Review: Lake Road Restaurant

The food, service and atmosphere are uniformly excellent: playful, delicious and highly attentive.

By Ryan McGreal
Published November 02, 2015

On Friday, we finally got to try the new Lake Road Restaurant at 229 James Street North, and I'm happy to report that the food, service and atmosphere were all uniformly excellent. Our server was friendly and highly attentive without being overbearing, and all the staff exhibited the easygoing mood of the place.

Lake Road Restaurant
Lake Road Restaurant

I knew I was in for a fun evening as soon as I spotted the subtle Dumb and Dumber reference on the appetizer menu.

The cocktail menu shares in the sense of playfulness. I had a Dark & Stormy, a delicious mix of dark rum, lime and house-made ginger beer garnished with a slice of candied ginger. My partner had the excellent Clover Club, with gin, lemon and raspberry syrup topped with egg white.

We were with a group and so we got to try out several appetizers. I had the salt cod fritters, which were crunchy and flavourful and served with fried jalapenos and a smooth aioli.

My partner enjoyed the Greek salad, served on an intensely flavoured smear of olive paste and garnished with oregano and "parsley dust".

Other members of our party had the shrimp and chorizo and roasted olives and loved them.

For my entree I had the roasted branzino, a perfectly cooked whole European sea bass deboned and stuffed with a rich puttanesca and served on spicy rapini and a grilled piece of house-baked focaccia.

My partner had the risotto du jour, prepared just so, flavoured with squash and topped with roasted cauliflower.

Lake Road has a wood oven and one member of our party enjoyed a perfectly cooked margherita pizza, while another reported that the flank steak was delicious and plentiful.

We didn't have much room left for dessert, but managed to tackle an order of Lake Road baklava, a delectable modern take on the classic Middle Eastern pastry with layers of sponge cake, honey-lemon ice cream cake (semifreddo) and pistachio brittle.

We also had the featured dessert, a seasonal pavlova deconstructed on the plate with pumpkin and syrup drizzled around firm dollops of meringue.

As we were finishing up, the talented Tomi Swick and Joel Guenther set up to play a fantastic classic rock set, with Guenther smouldering a bluesy lead guitar and Swick keeping rhythm on acoustic. Swick and Guenther are both amazing singers and they took turns on lead vocals with the other supplying sweet harmony.

It was the perfect end to a lovely evening.

Ryan McGreal, the editor of Raise the Hammer, lives in Hamilton with his family and works as a programmer, writer and consultant. Ryan volunteers with Hamilton Light Rail, a citizen group dedicated to bringing light rail transit to Hamilton. Ryan wrote a city affairs column in Hamilton Magazine, and several of his articles have been published in the Hamilton Spectator. His articles have also been published in The Walrus, HuffPost and Behind the Numbers. He maintains a personal website, has been known to share passing thoughts on Twitter and Facebook, and posts the occasional cat photo on Instagram.


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By marty (anonymous) | Posted November 02, 2015 at 10:18:03

Looks like a great spot. It seems like we are finally getting some new restaurants in town that are willing to spend money on designing and furnishing the place and put care into service and customer experience.

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By how much? (anonymous) | Posted November 02, 2015 at 14:43:05

is cost lots or not so much, you dont write that info..some not so rich like you

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By Core-B (registered) | Posted November 02, 2015 at 15:01:39 in reply to Comment 114564

I haven't been yet, but the menu can be found at the bottom of this page:

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By Dylan (registered) | Posted November 02, 2015 at 18:49:04

Lavo, which occupied this spot previously, actually had pretty good food, but was a bit directionless.

Somewhat fancy dining by evening, Latin club at night?

Lake Road seems like a much better business model, and I look forward to giving it a try.

Will, the bartender there, is widely know as one of the best in Hamilton.

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