You may not be part of a Formula 1 team, you may not be a jet-setting celebrity, and the closest you may ever get to a “who’s who” is when someone hears your name and says, “Who?” But take heart: like many tens of thousands of other mere mortal F1 aficionados who work up a hunger for more than just racing, you too can at least eat like a VIP during the annual Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal. And your choices are limited only by your tastes.
Commence your gastronomic adventure in Old Montreal, which is within easy earshot of the action on race day, just across the river from Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve. Kick an evening off with champagne and oysters at restaurant and wine bar Le Bocata, where old world charm combines with modern European, French and Spanish flourishes in both its small plate menu and imaginative main plates, in a cozy, candle-lit and almost otherworldly setting. Perennial foodie favourite Toque! also has a Grand Prix special heavy on the steak, lobster and foie gras- worth checking out if you’re into delicious things prepared perfectly.
From there move to Assommoir, where great food (mind-altering tapas and Mediterranean) and a great party aren’t mutually exclusive ideas. Indeed, Assommoir will play host to a champagne-fueled electro-swing Grand Prix party featuring numerous DJs on June 7. Expect the party to be in full swing at Les Éclusiers par Apollo, as well as the kitchen. Lively at night while more intimate during dinner hours, this remarkably repurposed former lock-house, right on the water in the Old Port, has a surfeit of style and taste that extends to its internationally flavoured bistro cuisine.
Old Montreal also plays host to celebrity chef Chuck Hughes’ perpetually hip flagship restaurant Garde Manger (featuring Hughes’ signature dish: lobster poutine), as well as his latest, the more intimate Le Bremner, which caters to taste-bud slaying seafood creations. Never one to be too far from the action, Hughes can often be found working in the kitchens himself.
Speaking of poutine, you’ll also want to venture outside Old Montreal and visit an all-time favourite of TV host and celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain, Au Pied de Cochon (literally, The Pig’s Foot), for its notoriously tasty foie gras poutine. Or a pig’s foot, whatever moves you. Other classic Montreal hotspots like Italian resto Buonanotte and Restaurant Globe, with its innovating international cuisine, on nearby, storied St. Laurent Blvd., take on extra sparkle during the Grand Prix, perhaps in part due to the extra stardust scattered around by the many celebrities often sighted there.
Get a bird’s-eye view of all the Crescent Street F1 action at Restaurant L’Académie, popular for its spacious and comfortable modern ambience and its diverse French and Italian menu. L’Académie will get in on the F1 festivities with a “limited edition” tapas menu designed especially for the Grand Prix. Also catching Grand Prix fever is fine French brasserie-style restaurant La Coupole – situated in the heart of downtown in the Hotel Le Crystal – which will be festooned in the colours of F1. On Friday (June 6), the Crystal’s terrasse will be bumpin’ to the tunes of a DJ for cocktails starting at 5 pm, and don’t miss their specially hosted “red carpet” perfect for taking pics, which they’ll then post to the hotel’s media wall at the entrance to the terrasse.
Book your stay in Montréal for F1 Grand Prix weekend! See our hotel deals and get a booklet filled with discount coupons for activities and attractions valued up to $450!