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Good Food in Hamilton?!

I've only recently moved to Hamilton (to my dismay) and I always go to Toronto to eat out on weekends. I admit that I haven't explored Hamilton's food scene enough, if it even has any, but I'd like to know what you guys suggest!

Of the places I've tried, these are my favorite and the ones I tend to frequent the most:

- Pho Dau Bo
- La Cantina
- La Luna
- Wass Ethiopian Restaurant

Any other suggestions to make my stay in Hamilton more tolerable?!

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La Cantina
60 Walnut St S, Hamilton, ON L8N2L1, CA

Pho Dau Bo Restaurant
15 Cannon St E, Hamilton, ON L8L1Z6, CA

La Luna Restaurant
834 Brant St, Burlington, ON L7R2J5, CA

WASS Ethiopian Restaurant
207 James St S, Hamilton, Ontario, ON L8P 3A8, CA

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  1. This has been covered quite a bit in the past, you may wish to use the search utility here on Chow:

    My usual places (in order of preference) are The Harbour Diner, Mexi-I-Can, Earth to Table, La Luna, Chicago Style and Karolinas

    Harbour Diner (Diner food done right, great weekend brunches and their specials are usually pretty good)
    B&T (Thai, Vietnamese, Pho)
    Le Chinois (Chinese, the location on King East is the most consistent location, although I've had takeout from their Upper Wentworth/Limeridge location).
    August 8 (Dim Sum and Sushi)
    Matsu Sushi (Dundas)

    Mex-I-Can (Mexican street foods)
    Karolina's (Polish)
    Chicago Style Pizza Shack (self-explanatory and some of the best "red sauce" style Italian)
    Capri (Italian)
    The Sirloin Cellar (Old school steak house)
    Wild Orchid
    Ventura (Portuguese, specializing in seafood)

    My Dog Joe (Coffee House)
    Mulberry St. Coffee House
    Detour Coffee
    Earth To Table (baked goods and artisanal pizzas)
    Locke St. Bakery (bagels done right)
    Sapporo (AYCE Sushi)
    Black Forest Inn (German food, killer schnitzels)
    Waxy's Deli
    LoPresti's (Fine Dining)
    Boos Bistro

    In Burlington:
    Pepperwood Bistro

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    Harbour Diner
    488 James St N, Hamilton, ON L8L1J1, CA

    Sirloin Cellar
    14 James St N, Hamilton, ON L8R, CA

    Chicago Style Pizza Shack
    534 Upper Sherman Ave, Hamilton, ON L8V3M1, CA

    3 Replies
    1. re: Mike from Hamilton

      I agree with your list except I think the Black Forest has gone downhill. There is a much better choice for Austrian food; Zum Lintzer on Main St E. We also love the Express on Gray's Road (Italian) and The Cat and the Fiddle on Augusta (British Pub). Another fine dining choice is The Purple Pear on Barton. Reasonable prices fabulous food.

      1. re: 02putt

        Don't let the downtrodden neighbourhood put you off or the tired facade of the restaurant. Some money could be spend on a new sign outside and on updating the interior. These remarks aside, the food and service here is ace. The food is prepared with best ingredients, and with skill and attention to presentation. Service is a throwback to the friendly and solicitous service found in best hotel dining rooms in the '60's. The Purple Pear is a funky, rather retro restaurant with the right things in place. The rack of lamb with its vegetable accompaniments is superb and salads are excellent. Steaks are average. Lobster is a popular choice and is good. Try it!

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        Purple Pear
        946 Barton St E, Hamilton, ON L8L3C5, CA

        1. re: 02putt

          I have to agree .. three years ago the black forest served a rather tasty meal.
          I was psyched for the next visit 6 months ago; even bragged to freinds who were joining on the trip. The service was good; the food didn't sit well with any of us ... what wasn't swimming in sauce was mighty dry. Huge lunch bag let down.

        1. Thanks guys for the fantastic list of places.
          I've been meaning to check out Mex-I-Can for a while now, but always get turned off by the interior decor of the place. But hey, the grungy look adds to the atmosphere, I'm sure it serves great Mexican street food. I DID try some of their booth during Hamilton's Food and Wine exhibition at Cops Coliseum and it was fantastic. That's how I also found Wass.

          2 Replies
          1. re: jingloh

            Hi jingloh, and welcome to Hamilton. I too was dismayed when I moved to Hamilton 6 years ago, but now I am ashamed of my ignorance, because Hamilton is a great place to live. I know Mike from Hamilton and his list and you can count on both. One more thing: if you're really going to enjoy living in Hamilton, you can't be too put off by appearances. Some of the greatest treasures of the city don't look like much.

            1. re: foodiemommy

              Thanks for the warmest welcome, I'm going to keep an open mind from now on. I might as well enjoy this city while I'm here! All those eating suggestions will now make my To Eat list....

          2. If you are into fine dining, there are a couple of excellent options in Burlington:

            Blacktree - one of my favourite restaurants anywhere. Locavore menu changes monthly. Eclectic menu with a lot of unusual combinations. Not cheap but worth every penny. Well reviewed on this website.

            Red Canoe Bistro - a new location in Burlington that serves fare with a Canadian theme. Small restaurant that offers great value at moderate prices.

            Spencers on the Waterfront - Nice venue on Lake Ontario overlooking the Burlington Skyway. Excellent Sunday brunch that is a mix of buffet and a la minute. Love their steaks.. amongst the best in Burlington. Much better value than the over priced steak houses, i.e. Landmark, Napoleon and Lord Nelson.

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            Blacktree
            3029 New St, Burlington, ON L7N, CA

            2 Replies
            1. re: cynalan

              I second cynalan's comments - probably my top 3 choices for Burlington (although Blacktree is my favourite by a landslide).

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              Blacktree
              3029 New St, Burlington, ON L7N, CA

              1. re: Redshifted

                I would also add Incognito on John St for decent, well-priced bistro fare. My only criticism is that they don't change up the menu enough.
                Affinity on John is a real treat for Chinese vegetarian - very fresh and innovative. They are the masters of fake meat :-)
                For a splurge, I vote for Quatrefoil hands down. Seven Windows is decent, but Quatrefoil is really a step above everything else in the region.
                I also put in a vote for Red Canoe - fun local cuisine with a good price point and great service.
                Best splurge for brunch is Spencer's for sure - it's delicious & you really will only need to eat once that day!
                For great Thai, try Pomelo in Burlington (Fairview just W of Guelph Line) - it's truly excellent.
                Try the duck curry with the mandarins and lychees - it's so yummy. Thai Memory is good in Hamilton as well, but don't go if you are in a rush - there is only usually one person serving the
                whole place. Good food though.

                For the only sushi I'll actually eat W of Mye in Oakville, I vote for Sakai on Fairview in Burlington between Walkers Line and Appelby. They have pretty decent Korean as well - their dol sot bibimbop is delicious. The fish is very, very fresh - they even had super fatty toro the other day. I can't eat at August 8 - the fish is mushy and fishy. Ick.

                For Indian, try Bombays Chutney in N Burlington (Dundas St near Guelph Line) - it's a friendly place with consistently good food. Their naan is very good. The "chicken lollipops" are really good and I've honestly enjoyed everything I have eaten there. In Hamilton, the best veg Indian IMHO is Himlaya (yes, they spell it like this) off on a little mall just E of Centennial Parkway. It's really only take-out but awesome. Their ras malai is awesome for dessert and the samosas rock.

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                Seven Windows
                432 Aberdeen Ave, Hamilton, ON L8P2S2, CA

                Thai Memory
                25 King William St, Hamilton, ON L8R1A1, CA

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