It was an absolutely beautiful day today. Sunny and warm, but with just the slightest crisp chill in the air. My mom and I went for a drive into town, passing the farmers market and the many other people enjoying their Saturday. I love driving through town, under all of the huge trees and past the bright flowers, and as we drove today, I was inspired to do a round-up of a few of my favorite stores and places.
Rata Cafe (closed down)
I’ve only eaten at Rata once. My best friend bought me lunch there as a birthday present once, and I have to say that their calamari is delicious. There are some great places to eat in Cambridge – we’re a boutique town and get a lot of tourists passing through. Rata is a great place. Nice food, decent prices, fantastic atmosphere. You could go for a casual lunch, brunch, even a business meeting. My other recommendation would be Paddock. I haven’t been yet, but I’ve heard some amazing things!
Caroline Eve is a chain store, but we have a shop in Cambridge, and my mom and I always like to check out the sales. They have both simple and practical stuff for workwear, and dressy stuff as well. Although it can get a bit pricey, Caroline Eve is my go-to store for when I want a good coat, or work-appropriate clothing.
Rumor is another clothing store, but geared towards the younger, casual crowd. It can be very expensive (I once found a plain white singlet that was $100!) but it has a great range of both mens and womens clothing, accessories, and shoes. The quality of the pieces is pretty good too, and the customer service is always friendly. Rumor is also run by two young women, which is great!
Actually a set of three different stores, Simply Divine is a must see for homewares, gifts, and furniture. I absolutely adore these shops, and could happily spend hours browsing. The bed and bath store always smells amazing! They have a great range of homewares and cover everything from tiny baby toys to giant clocks.
Courtyard Sushi is this tiny place on Empire, and it’s always packed to the brim. There’s usually at least ten other people in the line with you, and all of their sushi is delicious. They also offer complimentary miso soup and green tea. My favorite would have to be this big chicken rice ball thing, or the mini panko rice balls on a stick. This is definitely my favorite sushi place in town, and we have quite a few!
Who can resist a great bowl of noodles? Noodle Canteen is another New Zealand chain store, and my goodness are their meals delicious. For around $10, you get a big bowl of noodles, plus delicious toppings and pretty much always a piece of broccoli. You can even sit at their benches and watch them cook the food, which is always great. They have a massive menu, and I recommend the honey chicken noodles – my fave!
Paper Plus is relatively new to Cambridge; they just bought out our old book store. I love going in to check out their design books (and their cookbooks!) and they also have a great range of stationary and magazines as well. The store is bright green – you can’t miss it – and always has some cute displays in the window.
Right next to Paper Plus is one of our local chemists. Unichem is where I get pretty much all of my makeup, unless it’s something that I’m willing to be cheap about. They have a great range of stuff, although they don’t sell round hair brushes, and the staff are super friendly and helpful. The floors are a bit creaky and the carpet isn’t fitted very well, so you should be careful of your step.
This is my favorite salon in Cambridge, probably due to the fact that one of the Adeva girls spent four hours applying a keratin treatment to my hair. They have a huge range of services, and all of their stylists are talented and great at what they do. They also use top quality products and the store smells incredible.
This is a teeny little bookstore on Empire, with an amazingly comfortable armchair at the front. The owner encourages people to come in and have a read! He’s an incredibly nice man, and funny, and has a passion for books. You can always find something great to read, and at a reasonable price too!
Last but not least, Vege Fresh. This is a great store on Victoria Street, packed full of beautiful spices and a huge range of fresh produce. They have a surprising amount of cool little items (today I found a honeycomb version of my favorite iced chocolate and it was awesooome!) and even a small section for other products. If you need spices, this is the place to go. The staff are a little shy, and I don’t think they speak a lot of English, but they’re lovely and always have a smile for you.
There are so many great places in Cambridge that I’d love to share with you, but I just can’t fit them all in one list! My recommendation? Come check it out. There’s a farmers market every Saturday morning, and every second Sunday of the month theres a town market that absolutely fills up with cute stalls and eager customers. I hope to see you there!
Leave your store recommendations in the comments below and share your favorites with other readers!