Road Trips & Travel

Hammer Time! Discover Hamilton — A Food Lovers Heaven

Amanda Stancati
Written by Amanda Stancati

A visit to the city that produces Dempster’s bread, Maple Leaf meats, Karma Candy candy canes and other national food brands is sure to be a tasty one. A strong coffee culture, beloved local establishments, a growing number of craft breweries, and a steady stream of new and exciting restaurants makes Hamilton a worthy destination for road-trippers. Looking for the best food and drink in town? Here are some must-tries.

Hamilton Farmers’ Market

Hamilton Farmers’ Market

The indoor Hamilton Farmers’ Market, located in the heart of downtown beside Jackson Square, has been operating since 1837. Visit on a Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, or Saturday to check out the 60 vendors who offer everything from produce and prepared foods to flowers and crafts. Market highlights include

Putting the finishing touch on S‘mores Cupcakes, at Cake & Loaf

Relay Coffee Roasters for small batch, organic and fair trade coffee (and a selection of Donut Monster donuts), Cake and Loaf for Instagram-worthy desserts, Pokeh, Canada’s first poke bar serving up the fresh Hawaiian dish, and Sensational Samosa for samosas, rotis, curries, and salads.

 City Dishes

“Distinctly Hamilton” dishes come in all shapes and sizes. Here are some favourites.

While Hamilton is where Tim Hortons was founded, donut-lovers in the city know Grandad’s is the place to go. Donuts are baked daily and are larger than what you’ll typically find in a coffee shop. And they come in flavours you won’t find anywhere else (like walnut crunch and strawberry fritter!).

Simple yet delicious, Roma Bakery’s “plain” pizza isn’t topped with cheese (crazy, right?), but the saucy bread has become the go-to for birthday parties and picnics in Hamilton. Grab a slab for the road at the flagship bakery (it’s also sold at other locations around the city) and you’ll understand what all the hype is about.

For a beachfront snack, Hamiltonians have been frequenting Hutch’s since 1946. The diner is beloved for its fish and chips, cones, milkshakes, and old-school decor.

Craft Beer

Merit Brewing

Hamilton’s growing craft beer scene includes a number of beautiful spaces around the city to visit for a cold one. In addition to its drink offerings, Merit Brewing offers a menu of shareables and unique sausage options to enjoy at the communal tables.

Other notable craft breweries include Fairweather Brewing Company, Grain&Grit, Shawn & Ed Brewing Co., Rust City Brewery, and Collective Arts Brewing. Collective Arts’ award-winning beers are celebrated for their limited-edition artwork on the cans and labels — and make for a tasty souvenir to bring home!

Notable Restaurants

Aberdeen Tavern

Hamilton restaurants serve cuisine from around the globe. Black Forest Inn has been a landmark since 1967, serving hearty Bavarian cuisine including a famous schnitzel selection. For large Italian-style portions, Capri Ristorante, opened in 1963, is known for traditional pizzas and pastas — both Hamilton mainstays.

For something more trendy, Aberdeen Tavern belongs to the same family of the more recently opened The French and The Diplomat, all excellent choices for upscale food and drink in stylish environments.

 

Ancaster Mill

Ancaster Mill and Edgewater Manor are elegant options for special occasions. Built from limestone, Ancaster Mill is set beside a waterfall offering pretty views, while Edgewater Manor serves steak and seafood beside Lake Ontario.

James Street

James Street is one of the Hamilton’s hippest neighbourhoods, and has a high concentration of dining options. To the north is Wild Orchid for flavourful seafood, and Born and Raised

Mezcal TNT

for wood-oven pizza and a raw bar. To the south you’ll find Mezcal TNT for tacos and tequila and Radius for fine dining and a two-level patio — and loads of choices in between. This is a very walkable neighbourhood so get out and enjoy!

Leave room for dessert from Chocolat on James or Rush Sugar Bar. Coffee options include Mulberry Coffeehouse and Saint James Espresso Bar and Eatery.

Locke Street

From NaRoma Pizzeria’s fusion of Naples and Roman-style pizzas to Bread Bar’s from-scratch breads, pizzas, soups and salads, Locke Street packs big flavour along a relatively short strip. For casual fine dining, Brux House and Mattson & Co both offer quality food and cocktails. For something sweet to round out your trip, Amo Gelato Caffe makes gelato in-house!

Dundas

Detour Cafe

The quaint town of Dundas is home to the award-winning fine dining restaurant, Quatrefoil, the pretty Detour Cafe for a coffee and bite to eat, and Beanermunky Chocolates for sweet confections.

Winona

Located in Hamilton towards Niagara Falls is a little community called Winona, home to Memphis Fire BBQ, a must-visit for meat-lovers. This Southern-style BBQ joint makes mouth-watering burgers, beef brisket, pulled pork, buttermilk chicken, and baby back ribs.

Memphis Fire BBQ

Also in the neighbourhood is Puddicombe Estate Farms & Winery. Pick up some hand-baked pies or some award-winning wines at this 200-year-old family fruit farm.

Tasty souvenirs

On your way out of the city, pick up some culinary souvenirs to enjoy at home.

Nardini Specialties and Denninger’s Foods of the World have some of the best European-style sausages and meats. Lasagna-lovers can pick up some Mama Yolanda’s gourmet lasagna at Nardini.

Sam’s Queenston Bakery

For the sweet tooth, Bennett’s Apples makes scrumptious apple pie, turnovers, and other baked goods at its market. Sam’s Queenston Bakery is known for the cannoli, made in a nut-free facility, along with other Italian treats like mini tiramisu and rum cakes.

 

We hope your visit to Hamilton was a delicious one!

About the author

Amanda Stancati

Amanda Stancati

Amanda Stancati is a Hamilton-based writer who loves to eat her way through different cities around the world. Follow her on Twitter @amandastancati.