A Brief Summary of the Eateries in Hamilton.

Disclaimer: This page contains my opinions only and events that have happened to me. Comments in quotes are from personal correspondence and have not been verified by me. The views expressed here do not reflect the views of the University of Waikato. Reviews without a date are from last millennia.

Since the last time I managed to update this page was January this year, I have decided that I am retiring from the review business. Please take any review on here with a bigger pinch of salt now, as it is going to rapidly become out of date and obsolete. Oh, and Graphic Converter has stopped working it's batch processing, so no new photos either. It was fun while it lasted.
Happy Eating.
Cheers, Tim.

Food Pages link

Index

The five sections are Restaurants, Trendie Cafes/Bars, Lunchbars/Cafeterias, Other Food Establishments, and Non-Hamilton (i.e. Waikato) places. They are loosely organised from my most favourite to my least favourite. Note that unreviewed/new places are at the bottom of each section. Reviews of deceased restaurants reside here.

They are also indexed by Food Type / Nationality, Geographical Location and Alphabetically.

If you want a different set of reviews, try going to Do Lunch or Enjoy Waikato, or Dine Smart, or Dine Out (but don't ask me what the difference is between them).


Bona Fide Restaurants

Gothenburg

Where Shebeen was. With a name halfway between Batman's city and the bloke that made the press. Apparently a place in Sweden. This is fast becoming my favourite place. Had a great Swedish Christmas buffet there recently, and went once before and had the desserts which were awesome. Had food also, which was nice, but not as memorable as the desserts. Murray reports "I do think that you should try Gothenburg. Great tapas. Mains look good too, but not tried." [kinda reviewed June 2010]

Chim Choo Ree

Replaced the short lived Vibes (not to be confused with Vibe) - a cafe where La Commune/Jaycees used to be. Menu has meat in it, so maybe it will last longer than La Commune. Lianne says "YUM!! Deep fried rice balls with mozzarella in the middle, divine pork belly, tuna tartare, manuka smoked eel with scallops and liquorice powder and flourless whisky and chocolate cake with earl grey ice cream are just some of the delights on offer." Actually Viv and Mike came back from a meal there and raved about the place. Very interesting combinations but fabulous flavours. Has now moved to the old Waikato Brewery building, down by the Victoria st/Union bridge. Has a website. [not reviewed yet]

Master House Chinese Restaurant

New chinese place in Vic street. Went to Yum Cha here last sunday, and it was great! The food was very nice and the people were very friendly. And at the end of the meal, we found it was half the price we expected. The little dishes are only $3.00 each! So I would definitely recommend you try it out one day. The mains are good and generous, but you want to share them in the middle of the table - especially on the lazy susan. Got a nice email that said "its chinese name is 'Mei wei Ju', where 'Mei wei' means 'delicious' [and] 'Ju' means 'house'. if we translate it directly, it will be something like 'a house with delicious food'. its owner used to run a takeaway shop in central place." [last reviewed Jan 2007]

Indian Aroma

Where La Shiraz was. Went back a couple of times recently and they have improved - especially the Mango Lassi! You have to try the Mango Lassi from Indian Aroma, it is the best in town - yum. The menu has all the normal dishes, including a nice mango chicken. Mains were relatively well priced. Food is good, and the service is good. I would avoid the Tandoori Salmon, it is quite dry, very fishy smelling, the skin is inedible, and there are lots of bones, everywhere. Have either opened a new branch at 5-cross roads, or moved there. Must drive by the old place to check. Has a website. [reviewed June 2004]

Little India

Indian restaurant next to Cue Bar. Nice but noisy (read very noisy). Good food and they have a good variety on the menu. The Tandoori Mushrooms are good. The lassi is of the Easi-Yo variety. You don't get free poppadoms either. Has a web site. [last reviewed March 2005]

Adriana's

Italian food, at the pricier end of the market. The Bastarda seems to be the best bet for volume of food, and it has chilli as well. The Baby Chicken looked divine with lots of fiddly eating, but worth it. Has a web site.

Thai Orchid

In Ham East. Nice Thai food. Went there last weekend after a long gap. The soups were not as large as I remember, but still nice. In fact I felt the food overall had improved from my last visit - the Fish in Lime Sauce was much better than I remembered. I did feel the size of the meals was a bit small - for the four of us I really should have ordered a fifth main (which isn't such a hardship at $15 a main). And for rice that you have to order separately, I think they could have been a bit more generous. But lovely food. [last reviewed Feb 2003]

Nami

Japanese food on Hood Street. Rumoured to not actually be run by Japanese, per se (they are Korean, I have this from Jo, who used to live in Japan). The plastic food in the window was enough to turn me away, but it is nicer when it is real. The Shabu-Shabu is the best deal - you get a big bowl of water and get to cook all of the food on your table and then eat it. The $10-$12 "meals" are lunch sized - order two if you are a growing lad. The lunch deal is good. Has a teppenyaki set-up, but I have never seen anyone use it.

Em>Bar>Go

Bar & restaurant in garden place. I was disappointed the last time we went there. Granted it was Valentines day and busy, but not packed, but I was showing people the joy of Hamilton dining, and they were not up to scratch. Especially the Paella. Has a website. [last reviewed March 2008]

Palate

Used to be Curry Pavilion. Very posh looking, all in beige and cream. Menu looks very nice, but pricey - mains are all twenty-something to $30. It was pointed out to me that so are a couple of other places in town, but I don't complain about their prices, so maybe I just have to redefine what pricey is. Or start to complain that they are pricey too :-) We finally got dressed up and went, the food was lovely - my duck was gorgeous. As was the calamari. We got given a sample of soup that was nice too. We decided the baked alaska was the best dessert, followed by the creme brulee. Has now moved to Alma St, where Tables was. [reviewed Nov 2006]

Domaine

Euro-trendy cafe with everything done out in silver and grey, 2 doors from Memory Lane. I have heard that this has changed hands, so all previous notes are now not necessarily valid. Our food was lovely, and good value too. We ended up going back the next day for desserts as we had no room left. They have done away with the cake cabinet - but the dessert jamboree is a good replacement. The Submarino drink is also great - you get a drink, a toy, *and* a surprise! Went there again and the menu was exactly the same! Thankfully the food was just as good. [last reviewed Oct 2003]

Gengy's

Gengy's is a Mongolian hotplate restaurant. They have put their prices up, but now offer you 'free' things to tempt you in. This style of food is great, as you get to try a whole range of tastes. I find anything that starts with Teriyaki Sauce and Sesame Oil is normally great. The salads were worth missing, but the soups were okay. They have some pre-marinated meats, which was a great idea. The pancakes were nice, but with only 2 flavours of Ice-Cream, one of which is vanilla, you have to hope that the second one is nice. Warning, on a busy night, it can get real crowded, but normally quietens down by 8:30pm. Definitely worth a go. [last reviewed Dec 2004]

Lone Star

In the new building next to Scotts. A Tex/Mex chain. They don't do bookings, so be prepared for an hours wait at the bar. Dana says "I have one thing to say - BIG. The bread you start off with is about half the size of your standard bakery vienna loaf, which is fine in there are 6 of you but a little overwhelming if there are only two dining. The chicken mains come in a 3/4 size - I wouldn't like to see full size - if you're a small eater plan on sharing I guess. For all that though the food is very good, the atmosphere is pretty neat (check out the women's toilets - there's a fountain), and the service is excellent." I agree, except that the music does not create a good atmosphere for me, and they would not let me go into the ladies loo. The Dunedin branch has a web page and they have a web site. [last reviewed Mar 2008]

Furnace

New place just opened opposite The Bank. Seems to be run on identical lines to Iguana. Menu looks okay. Looks nice enough inside, although a bit large. Normally has some skanks hanging out on the stools at the front. We tried the Ribs, which were nice, but needed salt or just a bit more flavour. You get two dipping sauces, but it's hard to dip a rib somehow. They were quite pink in the middle and very greasy. Obviously not the slow-cooked variety. The stuffed mushrooms were nice enough. Not quite sure what they were stuffed with. The parmesan bread didn't appear to have any parmesan on it. But was nice, and bodes well for the pizza. The mousse was good, but the cheesecake was pretty rubbery. Has a website. [reviewed Nov 2007]

Pumice

In Church Road off Te Rapa. Not sure of the future of this now it has burnt down. I am going to leave the review up in the hope it gets rebuilt. Deli/bar/cafe. Deli & cafe one end and restaurant/bar at the other. We had brunch and it was pretty nice. The balcony is sunny but can be a bit windy. The salt and pepper in a bowl is nice, but one feels not very hygienic in this bird/swine flu era. The evening menu had some interesting stuff on it. The degustation was great. Nic who was at Canvas is involved with the Kitchen, so food should be good. Has a lovely web site. [reviewed Aug 2009]

Alehouse

One of the Speight's Alehouses. Between Countdown and Pack'n'Save. Our food was pretty good, and the ribs is a great feed. Not especially fancy but generous and tasty. And they have Macs as well as Speights, so not altogether a loss. Parking is horrible unless you brave the supermarket carparks. Recent visits have been good food, although service isn't always great. [reviewed May 2010]

The Eatery

In the wilds of Rototuna. Used to be Fuego, and before that the Grill and Chill place, or whatever it was called. Odd mixture between trying to be upper class and a family restaurant. Nominally Italian. Mostly spoiled by people dropping dumbells in the Gym upstairs. The food was nice. [reviewed sometime 2014]

Shinjuku

Japanese place on Alexander St opposite Little India. Menu is extensive and covers all the bases from Sushi & Sashimi, to noodles, bento boxes and set's. I think the bento box "meals" are better than the "sets". We had a lovely meal there - the tempura was gorgeous, especially the prawn - I even ate the tail shell, but not the head and feelers. They now have a liquor license. The plum wine was interesting, but tasted too much of almonds for my liking. [last reviewed Aug 23 2005 - Happy Birthday John :-) ]

Canton Hong Kong Restaurant

On Alexander St, just down from Little India. Used to be Magic Wok. Long menu of options. Went there for my birthday. All of the food was good. Generous portions, and good prices. service was okay. The salty chilli chicken is not very hot at all, with less heat than KFC hotwings. The squid was lovely. They had run out of a couple of things we wanted (Szechuan beef and spare ribs) but overall, we loved every dish we got. It's not as good as Magic Wok was, but still a good feed. [reviewed Jan 2007]

Viet Thai

Thai place in Hood St - used to be Thai Village (may still be given how many people write it as Viet Thai Village). Not sure if it still has the cutsie wooden huts inside Hopefully it is as nice as the old one was. [not reviewed]

Original Thai

Thai restaurant (duh!) where Number 8 used to be. Good service. Nice food, a bit limited if you don't like seafood. The soups were nice (although not quite as nice as the Thai Orchid), and the mains were good. I am told by Colin, who runs the place, that their Angel Wings are very popular. We tried a range of things that were nice, but did not try the Angel Wings, so I will have to go back and try it again sometime soon. Also, Jesse had a gorgeous curry (Gai Fai), and I want to go back and try it - it had three chilli's on the menu but was not too hot. [last reviewed Aug 2005]

Jaipur

Another Indian restaurant in North end of Vic St (next to Thai Classic & Burgerholics.) Food was good, service was a bit slow - lots of people using the takeaway service. My Rogan Josh was hot but not full flavoured, even tho I only asked for a medium. The naan, however, was excellent, very light and fluffy and the best naan in town. We went back recently, and the food was generally good. The naan was nearly as nice as I remembered. The mango lassi was much better. [reviewed Mar 2007]

Smith & McKenzie

New place in Linden Court, opposite Chartwell Square - I mean Westfields. Used to be Charthouse, or some Skippery-type name, and before that the Cobb & Co. Looks the same - a traditional family-friendly Kiwi restaurant. Although a 'chophouse' does not sound as exciting as a 'steakhouse' to me... Do a 500g steak which is as big as your head (and 4 days recommended daily protean intake!) - we tried this, and it was lovely, but you do get bored eating it, and I halved it with someone else. Be aware that when you order a steak, you need to order sides, since all you get is the steak. Has a website. [not reviewed]

Master Kong Restaurant

Used to be Victoria Chinese or New City Chinese Restaurant. Next door to Riff-Raff and the superloos on Vic street. Have ditched all the yellow chair covers. not sure what else has changed. Heresay from someone who works next door is that the food hygiene out the back is not so great. [not reviewed]

Cafe Alma (Novatel Tainui)

Went there for dinner (thanks Andreas). For all it is a posh restaurant, there is not a lot of atmosphere, and the chairs are uncomfortable. The meals were nice, but pricey - $8.50 for three italian breads that make cheeseburger buns look large. The Monster Op Rib was nice, my veal was not so great, although the sauce was good. Breakfast was okay but pricey. There is no way of speeding the toaster up fast enuff not to cause a small fire when heating the croissants. Kids, do not try this at home, either. The desserts were beautifully presented, yummy but smallish. Do not have lunch there the day after New Years - it was sad and expensive. Has a web site. [last reviewed Jun 29th 2004]

New Delhi Indian Restaurant

Now only available in Dinsdale or Beerscourt, since the Hood street shop closed. Went there (Dinsdale) last Saturday and the food was good. They do the best Onion Bhuji in town. The Korma and Sagwaala were really great. The Roganjosh was a bit watery, and the Butter Chicken was kinda tomato-ey - there is better elsewhere. The Mango Lassi is nice with cardamom, but I could live without the whipped cream on top. When we got takeaways a while ago, some bits were cold (and I was waiting in the restaurant for them to finish, so it is not like it was sitting there waiting for me. [reviewed June 2010]

Pattaya Satay Noodle House

Where Goanna and Montana was. Went there soon after it opened, and it was nice. The owner came out and was real friendly, and the food was good. Sorry this is so vague - I thought I wrote the review at the time, and now can't find it. Went for lunch recently, good food for $10. The chicken & sweetcorn soup was the nicest, although my won ton soup was nice and peppery. Mark says this is a great place, but then he doesn't order off the menu, just tells them the malaysian dishes he wants made. [last reviewed Dec 2004]

Vue bar

Used to be The Post. Pub food in the casino. More like the American casino food that is cheep and cheerful. Can get two meals for $10 if you cut the voucher out of the paper. Meat was a bit tough, but veges were nice. Very little atmosphere, but you can sit on the balcony and overlook the carpark/Waikato river. The view is better from the Deck on the floor above tho (and one feels the food probably comes out of the same kitchen). The food is cheaper with an action-card, which is free to join up to, so maybe worth doing just for that. [reviewed Feb 2009]

The Deck

New bar above the casino. Has a snack menu that has the usual bar snacks (about $6) up to steak & chicken mains at $18. The balcony is great, so I think this place will be worth trying out one early evening, just to sit and eat overlooking the Mighty Waikato river. [not reviewed]

Memory Lane

I see Valentines is moving in here. Not sure if that is an improvement, or not. It may in fact be the same buffet, and full of the same old people as before. [not reviewed]

Valentines

Valentines has moved to where Memory Lane used to be. Not sure what else has changed. Food is okay, atmosphere zip! Good range, but the cheeseboard was disappointing. Food can be sad depending on the time of day. The Mushroom Soup is good. Also the Hot Chocolate drink maker. Avoid any cocktail with sparklers in it. Has a website.

Galaxy

In Southern Cross Hotel. Used to be Wilson's Carvery? Another motel restaurant on Ulster st. [not reviewed]

Lady Chatterleys/Gamekeepers

Restaurant in the Kingsgate Hotel next to Spotlight (old Te Rapa Warehouse) and the IRD northern processing plant! Good food at not a bad price. Bar was pricey. Coffee was sad. Nice hot ham. Apparently they do gourmet pizza for Sat lunch. Have just won an award for the way they serve salmon. Has a website.

Gerards

I am always dubious about restaurants that are in hotels/motels. This one is on Ulster st. In the Barclay Hotel, I think. [not reviewed]

Palermos

ditto above. In Hotel Alcamo, which has a web site. [not reviewed]

Shakespeares Restaurant

Restaurant in the Grosvner Hotel, now under new management. I got a lovely email from the new Manager, who says "we are confident of our beautiful food product our new chef serves and he serves with all heart and feelings, do not know much about ingredients and therefore wish to put ourselves at your test." Has a web site. [not reviewed]

Western

Was Ru We Ru then Koreana, in the side entrance of La Grande Hotel (next to where i Japanese used to be) It is called Western, where the T is a cowhorn, but other than that it still looks like a dodgy asian restaurant. [not reviewed]

Golden Dragon

A Chinese place in 5 Cross Roads. It is a sit down smorgasbord, and does takeaways as well. It is nice and clean and bright, and reasonably priced. The diners were an odd mix, but then this is 5 Cross Roads. The food was nice, okay, not stunning, but a good meal, and a good range available. [reviewed March 2007]

Little Korea

Korean restaurant (presumably) in Vic Street down by Les Mills. Where VaniSra/Twin Thai used to be - not sure if it is the same people or not. Decor looks cheaper than VaniSra, or maybe it is all the same but just several years older. Haven't been close enough to check the new place out. [not reviewed]

Thai Classic

This is where Bayon Cambodian Cafe used to be, and it was hard work convincing Jacqui to go in, given the still painful memories of our loss. But life goes on, and you can't dwell in the past. It was okay. Sorry, nothing much else to report. The Tom Kha Gai was not as good as elsewhere - it was like packet soup, and missing something (Coconut cream I suspect) and it had whole chillies at the bottom, which meant it got hotter as you went down. It was a big bowl, but just sad. The mains were better, but if you do not eat seafood, there is very little on the menu you can eat. And the Pad Thai is hot, so even the old favourite is ruled out. and I found the tables too close together. Has a website that also mentions Baan Thai so they must be related. [reviewed July 2004]

Peng's Place

New Chinese place in Ham East, just down from Thai Orchid. Decor looked fairly ordinary, but I did not see a menu. [not reviewed]

Shan Yuan Chinese

Chinese place on Vic St. Was Hasan Baba. Lots of pictures in the window of chinese looking food. Reports from Emma and Pauline were very unfavourable. Now looks fairly dead - they have taken the sign down (so it says Hasan Baba instead). Although last night it appeared open for business, but was completely empty. [not reviewed]

Minsokchon

Where Maru/Gino Portafino was in Bryce St. Has asian writing in the window and looks like a sake & karioki bar. Very much like Maru but with a new name. Reasonable food for about $10 a pop. Rebekah wrote me: "Minsokchon has the quickest service I have experienced at any restaurant - we were brought our food within minutes of ordering. You can barbecue at your table (built in cookers), which is fun, and I would especially recommend the kalbi for this - it is delicious marinated pork. I would also recommend the dolsot bibimbap (hotpot mixed rice). This comes in a superheated stone bowl, and the food cooks together as you eat it ~ wonderful. Of course, every main course comes with copious side dishes in true Korean fashion. And the prices are very competitive, with huge meals for around $10 each." [reviewed Aug 2005, 2008 by rebekah]

Hindustan

An Indian place in Garden Place. Used to be Glamz, then 4 Muskateers. The indoors looks magnificent, full of red drapes and gold cutlery. The food was good, as was the service, but then the place was empty. We kept banging our glasses etc on the glass topped table, since it was deceptive where the table top was. [reviewed 2011]

Thai Express

Where Thai Sky/Siam Delight/Steampot Land used to be, next door to Master House. The food here is good, and quick, and close to takeaway prices, even tho you get to sit down. The Roti is the best thing on the menu. [not reviewed]

Baan Thai

Yet another Thai opening where the oddball burger place used to be at north end of vic street (further north than burgerholics, between the golf shop and the porn shop I think). They have renovated the front, so lets hope the inside has been done as well. And I guess I should hope the food is good. I do foresee that with all these Thai, some are going to go the same way as the rash of Indian restaurants that opened a couple of years ago. Now have a branch in the Bryce St "Food Lane" so must be doing okay. Has a website. [not reviewed]

Rebo

The Casino has opened a branch of it's Auckland Rebo bar/cafe in the Hamilton casino. I assume it has filled in one of the dead zones before you get into the Casino. The website has the fish'n'chips (tempura battered) meal at $22, so although they are touting 'without the expensive price tag', I am not so sure. Has now taken over the street front area that used to be the Belgian Beer place (Boo!). [not reviewed]

Portofino

Italian place on the ill-fated Le Grande corner. Was the short-lived Rendez-vous (French) and Sirocco (?) and Finn (Seafood) and Sands (??). Lets hope now that Le Grande is part of a chain of Hotels that the restaurant can work better - although I said that about the last place. [not reviewed]

Victoria St Bistro

Was Zeytin, then Vespa. After complete refit (again) it is now some sort of bar/cafe/bistro. Chair alcoves out front look nice but feel a bit exposed to the public. Did well in the last Monteiths Wild Food Challenge. [not reviewed]

BBQ Master

Next to Ronnies. Used to be Genghis Khan, but appears to have dropped the Mongolian feast act and concentrated on the Yum Char. Although if you want Yum Cha, then why would you go past Master House? [not reviewed]

Ibistro

Restaurant in the Hotel Ibis - keeping very quiet. Nice enough food, but you are eating in a hotel lobby. and for all you are right on the river, you don't see much, and there is a lot of road noise from the bridge. [reviewed May 2010]

Something that sounds like hookah pipes

Was Salt and Pepper. 'Restaurant' in the middle of the cafes out at The Base. Doesn't look that inspiring or popular. I see half of it is now another Indian (Aroma?). [not reviewed]

Yako's

Mediterranean place where Masala Club/Kazana was. Got an amazingly long review from Pilar from "the Spain that is by the Mediterranean in Europe... Just wanted to leave a comment saying that the food we had was excellent. The food they have at Yako's is completely mediterranean. It is spiced but not spicy, it is tasteful, fresh and hearty.  The food we had yesterday was excellent, well cooked, well presented and not expensive. People there were very nice and polite, food came at the right pace. I really think it is a taste of the Med in the heart of Hamilton. Worth the try, worth the adventure of going were nobody else goes." Thanks for the great review. I tried it, and it was alright, but not really worth the price. [reviewed May 2010]

Silk

I see The Zone has turned into an Asian restaurant. Looks very nice and posh. Has a webpage. [not reviewed]

Singapore/White House

For a short while the Singapore restaurant seemed to be calling itself the White House VIP Restaurant, which sounds like a euphemism for strippers given what the White House is in Auckland. Upstairs over Garden Place. Singapore used to be nice Chinese, so maybe it is just what it was before, but with a facelift/re-invention. Look out of the windows when you are there - the glass is so old that it has warped and distorts everything!

Three Leg Frog

Where Sohl/Oliveto/some weird 'art' gallery was. Sounds and looks Chinese. menu seems reasonable. Food was good. Although all of the fried noodles/rice dishes have seafood in them. [reviewed Aug 2012]

Zyka

New Indian restaurant, South End Vic St where Crazy Farmer/Armadillo/161/deVine/Wimpy was. Menu looks same same. Another import from Auckland. I didn't realise we needed another Indian restaurant in town, but here goes... Have a website. [not reviewed]

Vivo Kitchen & Bar

New Cafe in the Bryce St food lane. looks like upmarket cafe food. Has this already changed to be a Mozaik cafe? Have a website. [not reviewed]

Daikoku

Proper Teppenyaki-chef-cooks-stuff-at-your-table place in the new Bryce St food lane. Import from a bunch of Auckland malls. We did Teppenyaki here and it was great. The 'show' was fun, and the food was good, and you get it all for about $30. Have a website. [reviewed Mar 2012]

Hogs Breath Cafe

In Hood St, where the wine company was. An Australian import, for all that it is trying to be a generic American Diner. Say they do the best steak but lie. It was very average. If you like Lone Star, go here for the same but different. Have a website. [reviewed Jun 2011]

Homestead

Restaurant & Bar over what used to be the Video Eazy in Hillcrest - used to be Settlers/Boston. Looks and feels much like Boston, but did not look at the menu to see what had changed. Went there recently and they did nice Vietnamese summer rolls, so that was a bonus. [reviewed Nov 2014]

Flying Burrito Brothers

Mexican food, now open in Hamilton in the Bryce St food lane. Sadly, I don't think it is the same standard as their Wellington and Tauranga branches. Hopefully the chef et al will sort it out soon. It's still good, but not the excellence that I was expecting. Last nights effort was better. Have a website. [reviewed Mar 2012]

Lemongrass House

New place where Breakers was. At least they have ditched the incongruous surfboard decor. Looks like a nice Thai place. Let's hope it stays longer than Scotties. No, I think this also has changed names again. [not reviewed]

Chilli India

Indian place in Dinsdale (in the old Video Store). Advertises that it does a Thali, but only does it for lunch. Looks just like every other Indian place. Service was okay, considering I was the only one there. Food was good. My Sagwaala was very sweet, and for a "medium" it had no spice to it. [reviewed Feb 2013]

Ming City

Asian place opposite Flying Burrito Brothers on Bryce St. I think it is where PSIS used to be. Looks fairly standard Asian fare. [not reviewed]

Paasha

Turkish place on Hood St. Used to be a fireplace showroom. The shish on sticks was lovely, especially the chicken. The Boregi/Boragi were really oily. But overall a nice meal. I was really excited by the range of non-alcoholic drinks, until she basically said that they were all unavailable. boo. Has a web site. [reviewed Feb 2013]

Mexico

Was Sahara's Tent. Hamilton branch of an Auckland chain. I have mixed feelings about this - parts I love, and parts I hate. The food is very tasty, but the portions are small. More Tapas that solid food. I think we were supposed to drink a lot more. Now appear to have desserts, so maybe we should go back. Has a website. [not reviewed in Hamilton]

Banh Mi Caphe

Vietnamese place next to Master Kongs on Victoria St. Says it is opening real soon now. I heard a rumour that it is run by people who are not Vietnamese, whose other place is a trendy Cafe. [not reviewed]

Waraku - Japanese Izakaya

Used to be Chim Choo Ree, and before that the short lived Vibes & La Commune & Jaycees. Apparently they make Japanese Izakaya - whatever that is. I hear it is more a pub. [not reviewed]

Bikanervala

Where i Japanese used to be in Collingwood St. It has a sign and nothing else to distinguish it, or even identify what sort of food it does... [not reviewed]


Trendy Cafes & Bars

Scotts Epicurean

The new menu has some interesting choices, but doesn't have the Shri Lankan dish which was usually the best bet on the menu. Thankfully there is always Aglio Olio. The chocolate moose is the best dessert, when they have it. Very good food, nice coffee and the best hot chocolates in town! The black seats are the comfiest, and I personally like the table at the back by the window. If Scotts is full, try Jam or Scotts on Ward St, where you can even get take-home packs of some of their signature dishes. If Scott's do a "performance cafe" dinner, then do go along - they are excellent fun, and the food is gorgeous! [last reviewed Jan 2013]

Metropolis

Voted New Zealands Best Cafe for 1999! Good on ya! Seems to change owners and waitrons regularly. The express menu is faster than the main menu. The cone of fries with cajun sprinkles and aioli (yes - the side-kick from Hercules!) is very good. The cooked breakfast is great, especially the mushrooms - order one between two. Went there recently, the service and food was good. Try the mint Chocaholic, yummy. And the chocolate Lasagna (or ravioli). Has a web page. And a review. [last reviewed Jan 2010]

Grey Street Kitchen

Not to be confused with the River Kitchen. New cafe in Grey Street, where Saglik Cafe used to be many, many years ago, opposite the Eastside tavern. Yes, I have been here that long, cause you are all saying, "but it has always been a lawnmower shop". The desserts were stunning, and the hot chocolate was nice. It was nicer outdoors than in, but that could be summer for you. I was not so impressed with the meals - they were good, but not stunning. The menu has lots of Brekkie things, but not so much other. Although I am tempted by the mixed grill - yay meat! [reviewed Feb 2008]

Columbus Mega Cafe

In the Mitre 10 Mega at the Base. I see Espresso Garden has turned into a Columbus, but apart from the name and coffee brand, nothing else appears to have changed. Good food, and nice hot chocolates. lots of seating, and close parking. La tutti tutti is the best dish - although I wish that it was more generous - it's only spuds guys. It is a real shame that the plants are further away from the cafe, so all you actually look at are pots. [reviewed Jan 2013]

Sugar Bowl

In the wilds behind the football stadium. Found this place after it was highly recommended to us. Not a lot of seating, but they were friendly, and it was packed with happy looking customers. Next to a place that makes baskets of interesting goodies, so check out what interesting foodstuffs they have while you are there. We had breakfast there - nice meals, generous servings. Not too flash, but good food. This has become our favourite place for brunch. Try the creamy mushies with a side order of bacon. [reviewed May 2008]

Hazel Hayes

Where Flapjacks originally was on Vic St. Now a new cafe. Really nice food, and friendly people, and they have nice Chai. This is my pick for great interesting food. Currently doing $6 coffee and bacon buttie before 9am, which are great and so cheap! Has a website. [last reviewed Feb 2012]

Bluestone

Used to be the Abbey on Vic St. A steakhouse. The best bet was the steak cooked in a bag with the fancy name. We enjoyed it, but I don't think I would pay for the truly expensive steaks there. [reviewed on Gawains birthday, 2013]

Cullens

Modern cuisine. The food is good and not too pricey. The nz/asian mix works in many of the dishes, and their chocolate brownie is excellent. Had a bad experience one sunday avro, but I was tired and they did take some money off our bill. They will let you have coffee & dessert on the sofas, which is good. Went there on my birthday, and it was still good. The eye fillet stack entree makes a good light main if you are only peckish (or want 2 entrees and no main). [last reviewed Jan 2004]

Jam

Jam is the cafe in the Freedom Store on Anglesea St (used to be a BB's) and is bought to you by the good people of Scotts Epicurean. So we tried it and the coffee was excellent as usual, and the food was good. The menu is slightly smaller, but several of our Scotts favourites are on the menu, plus some extras. So if you can't find a table at Scotts, it is just a hop over the road (especially if you cut through the marketplace and Ebbetts). For a furniture store, Freedom does not have a lot of soft furniture around the cafe area, so it can be quite noisy with reflected sounds and conversations. So my hint would be for Jam to put some artwork on the big blank wall, especially sound absorbing textile or rug art. [reviewed Mar 2004]

Jam Basement Cafe

Jam are opening a branch where JBC used to be, cleverly with the initials JBC. Seem to do just sandwiches and soup, and coffee.

BurgerFuel

BurgerFuel has shifted out of Vic Street (boo), but still has branches at 5-cross roads and the Base. Good burgers. Pricey but very nice. The water is free and ask for a doofer. The Bastard is my favourite. Now has a "lite" menu of smaller burgers (not that much smaller from the looks). Has a website. [reviewed Mar 2007]

Jack's Coffee House

On Cambridge Road/Naylor St by the velodrome (used to be Zanzibar). Presumably real coffee for people who want to get off campus and away from the students & Grind/Momento (i.e. staff). Was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the food we had here. Was also surprised at how full of old people it was. Cabinet food runs through the kitchen also, so don't expect it to be any faster than stuff off the menu. Sadly we didn't have time for cakes, but they looked good. Apparently somewhere there is a Grace's Cafe, which is Jack's sister - literally (see below). [reviewed Oct 2007]

Grace's Coffee House

Got a nice email from the owners Stu and Leah Gillanders: "The new cafe is called Grace on Braid rd, and its at 29 Braid rd, St Andrews. Grace keeps the same hours as Jacks, ie closed on monday and tuesday, and starting this week we are doing nights on fridays and saturdays at Grace." Went there and it is pretty nice. little bit cramped, and the glasses for water are tiny. but the food was nice, and I could be tempted to go back for dinner. [reviewed March 2010]

Barzurk

Gourmet pizza. Actually the best dish is the salads. The cranberry pizza is nice, the salmon isn't and the fetta is just plain salty. Watch out for pizzas with lettuce on them. Still a good place, but too hot in summer. Thankfully they have stopped sprinkling lots of parsley over *everything*. Yay! [reviewed Nov 2004]

Nitro

Was Go Vino, where Milan/Saffron was. Still sells tappas food so not sure what has changed. Go Vino had nice mushrooms and bruschetta. The trick with tappas is to go with a few people so you can try lots of different things. Apparently Nitro does/did frozen cocktails in liquid nitrogen, hence the name. They were out of Nitro the one time we went to try it out. [not reviewed]

The Bank

Get onto the Banks mailing list - it is full of great deals. Food is okay and generous. The Nachos are huge but bland. Has had a refit inside so less of a niteclub and more place with giant deer heads and bookshelves on walls. Food was decent, especially the ribs, but the icecream with the dessert was cheap as. Has a website. [last reviewed Nov 2011]

Iguana

Went there last weekend. It is amazing that it has not changed one bit. Still as slow as ever. The food is yummy. The service is not great. They forgot part of our order - they were very apologetic, and we got a $10 discount of our next visit, but we still have to go back... Try the caramelised onion flat-bread (pizza). Be aware that you can get a second 'hot-rock' when your first one gets cold and looses it's sizzle. Has a website. [last reviewed 2008]

Machina Espresso + Deli

New Cafe in London Street (about where Happy Harries Suparoo was - new readers look confused now). Looks industrial trendy. Mostly do cooked breakfast and panini for lunch. Best deal is the mini-platter for lunch, an excellent pile of interesting bits, pickles, sauces & bread, for only $8! My coffee was one of the nicest in town. [reviewed Nov 2002]

Hydro Majestic

Trendy cafe on the corner above Wellington Street Beach. Down the road behind KFC & The Cypress Tree. Even with the extensions, it is often jam-packed - Book ahead! Food is great and it is nicest sitting outside. I like it but it is getting a bit pricey. Friends who have moved into that street say it is not quite so great anymore. [last reviewed Aug 2009]

Grillers

Next to whatever the church on Vic St is now. Used to be Gourmet Burger, can't see much has changed - the menu is nearly identical. Like Burgerholics, only with more places to sit down. Focacia bread was nice. Good food, reasonable prices. They also do a couple of mains, but it looked a better bet to get the burgers. Did breakfast here recently, and it was quite reasonable. [last reviewed Aug 2004]

Momento (ex Rocket)

Was the Hamilton landmark Rocket Cafe. Glen emailed me recently to inform me that "We sold the cafe to the Momento folk in 2001. You can still buy our coffee there and at various other outlets". He also informed me that they do not 'burn' their Rocket coffee next door. Sorry Glen, it smelt burnt to my untrained nose :-) Tried the Brazilian 'sipping' chocolate, which was hot and thick and gooey, but not as sweet as we expected - New Zealands used to sweet Cadbury dairy milk, although it is not as bad as Hersheys for being pumped full of sugar. The food was good. We skipped the coffee's, so I can't comment on that. Has a website. [reviewed April 2007]

i Japanese Cafe

So i Japanese Cafe has moved up onto Victoria Street. I assume it is the same as before. This place is quite nice - nicer than the menu makes it sound. I had the lunchbox, which was nice but overpriced. The chicken dish written in hard to read grey at the bottom of the menu is the best (and good value too), or the udon noodle soup.

Espresso Workshop

A Trendy cafe in Te Rapa strait, open for lunches & sells Coffee machines. Started by the folks that bought you Diggers. This was really quite nice. The food was good - the stuff in the cabinets looked great. The menu is very limited. Coffee was as good as in town. But don't look at the prices of the cups you are holding, as I nearly dropped my cup in shock. Now open again after someone kindly drove through the front of their store [reviewed April 2004]

Momento (one of them anyway)

Up by the Hospital, used to be Syrup. This was okay as a trendy coffee shop - The coffee was good, esp. the chai latte. There seemed to be only food cabinet on offer, and it was okay. After we had eaten, we saw someone get a salad, and that did look good, so maybe we should have looked a bit further. Grind on campus also has the same name, and another is the old Rocket in Hood St - they're everywhere! In fact I see from their website they are in Ulster St soon as well, looks like the old Food To Go place. [not reviewed since it changed]

Traffic

Where Heart & Soul was on the corner of Collingwood & Alexander Streets. Has a sign that looks like it says 'Frallic'. Looks like a trendy cafe, smells like a trendy cafe, etc. Anna says "Traffic is great! New owners since *about* May 2005, Debbie and Pete, Great people! Fantastic food, I'm a repeat Traffic offender, I'll be there almost every weekend for brunch. The menu is good with a good range of options, from muesli and pancakes to the 'Big Breakfast', which is BIG and beautiful, but you can choose variations of it and cut items off. Also on the menu is panini's, salads and bagels. A side from the menu they have a lovely cabinet always full of enticing things, from cakes and biscuits to salads and my current favourite the 'Tortellini Stack'. I definitely recommend it." Phew. Sorry Anna for my entry being so short. Went there and it was nice, but I wouldn't rave about it. Is getting a renovation, so not sure what it will reopen as... [reviewed Sept 2006]

Dora's

New cafe opposite Wintec in Collingwood St. Looks like a nice place to sit & drink coffee. Voted 7th for top coffee in the Wintec rag (Third Degree). We had breakfast there one day and it was nice - slightly unusual fare, but you pay for it. [reviewed Aug 2005]

St Lazarre

New cafe in Casabella in Barton Street, often just called the French cafe. Does great coffee, and the food was really good. The place was packed, and seating is not great, but service was good, and they were nice and friendly. The hot fresh croissants for $4 are great! Park on Alexander St and walk through. [reviewed Mar 2007]

S'Orbi

Used to be Ruby Black's, On Peachegrove Rd, beside the East St dairy. Has a nice outside area, wich used to have a sandpit to dump the small kids in, so is good if you have small kids to get rid of, but avoid if you want to avoid small kids. Ruby Black's food and service was good, but I cannot say about the new incarnation. Okay, this is run by Maggi's catering, who also run deVice Cafe at Waikato Innovation Park, and the food there is quite reasonable, so this should also be as good. [not reviewed since changing name]

Rocket Espresso Bar

Rocket itself has changed into another 'Momento', but the Ham East branch still has the Rocket moniker. Most people go for the coffee. Has more seats next door. We tried the bacon and mushroom sammie, and were disappointed - it had everything from the description but was just a bit bland and sad. slightly burnt ciabatta, bland bacon, and the mushroom was warmed but not cooked, so leaked water everywhere. Always full of EW staff. [last reviewed Jan 2007]

Casa Linga

New place in Claudlands, on the corner leading to McDonalds bridge (which I will have to rename I guess, now that there is no longer a McDonalds on the other end of it). Looks to be run by the people from Food To Go. Nice food, seemed reasonably priced. We had a small wait for our food, but the waiter apologised. Seems very popular. Didn't have a coffee, so can't comment, but the cakes were nice. [reviewed Dec 2006]

Strata Cafe

Have moved to the Med Centre in Hood Street. Run by a guy who is heavily into hot air balloons (and helps organise the Hamilton hot air thingy). The food was good, although not especially cheap. My coffee was okay. Had a chai in the new premises, and my above sentence still applies, but I guess if you are hanging around an A&E, you can't/won't be too choosy. The food here is large/generous, but not especially great. The pancakes are huge, but floury. They advertise Ghirardelli iced chocolate (yay!), but the hot chocolate is Cadbury's (and I thought the milk was too hot). Has a web page. [last reviewed Jan 2008]

Slice of Italy

On Heaphy Terrace. A nice cheap and cheerful pizza place run by an Italian, unlike Fusion. The garlic pizza was good and the Tiramisu was great! [reviewed Nov 2014]

Scooters

A cafe on the corner of Pembroke St, where Scoff was originally. Ironic, since Scoff were moved along to make way for a Pharmacy. Food was quite reasonable. Cakes were nice. didn't have a coffee - sorry. Has lots of gluten free foods, including the option of GF toasted sandwiches - if your that way inclined. For a place named Scooter (from the shop next door), you would have a hard time getting a mobility scooter in through their door. [reviewed Feb 2008]

The River Kitchen

The older 'new' cafe in half of what was Esscaba, which was half of the Le Grande cafe. Really enjoyed the food we had. Can't comment on the coffee, but it sounded nice. I get lovely emails from the owners sister, so go and try it. won Cafe of the Year 2010. Went again recently and it was still nice. [reviewed Nov 11]

Piccola

The other half of what was Esscaba, is now an Italian place. Opened for the V8s. Looks like it just does pizza and wine. Will have to try authentic pizza, although I think I am too bought up on the Kiwi style pizza to go back to one-topping pizzas. [not reviewed]

Crave

So it appears that Crave is in Rostrevor St, in what was the Hula Cafe place. And the old Crave cafe in Sandwich Road, St Andrews is now Cinnamon. Has a website. [not reviewed]

Zinc

In Queenwood shops. Formerly the Platter Place. Revamped into a bar & cafe now. Went here for breakfast, and I must say we were underwhelmed. It might all be free range/organic foody stuff, but it was pricy, and fairly ordinary. Also, the presentation, especially the pancakes, was not much. The big brekky is fine, but at $22, should be more than what I got. Maybe the lunch and dinner is better. Poor seating for such a posh place. Have a website. [reviewed Feb 2013]

Zee Cafe

Advertise lots on the radio - out past Hardly Normal. Not sure if it counts as a trendy cafe, but they push the coffee half of it. Also they don't open on weekends. [not reviewed]

Agio Cafe

In the building that has a huge sign outside that says Modena, so not sure why it can't be called Modena cafe. On Te Rapa Straight. Jacqui ate there and said it was fine. Usual cafe-style place. [not reviewed]

Impresso Cafe

Have a branch in Rototuna, and a branch at Davy's Corner, which I normally see on the way to Chartwell. Looks like a nice cafe. It is never open when I am wizzing past to the movies. Has a website. [not reviewed]

deVice Cafe

At Waikato Innovation Park, run by Maggi's catering, who also run S'Orbi. Ate there recently and the food was quite reasonable, especially the cakes. Have a website. [reviewed Dec 2010]

The Flames

In the Hood St Market where Mexicomidos/Al Dente/Prawn Bar & Grill was. Their website makes it out to be a BBQ Steak place, but it is all over the place and even offers pizza. [not reviewed yet]

Butterfingers?

North Vic St. I need to double check, but this appears to have turned into an Indian place specialising in Biriani. [not reviewed]

Mozaik

New place out at The Base/Te Awa - I assume it is a trendy cafe. Part of a chain that has branches everyone. Has a website. [not reviewed]

Mavis/Clarence

New place behind the round video eazy (that is no longer a video eazy). Does great cakes and sweets. not so much food tho. My baked beans were boring - supposedly homemade but could have just come out of a can. Rest of the food was okay tho, and the cakes are pretty good. They do Tapas on fri/sat nights under another name (Clarence). This was good. [reviewed Jan 2013]

Joe's Garage

Where Brewtique was in the river end of Bryce St. Apparently a cafe and not a garage. The inside of this place is nice. The chips were great but the burger was a little underwhelming, especially for the price. Someone said the pizzas were good. I am amazed that considering they serve hotdogs and things in buns, and they are called "Joe's", that they do not offer sloppy joes!?!? [reviewed feb 2013]

Peppercorn

Cafe at Beerscourt, next to Hector Hortons wines, used to be Suburbia. Hmm, I think this has changed names again since then. [not reviewed]

Lola

On Dinsdale roundabout. Used to be Savage Rock/Cafe Vetto. Have repainted the signs, but cannot tell what else has changed. [not reviewed]

Cinnamon

Cafe in Sandwich Road, used to be Crave, then a bakery, now back to a cafe. Had lots of people, so must be popular. [not reviewed]

The District

Cafe in Te Rapa, opposite Bunnings. Very foodie, with visiting celebrity chefs etc. Food was good, but I don't think it will be a favourite for me. Has a website. [not reviewed]

Escape &at; 12

Or some silly name like that. Cafe opposite the courthouse. Thought it was more foodie than it actually was. [reviewed Nov 13]

Land of Milk and Honey

Cafe at the top of a building overlooking Garden Place. Sadly the lift doesn't go all the way to the top floor. Mostly cabinet food. but a great view. Has a website. [reviewed Dec 13]


Other Food Places, some mistakenly called Cafes.

Chef's International

Used to be Gigilo's. Does Indian and other international stuff (the chef used to be at La Shiraz when it was good). This place is excellent - great value and the food is very good! Even better now you can sit indoors. Jacqui thinks that they do the best Butter Chicken in town, and that is saying a lot with the competition around. Does evening meals and you can now sit inside. [last reviewed Dec 2006]

Szechuan Style

Little place in Collingwood st. Was packed with asian looking people when I tried to go there last week, which is usually a good sign. Apparently the cold chicken dish at the top of the menu is excellent. The Szechuan chicken is amazing - a huge pile of chilis, although the dish is not so hot itself - and at the end you have enough chillies to fill a whole container with them. The Kung Pow chicken is also worth a try. Sadly the cumin seed lamb was not as good the second time around. The Fish is fairly amazing, but at $40 feels a bit pricy. [reviewed Dec 2010]

Tuk Tuk

In the Casabella lane. Used to say it was Vietnamese food, but now just appears to be Thai. Excellent food, and good value. Also does evening meals and the menu is the same. The mixed entree platter is great at $6. Do try it. Also the Taro & Peanut entree. Now have a takeaway-only branch in Beerscourt, and one in Dinsdale. Although we have been not as happy with our Dinsdale one recently. [last reviewed Feb 2008]

Theobroma Chocolate Lounge

Mall chain chocolate shop/hot choc cafe, a la Max Brennan. The larger one comes with a candle to keep it warm. The chilli choc is okay, but the only real heat is the raw chilli powder sprinkled on top, so don't breath in when you take a sip! Has a website. [reviewed May 2003]

Sushi One?

The Kobe in the Clyde St carpark in Ham East is now just a plain and boring sushi place. Not sure about the Hood St one opposite Centreplace, but I think it has also changed. [reviewed May 2003]

R & R South Indian

South Indian Restaurant on the corner of Clyde and Peachgrove. Good food by all reports, well at least cheap and tasty. [not reviewed]

Royale

Apparently the people from R & R restaurant have set up this one and sold the old one. The food was good-ish, and you can eat lunch for under $10 if you are choosy. The lassi was nice. [reviewed Dec 09]

The French Tart

Got an email from the 'new' owner Paul (since mid 2008), who says it is quite different now to when I reviewed it in 2007. Down on River Road, just by Fairfield bridge. I will have to pop in and try it out again. The food here was nice, although the non-tart food was a bit pricey. Friendly service, and we loved the Passionfruit Spider/float, but a pricy $4. The Tarts were nice, but they did not have anything really fancy the day we were there. [reviewed Jan 2007]

Kino

Sushi place in Casabella lane (Barton st). Nice place with good sushi. The Chicken was nice, as was the dumpling. Has a menu of noodle dishes as well, but I did not try them. Is busy, which is always a good sign. Now twice as large, so they must be doing well. Also has opened a branch up on Vic Street next to McD's.

Wongs

Small asian takeaway in 5 Cross Roads (some relative of Wei Minns). And does chicken bits/nibbles. Food was very generous, reasonably nice, and some were in nice plastic bowls. Did seem to be adding lots of mysterious powders, so assume it has msg or somesuch. Also one just over the railway overpass from Frankton. [reviewed March 2010]

Sushi-Ya

Used to be the Korean Cafe. I assume it does sushi...Ya! Okay, so I have since found out that the place you buy sushi from is called a sushi-ya. [not reviewed under this name]

Steamboat/Khmer

With the name written in odd letters (looks like Xhmer). In Vic street down by Metropolis. A Noodle bar. Food is good, and cheap. Atmosphere zip. The normal soup is a bit bland, but they do give you soy sauce, lemon juice and chilli sauce on the table. The satays and fried noodles are good. The lemon drink is very nice - try it! Now has a fancy sign saying "Satay Noodle Steamboat House", so I think it has changed hands, but the menu looks very similar... or maybe just advertising a different way. Katie says "My Boyfriend and I discovered it one night and it's our regular on nights when we have no money but want Really yummy quick food. The chicken noodle soup is simple but really tasty and filling and the sweet and sour satay chicken is great (as are the thai dishes we have had so far)". [last reviewed Sept 2004]

Sierra

Fairly pedestrian cafe in Barton Street. Can't seem to go past without saying "Phew, Sierra!" Ah, the days of misspent youth gaming. It is good in that it has lots of seats, so you can usually find a place. [reviewed sometime in 09]

Sushi Club

Used the be the Cafe Indulge/Red Copper Kettle. Never really was a good coffee shop, so lets hope the sushi has more luck. It seems a running trend that many cafes and closing down and turning into sushi places.

Ronnies Cafe

Used to be the Riviera Cafe. An import from somewhere else - there is one in Morrinsville and Matamata. Seems to be popular. Please put an apostrophe where you feel it is appropriate.

Caffe Centrale

Went there because Andreas said it was an Italian restaurant and the salad he had was nice. It still has a lot of mexican, but without their mexican names. And italian and kiwi food. The Avocado fish was very good, but my gnocchi in sauce was boring - just gnocchi in sauce, nothing else. The mexican cheese dip (chilli con queso I presumed) wasn't as nice as Eldoradoes used to do. In total here-say mode, someone emailed me to say a friend of theirs emailed them (lost yet?) to say that it was great Italian.

Starbucks

The great Americanisation of New Zealand is now complete. Starbucks has now opened in Ward st. So how is a frappacino different from an iced coffee? Answer: It's sweeter with more cream and froth. The muffins were large. I'd like to say more... but they were just large. Has a website.

Momento (second one)

In the 'fabulous' new shops at uni. Used to be Grind. Not a lot of atmosphere, but convenient. Had a burger there last night and it was quite decent - especially the curly fries. Although the $10 burger and fries looks a better deal. Recently we have been having issues when they close on friday afternoons. If you say you are open until 5pm, then be open until then. [reviewed Sept 2009]

Cafe 547

Cafe 547 is actually at 529 Grey St (obviously Cafe 529 sounded naff) [see the attached Hospital thingy at 547 Grey st] Lots of radio adverts, although do you really want to eat somewhere where "... the food, it all lingers". My Chai Latte was scoldingly hot, but nice (when it was cool enough to drink). Food was cafe-style and okay, but we only ordered from the cabinet, so maybe the menu is better. Apparently now do chocolate thingy's. [reviewed April 2003]

Urge

Now this gets confusing, Urge used to be the Burton Hollis Coffee Specialty Shop round the corner in Garden place, but then they opened the Victoria Street branch, and now the old shop has changed its name to le Petit espresso bar then Harlem. Has a website. [not reviewed]

Harlem

In the old Urge/Burton Hollis Coffee Specialty Shop. Used to be le Petit espresso bar. Only has space to do espresso from the hole in the wall. [not reviewed]

The Garden Terrace

Was the Turtle Lake Cafe, in the Hamilton Gardens, next to Turtle Lake. Obviously the Food & Wine Festival fiasco killed the old cafe. Lets hope the service also has improved. Currently has music for the Ham Gardens Summer Festival. Has a web site, which is somehow related to Adrianas. [not reviewed]

Mall Coffee

Emily said: "I was just wondering why Robert Harris Centre Place and Downtown Plaza and also Central Perc in Centre Place do not feature in your reviews? How does one go about getting reviewed?". and I said "Mostly cause I haven't bothered mentioning them." So now I have. Happy now. I have even got an email from Scotland defending Robert Harris. They serve stuff from glass cabinets and coffee. All right, call me a snob then.
The one in Centreplace plaza (that used to be Central Perc) - Coffee Club - looks much like before, for all the complete refit.
BB's are almost everywhere. I even have a coffee card from BB's that has a free coffee on it (given to me by a friend who was leaving the country) and I have not been bothered to cash it in yet.
What I want to know is why do muffins come in a bezillion sweet flavours and only one savoury flavour?! and why do they have to have so much baking soda/powder in them. [not reviewed because I am a cafe snob]

Agora

Karyn Williams said "You may wish to add the Cafe next to Boutique Cakes in Frankton ( Kent Street ). They do the best date scones, seafood chowder ( Only on occasion ) biscuits and cakes to die for, and the best moccas and hot chocs......." Finally went for a walk through Frankton market just to find out what the name of this place was. Looked nice, especially as it was raining. Went to go there last Sunday only to find that it is a church on Sunday and not a cafe at all. So don't try going there on a Sunday. Went back recently and it was quite good, although the readings on the walls are kinda depressing. [not reviewed cause it was a Sunday]

Vetro

Opposite countdown in Anglesea st. Sells Mediterranean foodstuffs (lots of types of pasta and pasta sauces), pickles & olives, etc. and has a limited cabinet of food you can eat there with your coffee. Food was okay, but not stunning. Range might be better if you go earlier. For all that it sells pasta and pickles and crostini/grissini, there wasn't an antipasta platter, or somesuch, in the cabinet. There was a bowl of pasta with vegetables (olives, artichokes) stirred through. But it would be better to see a menu that utilised the exotic stuff you can buy in packets on the shelf. [reviewed July 07]

Mr Milton's Canteen

Was Paris, then Lexa but it has changed names again... Small place on Alexandra Street. Don't know who goes there, unless it is people in the apartments upstairs. [not reviewed]

Bananaa Leaf

Yes, it is like banana but with too many a's. Indian place in Ham East where Goodfellas and Curry Pot was. Nominally South Indian food. The butter chicken was pretty thin and watery, but the saagwalla and mango chicken were okay. Really don't know if we need another Indian in Hamilton. [reviewed Nov 2014]

Babaganush

Cafe place in Ham East I never bothered with (A Robert Harris, or somesuch) turned into a cafe, that I think I poked my head into once, then went back to Grey St Kitchen. Has now turned into Babaganush. No idea what it is like inside, cause it was raining so hard I didn't bother crossing the road. Apparently you have to go up to the counter to order food, so a cafe not a restaurant. Menu looks more dinner-like than lunch, with dinner prices also. [not reviewed]

Rawhiti Cafe

In Frankton, next to the model shop. Looks more lunchbar than cafe. [not reviewed]

Smo's/Jukebox Diner

Cafe in the old railway buildings off Rifle Range road. Seems nice enough. I think this has reinvented itself as an American 50's Diner with a huge jukebox on top. We saw the buffet breakfast, which was all you can eat, but very limited and pedestrian food. hopefully the stuff off the menu is better. [not reviewed]

Coffee Club

This is a cut above the normal mall coffee places - not least cause they make some dishes fresh when you order it. not just rehashed counter stuff. And they have comfy seats normally. The sweet chilli pizza bread thing is good.

Agenda

The front half of the Outback is trying to set itself up as a pub for professionals, with a table-wait service. Will wait and see if it helps their reputation. I see it does food. We almost got enticed in by some friends who were brunching there, but we had a previous engagement. Must be better than I thought since it is still going and looks busy. [Not reviewed]

Hamilton Happy Day

'Happy Days' are here again, as it were, but apparently not the same as the Happy Days that was there. Kremlin Bar/Palladium has reverted back to a buffet food place. Apparently does a mix of everything from Roasts, to Indian, to Chinese. Still looks like a dark hole when you peer into the gloom from the street, and the front is now a dairy/shop. [not reviewed]

Some Sushi place

Used to be the Frankton Junction Cafe then Kwizeen. Now just looks like a (slightly sad) ordinary sushi place.

Kismet

Used to be Salma's Rasoi Indian cafe in garden place. Don't know if it still does Thali (banquets of various samples) of various sizes on metal plates. For the extra ten steps, go to Chef's Kitchen instead. I think Salma's Rasoi has ended up in the back row of shops at 5 crossroads.

Te Awa Kuini (The River Queen)

A new river cruise now that the Waipa Delta has gone to Auckland. Says it does a BBQ sausages cruise at lunch and maybe a breakfast cruise soon. The Hangi'n'History cruise sounds interesting. Have a web site. [reviewed Feb 14th 2005]

Cafe Francais

Was B.B.C (and the Admirals Arms pub before that), opposite Victoria Cinema. Presumably does French food. I liked BBC, for all that it had pokies in the corner. Wonder if it still has them now? [not reviewed]

Velo Espresso

A bike and coffee shop in Garden Place. Used to be the Silver Surfer. I guess you can go in there for a flat (white) with your flat. badum-chah. [not reviewed]

Coffee And Food Establishment

In Hood St. Cleverly spells C.A.F.E. Presumably sells coffee and food and is an establishment. [not reviewed]

Yum

Great name, dunno what the insides will be like. Little Asian place opposite Le Grande. [not reviewed]

Hungry Birds

Hole in the wall in Garden Place. Cute name, but not much else to recommend it. [not reviewed]

Victor's Place

When you search on Google, it says that it is Hamiltons best roast duck and dim sum, although on their website they tone it down to "legendary". Hopefully this has replaced Vegan Buffet/Chinese Healthy Vegetarian Food (cause it was a crap place, not cause of it's vegan/vegetarian-ness). Will let you know when Sheree or Simon tells me how it was. Has a web site. [not reviewed]

LK Coffee Hub

Next to KFC in Hamilton East - used to be Cyprus Tree/Ziglinis. Looks like a standard cafe. [not reviewed]


Pubs, some of which serve food.

House

Don't think it was named after the music. Used to be the Loaded/Old Hog, but dropped the franchise. Then had a competition to come up with a new name. and sadly all they could come up with was 'the hog'. The food here is pretty good, and although the menu doesn't change, it just lists a bunch of ingredients and I am told that what they do with them changes regularly. Which is a shame if you liked the onion rings they used to have, cause they may not be like that next time you go. [reviewed late 2010]

The Cook

New cafe and bar in Cook Street in the old Buffalo hall. It's a step up from a beer barn, but I would say it feels more like a bar than a cafe. The food was good last time I went there, but then I was very hungry. Our steaks were fabulous! The small platters look huge too. The garlic & lemon pepper wedges were a bit lacking on the garlic sauce for my liking. And for all it is not in town, the parking is horrendous. I hear a rumour it is now bought out by the Good George people. Has a website. [last reviewed May 2007]

Cock and Bull

Out past the Base. Does good pub food. The cheesy garlic bread is good. So is the Yorkshire pudding. I don't think much of the atmosphere, but it is good for a bunch of people, especially if some of them like beer. Now seem to be sending me emails that annoyingly look like spam. [reviewed Oct 2008]

Danny Doolans

Pub on the corner of Hood St and Alexander St that used to be C.B.D. Looks interesting, and the tables outside are normally full, which bodes well. Has a facebook page. [reviewed Feb 2010]

Londoner

Where Armadillo's was. Does reasonable pub food. Not much atmosphere, but they do try. [reviewed a while back now]

Bar 101

Was Spirit'd. Don't think they bother with food anymore. The people have ripped the guts out of the grotty pub that was there and added lots of windows to make a very nice place. Shame it only has bar stools. I do hope the pool tables are still free to diners. [not reviewed]

Still Working/Manuka Pizzas

Still Working is reinventing itself with Manuka fired pizzas. They were pretty nice, not stunning, but a lot better than the surroundings would leave you to believe, and a good price. Industrial looking pub with lots of blue-collar types in it. Not rough, but a bit of a culture shock. Used to do bikini and topless waitress nights, not sure if they fit the new theme. [reviewed Jan 2013]

tdo (The Dinsdale Office)

Has gone upmarket, and does food now. Still a pub tho. Went there on a tuesday - the place was quiet, but the bar staff didn't feel like making an effort when we first walked in. The food was reasonably good - we had the special twice-cooked pork, but it was not very spicy/flavoursome. Certainly not in the league of the porkbelly at Metropolis. But it was better than I expected. Will probably go back and do more normal food there, seeing as it is the closest thing we have to a 'local'. Yeah, was worth a second visit. Now pushing their 'beer-can' chicken. [reviewed Aug 2008]

Bahama Hut

Used to be Revert, then Fuel. Now is a student bar. Dunno if it does food at all. I left after 5 minutes on the pubcrawl as it was far too smokey and loud, especially for the dozen people they had in the bar. Loud noise and a smoke machine does not make up 'atmosphere'. The swings at the bar are a bit tacky. [not reviewed]

The Riv

Anyone fondly remembering the original 'Riv' pub should stop reading now. Pub amongst the shops in Ham East. Okay when I was in there last, but that was a couple of years ago, and they have been putting some effort in lately (or at least advertising lots). Somewhere near/inside this is Two Birds, which everyone says is AWESOME! But no-one has taken me there, so I wouldn't know. Has a website [not reviewed]

Eastside

Pub food at the Eastside Tavern. This was a lot nicer when I tried it recently. Give it a go. [reviewed Jan 2005]

Outback/Agenda

A beer barn. Even for the sake of investigative journalism, I will not go in there (to eat) but I thought I would mention them as they have a web site. I have to add a footnote here, as I was dragged into here on the last pub-crawl and drank the free cruiser they gave me, so I can't say I won't go in there, but I do not know if I will ever eat there.
I can't believe what a hypocrite I am, I organised a pub-crawl last year, and we ate here. Lots of $25 platters of any number of deep fried "things" and chips, with pottles of sauces on the side. It was pretty generous, and went down well with the masses. [Not likely to be reviewed while sober]

Shenanigans

Short lived Corner Post/Amber Lounge/Mooses has had a major facelift into a nice looking Irish pub. It seems popular, and for the first time in ages looks like somewhere I would be tempted to go into. We had the ribs there, and the food is basically made in the Bank, and walked around (from the street it seems). [not reviewed]

Easy Tiger

Used to be Tokyo in Hamilton, then Harry's Karaoke, then something else. Looks like a flash pub now. Obviously if they called it "Easy Cougar" then that would have been too obvious... Apparently does "fusion asian cuisine" from their adverts, but the menu doesn't look that fusion to me. We have a voucher there for cocktails and nibbles, as soon as we can figure out how to get home after three cocktails... [not reviewed]

Honky Tonk

Used to be Rodeo Rodeo in Hood St. This is great fun - the food is interesting, even if they have never been anywhwere near the American South and their georgraphy is pretty wonky, and it is cheap. Plus you get the joy of having Grits explained or delivered by an irish waiter (it shares the kitchen with the kitchen next door). Has a facebook page [reviewed Nov 2014]

Pit Lane

Hole in the wall pub in Frankton village. looks sufficiently bogan. [not reviewed]

Flaunt

Was "Your Mum's" - used to be CazBar, in the Hood Street marketplace. Apparently a topless bar as an attempt to lure munters in. Which presumably is why it looks completely shut up whenever I go past - or is it just out of business? [not reviewed]

5 Crossroads Sports Bar

Used to do reasonable pizza, but not much else. Don't know if it still does. Anyone want to comment? [not reviewed]

Little George

On Hood St, where HSL/Singer/Zephyr/the florist used to be. A branch of Good George - I think it only does drinks and no food. [not reviewed]

Keystone

Next to Furnace on Vic St. Apparently very pricy. Just found out it does food, so I guess I should go sometime. [not reviewed]

Diggers

Next to House on Hood St. Mostly known for live music, especially in the barn out the back. Does Pizza, which was reasonable the one time we had it ages ago. Has a website. [not reviewed]

The Quadrant

The Fox & Hound has had a facelift. Sounding more scholarly for a pub. Although apparently I am confusing myself with Quadrangles from Oxford. [not reviewed]

Foundation

Just opened out at The Base/Te Awa. Looks like a trendy bar that serves food. anyone want to confirm or deny. Had some food here, and it was alright. Some interesting stuff on the menu. [not reviewed]

Rhythm & Boogie

were Flame was. Says it does Korean BBQ food. but still looks like a dingy live music bar. [not reviewed]

The Hood

I see Coyote has decided to move around the corner into Hood St and to change it's name to 'The Hood'. How original. Next to 'Coffee And Food Establishment' so presumably run by the same person given the nomenclature. My guess it has also given up the pretence of serving food and is just a bar, but will wait and see. Even more confusing is that Coyote is also now called "The Hood", even tho it is not in Hood St. I guess it makes as much sense as the drunk patrons. [not reviewed]

Wonder Horse

Where Panchos was. A cocktail bar with limited nibbles menu. Music was okay, and the cocktails were interesting, but you do kinda need to know what you want before you get there, since the cocktail menu is also kinda limited. But they will make you something on the spot. [last reviewed Mar 2003]

Good George

In an old church in Somerset Street. Place is a lovely open barn, with booth seats. My guess is this could be cold in the winter. More a brewery than cafe, but food was good. It did feel pricy for what was in essence a sandwich and not a burger. My ribs were nice, but just that - ribs. Have a branch in Hood St (Little George) that I think only does drinks and no food. And now has Good Neighbour out at Rototuna. Has a website. [reviewed Jan 2013]

Good Neighbour

Another branch of the Good George chain out at Rototuna. For all that it is a big place and purpose built, there is no room inside. and you cannot have much ambiance in the middle of a carpark. Has a website. [not reviewed cause there was no room to sit at the tables]


Miscellaneous food places.

Hell

Pizza shop in 5 Crossroads, Hillcrest & Dinsdale. The pizza's were interesting. It takes a while to get through the menu. Price is a bit more that normal Pizza Hut/Haven, but the pizza's have more interesting toppings. Only one base type, but the flavour was good. The dessert pizza's are the best thing we got. Also do pasta (I quite liked the tandoori chicken pasta) and salads (no comment - anyone want to try for me?). I do like the pork ribs. And now they have a branch right next to uni, so yay! Has a website that you can order from. Shame about the $7 delivery charge. [last reviewed Nov 2008]

Scoff

I can't believe I don't have Scoff on this list somewhere! Why did nobody tell me? As it says on the sign: "takeout for grownups". They have a new menu board, which you don't have to crane your neck to see, but everything has gone up by a dollar. Everything is good, especially the Cannelloni. But their rewards card is really sucky, you only get 1 stamp, no matter how many many meals you buy. So a single person get's twice as many rewards as a couple. The burgers aren't as good as BurgerFuel, but then I don't go to Scoff for burgers. Has a website. [reviewed May 2008]

Pizza Hut

The old standard. I don't like them as much now the Hamilton East and Ulster Street restaurants have closed, but I guess most people takeaway or get delivered. Ask for everything with barbecue sauce - and you need to say underneath otherwise you just get it squirted on top, a la Eagle Boys style. Note that they will not always do this if you ring the 0800 number, depending on how anal the operator you get is. You can now order online.

Dominos

Most of the Pizza Haven's have turned into "Dominos". They seem reasonable, and have a good range. Some people rave about them. The pricing confused me, and their website only has a pdf of the pizza descriptions. The Godfather pizza was nice.

Sals

The Burger Fuel in town has turned into a New York style pizza place. The pizza is good, and some of the sides are interesting. but I don't think I could go regularly. Be warned that the interesting menus in the video above the counter don't belong to Sals, so you can't order anything from them. Has a website

Nando's

A roast chicken joint (as it were). Part of an Aussie chain - see their web site. The chicken is nice, very succulent, and the lemon & herb baste is good. The mild Peri-Peri (chilli) sauce is hotter than I expected for an NZ "mild" sauce. Order first and you should have read all of the walls before your food arrives. A bit pricy, but a change from KFC.

Seafood Grotto

In Frankton Village. Essentially a fish'n'chip shop with seats out the back. Cheap and cheerful, with lots of local colour. The fish was lovely. the rest was ho-hum. and yes Malcolm, we also got the 'yous want eggs wiv that' with every order. [reviewed Junish 2007]

D'Lishes

Odd burger joint in the mall food court in Westfields. The Chartwell one is getting a facelift. [not reviewed]

Working Mens Club Bar & Bistro

Not my cup of tea, but here for completeness. I believe you need to be a member to get in, although one member can bring in three guests, so if you have a mate who is a member... The food was generous and reasonably tasty. We went on a busy night and it was a small wait, but the drinks are cheap :-) Has a web site. [not reviewed]

Vegan Buffet, or somesuch

Used to be Chinese Healthy Vegetarian Food. A *very* dodgy looking place next to K-Mart. Does asian vegetarian fodder. Don says "I think the food is quite tasty, but it's not hot enough. They have a sign offering to heat food up in the microwave oven. For under $5 I could eat a filling meal. The owner is friendly." but then most people thought Don was slightly weird to start with. [not reviewed]

Nawab

A hole in the wall that used to be Spawn. I am not around town when it is open to see what it does.

A cross between an Indian and a kebab place

Another hole in the wall on Vic St. Was Sweeties. Now a cross between an Indian and a Kebab place - i.e. does a roti wrapped around a curry as far as I can tell. Is never open when I want to try one. Presumably I need to be hungry late at night.

St Pierre's Sushi of Japan

Just had to include this. It really was a wtf? when I first saw it, cause the French are famous for their sushi - not! Appears to be popular, and is in every mall, but who's brainfart was the name?

GelatAmore

Used to be the in Garden Place next to Urge/Le Petit. Now only have the Cambridge GelatAmore place. Their gelatos are great, so try it sometime. [reviewed Oct 2006]

any of the myriad and ubiquitous Noodle Canteen/Master/Wok style places

So for years you could only dream about getting your chinese takeout in the boxes like they do on the movies. and now they are everywhere, looking exactly like each other, but each having it's own unique name and menu. so you can't just go into any one and assume you can get what you got at the last one. [impossible to review them all, kinda like pokemon...]

Coffee Culture

Used to be 5 Cross Roads Cake Kitchen. More of a drop in for a coffee place than an eatery. Counter food only. Not a lot of soul here, but it always seems busy, so someone must like it. [reviewed Dec 2014]

Hamilton Farmers Market

There has now been a schism between some of the market that has gone out to the Te Rapa Racecourse, and some that have stayed in the car park on River Road. Can I say I preferred the old place more. Sunday morning market. Good place to buy veges and produce. Food is normally high quality, but expensive. The salami's are good, as are the spotted dick. Don't think much of the cornish pasties tho - they need more salt/pepper/spice. The soggy bottom sausages are also good. I love the pretzels. Has a website. [reviewed weekly]

Original California Burrito Company

Sadly gone now. Boo Hoo! Best bet now is the Mexican place in Centreplace (something close to Cilantro), except that it has poor opening hours. [not reviewed]

Crust Pizza

Also sadly gone too. Now a Burger Fuel (in fact the one in twon that turned into a Sals pizza) Next door to the California Burrito Co at Te Awa. Does very nice looking/sounding gourmet pizza. It's not cheap, but the Rocky Road Calzone we had was superb! So looking forward to trying the main pizzas. They do free delivery tho. Has a website. [not reviewed]

Dunkin Donuts

In Vic St just past Garden Place. Some people rave about this place. It is confusing that there is a large array of items with exotic names in the cabinet, but only prices for 'donut' and 'fancies'. I guess you just pick and see whether your 'Boston Creme' falls under a donut or fancies price. I found the donut we tried okay, but I would have preferred a Cinnabon :-) [not reviewed]

Fusion Pizzas

In Ham East. We had the teriyaki chicken pizza, which was about the most 'fusion' it got. Oh, and the garlic bread, which was nice, and good value. Really, If you are going to sell yourself as fusion pizzas, then I expect at least to have different sauces and cheeses, not to mention some cross culture pollination. Also, I think you need to look at what Hell is doing rather than Pizza Hut as your inspiration. [reviewed Aug 2012]


Further Afield.

Vilagrads, Ohaupo

A short drive from town. Open for Sunday lunch: Spit roast, very yummy salads, grilled whole fish, vegies, pasta, desserts & coffee. The desserts are good too. The medium wine is nice, and so is the vintage port. Their Noble sticky is very nice - I did not get to try the ice wine, boo hoo. They do a wonderful wedding reception! Get along to their grape festival which is run annually - they have Brazilian dancers and everything! They now have a web site. Also check out 3 Brothers Winery. [last reviewed Nov 2006]

Woodbox, Mystery Creek

I think the desserts here are a bit fussy. You spend $16 for a chocolate melty cake and some icecream plus some other fancy sounding stuff that is basically garnish. The menu is full of great sounding food, and a good selection of wines, as you would expect. We ended up doing a half a dozen tapas/entree plates and the food was great - love the mushroom and haloumi. Must go back and try the mains. They also do gourmet pizza. Katie says "I went there winter last year and had the Alaskan crab, it was the best meal I have had ever ever ever! God it was devine, the staff were cute, attentive, brilliant with my son, only downfall was that it couldn't cater for large groups at the time, however they were intending on building a larger place" They have a web site. [reviewed Aug 2008]

Narrows Landing, Narrows

On the road to the airport. Setting itself up as a 5-star posh place. It was good, but not stunning. Waiter was new and didn't know the menu, which I think is bad management. The salmon had too few vegies, but apparently they are revamping the menu. Huge tables. Probably better in daylight. They now have a web site.

Black Rock Cafe, Raglan

In the Harbourview hotel. This was very good - I had the baked whole baby salmon and it was divine! The meals are really good "trendy cafe" style food. Watch out for the Hot Chocolate - it's the size of a soup bowl, and 'Milo'ey!

The Shack, Raglan

Was Tongue and Groove. Inside is less memorable, and everyone serving was foreign. Food was good, and coffee was nice. but I think I preferred the old place.

Vinnies, Raglan

Not sure if this is still going - looked fairly dead the last time we rocked on past. Also not sure if it survived the Kiwi Kitchen Nightmares (or whatever) TV experience Nice food (Mike really loved the mussels). Now they have menu's and come to take your order, so it is much more civilised than before. Hamilton prices, but the middle sized foods are a good feed. Has a website. [last reviewed Dec 2006]

Marlin Cafe, Raglan

Lots of radio adverts, looks like a bar. Down by the docks. Hopefully it does good fish, being next to the wharf. [not reviewed]

Blacksand, Raglan

Used to be Aqua Velvet/Molasses. Looked pretty shut and it was a Sat dinnertime, so either it only does lunches, or has not opened yet, or gone under already. comments anyone? [not reviewed]

Banteay Srey Cambodian, Raglan

Or a name like that - the font is hard to read. Was Zaragoza. Looks like just the menu has changed. [not reviewed]

Orca, Raglan

Down on the corner by the harbour - used to be Salt Rock Cafe (Not to be confused with Black Rock Cafe further up the main drag.) Looks allright. and has a primo position. [not reviewed]

Costa's Pizza, Raglan

Does Pizza that is apparently 'good' by what I have heard. [not reviewed]

Sushi Takeaway, Raglan

Big sign above the door, but not sure if I have ever seen it open. [not reviewed]

Red Cherry Cafe, SH1 just before Cambridge

Used to be Essenza. Got an email from Jody to let me know of the proper name for it. Who goes on to say: "Yes, and we are definitely worth stopping for." Brent or Lesley or Courteney (Sorry, the email name was confusing) says "Essenza does make great coffee and the food is also worth a try. They also roast coffee on the premises so it smells great and you can purchase freshly roasted coffee beans." Jacqui's Mum also reports it is worth a visit. We tried it, and it was pretty good. Has a website. [reviewed Jan 2013]

Boatshed Cafe, Karapiro

Umm, not a lot I can say. Advertises lots. Has a website. [not reviewed]

Rouge, Cambridge

Simon says this is the one place he would recommend in Cambridge. In Empire St. Has a website. [not reviewed]

Stables, Cambridge

Used to be Rosso/Alphaz Wine Bar. place has had a vast refit/facelift. Has a website. [not reviewed]

Onyx, Cambridge

On Alpha st, next to Stables. Big flash building, did not go in. I've heard that this is a reasonable restaurant. [not reviewed]

Indian Aroma, Cambridge

In the old Lorenzo's bakery place (in fact, most signs still say Lorenzo's). A branch of the Hamilton place, so expect similar quality. See the Hamilton branch review. [not reviewed]

Oasis, Cambridge

Now seems to be just Thai food. so can't comment on what it is like now. [not reviewed since it turned Thai]

Deli on the Corner, Cambridge

New coffee shop in the funny little wedge shaped place in the main street by the roundabout. Somewhere to go to get proper coffee in Cambridge. Nice food. Now much larger and nicer for the extra space. Alice says "Hugely popular, Great coffee, friendly atmosphere. The staff are helpful, although do sometimes seem uneducated, and the owner is upbeat. Prices have recently gone up, a piece of pizza is 5.50 or so. and a Latte is 3.50. nice on a sunny day when your not trapped inside with the rest of Cambridge. Good blackboard variety." [last reviewed Dec 2010]

Toccata Cafe, Cambridge

Upstairs in the revamped church. Can't remember right now what it is. Used to be All Saints Cafe offering anointed coffee and divine cuisine. Funny it seemed like ordinary tea and scones when I was last in there. A cafe with pretensions, methinks. The shop is worth a look at.

Rata, Cambridge

Used to be The Gallery. This is a great place for food. seating is a bit haphazard, but the place is convivial. Try it. [reviewed 2008 sometime]

Instone Cafe, Cambridge

In Victoria St. Probably replaces another cafe on this list, but I do not know which so I will just add it as a new name for now. Opposite the service station and pink church, so always full of pit-stop people. and I think there is a Thai place behind it also (Sila). [not reviewed]

Sila, Cambridge

Thai place in Victoria St behind Instone. Dunno anything else about it. sorry. [not reviewed]

Riverside Motor Lodge, Cambridge

Went there once for a dinner and concert by some impersonator - don't ask! The food was okay in a motel bane marie way, sad actually, and the singer was worse. I left as soon as they stopped guarding the door. Avoid. Has a website.

GelatAmore, Cambridge

Nice little shop that does fresh Gelato, and it is very good and reasonably cheap too. Well worth a visit on a sunny day. The Rum & Raisin was very good - actually they all were. [reviewed Dec 2005]

Flavers Cafe, Cambridge

Trying to be a trendy cafe in Cambridge. Food was reasonably nice, and it is nice to sit outside and eat. My burrito was good, with a nice amount of spice. Coffee and cakes were also said to be good, but I was hanging out for Gelato from next door. [reviewed Dec 2005]

Hello India, Cambridge

Indian place next to Rosso in Alpha St. Used to be Lakhy, then Dhaliwal. Dunno if anything else changes but the name. Looked standard Indian, but we decided to go Italian, so no idea what it is like. [not reviewed]

GPO, Cambridge

Used to be the General Post Office (hence the name). New restaurant in the middle of town. Simon emailed me to say "GPO in Cambridge will NEVER get my custom due to the ridiculously heavy handed 'fun police' signage, although it is worth stopping to read it, honestly, it's like the Gestapo have gone into partnership with Mormons ..." [not reviewed]

Robert Harris/Cloisters and Courtyard, Cambridge

Not sure where these are, and they may have been replaced by some other cafe on this list, and I was just unaware that it was in the same premises. Cloisters appears to have the same address as the Robert Harris Cafe, but cannot tell which is newer from the interwebs. Got an email recently from a Cambridge-ite with these comments:
"Cloisters' staff are friendly, but the food is basic and the selection small. Coffees ok, same with the food.
Courtyard Cafe, its struggling and the selection is small. Staff are rude and service is slow." [not reviewed]

Fran's Cafe, Cambridge

Got an email recently from a Cambridge-ite with these comments:
"Frans Cafe, Always busy, crowded despite extensions, old decor which can give the atmosphere of a english cafe, or make you feel claustrophobic. Friendly staff, good variety, quick service, average coffee." Frans cafe has a
website. [not reviewed]

Bambino's Cafe, Cambridge

Bambino's says it is kid friendly. So go there with your kids. Tucked down the back off the main drag. [not reviewed]

Cafe 55, Cambridge

Alice told me about this place, and said "A failed attempt at looking upmarket. Small selection, bad coffee, rude staff." Anyone want to contradict her? [not reviewed]

Kisso Sushi, Cambridge

Umm, has a sign that says it does sushi... not a lot more I can say, sorry. [not reviewed]

Breakfast Shed, Cambridge

Used to be Absolute. I am not surprised it died since I was always doing about 70km when I pass by this place. Doesn't look inspiring from the outside. [not reviewed]

Cafe IrresistiBlue, Cambridge

Monavale Blueberries cafe, just out of Cambridge. Menu looks interesting. Just hope they don't put blueberries in everything. Has a website. [not reviewed by me]

Mellow Manor, Matangi(ish)

Used for weddings and functions. See the sign, but never been there. I think this was demolished to make way for the new motorway. [not reviewed]

Country Lane Cafe, Pukerimu/Leamington

Ann says "Country Lane Cafe on the road between Leamington and Te Awamutu is great. Licensed. Rammed earth cottage built by the owners. Lovely gardens to sit in and wander round. Usually heavily booked." [not reviewed]

Splashy Cafe, Hautapu

In the splashy pottery shop. does coffee and cabinet food. was nice when I went there ages ago. Has a website. [reviewed umm, a while ago]

HerbsNZ Cafe, Whatawhata

Had some food form these people at a market stall and it was nice, but never found the cafe itself. Has a website. [not reviewed]

The FirePot Cafe, Gordonton

Got a lovely email from Brent & Michele, who run the place, inviting me to "pop in and experience our home made food, fantastic coffee's and very friendly service. Our hours are mon-Friday 8am to 4pm. We have an very good range of home made fare from both our cold cabinet, and our all-day brunch menu. You must try our Lemon muffins with zesty lemon yogurt which we bake from an old recipe everyday, and always sell out very early. We also have a fantastic little peoples platter for $8.00 with has a selection of carrot sticks, crispy savoury noodles, marmite sandwich, fruit, marshmallows and mini hot cakes with a fluffy. (just like mums)." I will try and do that shortly, thanks. [not reviewed]

Woodlands Cafe, Gordonton

Carole emailed me to say "Just had my first cafe experience at Woodlands Cafe and was not disappointed, lovely day, choice of indoor or outdoor setting, nice appropriate piped music, choice of either menu lunch or cafe style, we chose the cafe cabinet, and enjoyed it to the max, all was delicious, even the chef or manager came around asking if all was ok, nice touch i thought." Lyn recently emailed me to say "I agree the setting is lovely but...The service sucks... The service is really not flash. The young male waiter needs some Ramsey training I think, he didn't appear to know how to serve food and wine, he tried hard but please, some training...the young waitress was great. We were offered two wine lists one of which had wines no longer available, and naturally we chose from this one, we ordered breads and the table beside us came in sat down ordered and got their mains before we got our breads. The main (Filo Wrap) was passable but only just, quite dry, coffee stone cold but at least when we mentioned this we did receive a free second round. Lovely setting and everyone seemed happy enough, lucky we were not in a hurry as everywhere I could hear the waitress apologising for the slow service. Lucky the sun was out!" I went there recently and the place is lovely and the food was good, but the service wasn't so flash. Has a website. [last reviewed by Lyn, May 2008]

Willow Glen, Gordonton

These people do a lot of advertising on the radio. Had no idea where they were until we zoomed past while we were out driving one day. I always thought of them as a wedding venue and not a cafe. Has a website. [not reviewed]

Midway Garden Centre Cafe, Gordonton

I thought this was the same as the Firepot cafe, but they are in different buildings, so can't be the same. [not reviewed]

Woodside Estate Cafe, Matangi

Jacqui went for a girls lunch out here when it was Piko Cafe, and said it was good, with some reservations. Since I wasn't allowed to go, I can't give you much more than that. But I have heard it is good from several people, so go try it and let me know. Carole says "Hi, just visited the Piko cafe at Matangi a couple of weeks ago, March 2007. I liked the setting, and the food looked good and service was good, however think i made a bad choice, my raspberry and coconut muffin was not to my liking, infact I just could not eat it, my husbands carrot cake was ok, nothing to rave about. I would give it a second chance though, as perhaps my taste buds just were not performing well that day. There was a fairly limited choice in the cabinet, as with most of these type of cafes, and the lunch menu was reasonable. Not one of my favourites so far, but as the setting is rather nice, I would go back a second time and choose something different." [not reviewed]

Hudson's Restaurant & Bar, Hamilton Airport

Have done their breakfast, which was quite nice. Can't comment on anything else. Sadly you can't see the planes take off and land from the restaurant. Has a website. [not reviewed]

Punnet, Newell Rd

Just out of town on the way to the airport. Run by the Strawberry place, so I had hoped it had lots of strawberry dishes. but alas, not a single strawberry on the menu. Food was good, although the pasta dish is not a patch on Scott's Aglio Olio. We had 3 people ask if we wanted a drink within a minute of sitting down, which I guess is good service. Not sure if I would bother going back tho, given you can get much the same in town. [reviewed Nov 2011]

Gostiona, Ohaupo

Just out of town on the way to Villagrads. Used to be a great steak-house. The decor is amazing, what Brad would call "a hunting lodge for rich weirdoes". The food was nice, in a large steak and plain steamed vege way, and cost more than I expected. Go if you like Cobb & Co, but want to spend a bit more for better atmosphere. Now that Cobb & Co is gone, it is a quaint reminder of restaurant days gone by.

Clock World Cafe, Ohaupo

Formerly Longitude and the Old Bakehouse. Carole says of Longitude: "Just visited the longitude cafe, although it was the weather from hell that weekend, was worth the trip. There was plenty of choice, and the food looked good, and it was. I had special dietary needs and they were very helpful. It was very busy and we had to wait a while, but I enjoyed our food, the atmosphere is pleasant. I thought the price was a little expensive, but the quality made up for it. I only have one complaint to make, it was freezing in there, there was a heater but it was not plugged in. I sat there shivering waiting for our lunch, it would have been nice to come out of the cold into a lovely warm cafe. So I doubt I will re-visit in the winter unless I am assured that the place will have some form of heating, but would return in the spring or summer to experience their outdoor area they claim to be nice." Thanks for the review, Carole. Has a website. [not reviewed]

The Old Creamery, Ohaupo

on Kaipaiki Rd which is the 2nd road on the left out towards Te Awamutu, after the airport turnoff. Carole wrote me a long review: "The ambiance of this cafe is great, wonderful gardens, big wood outdoor tables with huge umbrellas, and the inside is just as pretty, with a nice warm pot belly fire going, even a small gift shop with mouth watering chocolates, but best of all Molly the cafe cat, who indeed got a few pats from us after lunch. The staff were very friendly and helpful and made our visit delightful, the food was good and presented beautifully. I had asked if they had decaf Tea, they did not but have now decided to put it on their menu. The prices were fairly normal for this type of cafe. Overall 8/10, I was most impressed by this lovely quaint cafe. P.S you must visit the bathroom, I was told they have an award for their toilets." Thanks Carole, and I will pay you as soon as I get any money myself :-) Has a website. [not reviewed by me]

Lily Pad cafe, Cambridge

At the other end of Kaipaki Road, so just out of Cambridge. Has a website. [not reviewed by me]

Windy Ridge Cafe, Ohaupo

Looked nice as we wizzed past. may stop next time. Someone went to a wedding reception there and said it was alright. Has a website. [not reviewed]

The Olde Garage, Pirongia

Another "Old" store & cafe - and they say the Waikato is backward. Not sure this is still going. [not reviewed]

Pirongia Village Cafe, Pirongia

If this is the one in the middle of town, it was quaint and enjoyable. The regulars were all having toasted sandwiches, so we tried them and they were good. [not reviewed]

The Persimmon Tree, Pirongia

This was okay. pleasant seating, but not much view, except the mountain behind you. The iced chocolate was nice, but felt a bit pricey. food seemed average. Could not see a persimmon tree. [not reviewed]

Walton St Coffee, Te Awamutu

One road back from the main drag. Only open weekday breakfast & lunches. Have an interesting take on a menu - 'hand made' food for you. [not reviewed]

Redoubt Cafe/Bar, Te Awamutu

Opposite end of the shops from the RAT. Nice bar that did good food. generous portions. We enjoyed it. Have a facebook account [reviewed Oct 2006]

The Ale House, Te Awamutu

Used to be the Rose & Thorn (or RAT). The place is nice but a little bit sad, especially if comparing it to the brand spanking new alehouse in the Tron. The food was nice, although the chips were not quite done enough. To be fair, we were doing the $5 burger special, which was half the price of anything else one the menu, so maybe they take more care of their real dishes. Has a website. [reviewed March 2010]

Central Cafe, Te Awamutu

Used to be the Bank cafe, cause it was in an old bank, but now has changed names and owners. Was closed when we went by, so cannot comment on what it is like now, sorry. [not reviewed]

Elevations, Te Awamutu

June recently emailed me to say: "We have a nice new restaurant/cafe called Elevations, it's upstairs in Market Street. Can't say too much as I have a family connection to the owner but the food is nice." go on June, give us a review, we can take it with a pinch of salt. [not reviewed]

Cafe 10, Te Awamutu

@Mitre 10 presumably. All I have seen is a photo - looks nice and they have a proper coffee machine, but that is all I can say. looks okay from the road. [not reviewed]

Sugoi Sushi, Te Awamutu

Naomi wrote me "It's my favourite Sushi place to go whenever I am in Te Awamutu which isn't as often as I would like. The sushi are always generous in proportion for a sushi and the taste is divine. You always have to make sure you go early in the morning when they open or your choices are greatly limited because it is such a popular place." Thanks for the email Naomi. [not reviewed]

Indian Aroma, Te Awamutu

Another branch of the Hamilton one. Probably much the same. [not reviewed]

Indian Palace, Te Awamutu

BOFH has just berated me for not including "the tiny little Indian place in Te Awamutu, on the main street past the cinema and RSA but before the last roundabout.  Almost beside a dairy.  Looks like it was a dairy once.   Exceptional food for such a tiny little place. Their indian food is different - and good.   You'll know what I mean - the flavours are just different, but very nice. AND they give you a small thing of mango icecream at the end too!" [not reviewed]

Joys Place, Te Awamutu

Looks a real dive. but says it does bistro, so I guess I should mention it. [not reviewed]

Salvadors, Te Awamutu

Cafe/Patisserie in TA. sounds mighty flash, but I assume it is just a bakery/cake shop. Susan says "It's a French cafe, originally started by a French couple, and sells amazing brioche and croissants and bread (as well as lots of other calorific French treats).  Great, really strong French coffee, and hotdogs in a french bun, a bargain at about $3.   Yes it looks rather unprepossessing from the outside but don't be fooled by appearances... It's always busy, the couple that now own it (brother and sister) have terrific service and remember their customers well. It's my favourite spot for lunch in T/A." [not reviewed]

Lemongrass, Te Awamutu

Thai place in TA just up from McDs. umm, nothing else to report really. [not reviewed]

La Hacienda, Te Kuiti

Kerry wrote me "You can get nice Mexican (not authentic, kiwi style, but yummy & priced well) in Te Kuiti!! La Hacienda, on SH3, you'll pass it on the left heading south - it's on the main road side of the shops in the middle of town, next to the Testing Station & just south of the BP on the corner. La Hacienda is a cafe, so is open all day. Last time I went they had an impressive pick'n'mix lolly display & the best homebaked cookies for $1. It's not gourmet stuff at all, more like Mexican you'd make at home, but it's nice & in Te Kuiti which is hard to believe." Thanks Kerry, but I could not find it when we drove round Te Kuiti, so either I am blind or it has gone. [not reviewed]

Bosco Cafe, Te Kuiti

Part of the Waitomo Lodge. Again, from Kerry "In contrast, down the road at Bosco cafe in Te Kuiti (voted the runner up best cafe in NZ), everything is overpriced & the only drink I had there was lukewarm. They're always super busy, but that I wouldn't go back there. " Anyone want to come to it's defence? They are on facebook tho... [not reviewed]

Banco Cafe, Te Aroha

Big and red and used to be a bank. Only does dinner on Fri & Sat. Graham and Yvonne from Hamilton really rate this restaurant as a place to dine. The counter food for the lunches is good and the coffee is always flavoursome and hot. The meals at night not only look good, but they taste great. To cap it all off Jane, the owner, is a wonderful hostess with a terrific memory for her irregular clients. [not reviewed by me]

Thistles, Morrinsville

Can't tell if this was Ruby's or has turned into Ruby's Cafe. Got this lovely revue from Carole: "Hi there, just wanted to say I have visited the Thistles at Morrinsville a few weeks ago and would like to pass on my comments. Being a Scottish lass thought I would see what it was all about, more a restaurant than cafe I think, as limited choice in the cabinet, even though it was 11am, but I enjoyed the atmosphere, a little Scottish themed but could have more I think. Only had choice of two muffins, (we stopped for morning snack) savoury or blueberry, but must say was presented very nice on plate with knife and fork, serviette, butter and a dipping sauce, most unusual, in a decorative way, and still only $2.50. The muffin was very yummie too - bit different to what I have tasted before. Also a small free yummie biscuit with the tea we ordered, so on a whole I think it was pretty good and would return, probably rate it a 7 out of 10, I also saw other meals being served, they looked very nice and quite good size, service was pretty ok as well." [not reviewed]

Chambers, Morrinsville

Garth says "Come over some time and try the counter meals at The Council Bar and Cafe in Canada St. (Used to be the old Municipal Chambers, hence the name.) They do very nice bar meals at around $10.00 - generous helpings - and have a good selection of drinks available. There is also a restaurant." Thanks for the tip, Garth. We were going to eat here, but could not find it. [not reviewed by me]

Blue Cat Cafe, Morrinsville

Susan says "When you are next in Morrinsville stop for lunch at the Blue Cat Cafe, lovely fresh food at reasonable prices, great coffee too." Thanks for the tip, it was very good. large servings at great prices - the coffee and food tasted good. The custard squares weren't my cup of tea, but my chocolate/orange slice was great. [reviewed Sept 2005]

Frock, Morrinsville

In the Anna Stretton factory showroom. was closed when we went past. [not reviewed]

Crazee Cow Cafe, Morrinsville

On the corner just up from the Council Cafe. Went there the other day as it was the closest to the church we went to for the funeral. The coffee's were fine. The menu looked pretty interesting, but we weren't there for food. The glasses look a bit crazed from being through the dishwasher too much. Another Mad Cow cafe... [not reviewed]

Ronnies Cafe, Morrinsville and/or Matamata

Same people as the Hamilton one. In fact I think this one came first. Or is it Matamata... I always get them confused.. [not reviewed]

Workmans Funky Cafe Bar, Matamata

Apparently a sister cafe with Hydro Majestic, so that should recommend it. Have a webpage. Sadly the site was written by someone who loved Java. Got a good writeup in the recent AA Magazine. [not reviewed]

The Loose Goose, Tirau

I can't believe that I have not already got this place on my page. The Loose Goose is a good place to stop and eat or coffee. The meals were good. I went there when they had a live fiddler, so it was packed, but still convivial and the food was still good. As an aside, the fiddler turned out to be the ex of the new husband of a good friend of mine, so it is a small world.

Poppys of Tirau

Now has a big corrugated iron poppy on the roof, so it is now easy to spot, opposite the big dog - it always has a crowd of people and cars outside it, so that must say something. Got listed in the AA Magazine as a good roadside food place, but no details. Carolyn sent me an email saying "Excellent reliable well priced food, clean and presentable - especially their toasted sandwiches made to order and the homemade soups in winter are hearty." Thanks Carolyn. [not reviewed]

Crazy Cow Cafe, Putaruru

Got an email today from Red saying "great stylish relaxing cafe on highway one we stop at, superb coffee and generous servings, the cafe is in the wrong town though nothing much else there, worth a stop though miss out tirau and stop in putaruru. check it out". Thanks for the tip, I will try to make it. More 'mad cow' references... [not reviewed]

Motormania & Cadillac Cafe, Putaruru

In the old round post office. Dunno how good a cafe it will be - presumably to have a coffee after seeing the cars. [not reviewed]

Cooks Landing, Te Kauwhata

I see this as I hoon past on the way to Auckland, and wonder if anyone actually stops here. I went to a wine tasting here years ago, and the views are great. No food then. Maybe we will go before Natasha and James stop being farmers - no chance there, since they are now in Aussie. Has a website. [not reviewed]

Huhu Cafe, Waitomo Caves

Looks really nice food from the website. Sorry, don't go to Waitomo often, and didn't eat when we did. Has a website. [not reviewed]

Roselands, Waitomo Caves

Again, not really my territory. Has a website. [not reviewed]

Rangiriri Tavern, Rangiriri

Used to be a lovely pub to go to for a night out from the Tron. Haven't been in years, but it looks the same from the outside. [not reviewed]

Hopin Stopin, Taupiri

This place always has cars parked outside it as we wizz past, so it must be doing something right. Love the green paint. Ate there recently and it was great. very generous serves and lovely outside in the courtyard. [reviewed Dec 2010]

Twin Rivers, Ngaruawahia

Teresa tells me "Twin Rivers is next to the Delta down Market Street (with the cars in the carpark).  It shares a kitchen with the RSA which is next to that (they have an ass of a neighbour who owns the pool).  We're members of the RSA so often go down for a pint and a meal.  Members can either sit in the RSA dining area or go through to the Twin Rivers tables.  The food is excellent, albeit homely! Great priced meals - Club/RSA pricing - including seafood, steak & mixed grill etc. Twin Rivers also has a buffet for about $20ish/adult with heaps of great options so if we go to the RSA we usually have that!" [not reviewed]

Cury Ana Hury, Ngaruawahia

Adam recently told me "Might I recommend you stop in at Cury Ana Hury (the food is actually as fresh as the name) when you next are on your way out to/through Ngaruawahia.  It's in the middle of "town" on SH1, next to the giant orange eyesore of a sports shop, Sports Safari. It's a split personality Thai + Indian restaurant with full menus (and I mean full) for both cuisines. I think they have one Thai and one Indian chef. It is growing on the locals so doesn't have much atmosphere to speak of yet, but the food is very good and reasonably priced (almost all under $20).  I've eaten at pretty much all the Thai places in Hamilton and I'd say Cury Ana Hury is as good as the best in terms of food." [not reviewed]

Country Cafe, SH1 just south of Ngaruawahia

Odd place in the middle of nowhere, opposite the golf course. Normally has a couple of cars outside, but that could be the owners. Sorry bout the photo, but I am normally on my way somewhere when I go past, and don't have time to stop and take a photo. [not reviewed]

Karapiro Cafe, SH1 just south of Cambridge

Realised looking at the above photo that there is another odd place in the middle of nowhere just south of Cambridge. Used to be a compulsory bus stop. Forget to take a blurry photo of it when we were coming home from Toke last weekend. [not reviewed]

Albericos, Tokoroa

Speaking of which, I guess I should add Tokoroa's one and only restaurant. Does Italinish food. Menu never changes. Nice murals. Amazingly, has a webpage. [reviewed anytime in the last decade, cause it doesn't seem to change]

Out in the Styx, Arapuni-ish

Never been there, but has a good reputation. Normally only hear about it from people dragged out there for motivational crap. Has a website. [not reviewed]


If you have any comments or corrections or additions you would like to make, please don't hesitate to email me at: telphick@cs.waikato.ac.nz

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