What to Eat at Bell Centre – Montreal Canadiens Game

Spoiler alert: It’s Le Hot Dog. The first recommendation uttered out of a local’s mouth when I told them I was attending a Habs game that night was “you have to try the hot dog”. And it did not disappoint (more on that later).

Visiting Montreal is like listening to Prince for the first time. It’s too quirky, too unique, and too awesome not to try it. I keep telling people it’s like visiting another country before stopping myself and saying, “wait you idiot, it is another country”. But the rest of Canada doesn’t feel this way! Toronto, Ottawa, Vancouver are fantastic cities but they all remind you of other US cities. Not Montreal. It’s one of a kind.

The official language of Montreal is French with about 60% of population being bi-lingual (thanks Wikipedia). The city literally has too many restaurants which is an incredible problem to have. For every 10,000 people in Montreal, there are 26.81 restaurants to satisfy their hungry souls. For comparison, The New York metropolitan area has 19.57 restaurants per 10,000 people and San Francisco (highest restaurant density in the US) has 21.44. Each year Montreal holds both the largest jazz festival in the world (Montreal International Jazz Festival) and the largest international comedy festival in the world (Just for Laughs Festival).

Montreal-eans (scientific name) love their food, music, comedy, and…their hockey.

Bell Centre is the largest hockey rink in the NHL but it doesn’t matter. I attended a generally meaningless game late in the season on a Thursday night and it felt like it we were in the playoffs. The atmosphere made it the best regular season hockey game that I’ve ever been to. And I’ve been to like eight whole hockey games.

The exchange rate is your friend. This meant a $10 CAD beer was actually $7 USD. This meant I drank a lot of them before, during, and after the game. So much so that I’ll be honest – all I really remember is that damn hot dog. Oh, and some meat sandwich that looked amazing after a few beers but one that my stomach rejected faster than driving on Dikembe Mutumbo in the 90’s.

To the food!

Have to Have it

Hot Dog – it’s the bun. The bun adds a sweetness that compliments the delicious god-knows-what meat up top. And it’s simple. No onions, peppers, sauerkraut, etc. Just a dog, mustard and relish and it works.

Hot-Dog-O-Meter: 9.0 out 10. The second best dog I’ve had at a stadium behind only Saag’s at Oakland Collesium.

Try It

Smoked Meat Sandwich – It was OK going down. A little dry but not bad. It was anything but OK coming out the next morning. I’ll leave it at that.

A Sort-of Helpful Guide to Citizens Bank Park or Comparing its Beer to Yankee Stadium

I’ve been to Citizens Bank Park in Philly twice now. This past Memorial Day weekend, I was hooked up with baller suite tickets that included all you can eat food (very cool) and all you can drink beverages (very dangerous). Needless to say, #HotFoodTakes aren’t very helpful in this scenario. I had a hot dog and approximately 1,211 free Yuengling Lagers. Analysis: it was a good Saturday. 

About The Stadium

Citizens Bank Park was built in 2004. Located in South Philly’s “sports complex”, it’s probably the best stadium out of the three located there (the other’s being Lincoln Financial Field – Eagles and Wells Fargo Center – 76ers/Flyers). But that’s probably just because football/basketball/hockey arenas are rarely that cool. Let’s be honest. 

Your only real option for close pregame activities is at the Xfinity Live! location which is one of those things created by venues when they’re like “hey, we don’t have enough money, let’s take some out of tailgating too.” It’s located in the parking lot and a close walk to all threes stadiums. It’s not very unique but has a thousand TV’s, outdoor seating, live music, and plenty of decently priced local food/beer selection before the game. I recommend Chickie’s and Pete’s crab fries

Comparing Beer Prices to Yankee Stadium – because why not?

Round 1

The 12-ouncers: Yankee Stadium has an incredible amount of mediocre beer selection. Because of this, they decide to charge you $0.50 more. It’s only right. Get rich or die tryin, amirite? 

Citizens Bank: $9; Yankee Stadium $9.50

Round 2

The 24-ouncers: Split round. Both 24-ounce options are the same price. 

Citizens Bank: $11.50; Yankee Stadium $11.50

Round 3

The 24-ounce “premium” beers: This is where the Philly Citizen’s make their Bank. The park charges $1 more than YS for some beers but it has a much wider selection. I’m sure there are better options at Yankee Stadium somewhere but they sure make them hard to find. For my past visit, Goose Island, Stella Artois and Heineken <- yes, these are considered premium – were $12.50 for larges. Blue Point beers, which are much better, were a dollar more.

Citizens Bank: $14.50 Yankee Stadium $13.50 – $14.50 

Although you could save a buck with a decent Goose Island option, I have to hand the final round to Citizens Bank Park. If I’m going to waste my future child’s college fund on drinking brews at MLB ballparks, at least give me some selection for the hole in my pocket. I haven’t even found a Bronx Brewery beer at Yankee Stadium yet. That’s just a damn tragedy.