You don’t have to go to a chain restaurant to get an amazing meal in this town. All over the city there are a growing number of top notch eateries, from diners, to burgers, to award-winning fine dining. Below is a list of some of my favourite independent restaurants in the city.
NYC style fine dining, great brunch, beauty side patio, service is top notch
There second location (original is Westdale) is now on Locke St
Earth to Table Bread Bar
Fried chicken, pizzas, mac and cheese
McQueen’s Bánh Mì Viet
Hamilton’s spot for Bánh Mì. Amazing sandwiches, great prices, and super fast service.
Pho Dau Bo
Vietnamese soups and so much more!
Vegan, GF and Kosher restaurant in bakery formerly on John St S. Try the pulled jackfruit sandwich or come for Sunday brunch.
The Burnt Tongue
Homemade soups, belgian fries on Locke
From the folks at Caro, this is a fancy steakhouse with killer cocktails, opened just before Covid hit, definitely try and get there to enjoy the service, the food and the BEAUTIFUL space
Southern eats on Locke & Hunter – think brisket, fried chicken, mac & cheese. Offering a kids menu if you’re looking for a place for the family.
My absolute fave pick in the city, service and food never disappoints – get the fresh cheese, thank me later – oh, and the avocado salad.
Born & Raised
Another spot on James north, on the corner where Classic Cafe used to be, you’ll find this spot, open just for dinner, wood fired pizza oven, mama’s meatballs from that guy that was on Top Chef Canada
Bread Bar on James
The brunch game in #hamont is strong – who said you can’t have pizza for breakfast? New to James St. North and has a little patio to sit and watch the happenings.
Pasta, Pizza & Vino – what else do you need?
Second sister location to the original on Ottawa St. Same great food and vibe.
Chicken Plus +
Authentic Korean fried chicken has it’s first Hamilton location on Wilson & James.
Same great pizza as the original mountain, now with dine-in seating and bigger menu including apps.
Cantonese-style Dim Sum in the International Village. First tried during lockdowns and let me tell you even on delivery, this place is GREAT!
Now with a second location in Lister Block (original is on George Street).
The Flyin’ G’Nosh
Located in the Farmer’s Market – amazing Indian inspired food.
Vegan and vegetarian sweets, chili, mac and cheese, smoothies
Located in the Farmer’s Market and with a new location coming up on James N.
Yes it’s a fantastic brewery, but this place has a kitchen to die for – house made pickles, incredible fries and a crazy variety of sausages
Used to be Mex-I-can and now with it’s new menu and new location, it’s gotten even better!
Mulberry Street Cafe
Coffee, quiches, soups and sweets
With a spot in the farmer’s market and unfortunately a 2nd location plan changed due to the covid, the times to get this ramen may be limited, but man is it good when you do
Don’t blink or you’ll miss it – but in a strip plaza at the corner of James North and Wilson, there is a hidden treasure of mediterranean meats, veggies, all healthy, all homemade. Check them out on CBC’s Metro Morning
To-die-for noodle spot in a strip plaza off Wilson St.
Gorgeous french bistro with a cool vibe, great menu and killer cocktail list.
PinToh by Chef Keng
Formerly a top Burlington spot, PinToh is a new modern Thai takeout spot on John St S (formerly My Thai).
A second location to the first on Ottawa Street, now on James N. With Pokeh no longer around, this offers up a good alternative for folks on the hunt for a fresh poke bowl.
Formerly a staple on John St S, The Other Bird have brought their unique dining concept to James North.
Vegan pizzeria on James North. Come for the steeltown pizza (yum), stay for the quirky galaxy themed decor, local craft beer, and vintage arcade games.
Sagarmatha Curry House
Excellent Indian food in the downtown core
Mandatory spot for BBQ lovers. Smoked meat and more smoked meat!
Very cool lounge vibe and eclectic menu on King William
Affiliated with Aberdeen Tavern & The Diplomat, this King William spot offers a big beautiful space, brunch and classic French cuisine (duh)
Cool taco spot with amazing queso fundido and killer margaritas
Previously on Queen St, this is the spot for incredible Syrian food. One of the absolute best places to eat in the city. Located on King St between Hess and Caroline.
Tex Mex with a great patio in Hess Village – perfect for people watching
A taste of Canada from Dave Fauteux – good times, good food, good cheer!
Old school pizza pie, can’t go wrong
80s style diner (think neon) with all day breakfast. One location on George St and another in Lister Block.
Authentic, delicious Roman style pizzas. Also offer an excellent cannoli and some Italian speciality products. Haven’t had a bad slice yet!
By the people who brought you The Ship. Same great tap list, but with pizza, pasta and sandwiches. Vegan or GF? They’ve got you covered.
Sandwich joint specializing in, you guessed it, reubens.
Go for the burgers, then go back for another burger. They have good burgers. For real
Authentic Ethiopian food on James St – a must try in the City.
Greek eats on King St E with many authentic Greek dishes you won’t find anywhere else. Located in the spot previously occupied by Mississippi Queen – has a great menu and could easily be a weekly dinner spot
Order a Charcuterie Grazing Box to go or enjoy it on the patio with a glass of wine or beer.
While primarily a cocktail bar, Capitol also has a full kitchen serving up charcuterie, burgers, and more.
Long time go to for cheap and fast sandwiches, and hot lunch take-aways.
Hotties Smash Burgers
Popular Etobicoke spot that has made its way to Barton St E. Classic fast food offerings with house made patties. Interesting to see more spots opening down in my hood! Should be open early 2023?
Mai Pai Tiki Bar
My hubby has done it again! This time with killer cocktails and delicious Detroit Style Pizza
Mimi’s Asian Gourmet
Awesome new addition to the neighbourhood. The peanut curry and mango coconut sticky rice dessert are excellent.
This lunch / brunch spot just opened on Barton at Oak Avenue, it’s kitschy Florida fun, great cocktails and DELICIOUS indulgent dishes.
Plant-based, organic, and Indian-inspired food. Really fresh, delicious food here.
Tall Tree Sandwiches
Owners of Dundas’ Betula Restaurant opened a sweet little sandwich shop on King St. E! Great spot to grab lunch.
The Dirty South
Southern BBQ at its best – all things fried, pulled, smoked, and slow-cooked.
The Purple Pear
You won’t notice it driving by, but if you’re looking for a throwback to the 80’s steakhouse, focused on quality and service, this is the spot
Relaxed bar and grill with a killer tap list. By the same folks who brought you Shorty’s Pizza (yes, you can get a slice with your pint).
Ottawa Street is on fire! Italian spot, is bright, airy, awesome service and a killer brunch AND it’s open Monday’s which is a rarity
Gage Park Diner
Classic diner eats done well! All day breakfast, burgers, and milkshakes.
Hammerhead’s on Ottawa
This place offers up more than just your run of the mill fish and chips, and on top of that it is a gluten free and peanut free kitchen – you have to try the Sri Lankan curry!
Merk Snack Bar
A little Gem on Ottawa St. Perfect place to grab a pint and meet a friend
A Hamilton institution, the original Mike’s subs opened in 1959. Old school subs, this is a true #hamont experience.
The best place to find NYC style pizza in Hamilton.
The Hearty Hooligan
Another vegan place on Ottawa St with a punk vibe – in their own words: “keeping vegan trashy”. Try the mac & cheese!
If you went to Mac in the last 30ish years, you’ve probably been to Bean Bar. This neighbourhood staple has been open since ‘93.
Same great food, now in Westdale
Chef Martin Sushi
Some of the best sushi you can find in Hamilton. Also have a Stoney Creek location.
Chung Chun Rice Dog
Korean-style hot dogs in Westdale – one of the first locations in Canada.
Delirious Burger Co
Simple, delicious burgers – try the portabello! This is the original spot in Westdale
Located near Mac. The cumin lamb is SO good.
Authentic Persian food with a cool vibe.
Open since 1978, this is another long-time Westdale institution. Classic Italian dishes and a take-away bakery.
Opened an Upper James location in the Summer of 2015 and boy were people excited!
Authentic, delicious middle eastern food. Try out the namesake Cheezaatar based on the owner’s mothers recipe.
Chicago Style Pizza
You go for the deep dish
Deadly pizza on Upper Wellington. Don’t miss this place and make sure you order in advance (24+hours) as they sell out quick.
Farm-to-table burgers on Concession St. Also a great caterer for private events!
Don’t be fooled by its location in a strip mall on Upper James, delicious classic pasta and homemade sauces, tiny spot so make sure you make a reservation!
A West Mountain favourite for asian fusion.
Vietnamese and Thai spot near Limeridge Mall that was famously visited by Jerry Seinfeld when he was in the city
One of Hamilton’s best burger spots. Something for everyone with a ton of burger options, Philly cheese steaks, vegan patties, and a kid’s menu.
Awesome Middle Eastern fare with kebabs, rice and delicious salads while it is a chain restaurant, it’s one of our favourites to visit up on the mountain with Salar’s Iranian background!
It’s easy to miss this family-owned pho place amongst the flashiness of Upper James! Awesome beef pho and bahn mi.
From the same folks behind LaPiazza, delicious thin crust pizza – my personal fave is the smoked salmon mmmm
Sushi on Fennell
Hot damn! Best sushi in the city? Try this place.
The Dirty South
Second location (other is on Barton St). Awesome Southern BBQ on Concession!
A great little Thai place tucked into Fennel Square on the east mountain.
Awesome, authentic thai food in a super-sleek setting.
Opened 2017, they make all their bread in house, use local ingredients, lovely lunch and dinner destination
Excellent French inspired vegan cuisine with dishes like beefless bourguignon and chick’un basquaise.
A second location of the Ancaster original.
Uhhh modern asian cuisine, check out this menu yesssss please!!!
Nellie James Gourmet Food to Go
Prepared take out and catering
Fine dining, prix fixe options, perfect for special occasions
Excellent pub food
Restaurant and brewery in the former Rousseau house. Charming historic building with an awesome patio.
Sister spot to Castelli Cucina on James. Offers pizza, panini, cannoli and then some.
A popular trattoria with lots of selection with housemade pastas and pizzas, right in the heart of Ancaster Village on Wilson
Coach & Lantern
Neighbourhood pub fare, great entertainment
This location has recently been renovated, great reliable Indian food for eat in or delivery (there’s something about Indian food that always makes me want to order in) also has a location on King Street in Dundas
The Ancaster Mill
Fine dining, events, popular buffet brunch with mimosas, caesars and champagne oh my – do NOT forget to leave room for dessert
The Brassie Pub
Always-busy Ancaster pub that might claim the title of best nachos in the city
Downtown Stoney Creek asian fusion with hard-to-find Hakka cuisine (Indian-style Chinese).
Old school rustic Italian in a strip on Barton East, can’t go wrong
In East Hamilton, this is a favourite for breakfast and brunch goers. Re-opened in early 2017 after a fire
Chef Martin Sushi
Some of the best sushi you can find in Hamilton. Also have a Westdale location.
Edgewater Manor (Stoney Creek)
A beautiful 1920’s mansion that ‘s been converted to a restaurant, you’re lakeside with beautiful views, great for a special occasion!
Maria’s Tortas Jalisco
Mexican sandwich deliciousness
Memphis Fire BBQ
Come hungry, you need room for it all, fried chicken, biscuits, ribs…
These guys are doing it right, currently Salar’s favourite chicken joint (ok, not counting fried chicken)
Family owned ramen place on Rymal Road on Stoney Creek Mountain. Amazing ramen, don’t miss this place!