I can’t think of a finger food more fun and inclusive than nachos.
They’re the kind of dish that has it all: chips, veggies, cheese, dipping sauces — all of the major food groups. They can be made to satisfy all diets and dietary restrictions.
I think what’s most exciting about ‘chos is that they’re one of the easiest dishes out there to make your own.
In Hamilton, we have a number of establishments who are innovating and coming up with some very distinctive nacho platters that speak a lot to the eatery’s character and outlook on food.
Here are the Top 5 nachos in Hamilton.
The Gown & Gavel has been a mainstay on Hess Street for decades. It’s seen a number of pubs, clubs and eateries come and go and yet it has remained steadfast. The secret, it seems, is the quality of their service and their food and drink. Their Loaded Nachos, according to numerous Google and Yelp reviews, are a standout item on the menu. They do, I’ll admit, live up to some of the hype. Their nacho chips are lightly seasoned and piled high with three types of cheese, pickled jalapenos, onions, tomatoes and lettuce. As is standard practice in the pub nachos world, salsa and sour cream are on the side. They certainly don’t skimp in terms of portion sizes and their ingredients are clearly fresh. All in all, these aren’t fancy but they’re crunchy, fresh and there’s a lot of them. What more can you ask for when it comes to nachos?
4. ViMex Corner
I discovered this East End restaurant very recently and went to it for the first time just to try the nachos. I’m definitely going back. Their locos nachos are heaped with melted cheeses, beef, refried beans, tomatoes, cilantro and jalapenos. I think what I like best about these nachos is the refried beans. I like that smooth, slightly chalky texture alongside the crunch of the lightly seasoned chips and the gooey cheese mixture. The beans also help cool down the heat of the Valentina Mexican hot sauce, which we liberally doused the platter with, and the jalapenos. The portion was very generous so locos nachos are easily shareable and they’re reasonably priced. Ultimately, ViMex, despite the name of the dish, doesn’t get crazy in trying to reinvent nachos. They keep it simple, authentic and fresh and that all adds up to delicious.
3. Odds Bar
I was pretty excited to get to experience this bar for the first time a couple of weeks ago. I’d heard rumours that members of The Arkells could sometimes be spotted here (some members are part owners) and also that their nachos are pretty top-notch. I’m pleased to report that the rumours are true — as far as nachos go; we didn’t see The Arkells. These nachos are twice-baked to ensure that all of the ingredients, particularly the cheese, are evenly dispersed. We ordered the Mr. Dave Winfield nachos, which are piled high with a moz/cheddar blend, lettuce, pico de gallo, scallions, cilantro and pickled jalapenos and drizzled with crema. On the side for dipping is a house sauce — I’m not quite sure what’s in it but it’s creamy, and buttery and a little spicy and totally awesome. I was thoroughly impressed by the generous portions, the fresh ingredients, the to-die-for dipping sauce and, most especially, the attention paid to making sure ingredients were evenly distributed. Full disclosure: I may be slightly influenced by the fact that Odds has a popcorn machine that patrons have unlimited access to.
I found out about these nachos through word of mouth via numerous sources and they definitely live up to the hype. While I don’t think we can file these nachos under the ‘traditional’ category, Nique’s sushi nachos get a nod for being one of a kind and positively scrumptious. The chips are fried wontons and they’re loaded with fresh tuna, spicy mayo, fish roe, puffed rice, scallions and avocado. The combination of fresh flavours and the spectrum of textures make these ‘chos a standout in terms of experience. The softness of the tuna, the crunch of the chip, the crispness of the scallions and butteriness of the avocado are a delight for the senses and with the spicy, somewhat smokey flavour of the mayo, your tastebuds soar. This restaurant has a reputation for culinary innovation and with their nachos, they’ve done something exceptional, almost magical.
1. Ole Gourmet
This is one of my new favourite spots in the city. The day I went to try the nachos, I got in moments ahead of the rush of Cardinal Newman students on their lunch break but even if I had to wait in the out-the-door line, it would have been worth it. These nachos were simply outstanding. Piled atop these homemade corn chips was a mountain of chorizo, black beans, cilantro and veggies all doused in Ole Gourmet’s creamy house sauce that is just the right amount of spicy. The chips were thick and crispy and perfectly seasoned and the toppings were plentiful, fresh and appropriately balanced and distributed throughout the nachos. I ordered a medium to split between two of us and we didn’t leave hungry. At just under 10$ Ole Gourmet comes in as the most reasonably priced nachos on this list. It’s easy to see why this is a favourite for local students — value just can’t be beaten. Also, the service is spectacular. The staff is warm and welcoming and fun and I watched as they served the dozens of highschoolers with refreshing affability and efficiency. I will, without doubt, be back in here to try some of their other dishes but believe me, their nachos alone are worth a visit.
Where do you like to get your nachos in Hamilton?