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Signature Branzino with sugo puttanesca, spiced rapini, grilled house-made focaccia | Image courtesy of Lake Road Restaurant
Signature Branzino with sugo puttanesca, spiced rapini, grilled house-made focaccia | Image courtesy of Lake Road Restaurant

The 10 Best James St North Restaurants In Hamilton, Toronto

Picture of Megan Abbey
Megan Abbey
Updated: 9 February 2017
James Street North, the core street in downtown Hamilton, Toronto, is meeting the demand for hot spots with new restaurants and revitalized fan favorites. These 10 restaurants will appease any rumbling stomach.

Saint James Eatery | Saint James Eatery food offerings

Saint James Eatery | Image courtesy of Saint James Eatery

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

Green Bar

Green 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. From vegan butternut squash macaroni and cheese to cafe mocha smoothies (and vibrant green smoothies, of course), Green 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 Green Bar.

Green Smoothie Bar, 236 James St N, Hamilton, ON, Canada +1 289 396 2288

Charred

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. 

Charred Rotisserie House, 244 James St N, Hamilton, ON, Canada +1 289 396 0662

Mesa

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 selections like ‘Sibling Rivalry Red’ and ‘Buenos Noches.’

Mulberry Street Coffeehouse, 193 James St N, Hamilton, ON, Canada +1 905 963 1365

The Burnt Tongue’s famous soup | Image courtesy of The Burnt Tongue

The Burnt Tongue’s famous soup | Image courtesy of The Burnt Tongue

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.

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 eight ounce burger with cheese and bacon for $13.50 and three-cheese grilled cheese for just $8.

Jack & Lois, 301 James St N, Hamilton, ON, Canada +1 289 389 5647

August 8’s James Street North location | Image courtesy of August 8

August 8’s James Street North location | Image courtesy of August 8

August 8

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

Saltlick Smokehouse

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. 

Saltlick Smokehouse, 282 James St N, Hamilton, ON, Canada +1 289 389 6328

Signature Branzino with sugo puttanesca, spiced rapini, grilled house-made focaccia | Image courtesy of Lake Road Restaurant

Signature Branzino with sugo puttanesca, spiced rapini, grilled house-made focaccia | Image courtesy of Lake Road Restaurant

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