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Favourite Places in Hamilton?

Hello all,

So I'm going to be in Hamilton for the summer, and I don't know Hamilton at all. If anyone can recommend any favourite places in Hamilton, I'd be most appreciative.

While I'd be pleased to know about good restaurants, I'm particularly interested in markets and places to buy good produce, meat, spices, bread, etc.

Thanks! :)


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  1. As an update in my continuing Hamilton food quest, I've been tipped off to the merits of the Hamilton Farmer's Market, so that's one thing I'll be checking out. However, any other suggestions are very welcome!

    1 Reply
    1. re: trombasteve

      Grocery stores in Hamilton are pretty reasonable, actually. The Fortino's locations are generally well-stocked with good quality produce and varied items.

      You should probably look into Denninger's as well.

    2. The Farmer's Market and Denningers are great suggestions.

      I've written posts on my favourite places in Hamilton from days there (under another username) so I would do a search. The Hamilton eating scene doesn't change at a tremendous pace so I'm sure most past threads will be upto date.

      Do narrow it down, what area of Hamilton will you be living in?

      I would also recommend Mex-I-Can on James St.

      3 Replies
      1. re: ms. cornbread

        Mex-I-Can is good. Also, Chicago Style Pizza Shack on Upper Sherman.

        1. re: tjr

          Mex-I-Can - any chance it's related to a place of the same name that used to be on Yonge Street in Toronto, west side, near the Summerhill subway station?

          They made very, very good bread and a lemon meringue pie that my wife still remembers fondly many years later.

          1. re: aveivy

            I doubt that these two establishments are related-these owners are from Leamington and Hamilton, respectively, and I've had no lemon meringue pie or bread from this current incarnation.

      2. In addition to the Hamilton Farmer's Market, the Ottawa Street Farmer's Market (off Ottawa Street in a parking lot between Barton and Cannon) will soon be getting locally grown fruits and veggies and other products versus the food terminal stuff that is pervasive at the Hamilton Farmer's Market.

        - Chicago Style Pizza, for the obvious and good "red sauce" styled Italian
        - Mex-I-Can for Mexican Street food (this isn't a restaurant, but a grocer with a hot table and really good food)
        - Papagayo has a Mexican with a French twist sit down restaurant.
        - For Mediterranean you have La Luna on King W. and Dalina's on King William.
        - The Harbour Diner is good for breakfast and brunches and usually has an interesting special offered each day.
        - Karolinas on Barton is good for Polish family cooking - the best deal is to get the family dinner, but you need more than four folks to go for that. Plus it's rather heavy so may not be conducive to summer dining.
        - Slainte is a decent place to get a pint, but if you are looking for a homey "in someone's living room" kind of vibe, the Rebel's Rock is good.
        - for Spices in bulk, I would suggest the Horn of Plenty in Dundas - they also have a great selection of salts and organic foods.
        - for meats you have the Hamilton Farmer's Market, Cumbrae's in Dundas ($$$ but good) and Reardon's on King William (Reardon's is also a good place to get a deli sandwich).
        - for Asian ingredients, I would recommend B&T on Cannon, they have a supermarket and just recently reno'ed their restaurant as well. The restaurant is VietThai
        - European ingredients can be found at Denningers, particularly the Upper James location and the King St. E location.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Mike from Hamilton

          Just a comment-I suppose this depends on your point of view, but I would heartily says that indeed, Mex-I-Can is a restaurant, with a grocery on the side primarily to suit the needs of their hispanic clientele......it is a little gem of a place, very informal-not unlike many Hamilton digs-that serves well-made, authentic Mexican food.
          Owners Angel and Veronica have been working hard to renovate and change the look and feel of Mex-I-Can, and besides a full menu (which has always existed), tables are set with a vase of fresh flowers, service is provided by several knowledgeable waitstaff, and there is now a rotating art exhibit featuring local area artists .....
          I encourage you to check out the new digs!

        2. Hey Steve,
          See the previous post on good restaurants to eat in the Hammer:

          Hamilton Farmer's Market-recently moved to the Western portion of Jackson Square Mall, features a selection of farmer's produce, butchers, deli counters, bakeries, etc.
          Concession Street Summer Market
          Centre Mall Farmer's Market (really good for Italian produce, we're talking large quantities of dandelion greens, bushels of tomatoes
          )Reardon's Meat and Deli for meat (kick ass corned beef in a bag-see restaurants posting for more details)
          Cumbrae's of Dundas (a proper butcher, precious, bussable (52 bus), but worth it for excellent quality locally sourced meat)
          S&S grocery on Locke Street for chinese/asian groceries including live seafood
          Natural Foods shop on Locke Street for organic and health foods-pricey, but in a pinch, frozen organic chicken will do....
          Denninger's Fine Foods for fine european foodstuffs -things like sauerkraut, cornichons, sausages, poppyseed rolls, jams, frozen peirogies...
          James St. North for Portuguese fishmongers and grocery stores

          Mex-I-Can restaurant on James St. also has a fabulous home-made selection of tortillas, and dried hot peppers (ancho, chipotle, latin american seasonings and sauces like Goya, salsa Lisano, etc.)
          Middle Eastern Spices: Medina fine foods, on Concession Street. A great selection of bulk spices, including hard to find sumac, dried mint, and (my favorite) very reasonably priced saffron, and large jars of honey-preserved fruits like quince, lemons, apricots, etc.
          S&S above for a variety of asian spices, such as fresh lemongrass, dandelion, Thai basil, and dried spices such as sichuan peppercorns, anise, white peppercorns.
          Also, Dilly's in the Hamilton Farmer's Market carries a range of dried and fresh herbs.
          In Burlington, there is a great spice purveyor called Malabar Superspice-an industrial spice processing and blending facility that is open to the public on select days only, with a superb selection of spices. Anything you might want, you can get here. http://www.malabarsuperspice.com/
          Still haven't found a super duper bread bakery, although I can accept the bread from Weil's on King St. in Westdale (Sourdough Potato bread), and the rye from Zarky's (one location on Dundurn, and one on Concession Street). There are also some good Portuguese bakeries on James N., so I've heard, but I've never wandered by during business hours to sample their wares.

          I hope you find it as rewarding as you sleuth your way through the city to find palate-pleasing chow!

          6 Replies
          1. re: unturtlesoup

            sorry for the repeats in above post-had written it yesterday, and neglected to post until after these fine folks had helpfully supplied their wisdom. Happy eatings.

            1. re: unturtlesoup

              Just a bit of a tweak to unturtlesoup's comments - the Centre Mall farmer's market is now the Ottawa Street farmer's market as Centre Mall is currently under a massive rebuild...

              I, too, have yet to find a knock your socks off bakery and have enjoyed Weil's breads and Zarky's rye. The breads sold at the Locke Street Bagel Company are quite good (love their Sunflower Seed bread) as are their bagels...

              I also enjoy the kaisers from Denningers and the sausage/Portuguese rolls from one of the vendors at Hamilton's Farmer's Market.

              1. re: Mike from Hamilton

                For great bread, try the new Earth to Table Bread Bar on Locke st. near Homewood. The pastries are pretty good too, and I'm looking forward to trying the pizza.

              2. re: unturtlesoup

                Can anyone tell me where S&S Grocery is on Locke St? I am new to Hamilton and am desperately seeking a good Asian Market. I have tried looking them up online but haven't gotten any hits other than Chowhound.

                1. re: bitbyter

                  I'm not sure if this is the right place but there are two Asian supermarkets I can think of. There is one that is on Locke, south of Main. It's on the east side and if you have past the gun store on the west side, you've gone too far. It's not that far. It can be seen from the (I believe) RBC on the corner of Main and Locke. It's an okay place. Your typical dingy Asian supermarket.

                  I think there's a Korean-based supermarket on York St. but I am not sure if it is as far as Locke. It is definitely somewhere east of Dundurn and west of Queen but my memory fails me right now. It does not have live seafood so I don't think this is the one people were talking about.

                  I think the best Asian supermarket in Hamilton is Tan Thanh, which is 115 Park St. S, right beside the restaurant Ben Thanh/B&T. If anybody has any better recs, I'm open to hearing them! (Though I don't live in Hamilton anymore. :/)

                  Hope that helps!

                  1. re: bitbyter

                    "S&S" is the one referred to in this thread on Locke near Main. I go there mostly when I need a fix of Magnolia ube ice cream.
                    Another vote for Mex-I-Can. Have a mojito with your (delicious) food - it takes a while but is worth it.

                2. 2nd- Chicago Style, Papagayo, Denningers, Farmers Market
                  If you want a great place to get an assortment of unusual microbrews...try The Winking Judge (just south of the bus station) . . . Also a decent place for take out wings is Right Wingers...
                  for some decent vietnamese food head to Cannon Street


                  1 Reply
                  1. re: snackboy

                    And if you want a place that has an INSANE collection of bottled and canned beers - try Chester's Beers of the World on King St. at Gore Park. Can't say much about the food or decor, but there is a beer there for any drinker...

                  2. One of my favourite places to eat in Hamilton is Affinity Vegetarian Restaurant on John St. South. In fact, I just dined there today for lunch and it was enjoyable as always. Even meat-lovers I've brought there absolutely love it. Their faux meat dishes are convincing and delicious, especially the Kung Pao soy chicken. They have lunch specials in which you get a bento box, a main entree, two soy nuggets, a garden salad, and soup. It's a pretty good deal and you're sure to be satisfied afterwards. All in all, a great place -- one of the finest vegetarian restaurants in Hamilton.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: voraciousbookworm

                      S & S Asian Market on Locke ST in hamilton is now closed. No moving sign so I'm not sure if they are reopening anywhere.

                    2. The Salerno factory cheese outlet is a great place to shop. For those not familar, it's in the East End off of Parkdale North. Across the street is Springer meats.
                      Pane del Sol bakery is also a great place to shop for specialty Italian groceries.