The food scene in Hamilton gets better year over year and 2018 was no exception. From Mexican to Persian and everything in between, there’s flavour profiles from all over the world coming to the city and I couldn’t be happier about it.
One key criteria in narrowing the list was to focus on restaurants with waiter service and remove those that served over a counter. That is to say what most would consider a proper sit-down restaurant.
Here’s our list for Hamilton’s 10 best LOCAL restaurants that opened in 2018.
Having opened only last month, Rugantino is Hamilton’s latest addition to the city’s Italian restaurant scene.
Expect pizzas, steak, pastas, and charcuterie using ingredients sourced from local farmers’ markets.
This is the place to go for hand pulled noodle soups! If you’re not feeling noodles, they also have several authentic Sichuan dishes to choose from.
Szechuan Noodle Bowl offers very hearty meals that won’t break the bank. The interior decor is also pretty fun, using a number of different textures, colours and styles.
Despite having only been opened since the weekend of Supercrawl, Frat’s has quickly climbed the rankings in terms of places to order a fancy pizza. While this restaurant prides itself on authentic Italian dishes, their main focus is pizza and that’s something their Italian-born head chef Ruben Rapetti is an expert in.
The pink and white decor blended with wooden accents gives this restaurant a feminine feel that’s very refreshing to dine in.
I never knew how much I enjoyed Persian food until Nannaa Eatery opened up. There’s a serious shortage of this type of cuisine in Hamilton but Nannaa Eatery does a fantastic job representing the food and hospitality the Persian culture is known for.
The kabobs, tachin, and specialty Nannaa fries bring fantastic new flavours to Westdale. Be sure to have baklava or a chickpea cookie for dessert!
Finally a proper Greek restaurant in Hamilton! While the city’s had some decent Greek food stops, none of them were a place you’d bring a group of people to. That’s been changed with this fantastic new Locke Street addition (does the name make sense now?)
Souvlocke doesn’t do pretentious. They want you to relax when you walk through the doors, settle in and enjoy yourself. You won’t find linen tablecloths here, but there are original photos from a local photographer that will, at a glance, transport you directly to Greece.
Souvlocke honours the traditional, with a modern approach. You can find outstanding cocktails and a Greek wine list to accompany some truly inspired dishes you won’t find anywhere else.
Don’t let the fact this restaurant is located in Hess Village fool you — Amigos is a quality option for sensational Tex-Mex food. Restaurants like these are helping change the face of Hess Village’s George Street which has seen a surge in sit-down eateries.
Delicious tacos, burritos, ribs, fajitas, botanas & ensalada all in a spot with a great vibe. Makes for a great meal before a fun night out.
Cafe Baffico goes from croissants and coffee in the morning to serving a full fledged dinner by evening. The intimate space loves sourcing from Hamilton, which is seen in the physical cups and dishes that were created by a local potter, tables that were made by a staff member, as well as local brews they keep on tap.
Their rotating menu brings a new experience every time you visit but generally consists of staple items like pizza, pasta, and steak. The true pièce de résistance is their cheese-based menu items and sourdough bread. If you see these being served, be sure to order them!
This is Chef Vittorio Colacitti’s third installment on James Street North and I must say that the team at Marina has done an outstanding job. Coupled with their underground bar Shaolin that’s literally the floor below, the atmosphere alone is worth the visit.
Marina does contemporary Mexican food that’s inspired by the marriage of new and old world techniques. Tequila, mezcal, cerveza, and tacos — it’s a beautiful thing.
Caro has so many great things going for it that it’s almost hard to mention them all. Let’s start with the interior — being located in a corner unit, there is tremendous natural lighting which is fully taken advantage of with luscious green plants throughout the space including a green wall, that just fills the restaurant with warmth. The service is very good and attentive, they restaurant is involved with the community, and they even have an entertaining social media page.
Choosing what to order can be tough as literally everything on the menu is worth trying. Calamari, rigatoni, carbonara, lasagna, any of their pizzas — it’s all top tier quality. You can visit Caro over and over again and have a consistently great experience; that alone is worth its weight in gold.
This unassuming Dundas restaurant shattered what modern Asian fusion cuisine can be.
The chef pair behind Namu has worked in French, Italian, and Korean restaurants all over Canada. This restaurant brings the best of all Asian food, combined with the sophistication and technique of French cuisine, blurring the lines between Japanese, Korean, Indian and Chinese cultures in a small but mighty menu.
Being the lover of sushi that I am, I had a go at the Dundas maki roll and was blown away. The rice is perfectly cooked and seasoned, and the ingredients are purposefully put together to add a superb flavour and complexity that I’ve yet to experience in Hamilton.
There’s also sushi tacos which are served four to a dish and are a perfect combination of salty, sweet, sour, and umami. The crispy wonton on the bottom is a perfect vessel to serve you the tuna, and accompaniments.
Other favourites are the Ginger Scallion Noodle bowl and the Caramelized Coconut Beef Rendang Curry, both of which achieve a fantastic flavour profile.
The only downside is that it’s a small space and gets busy often, but hey, that’s what happens when your restaurant is as good as this one.
Been to any of these? Unlock them!
What changes would you make to our list? Let us know in the comments!