A Little Gem on Barton Street
The Little Grasshopper | Hamilton, Ontario
This article also appears on TripAdvisor and Urbanicity.
Maria Celeste‘s family hails from Gafanha, a small town in northern Portugal. Hence, when her dream of opening a restaurant in Hamilton became a reality, the name “The Little Grasshopper” easily came to mind as it resembles the name of the town. (Grasshopper is “Gafanhoto” in Portuguese.)
At the age of nine she was introduced to her region’s family cooking with fresh ingredients. Practice eventually made perfect as she grew the confidence to now — with the support of her family — share her cuisine with the rest of the Hamilton community and beyond.
Celeste’s restaurant opened in March with a limited selection of food, served in a casual space, small but inviting. An open kitchen and a bar occupy roughly half the space and the dining room has about five tables. The space feels like you’re dining at home where great food is being cooked.
The menu was written on the wall but expanded during the summer to offer options for breakfast, dinner and the proverbial Euro- pean style aperitivo — that time of the day when people relax around a glass of wine or a vermouth and enjoy a social hour prior to a meal. (The closest translation would be “happy hour”.)
Celeste’s dishes are all traditional Portuguese cuisine with one or two cooked in the Azores style. One such dish is the octopus stew, a tasty and hearty stew made with octopus and potatoes in a delicious sauce begging to be eaten with bread and spoon — in that order. All food is fresh, portions are generously sized, and the meals are hearty enough to cater to almost any taste. There are a varieties of salads, fish and seafood dishes available fried or grilled, your choice. The wine list was limited at first but is expanding and consists of good quality, great value selections.
The Little Grasshopper is a place where one can either spend an afternoon drinking wine and sampling a variety of dishes, stop by for a takeout, ordering a delicious traditional Bifana sandwich (pork cutlets with fried peppers) or a beef a casa sandwich (famous Portuguese steak topped with a fried egg). It is becoming a familiar place to many and I saw chefs from the friendly competition enjoying lunch with friends at The Little Grasshopper.
This restaurant is a great addition to the north End in Hamilton and complement the other equally great restaurants in the city’s “Little Portugal.”