Personal opinion: Culantro Peruvian Cookery doesn’t get as much love as they deserve.
Located on Main Street East just past Wentworth, in the old home of Zum Linzer (a beloved restaurant of years past), Culantro may not be a restaurant you think of right away when the “What’s for dinner?” question comes up, but it should be.
The authentic Peruvian restaurant previously called the busy King William ‘home’, but changes on the street required a change for the Culantro team. Despite the big changes that have gone on in Hamilton over the last few years – and the change of location for Culantro – they haven’t let that change their product or service. It’s still delicious as ever.
The atmosphere in the space is still very much reminiscent of the Austrian Zum Linzer, from the dark wood walls and furniture. But the Culantro team has added in their own flair with authentic Peruvian décor like: woven tapestries and Peruvian plant illustrations.
Good news. If you have never tried Peruvian food, I find it’s a really approachable cuisine… especially with the talented Chef Juan Castillo at the helm. If you have tried it, congrats! You have already taken a step in the right direction. 😉
Their small, but mighty, menu is divided into three parts: Aperitivo (starters), Plato Principal (mains), and Plato Adicional (sides or extras). Each section offers four (or less than four) options each, meaning they are able to focus on doing these core dishes really well.
You can’t really go wrong with anything on their menu, but favourites include: Empanadas, Ceviche, Lomo Saltado and Yucca Fries.
At only $5.50 each, the empanadas are great on the wallet. Fried pockets of dough filled to the brim with stuffings (Carne, Pollo or Veg options) are available on their own or as a special with two empanadas and a side for $12.50. Daily, Chef Juan creates new empanada flavours such as lamb or duck.
The shrimp ceviche makes for a fresh light starter – with a citrus based dressing, sweet potato and corn, but the winner on the menu has to be the Lomo Saltado (stir fried steak with red onions, peppers and tomatoes, finished with a red wine vinegar and soy sauce and served with fries). For a meal under $15, this dish is impressive! All the ingredients come stacked on top of eachother, with an au jus style sauce over top. If you’re hungry for a new favourite, I would recommend this.
Culantro also has Peruvian music nights quite often – sharing their culture futher with the Hamilton community. Find out more about their events on their Facebook page.
Insiders Tip: there are six small parking spots at the back of the restaurant. Just head down the alley off Sanford.
Culantro Peruvian Cookery
537 Main Street West, Hamilton, ON
Tuesday to Saturday – 11:30AM to 10:00PM
Sunday and Monday – Closed