgers are the go-to here, but they have a range of sandwiches, barbecue chicken and more. Open until 10 p.m. most weeknights, midnight on Friday-Saturday.

Escondite

Tidy downtown taco-maker Escondite added this second location just steps away from the Bell Centre back in 2017. With an eclectic interior and a mix of classics (al pastor, tinga) and new creations (Korean steak ‘n’ cactus tacos), it hits the sweet spot of being sleek, without pocket-burning prices. Open until 10 p.m. Sunday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, and until 11 p.m. Thursday to Saturday — it will also reportedly open Mondays when shows or matches are on at the Bell Centre, but it’s best to call ahead to confirm.

McLean's Pub

Is McLean’s a culinary destination? Absolutely not. It’s just a fantastically friendly watering hole, mercifully free of the hordes of drunken students that can plague nearby Peel Pub (or there are at least fewer of them). Open until 3 a.m. daily.

Shawarmaz

Those who thought Boustan had the shawarma game all locked up downtown are wrong: Shawarmaz has emerged as a worthy competitor for shredded rotisserie meat wrapped up in a pita or on a platter. Easily the most fast-food leaning option on this map, it’s open until 1 a.m. daily (3 a.m. Friday and Saturday).

Dominion Square Tavern