It’s incredible how far this city has advanced on the brunch front in just a few short years. The lazy weekend mid-morning to mid-afternoon meal used to be pretty much the exclusive reserve of greasy spoon joints. And the draw wasn’t so much a well executed menu of established standards as it was the thrill of finding an open door and someone willing to cook on a Sunday. We frequent over a dozen spots on a regular basis and do our best to try every one that’s new to the game. Here are our current favourites for your ranking consideration…
Red Wagon | 2296 E. Hastings St. | HASTINGS SUNRISE | www.redwagoncafe.com | This cozy, no nonsense neighbourhood joint on the city’s East Side is the most basic and casual spot on this list. It nails the hearty side of the milieu with pulled pork pancakes, thick Reuben sandwiches, and smoked salmon scrambles. The line-up can be a bit of a hassle, but rest assured, it moves surprisingly fast.
Chambar | 568 Beatty St. | CROSSTOWN | 604-879-7119 | www.chambar.com | With its big open floor plan, high ceilings, and flood of natural light, Chambar is a stylish pleasure to lounge in – definitely the best looking of the brunch bunch. The food is superb and often highly original. Aim for the saffron tomato stew lit up by merguez sausage and cooled with raita. So much flavour! Also imperative: waffles with bacon caramel.
L’Abattoir | 217 Carrall St. | GASTOWN | 604-568-1701 | www.labattoir.ca | We were pretty excited when this award-winner kicked off their brunch service. It follows the same sophisticated, French-accented lines as dinner, with lots of attention to detail in every aspect of the operation. To wit, the poached eggs with pork belly and cheddar sabayon is an absolute show-stopper. Best seats are in the light-soaked back room.
Homer St. Cafe | 898 Homer St. | YALETOWN | www.homerstreetcafebar.com | This bright, beautifully designed looker fires on all cylinders at brunch; the service is arguably the best of the brunch lot. They do a shockingly good Eggs Benedict, but aren’t afraid to get deliciously, if confidently, weird. Witness the fried nutella and banana Monte Cristo sandwich. Better yet, eat it! Bonus: excellent coffee.
Cafe Medina | 780 Richards St. | DOWNTOWN | 604-879-3114 | www.medinacafe.com | Cafe Medina helped lift Vancouver from its brunch doldrums with its fluffy Belgian waffles and inventive departures from the norm. Case in point: the all-in-one braised short rib fricassee with applewood smoked cheddar, apples, roasted potatoes, and fried eggs. If you encounter a line-up, pass word to the host/hostess that a seat at the bar will suffice.
Wildebeest | 120 West Hastings St. | GASTOWN | 604-687-6880 | www.wildebeest.ca | One of our favourite dinner restaurants also kicks serious ass at brunch. The “Wildebrunch” is our go to (shared), as it comes loaded with Angus beef bavette, smoked bierwurst (best in town), bacon, peppercorn sauce, three fried eggs, triple-cooked potatoes, and toast – ideally paired with a Corpse Reviver & Tonic.
La Mezcaleria | 1622 Commercial Dr. | THE DRIVE | 604-559-8226 | www.lamezcaleria.ca | It took a Scout poll to convince this focused Mexican restaurant to open for brunch, and they’ve been killing it ever since. Do the chiliaquiles: housemade tortilla chips covered with either green tomatillo or serrano-laced tomato sauce and topped with queso fresco, onion, beans, and crema (pictured above). To drink? Micheladas!
Did we miss your favourite brunch spot? Let us know via @scoutmagazine