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Nov 23, 2006 05:14 PM

Hamilton, Ontario ... List of Best Ever Restaurants .....

Some may find this question amusing but over the years which establishments past and present make your list of the best ever in this very challenging culinary environment. Who went beyond the usual mediocrity?

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  1. This has been discussed several times on this board, just do a search for Hamilton...

    If you're looking for French Laundry and Susur-esqe food, keep looking as you won't find it in Hamilton (at least I haven't yet) but there are some good local places to go to.

    This is a list of common recommendations

    Fine Dining - Ancaster Old Mill
    Small Plates/Tapas/Fine Dining - Room 41
    Bistro - The Bar on Locke
    Persian/Mediterranean - Dalina's, La Luna
    Mexican - Papagayo, Mex-I-Can (this is more of a grocery with a takeout option)
    Portuguese - Wild Orchid
    Italian - La Spaghet (this place is TINY and has little ambiance, make reservations), otherwise Capri or La Cantina are good choices
    German/European - Black Forest Inn, Zum Linzer
    Chinese - Le Chinois (the Orange Beef is a must)
    Thai - B&T's (Cannon St.)
    Pizza - Chicago Style Pizza Shack
    Roti - Roti Hut at King and Connaught
    Bagel - The Locke St. Bakery (get there early for best choice)

    Sushi - Matsu Sushi in Dundas

    Otherwise, here is a prior thread:

    4 Replies
    1. re: Mike from Hamilton

      thanks ..... as I said though I'm interested in hearing peoples opinion on PAST AND PRESENT, an all time list including establishments that may still not be in operation.

      1. re: Mike from Hamilton

        Very comprehensive list, Mike. I would also add Rousseau House (Ancaster) to the Small Plates/Tapas/Fine Dining category. It's good to see Papagayo on the list: they had more of a fine dining approach under the former owner and simplified things under the current ownership... I'm not sure which I like more, both were/are very good.

        1. re: Mike from Hamilton

          Unless it's changed, B&T is Vietnamese not Thai.

          1. re: Mike from Hamilton

            i can't think of anything stupid enough to say about this...i was born and raised ih "the hammer" and offhand i can't think of a single place that's better than mediocre...i haven't been to the bar on locke, but i've heard it's ok....but- PLEASE! the capri? black forest????? , my friend, to put it bluntly, you need to get out more....wild orchid is okay, but be prepared to WAIT big time.. dynasty serves okay chinese food- le chinois sucked the one time i was there about 15 years ago..for my money there are only one decent place to eat in all of hamilton- dennigers lunch counter is great!!! ....also, to be fair, i should reccomend the sandwich place on the north side of barton near the old moosehead tavern

          2. Have only lived here for a few months , but I am working my way through some places. Some are mediocre and I have not listed them here.

            Here are the places I would go back to for sure:

            Bistro Parisien
            Wild Orchid
            Pho Doc Ba
            1010 Bistro
            Room 41 (except it's too $$$ for Hamilton)
            Vintage Tea Room
            Vietnamese Family Resto (now closed - used to love the "Pineapple Chicken in it's own Whole"!)

            Here are the places I WILL NEVER set foot in again:
            Bad Dog Cafe on Locke

            1. OK, I have a list of departed Hamilton restaurants ... all I had to do was click on Redshifted ;-)

              Hamilton Area--- Gone, but not Forgotten:
              1. Cifelli's (late 80's to early 90's: excellent food especially pastas; seemed very innovative for the time ... and place; now is Papagayo)
              2. Samfira/Metropolitan Bistro (early to mid 90's: took over when Cifelli's left with some changes but still great. Loved the crostinis and the flourless chocolate cake)
              3. Las Aguas (nice Mediterranean cooking, great in-house desserts, my favourite Hamilton spot over the past 5 years)
              4. Caddie's (mid 80's to early 90's: burgers from ground prime rib; homemade chutneys and fixings served from a cart)
              5. Vienna Restaurant (late 80's to early 90's: in Hess Village: simple but well-prepared pastas, chicken florentine, Steak Dianne ... and some very garlicky burgers at lunch time)
              6. Ron's Big Easy (New Orleans style cooking by Ron Lanois - producer Daniel's brother; story is that Bob Dylan was turned away when he unexpectedly dropped in on a busy Saturday night)

              Collet's Cafe on Brant St. in Burlington also was very memorable.

              There used to be a Papillon in Hess Village (mid 80's) with the same owners as the one in Toronto (now on Church St.). I really used to like it but it soon closed. I tried the one in Toronto a few years ago and even though the menu looked pretty much the same, it didn't really appeal so much to me. Probably my tastes changing over the years more than anything else.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Redshifted


                So glad someone mentioned Ron's Big Easy. That was a family favourite when I was growing up. I know this posting is almost a year late, but hell, I just had to throw in my two cents...

              2. I lived there in the 70s - a decent steak could be had in a place called The Huddle, and you could get whole trout baked in a salt crust at The Acquarium. Other than that, and The Old Mill, I don't remember anything special. No Indian place back then, necessitating a trip to Toronto.

                1. Is The Stockholm still there? This was the late 80s and I think it was on King William. I remember it being good. Also the Black Forest Inn -- very cheesy but very good. Hunan House had great orange beef. I am glad to hear Dalina's is still there. It was very good. Once a fellow student's parents took us all out for a big meal at Shakespeare's -- classic old school steakhouse with a plate of dill pickles and feta cheese as a starter. Out-dated for sure, but not cheap: these were generous parents and we were starving grad students!