Here Are Some Of The Best Hamilton Restaurants, According To A Lifelong Local
This list will make your mouth water.
Being a born and raised Hamiltonian, I know it sounds a little bias when I say that their food scene is the best that I’ve ever experienced. The world is big, and there’s much I haven’t tasted, but neither the expensive pasta I tried in Las Vegas or the fried chicken I had in Nashville has ever amounted to the local, authentic dishes made in my hometown.
The food scene of Hamilton has always been unique, but now they’re starting to get more recognition for it. Surrounded by various diverse communities and cultures, you get to taste the best flavours from around the world in this city. While nearly every local restaurant in Hamilton is innovative in it's own way, listed below are some of the city’s restaurants that outshine all of the rest.
MERIT Brewing Company
Alright, so MERIT may technically be a brewhouse, but that doesn’t mean that it’s a typical brewhouse. Located on the always-vibrant James Street North, MERIT serves delicious Canadian classics while also providing thirsty guests with some of the best local draughts in town.
Nestled across from the Art Gallery of Hamilton, on one of the coziest streets in the city, Berkeley North is a stylish eatery in the heart of downtown. Serving top-notch local dishes and cocktails, this one deserves to be on the top of your bucket list.
Due to the massive success of the restaurant’s first location, Hambrgr now has two venues in the city's downtown — but don’t expect them to be much different. Both delicious, savoury, and tasteful enough to get you drooling, Hambrgr is the go-to burger joint in town.
Located along King Street East in a compact venue, Ajio Sushi is the place to go when the up-the-mountain citizen is past the typical restaurants like August 8 and Spring Sushi. From the spider roll to the traditional California classic, you can also order pieces of sushi served on a little boat.
As you can tell by my ridiculously long and complicated last name, I’m also half Eastern European (any Latvians out there?!) so I was raised on both Baltic and Sicilian cuisine growing up. Similar to pasta, another big dish was pierogies, and Loaded Pierogi happen to make them even more delicious than you’d think is possible.
I’m not going to sugarcoat this one. At Saint James — an espresso bar that also serves out-of-this-world breakfast fare — their roast-peppered avocado toast is absolutely to die for. Served with a fried egg and lentils atop a slice of sourdough, Saint James should be quickly added to your breakfast bucket list.
So The Ship and I have a bit of a... history. Not a bad one, but a complicated one. I won’t go into the embarrassing details, but it was on the night of my birthday and I was drinking (stupidly) on an empty stomach. Anyways, the people at The Ship are good sports. Even more importantly, their food is bloody brilliant.
The Mule is a great choice for a fun night out in Hamilton. This taco joint serves up chef-inspired classics alongside more inventive creations like the crispy tofu banh mi tacos. The Mule also has an extensive cocktail list, no shortage of margaritas and tequila tasting flights.
Nestled on the stylish King William Street, The French is a chic and minimalist restaurant serving traditional classics and coffees. While mostly known for their breakfast and brunch, the shop also offers a wide selection of late-night cuisine.
Yet another James Street North gem, this traditional Mexican restaurant offers both vegan and halal options on their menu of delicious authentic cuisine. Served in a cool interior, Mesa also has great cocktails.
Sigh. And I thought Shoeless Joe’s served the best charcoal chicken. Well done, Hamilton. Well done.
The Burnt Tongue
Now operating with two locations on Cannon and Locke Street, The Burnt Tongue is a city success, captivating Hamiltonians with its modern soup dishes alongside delicious burgers and salads.
Namu Modern Asian Cuisine
Namu Modern Asian Cuisine is a big one, since I’m pretty such it has wowed every guest it serves. Located in Dundas, a small community within Hamilton, Namu draws influence from all around the world and is constantly evolving. Seriously, if you want the best Asian cuisine in town, don’t skip out on this one.
Rapscallion & Co.
A valuable addition of Hamilton’s restaurant scene, Rapscallion & Co. is a vibrant eatery with a rotating menu of creative spins on classic Canadian dishes. With options such as duck dumplings and pork croquettes, this James Street North spot is guaranteed to satisfy your cravings.
Earth To Table: Bread Bar
Sometimes restaurants can be a hit-or-miss, but there’s something about Earth to Table that always satisfies me. Honestly, it’s probably their fresh and authentic ingredients, or maybe the fact that their food is made local. Either way, I’m always impressed.
Born And Raised
Another James Street North gem that is as stylish and tasteful as their interior, Born and Raised has definitely solidified a positive presence amongst the city’s food scene. Owned by Top Chef Canada alum Vittorio Colacitti (who, you guessed it, was born and raised in the GTA), the restaurant serves both traditional Italian and Canadian cuisine.
The Coop Wicked Chicken
The Coop Wicked Chicken is definitely called that for good reason because, yes, their chicken is wicked good. Between their deep-fried deviled eggs and intense pulled chicken poutine, The Coop should rank high on your food bucket list.
Nestled on Aberdeen Avenue, the Aberdeen Tavern serves innovative Canadian classics. Set against a vibrant backdrop, the location also features stylish accent woods.