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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.

1. N sur Mackay

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1244 Rue Mackay, Montréal
QC H3G 2H4, Canada
(514) 938-1244
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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.

2. Chez Bong

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1236 Rue Mackay, Montréal
QC H3G 2H4, Canada
(514) 935-8344

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

3. Garage Beirut

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1238 Rue Mackay, Montréal
QC H3G 2H4, Canada
(514) 564-2040
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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.

4. Parma Café

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1202 Rue Bishop, Montréal
QC H3G 2E3, Canada
(514) 879-0000
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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.

5. Gyu-Kaku

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1255 Rue Crescent, Montréal
QC H3G 2B1, Canada
(514) 866-8808
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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).

6. Kinton Ramen

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1211 Rue Bishop, Montréal
QC H3G, Canada
(438) 387-6187
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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.

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7. Brigade Pizzeria Napolitaine

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1428 Rue Stanley, Montréal
QC H3A 1P7, Canada
(438) 384-0948
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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).

8. Brutopia

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Brutopia, Montréal
QC H3G, Canada
(514) 393-9277
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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.)

9. Ferreira Café

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1446 Rue Peel, Montréal
QC H3A 1S8, Canada
(514) 848-0988
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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.

10. Mister Steer

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1198 Rue Sainte-Catherine O, Montréal
QC H3B 1K1, Canada
(514) 866-3233
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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.

11. Escondite

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1224 Rue Drummond, Montréal
QC H3G 1V7, Canada
(514) 375-5945
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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.

12. McLean's Pub

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1210 Rue Peel, Montréal
QC H3B 2T6, Canada
(514) 392-7770
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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.

13. Shawarmaz

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1206 Rue Peel, Montréal
QC H3B 2T6, Canada
(514) 431-9345
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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).

14. Dominion Square Tavern

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1243 Rue Metcalfe, Montréal
QC H3B 2V5, Canada
(514) 564-5056
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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.

15. Balsam Inn

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1237 Rue Metcalfe, Montréal
QC H3B 2V5, Canada
(514) 507-9207
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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.

16. Nora Gray

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1391 Rue Saint-Jacques, Montréal
QC H3C 1H2, Canada
(514) 419-6672
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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.

1. N sur Mackay

1244 Rue Mackay, Montréal, QC H3G 2H4, Canada

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.

1244 Rue Mackay, Montréal
QC H3G 2H4, Canada

2. Chez Bong

1236 Rue Mackay, Montréal, QC H3G 2H4, Canada
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).

1236 Rue Mackay, Montréal
QC H3G 2H4, Canada

3. Garage Beirut

1238 Rue Mackay, Montréal, QC H3G 2H4, Canada

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.

1238 Rue Mackay, Montréal
QC H3G 2H4, Canada

4. Parma Café

1202 Rue Bishop, Montréal, QC H3G 2E3, Canada

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.

1202 Rue Bishop, Montréal
QC H3G 2E3, Canada

5. Gyu-Kaku

1255 Rue Crescent, Montréal, QC H3G 2B1, Canada

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).

1255 Rue Crescent, Montréal
QC H3G 2B1, Canada

6. Kinton Ramen

1211 Rue Bishop, Montréal, QC H3G, Canada

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.

1211 Rue Bishop, Montréal
QC H3G, Canada

7. Brigade Pizzeria Napolitaine

1428 Rue Stanley, Montréal, QC H3A 1P7, Canada

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).

1428 Rue Stanley, Montréal
QC H3A 1P7, Canada

8. Brutopia

Brutopia, Montréal, QC H3G, Canada

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.)

Brutopia, Montréal
QC H3G, Canada

9. Ferreira Café

1446 Rue Peel, Montréal, QC H3A 1S8, Canada

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.

1446 Rue Peel, Montréal
QC H3A 1S8, Canada

10. Mister Steer

1198 Rue Sainte-Catherine O, Montréal, QC H3B 1K1, Canada

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.

1198 Rue Sainte-Catherine O, Montréal
QC H3B 1K1, Canada

11. Escondite

1224 Rue Drummond, Montréal, QC H3G 1V7, Canada

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.

1224 Rue Drummond, Montréal
QC H3G 1V7, Canada

12. McLean's Pub

1210 Rue Peel, Montréal, QC H3B 2T6, Canada

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.

1210 Rue Peel, Montréal
QC H3B 2T6, Canada

13. Shawarmaz

1206 Rue Peel, Montréal, QC H3B 2T6, Canada

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).

1206 Rue Peel, Montréal
QC H3B 2T6, Canada

14. Dominion Square Tavern

1243 Rue Metcalfe, Montréal, QC H3B 2V5, Canada

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.

1243 Rue Metcalfe, Montréal
QC H3B 2V5, Canada

15. Balsam Inn

1237 Rue Metcalfe, Montréal, QC H3B 2V5, Canada

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.

1237 Rue Metcalfe, Montréal
QC H3B 2V5, Canada

Related Maps

16. Nora Gray

1391 Rue Saint-Jacques, Montréal, QC H3C 1H2, Canada

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.

1391 Rue Saint-Jacques, Montréal
QC H3C 1H2, Canada

Related Maps