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Here are 7 hidden food gems you’ve gotta try in Hamilton

Hamilton’s food scene is absolutely bursting at the seams.

So much so, in fact, that it’s easy to overlook some pretty fantastic restaurants and food spots in the city simply because there’s an overwhelming amount of choice at any given time.

This list is all about those delicious hidden gems: the ones that many Hamilton food lovers may be sleeping on. The ones that are making food so freaking good, all you can say is “why aren’t more people talking about this place!?”

Without further ado, here are seven notable foodie gems in Hamilton you may not have tried yet!

Little Asia

Between restaurants like Bambu, Twin Elephants, Lotus, Ben Thanh, and many more, Hamilton has no shortage of excellent picks for Thai cuisine.

But one you may have missed is Little Asia: a fantastic vegetarian and vegan Thai restaurant hidden in plain sight along the Downtown Dundas strip.

Owned and operated by two Laotian refugees, Little Asia’s fresh and flavourful Thai cuisine features no meat whatsoever, as well as a hefty number of dishes that are fully plant-based to accommodate any foodie.

Whether it’s their hearty curries, noodle bowls, salads, or stir fries, the food at Little Asia is uniformly excellent and absolutely not to be missed. Give ‘em a try; they just might become one of your new local favourites.

Souvlocke

Located on Locke Street in the space that most recently held dearly departed brunch spot The Beverly, SouvLocke is serving up authentic, modern Greek cuisine of the highest order.

Some may overlook SouvLocke given that their menu items are at a somewhat more premium price than other Greek spots in the city; but once you experience the quality of their dishes, you’ll know why it’s worth the extra few bucks.

Chicken and pork souvlaki platters, pitas, spanakopita, salads, and more are elevated with a chef’s touch and quality ingredients that are often locally sourced or even imported directly from Greece. Fresh, filling, and oh-so delicious, SouvLocke is arguably one of Hamilton’s best spots for authentic Greek eats.

Latin Food & Products

This stand in the Hamilton Farmers’ Market is primarily known as a tiny grocer for Latin American products and imported food items; but did you know they also make some of the best Mexican street eats in Hamilton?

Latin Food & Products slings handmade tacos, birria, quesadillas, nachos, tamales, churros, and more that are authentic and delicious through and through: this food is bursting with flavour, oh-so fresh, and reasonably priced to boot.

Just some of the tacos on offer include carnitas, cochinita pibil, chorizo, chicken mole, panela cheese, and cactus nopal; all different in flavour profile and just plain pretty to look at. This place is the very definition of a hidden gem.

Rustic Reuben

Confession: I’ve passed by Rustic Reuben countless times over the last couple of years, and never really thought to give it a try. But now that I’ve finally had what this little sandwich shop has to offer, I’m kicking myself hard for neglecting them for so long.

Located on the lower level of a small plaza on James South and pretty easy to miss, Rustic Reuben is one of few Hamilton spots specializing in gigantic, deli-style Reuben sandwiches that are pretty much to die for.

Rustic Reuben’s excellent sandwiches are made with fresh, delicious, and top quality ingredients. As the name would suggest, Reuben sandwiches dominate the menu here, with options for corned beef, smoked brisket, turkey, or pork belly dressed harmoniously with sauerkraut, Russian dressing, swiss cheese, and bread & butter pickles. There’s even a vegan option with breaded zucchini and plant-based toppings!

Poke Co

Many Hamilton foodies are still mourning the recent closure of Pokeh, which held the distinction of being Canada’s first-ever spot for authentic Hawaiian-style poke bowls.

Luckily, Pokeh is planning to make its return to the city someday; and in the meantime, Hamilton also has another terrific spot for poke bowls that opened relatively recently in the Crown Point neighbourhood.

Poke Co’s large and filling sushi bowls are loaded with fresh Ocean Wise fish options like salmon and ahi tuna, accompanied generously by fresh toppings like edamame, fermented jalapenos, cucumber, scallions, bean sprouts, and tantalizing house-made sauces.

For those who aren’t really into raw fish, Poke Co also offers protein choices like compressed tofu, spicy chicken, and sous vide pork available in pre-set bowl creations or in a build-your-own format that lets you choose all of the toppings and sauces your little hungry heart desires. It’s basically heaven.

Bonanza Bakery

This is one of those “if you know, you know” food spots in Hamilton offering one of the city’s best cheap lunches.

The longstanding Bonanza Bakery in Hamilton’s north end has been serving up fresh bread, pastries, pizza slabs, and more out of its old-school storefront on Murray Street for years.

But what locals flock to this place for are the made-to-order deli sandwiches: simple, unpretentious, and unbeatable in terms of price. Protein options include turkey, ham, capicola, salami, and roast beef, topped with all of the staples like lettuce, tomato, cheese, mustard, and mayo on large freshly baked buns.

Best of all, Bonanza Bakery still manages to keep these sizeable sandwiches at super affordable prices, with most sandwich options running between the $4 to $6 range; a rare thing nowadays, especially for food this reliably satisfying.

Alves Meats & Variety 

Sitting at the corner of MacNab Street South and Mulberry Street is Alves Meats & Variety: a Portuguese market that too many locals have been missing out on for far too long.

On top of being a deli and a convenience store specializing in Portuguese products, Alves Meats & Variety also has a hot food counter that is one of the city’s best kept secrets. With reasonably priced options including meat dishes, potatoes, rice, bifana sandwiches, and other Portuguese-style comfort bites, the food at Alves Meats & Variety is wholly satisfying, lovingly prepared, and won’t break the bank. What could be better?

What are your favourite hidden gems for food in Hamilton? Let us know in the comments!

Lead image courtesy of @rusticreuben

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