Update January 2016: It's a new year, so time to update my recommendations for places to eat/drink in Hamilton and the Waikato. Some of last year's recommendations have been removed, and there are also some newbies. The list isn't huge, because I'm pretty fussy about what I consider to be a safe place to eat with food allergies. If you've got other recommendations for me to try please let me know - post in the coments!
Got food allergies?
Have I got the noms for you ...
Contrary to the scurrilous rumours created and spread by our jealous Auckland cousins, there are many fabulous (and allergy-friendly) places to eat in Hamilton. Let me take you on a brief tour of just some of the yummies ...
Mr Milton's Canteen
Right in the heart of the CBD is a fabulous cafe run by Mikey and Alice. This place has the most delicious looking 'cabinet of glory', and much of it is gluten and/or dairy-free.
I've been a local of Mr Milton's for nearly five years, and have never had a disappointing meal. Lots of sweet and savoury options, frothy coffee and flavoursome teas.
Nami Japanese Restaurant
While not labelled gluten-free, I've been buying chicken and avocado (with no sauce) sushi rolls from Nami for eons, with no gluteny reaction. This sushi is THE BOMB DIGGITY. Super tasty, freshly prepared in front of you and always with a smile.
Columbus (London Street)
I have to admit, I'm not usually a fan of chain-cafes, but Columbus really is the exception. Lovely paleo, gluten-free and dairy-free options. Great service, and a relaxed atmosphere.
Two Birds Eatery
If you're a little obsessed with whole foods, ditching refined sugar from your diet, and eating well while still enjoying full flavour this is the place for you.
The most decadent raw cakes imaginable, smoothies, good quality tea and coffee, hot food and everything good. Also, special mention of their gluten-free vat - I love you vat, please don't ever change.
Based in Rototuna, this cafe caters for just about everyone - people with food allergies and people who can eat absolutely anything. Read more about Cafe Inc here..
Thai and Kai
Feel like some Friday night takeaways? Thai and Kai on Rimu street do gluten-free fish, chips and hotdogs. And they're delicious!
Zealong Tea House
Wow, amazing - read my blog post here to find out just how delicious their food is. Also, special mention for their nommy tea. They catered for my entire family of special foody needs with no dramas.
LK Coffee Hub, Hamilton East
Raymond and Zoe are the nicest people ever. And they have got a great range of gluten-free items in the cabinet – yum! They also brew a wicked coffee.
Sugoi Sushi, Te Awamutu
Some of the best sushi you’ll get anywhere. Delicious gluten and dairy-free options that are more than worth the drive.
The Shack, Raglan
Head to the beach! If not for the waves, then for the food at The Shack. Awesome food, awesome service and a great surfy vibe.
It's no secret that I'm obsessed with green tea. If left unsupervised, I could drink 8 cups a day easily. Here are my favourite places to go for a good brew in the Waikato:
New on the scene, SL28 (Victoria Street) makes a fantastic brew of Zealong tea. The coffee is great too according to my coffee drinking buddies. Clean, modern layout, it's a great space for catching up with friends.
Urge is the place to go to drink good tea out of fine china tea cups. A wide range of tea and coffee options available. You'll leave feeling pampered and refreshed.
Zealong Tea House
It goes without saying, that if you want to try Zealong tea at its very best you drink it at the Zealong Tea House in Gordonton. Fantastic service, and endless cups of the very best tea.
Tucked away down an alleyway in Hamilton East, Grey Gardens offers delicious tea and fine coffee. A good escape from the bustle of Grey Street, Grey Gardens offers a restful space with a retro vibe.
Wherever you eat, remember to always ask questions to ensure your safety. These are my recommendations, but I can't guarantee the safety of any cafe, so please do your homework.