The Best Cafés and Coffee Shops in Hamilton, New Zealand

Coffee | © eliasfalla/Pixabay
Photo of Thalita Alves
13 August 2017

Hamilton‘s got a strong café scene going for it. The city, on New Zealand‘s North Island, is just buzzing with interesting coffee shops to discover. From in-house roasts to beautifully made breakfasts, here are some of the best places to get your caffeine fix and enjoy a pleasant meal.


Cafe, European, Vegetarian, $$$
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Come for the coffee, stay for the food. The Cinnamon Café is a popular brunch spot in the suburbs, serving up plenty of sweet and savoury dishes to satisfy all palates. Many of its food items can be adapted to suit gluten free dietary requirements, and those that aren’t so malleable are clearly marked as such on the menus. Vegetarians are also well catered for, with corn fritter stacks and quesadillas being among the key must-tries for lunchtime visitors.

Scotts Epicurean

Cafe, Restaurant, European, $$$
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Scotts Epicurean, Hamilton
Scotts Epicurean, Hamilton | © Robert Young/Flickr

Scotts Epicurean is a local favourite, so much so that it has been voted the Best Café at the Waikato Times’ Readers Choice Awards for five years straight. Contemporary interiors complement an eclectic seasonal food menu, while Allpress Espresso coffee recharges the crowd’s energy levels. Vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options are also available upon request. Just about every flavour and cuisine is accounted for – its offerings include crêpes, pad Thai, aglio olio, and a Sri Lankan lamb curry.

The Sugar Bowl Café

Cafe, Coffee Shop, Vegetarian, $$$
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If you ever find yourself craving a nice cup of cocoa, The Sugar Bowl Café is the place to visit. Along with strong coffee servings, generously-sized gourmet hot chocolates (with a dollop of whipped cream on the side) are a house speciality. Vegan-friendly dishes, a trove of freshly baked cabinet treats, and classic brunch staples are a few of the other crowd-pleasers this sweet café has up its sleeves.

Grey St Kitchen

Cafe, Vegetarian, Coffee, $$$
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Coffee Mug
Coffee Mug | © Free-Photos/Pixabay

Grey St Kitchen is known for its fantastic coffee and all-round friendly vibes, and a delectable cabinet selection filled with foodie treats certainly adds to this cafe’s appeal. Slices, tarts and cakes will satisfy all sugar cravings, and a pleasant selection of breakfast classics is bound to keep all visiting brunch-goers content.

Rocket Coffee Roasters

Coffee Shop, Cafe, Coffee
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Coffee | © eliasfalla/Pixabay

Fresh coffees, straight from the roaster – this a place that appreciates the craft of making a strong brew. Rocket Coffee is more than a café, offering wholesale coffee beans (sourced from Latin America and Africa, and roasted in-house), coffee classes and espresso equipment for all those who seek it. A stylishly industrial-like setting adds to Rocket’s coffee shop-roaster hybrid experience.

The River Kitchen

Cafe, European, $$$
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Since opening its doors in 2007, The River Kitchen has consistently impressed its patrons with a fresh selection of seasonal dishes and meticulously created coffee blends. The award-winning café serves breakfast until 2pm, always offering an interesting twist to the regular favourites. Lunch makes the most of locally sourced produce, meats, and herbs, and an ever-changing cabinet food selection ties everything together perfectly.

Coffee Culture

Cafe, Coffee Shop, Canadian, Coffee, $$$
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Coffee Culture has been making its mark in the Hamilton café scene since 2012. Founder and owner Chris Houston set up the first his first Coffee Culture shops in the South Island, quickly expanding from Christchurch to Timaru, Dunedin, and even as far as New South Wales in Australia. Later, he focused his energies in the North Island, Hamilton being the number one choice for setting up shop. The local premises have since become quite famous for a range of yummy late-night treats, as well as a chilled out ambiance and consistently great coffee.

Hazel Hayes

Cafe, Contemporary, Gluten-free, $$$
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Hazel Hayes is a family owned café right at the heart of Hamilton city. It was named after the owners’ grandmother, who inspired their love for wholesome, home-made baking. Since starting out in 2010, this cool coffee house has expanded its operations to include a catering service, both of which continue to stay true to grandma Hazel’s recipes. Their diversified all-day menu includes a vegan falafel and beetroot kasundi salad, hash browns with gluten-free sides, shoestring fries, and their very own full-English style Hazel’s Breakfast.

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