Vegan spots in Hamilton are on the rise.
The reason is simple: plant-based eating is becoming increasingly popular. Some people eat vegan because it’s better for the animal population and the environment. Some do it for health reasons. And some just do it because good vegan food is freaking delicious.
Our city is nailing it in the deliciousness department. From older favourites to brand new eateries that are already crushing it, there’s no shortage of great plant-based eats in the Hammer.
Though it was really hard to narrow it down, here’s our 2019 list for Hamilton’s 10 best vegan spots.
If you feel like some lighter vegan fare, Westdale’s Rawlicious might be just what you’re looking for.
From healthy salads to desserts to sizeable smoothies, Rawlicious puts its focus exclusively on raw, vegan, and organic ingredients. There’s a bit of space inside their Westdale location (just a short walk from McMaster University!) if you want to sit down for a light lunch, but Rawlicious is also available for catering and for pre-ordering food & juice cleanses, custom-prepared fresh and made available for you to pick up.
The Hearty Hooligan does locally-sourced, from-scratch vegan cooking in their Ottawa Street cafe and bakery, and a tagline on their website says it all very simply: “keeping vegan trashy.”
That tagline is pretty fitting: one glance at their menu makes it clear that this ain’t your grandma’s vegan food. If you never thought you’d see fresh, thick & delicious pizza bagels or mac ‘n cheese burritos among a vegan restaurant’s offerings, then grab one of their signature cocktails or local craft beer selections and get ready to have your mind blown by The Hearty Hooligan.
Democracy* is unquestionably one of Locke Street’s favourite coffee shops.
Endeavouring to be equal parts cafe, vegan eatery, and community space, Democracy* thrives on being an open, welcoming environment that also happens to serve killer vegan bites.
Tofu Banh Mi and Big Mac pizzas are eye-catching offerings, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg in a stacked plant-based menu filled with share plates and sizeable entrees. If you need a spot to tuck in with local coffee and ethical eats, and get some work done on your laptop, it’s hard to think of a better place to do it.
James North’s Green Bar is one of Hamilton’s longest standing plant-based eateries, pumping out vegan awesomeness even before it was as trendy as it is today. Their popularity in Hamilton is obvious, given that they’ve also just opened a sister location on Locke Street that even has differing menu options from its James North counterpart to keep things lively.
Big bountiful bowls of nutritious goodness take notes from Indian, Mexican, and Mediterranean cuisines, and hefty made-to-order smoothies are always there for your midday healthy boost of energy. Everything they make is from scratch using fresh daily ingredients. What more could you want?
If you’re looking for primo vegan-friendly eats in a setting that’s the epitome of Instagram-worthy, you have to check out Synonym.
A newer addition to bustling James Street North arts and food hub, Synonym has rapidly earned massive local popularity for its excellent coffee, its striking modern aesthetic, and of course, its menu of vegetarian and vegan brunch and lunch dishes. Avocado toast, kale salads, vegan burgers, and couscous bowls are all well worth your tastebuds’ attention; especially paired with a fresh Americano or a craft beer from their selection on tap.
Hamilton’s first vegan dessert shop and bakery is a sweet-tooth’s paradise.
Located on Barton Street just off of James North, Lick the Whisk deals in all things delicious. Its founders are full-blooded Hamiltonians, and they’ve got you covered for relatively guilt-free sugary indulgences made in-house daily that also double as ethical eating choices.
Waffles from scratch? Check. Homemade dairy-free ice cream? Check. Fresh crepes? Check. Pure sugar-high happiness? Check check check check check.
Planted in Hamilton is good food and good vibes all around.
In their relaxed cafe setting slightly hidden away on John Street South, vegan foodies can savour plant-based goodness in the form of hearty tofu bowls, satisfying salads & sandwiches, nachos, mac ‘n cheese, and tantalizing gluten-free baked goods. Live music routinely populates the restaurant’s front corner, adding even more to the chill communal energy that Planted has nailed.
A member of Ottawa Street’s burgeoning food scene and just a few doors down from the ever-popular but very un-vegan HAMBRGR, Boon Burger more than holds its own in its spacious and relaxed setting with an exclusively cruelty-free selection of burger goodness.
The menu is jam-packed with a wide array of burgers and ‘chicken’ sandwiches featuring a number of different plant-based patties (including a Beyond Meat option!) loaded with toppings that are always fresh beyond fresh. As if that wasn’t enough, Boon also offers excellent oven-baked fries and poutines alongside salads, personal pizzas, and desserts. You can even buy some of their house-made sauces, aiolis, and meat substitutes to take home. And trust me: you’ll want to.
Boon Burger‘s cruelty-free offerings are so freaking good, you won’t miss meat at all. I’ll bet you $10. (Just kidding. But seriously. They’re delicious.)
Get ready to have your mind blown: Rise Above Pizzeria is serving up seriously stellar vegan alternatives to your favourite Friday night indulgences.
A spin-off of the immensely popular St. Catharines eatery of the same name, Rise Above Pizzeria is already exceeding pizza lovers’ expectations, and doing so with not a shred of cheese or scrap of meat in sight.
The tangy, smokey, and oh-so-satisfying Buffalo Wing Pizza is a stand-out on Rise Above’s current menu of pies, but in some ways, the main attraction here are the incredible seitan wings, slathered in flavourful house-made sauces. On top of being delicious in their own right, they also look and taste pretty darn close to the meaty real deal. No one is leaving Rise Above Pizzeria hungry; if you and a friend are able to totally polish off a filling order of wings and a small personal pizza between you, I’ll be very surprised.
If you’re looking for the ultimate vegan comfort food that’s good for you and good for your conscience, Bliss Kitchen is the real deal.
Easily missed because of its slightly out-of-the-way location in Waterdown, Bliss is well worth the extra bit of driving for hearty, flavourful dishes that single-handedly destroy the myth that vegan food isn’t filling. From a wide variety of heaping bowls and burgers designed to suit pretty much any palate, to mountains of loaded fries that you’ll have to remind yourself to slow down on, you’re pretty much guaranteed to leave Bliss Kitchen more than satisfied.
Bliss Kitchen even has Sunday brunch, featuring veganized takes on popular dishes like eggs benny (with chickpea eggs) and chicken & waffles (where breaded cauliflower bites play the part of fried chicken). Add to that a spacious and inviting setting along with unfailingly lovely service, and you’ve pretty much got a meat-less & dairy-less dreamland on your hands.
What changes would you make to our list? Let us know in the comments!