6 Places to Enjoy Handmade Noodles
The recent openings of Kenzo Ramen in the downtown core and CIMA Enoteca on Locke Street got me thinking about all the great places to enjoy them in the city, and chatting about noodles to fellow food bloggers like Andrea from I’m Mad Hungry.
Andrea and I worked together to compile this list of some of our favourite places to get handmade noodles in the city. Though they’re all from different cultures and are served in a variety of ways, they serve a purpose – a carby, comfort food purpose. *Drool* So, where can you find handmade noodz in Hamilton?
Vinnie’s in the Market
Hamilton Farmer’s Market, 35 York Blvd, Hamilton, ON L8R 3K1
Andrea: Vinnie’s has been at the Farmers’ Market for 7 years and his machines grind out traditional pasta and diet-sensitive options, like gluten-free and organic, on the daily.. When fusilli is pumping out of the machine, it’s mesmerizing to watch. Past the concrete column, he has his cooked products ready-to-go. He serves his pasta with 3 sauces of your choice: tomato, basil-pesto, or a mixture of both. I went with the medium-sized basil-pesto and it lasted me 2 lunches. The pesto was super fragrant but a tad oily. Vinnie had salt and pepper shakers along with parmesan and chili flake shakers. I added a bit of everything and the flavours were just right.
Heather: I recently visited and tried out Vinnie’s in the Market for the first time, and I know for sure it won’t be my last visit. Vinnie makes all of his pasta on the spot (you can actually stand at his booth and watch him make the pasta, he won’t mind!), including products like spinach pasta, and red pepper pasta, which he creates with real vegetables. Plus all the prepared pasta bags are a pretty good price point for handmade pasta – $5 for a large bag. If you’re more of a stuffed pasta fan, Vinnie also creates ravioli and tortellini.
1 Wilson St #7, Hamilton, ON L8R 1C4
Andrea:Recently, Noodle Me opened their doors in the downtown core across from Jackson Square, in the same plaza as August 8. If you walk by the restaurant at the right time, you’ll hear terrifying banging noises. Nothing to worry about, they’re just pulling and slapping fresh noodles to order. You can get your noodz in soup, dry/cold or stir fried. The soupy noodles come in a dark broth with deep, Chinese-spiced flavours. The stir fry noodles are harder in texture so I have them cook it a bit longer for my selfish reasons lol. If you order any of the friars, be prepared to have leftovers. Well, the soup noodles too. The portion sizes are hugeeeeee.
Heather: Though they haven’t been open too long, I’ve already been several times – that’s how good it is. For an inexpensive meal, they serve up huge portions of freshly-slapped and stretched noodles in yummy broths or fried just the way I like them. Noodle Me is a really good little hidden noodle gem.
21 King St E, Hamilton, ON L8N 1A1
Andrea: The anticipation was REAL when we first caught wind about Kenzo opening in Hamilton. A true, well-known, Japanese ramen house finally planted its roots in our city. You’ll find ramen noodles in soup or dip-style. The soups are richer and deeper in flavour, you’ll also find that they are saltier too. Different soup bases have different toppings, so take a look at the photos before you order. We had to go with gyozas too. Giant, pan-fried pockets of meaty logs. The dumplings were stuffed with flavoured ground pork and veggies but it was a bit crumbly for my liking. I’m so happy I don’t have to drive out to Mississauga for Japanese ramen, I can stay in Hamilton!
Heather: I had tried the Kenzo in Mississauga before, so you could say I was impatiently waiting for this location to open in Hamilton. The first day they opened, Andrea and I stopped in for dinner, and it was exactly what I’d hoped for. They already had quite a line up, and ran out of product early in the night – but that’s kind of a good sign in my opinion, since they make everything fresh each morning. Once winter rolls around, Kenzo will be my must-visit for staying cozy.
The French Gnocchi
37 King William St, Hamilton, ON L8R 1A1
Heather: Though their dishes are pretty much all winners, the French’s Ricotta Gnocchi is my go-to dish when I visit. I like to call these little pillows of heaven. Married with mushrooms, truffle, and parmesan, it’s perfectly balanced and, to be honest, I’m not sure if I’ve ever had gnocchi this good. Pair it with their elegant, jaw-dropping atmosphere and you’ve got a spot that will impress any guest.
190 Locke St S, Hamilton, ON L8P 4B4
Andrea: The newly opened CIMA has boosted on social media that they make their pastas in-house. From rigatoni to squid ink linguine, their pasta machine cranks them out like a beast. I’m not the best at telling if pasta is fresh or not, can you? All I know is that the end result is always tasty and the right texture. The dishes come out in healthy portions and come in a variety of sauces and ingredients. Head over to CIMA for a mix of traditional and modern dishes, accompanied by pizza cooked in their wood-burning oven.
Heather: You can read about my experience with CIMA Enoteca in my latest Urbanicity piece, but I’d have to say, this is one of my new favourite restaurants in Hamilton. Chef Jordan Mitchell makes noodle magic in the CIMA kitchen, and the beautiful space adds to the ambiance of this restaurant. CIMA is packed most evenings, so be prepared to have a little wait. With dishes like their Squid Ink pasta, or ‘Nduja Sausage Tagliatelle, it’s worth it!
Brux House Spaetzle
137 Locke St S, Hamilton, ON L8P 4A7
Andrea: This one is a staple in my books. Beautifully executed dishes with elegant plating in a cozy setting. It’s always a good time eating at Brux House. If you’re into craft beer, they have a decent selection too. The fresh noodz on their menu isn’t a noodle dish, it’s the pork schnitzel! Along with the slab of pork, it’s served with a caraway and dark rye spaetzle. These little noodles consist of eggs, flour, and salt, which are then passed through a grater-looking-thing, falling directly into boiling water. This was a new type of noodle for me and I loved it..
What are your favourite places to enjoy handmade noodles in Hamilton? Share them with us in the comments below!
*Photos #1, 2, 3, 5, 9, 12 credit to Andrea of I’m Mad Hungry