Hamilton is a city of many cultures, most apparent when it comes to Downtown’s food options. Instead of flying off to Europe to experience traditional dishes, save yourself a few bucks by touring through these 8 fantastic European-inspired eateries.
Kroketten from Café Oranje
Our first stop is the Netherlands. Café Oranje is “Dutch inspired, Hamilton born” which makes this a no-brainer, really. On their menu you will find the most iconic Dutch dish imaginable. Or maybe not dish, but snack: the kroket. Minced beef and spices, with a bread crumb layer, deep fried to perfection and served with mayonnaise and mustard. It’s unfortunate that Café Oranje doesn’t stay open deep into the night, because that would make for a real Dutch tradition — a kroket at 3:00 am, on your way home from the bar. But we’ll gladly settle for the lunchtime alternative.
Schnitzel from Black Forest Inn
No need to cross the border into Germany; you can simply cross the street for our next stop. At the Black Forest Inn, a real German classic awaits you: the schnitzel. Pork loin, lightly breaded and pan-fried. There are about 10 different varieties, but it’s best to start with a Vienna; the classic with simply a lemon wedge on top. Don’t forget your side order of spaetzle (the German equivalent of mac ‘n’ cheese, so to speak) and a real German beer, since it’s unofficially proven that a schnitzel simply tastes better with a Helles, Hefeweizen, or Doppelbock in your hand.
Macarons from Nuttybutter
Our Eurotrip now heads into France. A country known for many great foods, including a sweet treat that has been around since the 8th century: the macaron. Get ahold of the real thing at the charming Paris-inspired café Nuttybutter. With countless varieties such as butter salt, caramel dark cacao, pistachio, and coconut cashew, you’ll surely need to visit this gem more than once. Or just fill up a box to take with you. It’s the perfect way to make friends at the office or keep your family happy for another evening.
Pasteis de nata from Ola Bakery
Time to head into the Iberian Peninsula, because in Portugal we can find yet another sweet treat with a long history: pasteis de nata. It’s a pastry base filled with custard and covered in icing sugar when still hot (last part is optional, but recommended). The original can still be found at Fábrica de Pastéis de Belém in Lisbon, but Hamilton has a very fine alternative in store for you at Ola Bakery & Pastries. Order yourself an espresso to boot and if the sun isn’t hiding behind the clouds too much you may, for a moment, mistake James Street for Rua de Belém.
Pizza from Rad Pizza
Italy. Europe’s boot. Perhaps the toughest choice to make during this trip: a luscious pasta dish or a perfectly crafted pizza? No wrong answer really, but this time let’s go with pizza. A real Italian one, from the newly opened Rad Pizza. Thin crusted, fresh ingredients, not too many toppings (otherwise you’ll drown the pizza) and baked in a wood-fired oven. What you’ll end up with is the perfect combination of a crispy base, with oozing cheese on top. Mamma mia! Say goodbye to Papa John’s and Domino’s, because true Italian pizzas are the only way to go.
Gyros from Souvlocke
Greece is home to many great dishes but undoubtedly best known for their souvlaki pitas and gyros. This new Greek tavern on Locke Street may have a silly name but these dishes are nothing to laught at — this is the real deal. They only serve the pitas and gyros during lunch time; you won’t find them on the dinner menu so plan accordingly. If you’re looking for something a bit more familiar, you can’t go wrong with a chicken or pork souvlaki pita that’s loaded with lettuce, tomato, onion, and tzatziki. If you’re looking for a bit more flavour, then a housemade lamb & beef gyro is for you. Pickled onion, fries, feta-pepper dressing — yum!
Kielbasa from Staropolskie Delikatesy
On we go, back up North, until we reach Poland. Their best delicacy can be found at Staropolskie Delikatesy: the kielbasa. Or as we know it more commonly around these corners of the globe: the sausage. You’ll find a few different varieties at this Hamilton staple, ranging from pork to turkey, with different herbs and spices thrown into the mix. Rather go for their immense selection of cold cuts on a double sandwich? Go for it but do yourself a favor and simply add a piece of kielbasa on the side. Double whammy.
Perogies from Holy Spirit
You full yet? I certainly hope not, because you don’t want to skip our last stop. Quite a few places in Hamilton sell decent perogies, but Holy Spirit Ukrainian Catholic Church is something special. Every week a group of lovely women come together in the church’s basement to chat, laugh, and make the best perogies in town. Potato and cheddar cheese or sauerkraut — your call. Shop opens every Thursday; right on time for you to get a batch of fresh Ukrainian treats to gobble away during the weekend. Need a few dozen at once? Better call ahead first. These are the perfect way to make friends at the office or keep your
family happy for another evening.
What’s your favourite European-inspired spot in Hamilton? Let us know in the comments!