Hamilton’s food scene continues to grow at a relentlessly speedy rate.
Despite the continued impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, some fantastic new spots have opened up across the city in 2021, bringing new options for everything from Thai cuisine to elevated Canadian fare to vegan dishes and even some tempting desserts.
As the year comes to a close, we wanted to shout out some particular favourites from the new crop of Hamilton food spots that opened throughout 2021 and are very, very worth a try.
Without further ado, here’s out list of the top 10 food spots to open in Hamilton in 2021!
Though technically not a brand new spot, this recent extension to plant-based café HEAL Wellness on Concession Street strives to create a fast food-style experience that’s as satisfying as it is nutritious.
HEAL Burger’s fully vegan range of burgers, notable for their colourful buns, are topped with house-made plant patties and loaded with an enticing range of fresh toppings like cabbage, caramelized onions, vegan cheeses, and a swath of house-made burger sauces. Combined with some delicious loaded fries and plant-based milkshakes, and you have all of the makings of a fast food indulgence with no meat or dairy in sight.
A new addition to the International Village in the former home of Jabronies Bar, The North Fork strives to serve up homestyle comfort dishes like pastas, sandwiches, burgers, wings, salads, steaks, and more with a conscious focus on locally-sourced ingredients.
Much of The North Fork’s menu is built with foods supplied by the region’s farmers and producers, from locally-raised chicken to seasonal produce and even local craft beer and wine to round things off. The thoughtful yet simple menu has already proven to be a hit among Hamilton food lovers.
This new venture by the folks who brought you The Dirty South and The Salted Pig is serving up pure childhood nostalgia in their eye-catching, bright pink storefront on Ottawa Street.
The Parlour is scooping a rotating selection of some of the region’s best ice cream that can be customized with an array of enticing toppings, with the dairy bar even ensuring there are some vegan and dairy-free options on hand for good measure.
Better still, comfort bites like a range of poutines, gourmet hot dogs, and grilled cheeses round out the menu, making The Parlour a particularly attractive new spot for indulgent treats.
Though it opened a few months ago to little fanfare, Mimi’s Asian Gourmet has a growing reputation for serving up some seriously strong takes on authentic Thai, Malaysian, and Indonesian cuisines.
Located along King Street East near other local staples like The Capitol Bar and Vintage Coffee, Mimi’s Asian Gourmet’s menu has impressive range, with everything from Thai stir fries to Indonesian curries to Singapore-style noodle dishes and much, much more. If you like food that’s big on flavour, this is your place.
Hip-hop, local art, and saucy sandwiches live in harmony at this colourful new King William lunch spot with a menu that favours the interplay between sweet and savoury.
That’s My Jam’s vibrant restaurant space has become a favourite for flavourful sandwiches that combine a variety of meats, cheeses, and vegetables with a range of thoughtfully-paired homemade sauces, jams, and chutneys that are often fruit forward. Pulled pork gets paired with cherry compote, grilled chicken with bacon jam, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Affordable and satisfying, this is a standout place for your lunch fix.
When heartbreaking news emerged that Hamilton’s beloved indie arts space The Staircase was closing down, a gang of local business owners and arts lovers swept in to save the day, taking over the venue and transforming it into People Under the Staircase: a theatre and event space that doubles as a playful plant-based pub, complete with nostalgic arcade games.
Wraps, pastas, burgers, nacho platters, and shareable appetizers adorn the menu, and every option provides the hefty comforts of pub classics while staying 100 per cent vegan from top to bottom. Pro tip: don’t sleep on the fries. They’re thick cut and seasoned with pure magic.
Bridging the gap between all-you-can-eat fare and more high-end offerings, Fishing Sushi brings quality and range to its takeaway spot on Concession Street.
All of the beloved sushi classics are available here alongside some more unique rolls designed in-house, everything made with the freshest possible ingredients. Salads, miso soup, spring rolls, and a variety of other sides are also on offer here, making Fishing Sushi one of Hamilton’s new favourite spots for the popular Japanese dish.
In a city that has no shortage of strong pizza options, Flora Pizzeria has managed to stand out despite opening just a few short months ago in a utilitarian kitchen space by the corner of James South and Young Street.
Dealing in Roman-style slab pizzas made with sourdough crusts and the highest quality toppings possible, Flora Pizzeria is destined to become one of Hamilton’s best spots for a more premium type of pie.
Pizza varieties and topping selections change on a regular basis, but expect classics like Margherita and Pepperoni pizzas joined by pies topped with fine ingredients like mortadella, nduja sausage, wild mushrooms, prosciutto cotto, and Yukon Gold potato. This place is the real deal, y’all.
Newly opened in the International Village, One For All Coffee + Desserts is the best of both worlds for expertly crafted coffee as well as the most tempting cookies and desserts imaginable.
This bright husband-and-wife-owned coffee bar, located in the former home of Nuttybutter Café, is home to some of the city’s best coffee and espresso drinks made with an assured hand using beans sourced from some of the best roasters in the country and around the world.
But of equal draw are the cookies: unbelievably thick and pillowy soft, some incorporating Asian-inspired flavours like Kyoto matcha and roasted corn alongside other enticing varieties like chocolate walnut, Lotus Biscoff, and Reese’s peanut butter cup. We’ll go on record and say these are some of the best dang cookies in the Hammer. Try them. Thank us later.
Less of a new spot and more of an exciting rebirth, James North’s Rapscallion & Co. revives what locals loved about the dearly departed tapas spot Raspcallion Rogue Eatery and cocktail bar Two Black Sheep.
Taking over the former home of Ventura’s Restaurant, Rapscallion & Co. gives space to the playful kitchen creations of Chef Matt Kershaw in the form of chicken liver brulée, steak tartare, fresh oysters, decadent salads, lobster & shrimp mac ‘n cheese, duck schnitzel, and oh-so much more.
Adding a weekly Beatles-themed brunch to the mix alongside thoughtful cocktails and a gorgeous restaurant space, Rapscallion & Co. is as good as it gets for elevated share plates and mischievous nose-to-tail cuisine.
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What changes would you make to our list? Let us know in the comments!