Saint James Eatery | Image courtesy of Saint James Eatery
Watch out, Toronto: a hip and thriving urban scene is coming for you. An entrepreneurial spirit is sweeping Hamilton, formerly known as the Steel City. James Street North, the core street in downtown Hamilton, is meeting the energetic demand for hot spots with both new restaurants and revitalized fan favorites. Between healthy fast food, numerous coffee shops, and ever-changing menus, every appetite will be satisfied. Read on for ten restaurants to appease any rumbling stomach.
Saint James Eatery
Saint James Eatery, the newest in a string of coffee shops opened along James Street, focuses on serving great coffee and food in a lively atmosphere. Stop in before work for a cup of coffee (or a crowd favorite, mint-chocolate tea), a quick snack during the mid-day slump, or on the weekend for brunch before shopping along James. Above all else, Saint James Eatery is guided by quality coffee, local and hand-sourced ingredients, and the family who serves it all.
Saint James Eatery, 170 James St N, Hamilton, ON, Canada +1 289 389 6565
The Green Smoothie Bar
The Green Smoothie Bar is revolutionizing healthy eating. The restaurant’s goal is to provide nutritious and satisfying food and drinks for an energized lifestyle – and it certainly does so, with a mouth-watering menu. From vegan butternut squash macaroni and cheese to café mocha smoothies (and vibrant green smoothies, of course), Green Smoothie Bar will satisfy both your taste buds and digestion. The restaurant is also B Corp Certified, meaning products and practices reflect social and environmental sustainability. Feed your body and your conscience with a delicious meal or snack from The Green Smoothie Bar!
Green Smoothie Bar, 236 James St N, Hamilton, ON, Canada +1 289 396 2288
Family-owned rotisserie restaurant Charred has an award-winning menu. Charred’s menu is built around roast chicken cooked over a charcoal barbecue, served alongside delicious homemade salads, freshly prepared fries, poutine, and so much more. On busy days at work or lazy days at home, Charred even delivers directly to your doorstep. Trip Advisor recognized Charred with a Certificate of Excellence in 2015, awarded in part by its loyal customers.
Charred Rotisserie House, 244 James St N, Hamilton, ON, Canada +1 289 396 0662
Newly opened Mexican restaurant Mesa is spicing up the food landscape on James Street North. Veronica Sanchez, former chef at beloved Mex-I-Can in Hamilton, has developed a flexible menu pleasing all dietary needs. The selection includes nachos, burritos, tamales, and enchiladas, all of which can be made vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free. As an added treat, Mesa’s Twitter account (@MesaHamont) offers hilarious insight into the goings-on at the restaurant!
Mesa, 255 James Street North, Hamilton, ON, Canada +1 289 246 9696
Mulberry Street Coffeehouse
Mulberry Street Coffeehouse is a Hamilton staple, serving high quality coffee and delicious baked goods in a historic building. While Mulberry’s treats should not be missed, its ‘nourishment’ menu includes organic, locally sourced ingredients made into paninis, quiche, quinoa bowls, and more. If you’re visiting in the evening, Mulberry’s extensive beer, wine, and cocktail menu includes unique selections like ‘Sibling Rivalry Red’ and ‘Buenos Noches.’
The Burnt Tongue
Okay, okay, this one isn’t directly on James Street North, but the extra half-block is worth the added effort. The Burnt Tongue has been recognized for its ever-changing menu by Blog TO, Elle Canada, The Hamilton Spectator, Huffington Post, and many more. While the menu changes on a regular basis, customers are always treated to high quality soups, fries, burgers, salads, and sandwiches from this downtown restaurant. For clarity on menu selections, check The Burnt Tongue’swebsite, Facebook, or Twitter accounts for regular updates.
The Burnt Tongue, 10 Cannon St E, Hamilton, ON, Canada +1 905 536 1146
Jack & Lois
Jack & Lois is a new restaurant on James Street North, serving an eclectic mix of all-day breakfast, burgers, and sandwiches. The Huffington Post, You Gotta Eat Here, E-Talk, and The Hamilton Spectator have all featured Jack & Lois’s delectable food on their respective programs. ‘Committed to innovation’ and ‘high value’ are both comments used by critics to describe Jack & Lois for its 8 oz. burger with cheese and bacon for $13.50 and three-cheese grilled cheese for just $8.00.
Jack & Lois, 301 James St N, Hamilton, ON, Canada +1 289 389 5647
Once again, not really on James Street North, but low prices and great food make up for the extra 30 second walk. August 8’s extensive Cantonese and Japanese fare, including teppanyaki grill, dim-sum, sushi, and sashimi, is served all-you-can-eat style for reasonable prices. Enjoy the high-tech experience while chowing down on California Rolls and yam tempura (so good) – all orders are made over iPads and served in minutes. HINT: August 8 also has locations at Oakville, Burlington, and Stoney Creek, and even Upper James for non-downtown Hamilton friends.
August 8, 1 Wilson St, Suite 12, Hamilton, ON, Canada +1 905 524 3838
Much like a football team creating different plays, gather your team together and attack Saltlick Smokehouse’s menu with strategy. The framework: select three to five meats and two sides, such as macaroni and cheese and coleslaw, for the table. There’s no need to worry about skimpy portion sizes here — servings are adjusted by the kitchen according to how many are at the table. Food critics have widely praised Saltlick Smokehouse, including Amy Kenny of The Hamilton Spectator, who lists every dish when asked for her favorite item on the menu.
Saltlick Smokehouse, 282 James St N, Hamilton, ON, Canada +1 289 389 6328
Lake Road Restaurant
Highly anticipated Lake Road Restaurant, established in September 2015 by husband and wife duo Chef Dan Megna and Laurie Lilliman, is a follow-up to the successful Cayuga restaurant, Twisted Lemon. Megna and Lilliman opened Lake Road as a ‘love letter to Hamilton,’ combining Mediterranean-style food with wine, craft beer, and custom cocktails. Menu items include Moroccan hen and branzino, served alongside live music and original art. The Lake Road Mantra? Fine dining in the form of great food and great service.
Lake Road Restaurant, 229 James St N, Hamilton, ON, Canada +1 289 389 9525
By Megan Abbey
Megan is studying Communications at McMaster University in Ontario. Her passion for nutrition and wellness is conveyed through her writing and social media (follow @megs_abbey on Twitter). In her free time, Megan experiments with new recipes and fitness classes, while occasionally indulging her famous homemade cookies.