Choosing where to go for a family or group meal out can be a challenge when everyone has different dining preferences. 'I can't eat anything spicy.' 'I'm so over Italian.' 'I'm allergic to seafood.' If this sounds familiar, and you're struggling to find a spot that suits everyone's taste buds, you can't go past Eat Street Northshore located on the fringes of Hamilton. Here you'll find more than 70 vendors dishing up cuisine from all over the world.
Moreton Bay bugs from the Salty Sailor. Author image.
Seafood junkies like myself are seriously spoiled for choice. At the Salty Sailor you can opt for grilled Moreton Bay Bugs with garlic butter, fresh lime and garden dill - accompanied by crispy beer-battered chips. Or you could stick with tradition and enjoy a Fisherman's Basket brimming with calamari, prawns and fish fillets. Seeking an afternoon aphrodisiac? Head for the cheekily named Shuck All Oyster Bar for fresh, plump, oysters from all over (served au naturel, or cooked to request).
Sun sets over Eat Street Northshore. Author image.
If you're feeling like wandering down Asia Street (yes, this is a real place within Eat Street Northshore) there are also many different choices here. Hong Kong, Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia - take your pick. For example, you could opt for classic Peking duck, honey chicken, or bao at Little Shanghai - or for a taste of Bangkok instead, check out Yum Yum Thai Street Food for chicken satays and slow cooked Massaman beef.
If you're in more of a Mediterranean mood, you could sample the yiros at Ela Greeko or head on down to Pizzeria 4007 for a few slices of Napoli style pizza. Still hungry? Head across the International Date Line to Las Catrinas for nachos or tacos, or The South American Grill for ribs, rolls, or empandada. This is street food at its best - with moderately priced portions which leave ample room for more ... and more.
Those craving something sweet will also find plenty of choices to tickle their fancy. Profiteroles at The Chocolate Fountain Place. Churros con chocolate from Arriba Churroria. Ice cream tacos from The Byron Gelato. There's typically a queue of kids outside Professor Fairy Floss and it's not hard to see why, with mega clouds of sugary floss, or the flashing floss (which is spun around a light-up long flashing wand that can be reused). Hey presto!
There is ample casual seating spread out all over Eat Street Northshore and if you're vegan, vegetarian, or have other dietary requirements such as gluten-free, dairy-free or halal, there's a great downloadable Dietary Guide to help you make choices congruent with your needs. However, organisers encourage visitors to check with individual food vendors before ordering in case things have changed.
Professor Fairy Floss spins another sugary confection. Author image.
The best time to get to Eat Street Northshore is when they open at 4pm (on Fridays and Saturdays). It's usually not so crowded then and you'll have the enjoyment of watching the venue slowly turn into a neon wonderland as the sun goes down. The 180 or so dining and entertainment shipping containers are perfectly positioned so guests can enjoy the sublime city and river views as well.
Salted caramel and Ferrero Rocher gelato from The Byron Gelato. Author image.
And it's not just about eating either. There's a range of shops selling everything from temporary tattoos at the Henna Boutique to dreamcatchers at The Trinket Box. Live entertainment is also a popular drawcard, with local and touring bands appearing at the MainDeck Stage, and jazz performances at the LaneWay Cabaret, to name just two. Solo performers are also positioned throughout Eat Street Northshore so you're never short of a tune.
The lip-licking churros from Arriba Churroria. Author image.