As well as being foodie paradise, Hamilton East is where you might find a pre-loved treasure, either at one of several op shops or Recycle where the secondhand clothing and footwear can have a designer label.
Once renowned as barber shop central, Hamilton East is where you can still get a good haircut too.
The food revolution on Grey Street
Mavis & Co on the corner of Bridge and Grey Streets is a particular favourite with foodies thanks to its scrumptious brunch menu, tempting sweets cabinet, and sunny outdoor seating. What began as a stall at a local farmers’ market has grown into a Hamilton institution that draws daily crowds of food lovers.
For those with a sweet tooth, nearby Duck Island Ice Cream is a dream come true. This is no lick and go joint with flavours ranging from salted caramel with cacao crumb to peppermint slice, toasted marshmallow, and even cinnamon smoked apple pie.
Across the road is Grey St Kitchen, serving delicious breakfast and lunch fare and excellent coffee - co-owner and barista Dove Chen has twice won the New Zealand Barista Championship.
A little further along the street is a double winner too - literally - in the form of an eatery that specialises in free-range chicken dishes, and is called Winner Winner.
Family owned and housed in a villa with a welcoming veranda, is Thyme Square where you can choose from the eclectic menu or simply trust the chef.
For coffee and treats - and cars - there’s Osten, tucked in between the Audi and Skoda dealerships.
Volare, the mighty local artisanal bakery, has an outlet on the street - the aromatic waft of freshly baked breads and pastries is hard to walk past.
Hamilton East is also where to eat pizza, Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine, sushi, Chinese, Thai or to pick up a curry fix - good coffee too, of course.
Explore the surrounding streets and lanes
The streets and lanes surrounding ‘food street’ Grey Street are a culinary adventure too.
On Cook Street there’s Cook Street Social serving brunch, lunch and evening meal options, as well as craft beer. Nextdoor is GoneBurger for big succulent creations with some attention-getter names - Belly of the Beast, My Deer and Drunken Sailor being just three of them.
The small but perfectly formed GG's Café on Lovegrove Lane is where to find the best lamingtons in the city, along with baps, bagels, toasts, melts, soups and more. GG’s also has for sale the creations of local artists and crafters.
A few steps further down Lovegrove lane in the Sun Salute Yoga Centre there is Hearth Juice Bar and Grocer with local, seasonal and organic produce - the place to go for amazing smoothies and organic cold-pressed juice.
On Clyde Street you’ll find Two Birds Eatery where the owners say there’s ‘dam tasty food that’s good for you’, and a short distance away on the corner of Plunket Terrace and Jellicoe Drive is the Hayes Common neighbourhood eatery offering creative, robust dishes featuring honest flavours and seasonal produce.
On Te Aroha Street there’s The Kirk offering contemporary fusion food and delicious coffee. The cafe has inside and outside seating on elevated desk and garden area - perfect for a summer breakfast or lunch.