Best Places to Eat with Friends in Hamilton, for International Students
This is an update on our 20 delicious and affordable places to eat for International Students in Major Cities Around NZ blog that we created last year. This time around we are going to be more in-depth for each city and tell you the best places for breakfast, lunch and dinner in each of our major cities. In this edition we cover Hamilton, the smallest of the three major North Island cities.
1. The Sugar Bowl Cafe - 150 Maeroa Rd, Maeroa
No, it’s not the object in A Series of Unfortunate Events, it’s the fantastic café in Hamilton that is well-known for its sweet treats. The hot chocolate, waffles and cake are all delicious. On the savoury side the eggs are well presented, and the big sugar bowl breakfast is delicious. Prices are decent and while service sometimes may take a while, it’s because the restaurant is normally so busy!
2. Hayes Common - 33 Jellicoe Dr, Hamilton East
This popular restaurant has immaculate presentation, both foodwise and in the décor. Always an impressive atmosphere from breakfast to dinner, this is a great place to go if you are looking for a delicious breakfast, tasty brunch or early lunch. We recommend the superfood bowl, commoner and jerk chicken burger respectively. Alternatively, you can choose from a comprehensive vegan menu. Don’t miss out on indulging in the cakes, pastries and smoothies too! The owners are Lisa and Brett Quarrie, once owners of ‘The River Kitchen’, which can be found further down this list.
3. Cinnamon - 201 Sandwich Rd, St Andrews
A café on sandwich road? It was meant to be! If you are looking for a bagel, cabinet food or a fantastic coffee in the morning, then we can recommend ‘Cinnamon’. The staff are attentive, the atmosphere is warm and it’s a great place to visit to start your day off right.
4. Café Fresca - 78 Alison St, Hamilton Lake
An atmospheric garden bar with quality savoury food as well as decent cabinet nibbles. The staff are fantastic, and the coffee is also highly regarded. The café’s setting means that after your food you can take a stroll through the gardens.
5. The River Kitchen - 237 Victoria Street
First opened in 2007 this well-known restaurant has been consistently recognised as one of the top places to eat in Hamilton. The restaurant is now owned by former worker Maria Senear who has worked hard to continue growing the business. If you get in early you can take your pick from a comprehensive breakfast menu (highlights are the seasonal fresh fruit and Spanish beans) as well as counter food (including gourmet pies, salads and Turkish bread toasties).
1. Mexico Hamilton - 254 Victoria Street
When you are looking for a big lunch in the city, Mexico is the place to go. It’s the ideal location to catch up with friends and enjoy a drink and something to eat. Head in before the crowds at noon and make the most of the epic range of food and drink on offer.
2. The Chicken Couple - 49 Vaile St, Te Awamutu/Hamilton Gardens
Tony and Jeana are creators of ‘The Chicken Couple’. They are creating chicken based on Tony’s family chicken recipe from China and fusing it with Western flavour. Jeana used her business degree from Waikato University to get the business off the ground. Once based in Te Awamutu, their buttermilk fried chicken is an absolute must-try and can now be found at the Hamilton Gardens and select music events served from their trusty red kitchen trailer. All their chicken is halal and their packaging is made with biodegradable materials. As recent Uni graduates, they often have student deals available. We recommend the fried chicken wraps, chicken bao buns and chicken nuggets. We hope to see them in a permanent location in Waikato soon!
3. Dumpling House 香饽饽小吃 - 698 Grey Street
The dumplings, wonton soup and pancakes are the big drawcard of this Chinese restaurant. This is a great place to visit if you are after a cheap and tasty lunch. The casual dining experience and handmade dumplings combine to make a memorable experience.
4. Vegan Buffet - 148 Ward Street
Healthy food served since 1998 that changes every season and is available buffet style? Sign us up! Fully vegan, great service and the choice to eat-in or takeaway make this a great place to go if you’re looking for a guilt-free start to your day. Pay by weight and get reasonably priced Chinese vegan food – a great place to eat lunch.
5. The Kirk Café - 6 Te Aroha Street
One of the undisputed best places to eat in Hamilton, this café gives you art on a plate every time you order. Along with the impeccable presentation the food, atmosphere and service are all recognised as top-notch. A great place to come for brunch or lunch, we recommend the tandoori fried chicken burger and to try one of the many egg dishes on offer.
1. Dough Bros - 250 Victoria Street
Providing a lovely dine-in experience as well as takeaway wood-fired pizzas, Dough Bros live up to their name! It’s a great place to take a bunch of friends and share a pizza, drinks and some casual conversation together. Despite the wide range of pizza options with salads and other bites to try, we most recommend the gluten free toasted marshmallow and chocolate mousse pie dessert!
2. Turkish Kebab Shop – 149 Ohaupo Road
Great food and fantastic staff with the option of takeaway or eat-in all at a reasonable price. This kebab shop is the real deal. Come here if you after something quick and filling. The options are varied and can be tailored to your specific requests/dietary requirements.
3. Chim Choo Ree – 14 Anzac Parade
Located in the Brewery Building at Anzac Parade, this small but well furnished European/New Zealand style restaurant offers excellent food. Former owners Morgan Glass, Kimberly Higgison and Cameron Farmilo also founded Hamilton’s iconic ice cream parlour, Duck Island Ice Cream (the ideal dessert, consider this a bonus mention!) The new owners have continued the tradition of providing excellent food (for a slightly higher price).
4. Indian Star Restaurant & Bar - 20 Alma Street
Poetry in the name, poetry in the kitchen! Great option for dining in with a lovely atmosphere and riverside location, also the option to takeaway if you need to grab & go. Open till 10:30pm so great for a late-night meal and a large menu with plenty of options (including vegetarian, vegan, halal and gluten free).
5. Furnace - 150 Victoria Street
Pizzas, pastas, salads and dessert in a cosy setting on the river side. A visit to Furnace should be for a celebration as the steeper price point means that this will probably be a one-off for most students. The décor is stylish and comfortable, with room for small or large groups.
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