Cafés and Delis
Cafés and delis are located all over Hamilton, though a few catering to the corporate crowd are closed Saturdays. An increasing number of all-day, licensed café–lounges have been added to the mix in the past couple of years. Good delis are also located in supermarkets, particularly The MarketPlace (Church Street) and The Supermart (Front Street).
One of Bermuda’s best truly “local” joints, The Spot (6 Burnaby St., tel. 441/292-6293, 6:30 a.m.–10 p.m. Mon.–Sat. summer, 6:30 a.m.–7 p.m. Mon.–Sat. winter) is a Bermudian melting pot, remarkable for the way it attracts customers of all races, ages, and backgrounds, who come for great homemade dishes and the convivial atmosphere. The place is a landmark in Hamilton, having been at its present location for a good half-century. Some of The Spot’s staff has been there almost as long. Try the soups (red bean, barley, split pea, $5), hot sandwiches ($11), and shakes ($6). Takeout is fast, and the service is ultra-friendly (and kid-friendly).
Mingle with the Miu Miu heels and Prada clutches amid upscale banter at Ten (10 Dundonald St., tel. 441/295-0857, www.ten.bm, 7 a.m.–11 p.m. Mon.–Fri., 9 a.m.–3 p.m. Sat.), where the delicious, light fare (sandwiches $9, salads $7, evening tapas $10–15) is as good as the Euro-cool decor. Enjoy your quiche, pizza, or panini alfresco while people-watching from the patio in the warmer seasons.
Run by award-winning team Jean-Claude Garzia and Lee Uddin, Lemon Tree Cafe (7 Queen St., tel. 441/292-0235, 7:30 a.m.–4 p.m. Mon.–Fri.) tempts lunch-goers with gourmet offerings, from chicken pies ($7.50) wrapped with melt-in-your-mouth pastry to ciabatta sandwiches ($9.95), salads ($12) and healthy wraps ($10).
Family-run Jamaican Grill (32 Court St., tel. 441/296-6577, 6:30 a.m.–10 p.m. Mon.–Fri., 6:30 a.m.–11 p.m. Sat.) attracts aficionados of Caribbean cuisine, such as oxtail, jerk chicken, brown stew, and West Indian curries. Fast service and delicious meals keep crowds coming back. Order your meal as takeout or enjoy it in the atmospheric little diner, which has a cluster of tables downstairs and a few overlooking the jovial gathering from on high.
Drop into Rock Island Coffee (48 Reid St., tel. 441/296-5241, 7 a.m.–6 p.m. Mon.–Fri., 8 a.m.–5 p.m. Sat.) for great java and one of the city’s more interestingly mixed crowd of patrons. Dreadlocked “trustafarians”—trust-funded bohemians—linger over lattes (12 oz. $4.70) and daily soups ($5.50), while lawyers and actuaries rush in for espresso (single shot $1.95) and a chocolate chip cookie ($3.50). The staff roasts, grinds, and brews beans from Colombia, Kenya, Jamaica, and elsewhere, and trays of home-baked goodies, soups, and salads are offered daily. The artsy surroundings, a wooden-floored cottage decorated in ever-changing local paintings and photography, add to the ambience—pure Bermudian bohemia. There’s a garden out front with tables, umbrellas, and views of the cruise ships in the summer. The shop also opens at night occasionally over Christmas and during the summer.
A favorite deli is The Hickory Stick (Clarendon Building, 2 Church St., tel. 441/292-1781, 6:30 a.m.–4 p.m. Mon.–Fri.), whose Dagwood-esque sandwiches are legendary. Construction workers, bankers, journalists, and tourists traipse in for footlong subs stuffed with deli meats and smothered in melted cheese. Deli sandwiches range from $3 (for basic tuna) to $7 (for multi-item creations, or daily specials such a the Cajun chicken and grilled vegetable wrap). Salads, from coleslaw to Hawaiian, are $4 –12.50. Cornish pasties ($6), beef pies ($6), and home fries ($2.75) are also served up daily. Hot fish cakes, hash cakes, sausage rolls, and hot dogs are also available, as well as whole-wheat rolls filled with tuna and chicken salads, deli meats, chopped egg, or crabmeat. Cold drinks, pastries, baked goods, tea, and coffee are also sold. The place is so popular that the staff sets up a sandwich-making assembly line to efficiently serve the line of customers snaking through the little eatery noon–2 p.m. Go early or late to avoid the wait.
Perhaps the most innovative new space in Hamilton, g 135 (135 Front St. East, entrance around the corner on King St., tel. 441/533-2663 or 441/335-5364, www.g-135.com, 7 a.m.–10 p.m., or later, daily) is an eclectic amalgam of café–bar–trade gallery. Opened at the end of 2008 by young Bermudian trader Kavan Tucker, just back from a few years in New York City, it invites you to “eat, shop, browse, chill.” The large loft-like upstairs space, overlooking the container docks at Front Street’s east end, serves soft drinks, coffee, mini-sandwiches, and other snacks by day, tapas and cocktails by night. Its main purpose is to give local vendors and artists a joint venue to showcase their canvases, jewelry, ceramics, photography—even live music, when the DJ takes a break.
You can get a taste of Portuguese cuisine at Café Acoreano (Russell Eve Building, 2 Washington St., tel. 441/296-0402, 6:30 a.m.–3 p.m. Mon.–Fri., 6:30 a.m.–2 p.m. Sat.), where deep-fried malasadas (Portuguese donuts) are a Bermudian favorite, among other sweet treats. Great coffee and a convenient location alongside the central bus terminal also make this tiny café worth a visit.
Hidden away in the hallway of a retail building, Donna’s Café (61 Church St., next to Sports R Us, tel. 441/292-2009, 7:30 a.m.–3 p.m. Mon.–Fri.) is a throwback to the 1950s, with fluorescent lights and a simple row of revolving stools pushed up to the yellow linoleum bar. Breakfast sandwiches, burgers, and shakes are the menu favorites. Service is a no-fuss affair in the friendly hands of owner/manager Donna Warwick, who won a Best of Bermuda award for her burgers in 2005.
Billed as a taste of Barbados, Spring Garden (Washington Ln., tel. 441/295-7416, lunch 11:30 a.m.–3 p.m., dinner 6–10 p.m. Mon.–Sat.) specializes in Barbadian and Caribbean cuisine. Eat inside or out to the beat of Caribbean tunes in the pleasant garden, tucked away in the heart of Hamilton.
© Rosemary Jones from Moon Bermuda, 2nd Edition