Where do you go for the best brunch in Vancouver? Well, it depends on what you’re seeking. But given that there are so many restaurants to choose from, I created this list of one-of-a-kind places I would normally suggest to visiting friends and family. From casual neighbourhood diners to fancier destination restaurants, these are some of my personal favourites.
Red Wagon Cafe
This beloved East Van diner is popular amongst locals and visitors, and for good reason: the food. The French-trained Vancouver chef (who also opened up Bistro Wagon Rouge a few blocks away) takes diner classics one step further, like their famous pulled pork pancakes with Jack Daniels maple syrup – possibly the smokiest pork you’ll ever taste. Or go for something unexpected, like the Breakfast Banh Mi topped with pork belly. It’s a good thing they serve breakfast all day!
Tip: Go to the Red Wagon Cafe on a weekday to avoid the notorious weekend lines.
If you don’t mind waiting in line (and believe me, I do), Medina will show you the hip, innovative approach to Vancouver brunch. Don’t expect bennies or omelettes here; the menu is heavily Morrocan-inspired with a Belgian twist. My go-to is the tagine (poached eggs with merguez sausage on a spicy tomato and chickpea stew), a lavender latte, and one of their signature waffles with salted caramel sauce.
Tip: If you just want a coffee and a waffle, you can walk in and order it to go from their coffee counter, bypassing the line altogether.
This casual family-friendly neighbourhood restaurant offers a mix of traditional diner classics (bennies, omelettes, bacon and eggs, burgers, etc.) as well as, surprisingly, decent Malaysian food (try the roti). But what’s really impressive about the Tangent Cafe is the beautifully-curated local craft beer list, which takes this diner to the next level if you’re a beer nerd. Sit on the patio if it’s a sunny day and soak up the quirky East Van neighbourhood vibe – the people watching is particularly good.
Tip: Return in the evening for the live jazz.
Once a popular hipster food truck serving breakfast to hungry downtown pedestrians, Yolks transitioned to a permanent brick and mortar location a few years ago and they’ve nailed the sit-down brunch experience ever since. Come here for delicious, healthy smoothies and juices, as well as an assortment of eggy delights. They also do trendier items like chorizo scotch eggs or chicken and waffles.
Seasons in the Park
This is the restaurant where you bring your extended family to celebrate a special milestone brunch, where good food and service is a requirement, but the ambiance and views matter more. Located at the top of Queen Elizabeth Park, the view over the garden and city is truly special. You’re getting a traditional, formal brunch at Seasons in the Park and it’s always a pleasant experience. Sit on the patio for something truly memorable.
When you’re seeking an elegant interior and refined cuisine, a brunch at Hawksworth is worth it. Hawksworth presents some innovative approaches to brunch classics, as well as a brunch price fixe menu of items you’d never expect, like octopus ceviche or charred eggplant panisse. This is the kind of special occasion brunch I have once every few years with a girlfriend before we hit up the art gallery across the street. It’s more New York than Vancouver, and it works.
Tip: The cocktails here are some of the best in the city.
This retro diner is small and unassuming, especially its location on a block of seen-better-days Granville Street. But once inside, service is snappy and the food is not only ethically-sourced, it’s delicious. The Templeton‘s the kind of place that advertises “Big Ass Breakfast” on the menu, as well as many vegan offerings. If you’re the kind of person who orders boozy milkshakes for brunch, you know you’re in the right spot.
Tip: Bring a few (Canadian) quarters to use the tableside jukeboxes.
Finally, I’m always open to more suggestions. Did I miss your favourite brunch place? I’d love to know about it. Please leave me a comment below!