This is simply a sampling of some of my favourite things about Hamilton.
By Jason Leach
Published February 19, 2005
So often, we get too busy with life and forget to enjoy the nice things or take the time to find new things in our city.
Here is a listing of some of my favourite things about Hamilton. You may not agree on all of them, but I can guarantee that you will be fascinated, surprised, enriched and come away with a new perspective of our city if you'll take me up on this offer to discover some hidden gems in Hamilton that you may have never heard of, and re-discover some well-known ones that you've probably taken for granted for too long.
I'll break thing down into categories for your ease of discovery, but other than that, don't read too much into the order in which things appear. This is simply a sampling of some of my favourite things about Hamilton.
Anyone who knows me won't be surprised that I'm starting with this category. Our city is blessed with the third largest immigrant population in Canada and folks, the food is heavenly.
How about some Asian fare? You know we're a multi-cultural city when 5 new Asian eateries open downtown in one month. This past December saw exactly that. Here is a sampling of Hamilton's Asian fare, but first - the new kids on the block.
Harvest Moon, James and York - WOW! Great portions at insanely low prices. Already, one of my favourites.
Thai Tamarind, King William and Hughson - lunch specials that are great. Hot and sour soup is amazing.
Saigon Soul Food - best spring rolls on the planet, they say. You won't argue.
Saigon Restaurant, King St Westdale - great soups and all the usual Vietnamese fare.
Bauhinia Chinese Restaurant, King and Catharine - can anyone say 'a night on the town'? This is right next door to a great bubble tea café (see number 5 below).
Now, on to some others that have become heavyweights in the local dining scene:
B&T Restaurant and attached market, Cannon and Park St - the best pad thai and pho I've ever had.
My-Thai, John and King William - very healthy and tasty.
Pho Da Bo, James and Cannon - more amazing pho.
Akita, Main and Catharine - a fresh sushi buffet! Eat till your heart is content.
Yu and Yu Teashop, King and Catharine - nice atmosphere with great bubble tea. They have a drink called an 'ice cream coffe' - it'll blow you away.
Chinese Dumplings, King and Mary - great lunch specials.
Bubble Bobble Teashop, Main St Westdale - cool place more great bubble tea.
QQ Teashop, King St Westdale - games, mags and great bubble tea.
D's Bubble Tea, Cannon and Bay - Hamilton's original bubble tea cafe. Still one of the best.
Crystal Dynasty, Cannon and Bay - daily dim sum.
S&S Supermarket, Locke South - another great market so you can try making your favourite dishes home.
The Jade Garden, James and Vine - upscale Asian dining with great seafood.
Old Schezuan Chinese Bistro, James and Rebecca - awesome lunch specials will leave you stuffed for 6 bucks.
Hoya Korean and Japanese Cuisine, King and Walnut - very fresh sushi and great selection.
Mori Mori, Jackson Square at the Market entrance - great food for a mall restaurant.
Kim Hoa Chinese BBQ, Cannon and McNab - just go in and ask for BBQ pork with soy sauce and honey...add a side of rice and you've got an amazing lunch for 5 bucks. Also, great duck.
Osaka Sushi, Barton East - one of Hamilton's sushi heavyweights.
Have you ever tried a shawarma or souvlaki? You should.There are amazing little middle eastern markets and cafes that are so easy to miss, but have become huge favourites in our city.
Nabils Grill, James and York - the best baklava you'll EVER have.
Eat-a-Pita, King and Caroline - great prices for an excellent lunch.
Istanbul Café and BBQ, King William and John - chicken wrap is amazing.
La Luna, King and Queen - great shawarma.
Basilique, King St Westdale - lunch specials, and unbelievable pizza.
Sindibad Market, Bay and York - amazing meatpies and cheespies for under 3 bucks!
Did someone say 'Indian spices please!' No prob.
Mahal, King St, Gore Park - good buffet, great view at the window seats.
Gate of India, James North - authentic Indian favourite in Hamilton.
British Raj, King William and James - fresh and healthy menu. A nice change from the others.
Shenhai, Main and Strathcona - the best nan bread I've ever had.
Sensational Samosa, Farmers Market downtown - great spring rolls and of course, samosa.
Kasturi, King and Caroline - nice atmosphere and good prices.
How about a big old sandwich?
Reardon's Meat Market, King William - amazing corned beef sandwiches and lamb sausages.
Beach Road Meats, Ottawa North and opening soon, Locke South - kielbasa of course, and amazing European sandwiches.
Duartes Supermarket, Barton St - the veal sandwich is huge! As is everything else. And dirt cheap!
Staropolskie Delikatacy, Barton St - get the white bag lunch special. You'll be glad you did.
Infusions Café, Gore Park - the sandwiches and soup are a perfect lunch.
Bad Dog Café, Locke South - more than coffee, the breakfast sandwiches and lunch wraps are amazing.
Delicieux Tea Salon, Augusta and James - French inspired sandwiches in a Parisian styled eatery.
Dunas Verde, James North - the Portuguese beefana sandwiches are amazing.
Café Limoncello, Ottawa North - great Italian sandwiches with huge windows to watch the action on Ottawa Street.
Man can't live on bread alone, although you'll want to after checking out these bakeries.
Locke Street Bakery, Locke South - Seattle's Best Coffee, best bagels in town and great lunch pizzas.
Franks' Sicilia Bakery, Barton and Sherman - get the Italian birthday cake. My family has for decades.
Bonanza Bakery, Catherine North at Murray - great lunch sandwiches and breads.
De Rosa Bakery, Wilson St - good selection, fresh bread.
Genuine Bakery, Barton East - one of the best around.
Gold Lion Bakery, McNab St North - Asian bakery that will satisfy your hunger.
La Favorita Bakery, Concession St - European treats and espresso bar.
Pane Del Sole Italian Bakery, Cannon St - awesome breads, pizzas and desserts.
Rose's Corner Bakery and Café, King and Ferguson - sweet tooth anyone?
Vagueira Bakery, Barton East - Portuguese breads fresh every day. One of my favourites.
Weil's of Westdale Bakery, King St Westdale - a Hamilton favourite with all the treats.
Gold Lion Bakery, Cannon and McNab - the fruit filled buns are heavenly. And that's just the start.
It speaks for itself, and is one of the greatest institutions in this city. The BEST coffee you will ever have is sold here by a Colombian immigrant located at the bottom of the escalators. Simply amazing!
You'll find everything from cheese, meats, fish, breads, desserts, spices, sauces, recipes, fruit, veggies, flowers and of course, the world-famous muffalata sandwich at Sam's Meat and Cheese at the top of the escalators. You won't believe your tastebuds. I'm not kidding!
Ok, enough of the food talk - my stomach is rumbling! Let's move outside so we can walk off all this grub.
Hamilton is extremely blessed to have a vibrant waterfront. Many cities (see Toronto) ruin their waterfronts by driving out the shipping industry and scenic views and replacing them with ugly, massive high-rise apartments that block sunlight and create roaring wind-tunnels.
Kudos to Hamilton City Council for having the wisdom to put our redeveloping harbour through a strict planning phase before allowing developers to kill it. The end result will be a place we can all be proud of and enjoy year-round.
Bayfront, Pier 4, Waterfront Trails: amazing spots to relax and enjoy the beauty of our harbour.
I love the view from the tip of the Hamiltonian Pier - just look for the Canadian flag and walk down the path. It starts at the children's Tugboat play area.
Pier 8, Discovery Centre : our newest additions to the harbour. From the northwest corner of this pier one can see the entire harbour and of course learn about Canada's marine areas in the museum.
HMCS Haida: another new attraction. This is where recreation joins industry. Check out all of the land between here and the Discovery Centre. There is talk of a European styled piazza surrounded by mid-rise buildings with upper level apartments and ground floor shops, cafes and entertainment. This area has the potential to change the face, and image, of our city forever.
Some of you may not like this, but folks, it's time to rediscover an appreciation for our shipping industry. I love watching the huge lake freighters maneuver in and out of their docks and glide across the harbour to and from the ship canal. It brings a sense of 'out there' right into our own backyard seeing ships from the US, India and beyond.
Photo Credit: Hamilton Port Authority http://www.hamiltonport.ca
I hope that when the rest of Pier 8 is redeveloped there will be a raised platform at the northeast corner of the pier for viewing the shipping up close. Don't shun this part of our harbour like so many locals do. Some of the world's greatest cities have fully functioning industrial harbours right in the city - San Fran, Vancouver, Miami, Hong Kong, Halifax, and L.A. to name a few. We're blessed to live in a true 'port city'.
Lake Ontario Waterfront Trail: Check out all the cool homes that have been built here in recent years.
The old Lakeland Pool site is getting some new attractions this summer including a small pool, splash pad, skateboard park, basketball courts and a 3 storey lighthouse that will function as a community centre with a third-floor observation deck overlooking the lake.
Hutch's, of course, is still a local favourite. Best fish and chips around.
Tour the harbour by boat. The Hamiltonian and new in 2005, the Hamilton Harbour Queen. See http://www.hamiltonwaterfront.com for more info.
Ice fishing, skiing, wind surfing, sailing, hockey, and fishing. It all happens at our harbour. All year-round.
Hamilton has so much to offer and so much to enjoy. Get out and enjoy your city. You'll love what you find!
Last Month - Coffee
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