You know how the saying goes, right? That “you don’t know what you have until it’s gone”… Well, I didn’t know how good I had it as a vegan living in Hamilton. Until I left. Seriously, for a city smack bang in the middle of New Zealand’s dairying country, Hamilton has its act together when it comes to plant-based dining options.
I’ve been lucky enough to go back to Hamilton a couple of times since I moved away, and the vegan scene just keeps getting stronger and stronger. So to help people find fantastic vegan food in Hamilton, I decided to put together a vegan food guide on my favourite places to eat in my former hometown. Enjoy!
Where to eat Great Vegan Food in Hamilton
Famous for their mouth-watering raw cakes and colourful buddha bowls, Two Birds Eatery in Hamilton East is an excellent choice for the health-conscious vegan. There are fantastic vegan options on the menu, plus they usually have a good choice of both sweet and savoury vegan goodies in the cabinet too.
Two Birds is open for breakfast and lunch 7 days a week at Clyde Street Shopping Centre.
I’m yet to try anything in France that lives up to the amazing flavours of the Vietnamese baguette, or the refreshingly tangy green papaya salad on offer at Bánh mì Càphê. These guys have got Vietnamese street food sussed, and offer a comprehensive, separate vegan menu.
Bánh mì Càphê is located at 198 Victoria Street and is open for lunch and dinner Tuesday – Saturday.
If you were a fan of Chinese buffets before you went vegan, then you’ll love the Vegan Buffet! This place is so good, I’m pretty sure it was a key factor in convincing my husband that vegan food is nourishing, yummy and varied… Pop in, fill your plate or takeaway bowl, and walk away happy!
The Vegan Buffet is open weekdays for lunch and until 7.30pm on Fridays at 148 Ward Street.
Punnet Cafe is among my favourite places to eat in Hamilton simply because of the choice! The lunch menu is almost entirely vegan (with the option to add meat at a cost), as is around half of the breakfast menu, and many delicious items in the cabinet – raw raspberry cacao brownie anyone? There’s also a gorgeous homewares shop I can never resist, and a great children’s play area. Win-win for the whole family.
Punnet Cafe can be found at 337 Newell Rd and is open every day for breakfast and lunch.
The Kirk Cafe is a brand new cafe in Hamilton’s eastern suburbs. I haven’t been, but word on the street is that they’re well worth checking out. They have a few vegetarian items on the menu that can be made vegan, and they’ve confirmed there’s always at least one vegan salad on offer in the cabinet. Judging by their Instagram feed, their food is fresh, colourful and their deck area looks like somewhere I’d be happy to hang out with a soy latte in hand…
The Kirk Cafe is open every day for breakfast and lunch (have a sleep-in on Sundays when they open at the later time of 10 am) at 6 Te Aroha Street.
Hamilton’s very own Duck Island Ice Cream offers a staggering 9 different vegan flavours. These creamy coconut milk ice creams will satisfy the most die-hard of ice cream fans… Just be warned, this stuff is addictive! You’ll find
Duck Island Ice Cream parlour at 300a Grey street. It’s open every day except Mondays from 11 am – 7 pm (extended to 10 pm on Friday and Saturday) to satisfy your sweet tooth.
As well as being my go-to shop for all things organic in Hamilton, Village Organics also offer a great range of vegan lunches to go. From warming vegan pies to sumptuous salads, and cruelty-free cakes – pop in and see what’s up for grabs during your lunch hour. Oh, and if you’re looking for a Tofurky at Christmas – the team at organic nation will hook you up!
Organic Nation is open Monday – Saturday at 245 Commerce Street, Frankton.
Miltons Canteen offers a petite, finely tuned menu including several vegan-friendly items. Their coffee is note-worthy and the canteen itself – well, let’s just say there are uglier places to eat. Plus, they stock Duck Island Ice Cream. Need I say more?
Miltons Canteen is open weekdays for breakfast and lunch at 127 Alexandra Street.
Ok, so technically most sushi joints in Hamilton have avocado sushi and a few other vegan basics… But I’ve included The Sushi House as their veggie offering is larger and more interesting than most. And the staff at the Barton Street shop were always a pleasure – sneaking treats to my son when we’d pop in for lunch as a family.
The Sushi House at 313 Barton Street is open 10 am – 4.30 pm daily except Sundays.
Sister branch of the Vegan Buffet, Blissful vegan has a similar set-up and offerings to the buffet on Ward street. Despite the similarities and fabulous offerings at both, there was something about the Vegan Buffet that had me calling in more often than the Blissful Vegan. Nevertheless, a great option for quick and easy vegan fare in North Hamilton, and unlike the Vegan Buffet – it’s open until 7 pm every weeknight!
The Blissful healthy vegan takeaway is open 11 am – 7 pm weekdays, and 11 am – 4 pm Saturday.
The Sugar Bowl is a trendy corner side cafe with a good vibe, great coffee and friendly staff. They have a couple of decent vegan options on the menu and usually an option or two on the specials menu or in the cabinet. The few times I’ve been there while eating a plant-based diet I’ve had no trouble finding something delicious to eat. Located at 150 Maeroa Road,
The Sugar Bowl Cafe is open every day for breakfast and lunch.
Gone Burger only has one vegan burger on the menu – but what a burger it is! A generous veggie/tofu patty, topped with pineapple, beetroot, gherkin, lettuce, and a scrummy tomato chilli jam. Yum! And the best bit? ALL of their dessert options are dairy-free. I don’t know about you – but that makes my heart sing! Choose from Little Island ‘nice cream’ or Nice Blocks – both by another Kiwi startup Tommy & James.
Gone Burger is open every day except Monday for lunch & dinner. Find them at 9 Cook Street, Hamilton East.
A new kid on the block, Nourish Pod has hit the ground running with locals in search of fresh, nourishing and flavoursome food. If you’re a fan of acai bowls (who isn’t?!), then Nourish Pod has you covered. They also serve superfood smoothies, raw sweet treats, and vegan salads.
Check out Nourish Pod at 1/7 Vialou Street, Tuesday – Saturday for breakfast and lunch.
Winner Winner is quickly winning hearts among the vegan community in Hamilton. The pulled jackfruit burger is proving popular, as are the loaded fries (complete with vegan mayo) and fried mushrooms. Despite their awesome vegan offerings, Winner Winner is actually a chicken shop – say what?!! It’s true, but we’ll forgive them… So long as they don’t sell out of jackfruit.
Winner Winner is open for lunch and dinner Monday – Saturday at 439 Grey Street.
Pyrony Pies is a homegrown Hamilton start-up selling the most amazing vegan pies you’ve ever eaten. Yeah, that’s a big claim, but these guys can back it up. I first locked my lips around one of their plant-based pies back in 2015 when they were selling small batches at a local market. My husband loved the ‘meaty’ flavour of No Missed Steak, but it was a little too realistic for a seasoned veggie like myself. I prefer the moreish flavours of The Curried Nutter.
Pyrony Pies can be ordered online. Delivery available, or you can pick them up by arrangement from Claudelands, Hamilton.
Kiwi vegans have a love/hate relationship with Hell Pizza. On one hand, they are the only ‘mainstream’ pizza joint offering a vegan cheese alternative. On the other hand, they run controversial promos for pizzas topped with rabbit and kangaroo. Despite some off-putting ads, their pizzas are pretty good – my favourite is the sinister (Mexican-style deliciousness) – oh how I miss it! They also have a few veggie sides which are cooked in canola oil.
There are four Hell Pizza shops around Hamilton – in Rototuna, Beerescourt, Hillcrest and Dinsdale.
Another one that Kiwi vegans either love or hate, is Burger Fuel. I was a vegetarian for many, many years before cutting all animal products out of my diet, so Burger Fuel was always my trusted fast food option before everyone else got in on the action! They have two burgers that can be made vegan by removing the aioli and cheese, plus several sides, and soy thick shakes.
You can find Burger Fuel at The Base, Five Cross Roads, and Frankton.