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.
Note: Some Vancouver restaurants only offer a weekend brunch, while others serve breakfast seven days a week. My list is inclusive of both. Always check the restaurant’s website ahead to confirm these details.
Score on Davie
Don’t be fooled by the menu of novelty “food Caesars” – Caesar cocktails with stacks of burgers, onion rings, grilled cheese, etc. as garnish. No, weekend brunch at Score on Davie is so much more. I did not expect to find the perfect avocado toast served on grilled sourdough with poached egg, beet and dill pesto, feta, and pumpkin seed dukka. It was a work of art. The server suggested I could swap the mixed greens for their signature deep-fried tater tots, which I admit was an excellent move. My companion’s fried chicken eggs benny also looked on point. We were both blown away by the food at this welcoming neighbourhood pub in Davie Village. For a casual anything goes vibe paired with elevated diner food, I highly recommend Score. And the best part? No lineups.
Red Wagon Cafe
This beloved East Van diner recently moved down the street while it renovates its old E Hastings location. Yet the Red Wagon Cafe still as popular as ever. The French-trained Vancouver chef 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 or tofu. 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 traditional breakfast fare; the menu is heavily Morrocan-inspired with a Belgian twist. The tagine is one of my favourites. It’s a savory skillet of poached eggs with merguez sausage served on a spicy tomato and chickpea stew with black olives, preserved lemon, raita, and grilled focaccia. I’m also a fan of lavender latte, and I can never resist ordering one of their signature waffles with salted caramel sauce as dessert.
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: Pre-COVID, Tangent would have live jazz bands performing on certain days. Keep your eye open on their social channels for a return to live music.
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.
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!