I’ve been meaning to do a post on some of the culinary “highlights” of Hamilton, my new home, for some time.  Finally, 2011 rolled around and I decided to do it.  I think my procrastination was largely related to the fact that Hamilton seems to pale in comparison to Paris, Heidelberg and Berlin when it comes to food.  How could I possibly follow-up with Hamilton?

However, even in the most unexpected places you can find rainbows and there have certainly been a few great spots here in the Hammer. Beyond the waterfalls, the escarpment and the nearby wine region, Hamilton also has a few good restaurants, cafes and food shops.  Here is what I’ve found so far:

  • Seven Windows: This is where I ate on my first night here and I haven’t found a better restaurant yet.  It is upscale, but the food is delicious and the staff are very professional.  If you are looking for a special dinner out then this is the place.
  • Gate of India: This place was the first Indian restaurant in Hamilton.  The food is really good and you can get it quite spicy if you ask.  They even have a dish hotter than vindaloo, but I haven’t tried that one yet.
  • Wass:  Wass is a super tasty Ethiopian restaurant.  The decor is a bit out-dated and there isn’t much in the way of natural light.  However, the food and the special coffee really make up for it.  Especially if you have never tried Ethiopian, give it a go.
  • Bar on Locke: For a quiet night of drinks, this bar offers up some cozy atmosphere and nice relaxing jazz music.  The food is pretty good and also pretty reasonable.
  • The Brain: Located in the “almost-gentrified” James St. quarter, this is the place to watch hipsters and have good beer.
  • The Winking Judge: This is one of these very inviting bars that feels like it is home.  The beer is a bit pricey, but they have an awesome selection.
  • My Dog Joe: I’ve only been once, but I really liked the bright sunny atmosphere of this cafe.
  • Zarky’s: For good bread and homemade foods, Zarky’s is a treasure.
  • Denninger’s: If you are looking to make a European dish (particularly a German one) and you can’t find the ingredients, then go to Denninger’s.  They also have really great bread.  The asiago-pepper bread was to die-for!
  • Cheese Shoppe on Locke:  I hesitated to put this one up, because it is prohibitively expensive.  However, the cheese really is fantastic and if you are willing to spend a bit extra for a treat then it is certainly the place to go.  Just poking around the store and having a few taste tests is also a pleasant way to spend some time.

In the end, I got a pretty long list!  Hopefully, I’ll find more gems to share soon.