Stay in an ice hotel, attend a winter festival and wander through an ice castle.
Regardless of how the Canadiens happen to be playing in any given season, catching a Habs game on a trip to Montreal is at the top of many visitors’ must-do lists. After all, this is the team with more Stanley Cups than any other, and watching them play at the Bell Centre is a truly wondrous experience. Tickets, however, can be hard to come by. You can watch the game at one of the city’s many sports bars, but, if you’re in the mood for something a little more elegant, there are some great Montreal restaurants where hockey fans and foodies can dine in style while cheering for “Les Habitants.”
In the new Alt Hotel in Griffintown, just a 10-minute walk to downtown and Old Montreal, Industria Brasserie features high ceilings and shiny lights in a modern, loft-like space filled with energetic young urbanites. TV screens abound, ensuring a good view of the game, no matter where you’re sitting. Try the octopus with small bits of potatoes, taggiascan olives and chives, or the gnocchi poutine, which is both creamy and surprisingly light.
This fun spot in Mile End has black-and-white photos on the wall, black-painted tin ceilings, a couple of TVs and a lively atmosphere. Luckily, the Mexican- and Peruvian-inspired tapas make up for the extra noisiness. The fish tacos are among the best in the city, and the lobster rolls are delicious. Try the Thai Basil Mojito or a Mexican Coke made with cane sugar. Bonus: Cartel features $2 tacos on Tuesdays—the perfect accompaniment for a game.
An acclaimed eatery in Little Italy, Pastaga has no TVs in the main restaurant, but the owners have installed a large-screen affair in the kitchen, as well as a long chef’s table where you can dine amid the cooking action and watch the game. Try the roasted broccoli and broccoli slaw or, if it’s on the oft-changing menu, the pork belly on a puréed carrot pancake with maple syrup. Bonus: If the Habs are losing, you can at least watch the young kitchen staff at work.