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 a weekend day shift. We frequent over two dozen spots on a regular basis and do our best to try every place that’s new to the game. Here are our current favourites…
This cozy, no-nonsense neighbourhood joint in the heart of Hastings-Sunrise is arguably the most 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 queue can be a bit of a hassle, but rest assured that it moves surprisingly fast.
Verre is the newest spot on this list. Word is they are hosting their very first brunch services this weekend. We haven’t seen a menu yet but know (from delicious experience) that the kitchen doesn’t mess around. If they don’t knock brunch out of the park here we’d be astounded.
This casual, bustling-but-always-mellow Gastown spot offers good people-watching to pair with your muesli or avocado and poached egg brioche sandwich. Coffee and tea game on high.
Yaletown’s Fayuca does an excellent brunch spread with fancified chilaquiles, dreamy Huevos Rancheros (topped with créme fraiche), and a rib-sticking “hangover” stew made with toothsome brisket, crispy tortilla, onion, cilantro, and lime — among a great many other unique and otherwise interesting dishes.
With its big open floor plan, high ceilings and flood of natural light, Chambar is a stylish pleasure to lounge in – possibly the best looking of the brunch bunch. The food flirts with decadence and is often highly original. Aim for the chicken, jalapeño & manchego sausage cassoulet with black eyed beans, fried egg, kale and chimichurri. So much flavour! Also imperative: waffles with bacon caramel.
The brunch menu is pretty trim, but the few items that Bells and Whistles offers its weekend sports fans are hugely impactful. Case in point: the massive breakfast sandwich (previously featured in our STACKED column here). Also appealing: Steak spice rimmed Caesar cocktails.
We think Nomad is one of the most underrated restaurants on the East Side, and this extends to their brunch service with its tasty duck confit bennies, cinnamon sourdough French toast and crazy 1/4 lb breakfast burgers loaded with truffled scramble eggs.
This East Van staple plays a reliably good vegetarian brunch game (with plenty of vegan options). Our fave? The “Mexican Breakfast” of two free-range eggs, pinto beans, apple salsa, purple cabbage, guacamole, and two handmade corn tortillas. Bonus: honey-topped cornbread muffins.
It’s not often you come across a fried green tomato eggs benedict, but they rep ’em well here. Same story with the spicy buffalo-style fried chicken and waffle sandwich. Bonus: cheddar grits and proper cocktails.
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. Great scones, fantastic quiche, wonderful tartine and decadent boudin noir are the highlights. Best seats are in the light-soaked back room.
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 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.
One of our favourite dinner restaurants also kicks serious ass at brunch. The “Beest Brunch” is our go-to for sharing, as it comes loaded with bison tri-tip steak, maple breakfast sausage, rosemary bacon, peppercorn sauce, two poached eggs, triple-cooked potatoes, and sourdough toast.
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 chilaquiles: 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!
Almost in a class entirely of its own in the brunch department, the mighty Acorn – arguably Canada’s best vegetarian/vegan restaurant – is more relaxed during brunch service, but no less inventive. Aim for the southern fried artichokes with waffles, bourbon maple syrup and mushroom red eye gravy.
Burdock & Co. tables one of our favourite brunch menus on account of its mix of newfangled deliciousness and old standards done sublimely well. We like the Swedish Meatballs with fried eggs and nugget potatoes but we’re also partial to the dill-dusted fried chicken. Bonus: good gluten-free scones and beef chorizo.
As with all the menus at Farmer’s Apprentice, the brunch card is always subject to change. That unpredictability being said, diners are always guaranteed something new and interesting like, for example (at the time of writing): roasted chicken leg with brussels sprouts and poached egg-topped kale salad dressed with anchovy emulsion. Order this if they have it: Berkshire Tamworth bacon drizzled with maple syrup.
We’re suckers for the milkshakes here anytime but during brunch hours the heavenly things come across like a meal in and of themselves, especially when there’s a hangover involved. Load up further with some roast duck pancakes with kimchi or a more traditional French Toast with Nutella mousse.
Don’t be off-put by the line-up! They’ve mastered the art of quick service and fast table turnovers here, and the wait is worth it for traditional eggs benedict (done in a few different ways — we’re partial to arugula and double smoked bacon) and those highly addictive lemon-truffle roast potatoes.
Going the traditional route of crispy fried chicken with waffles is certainly attractive, as if the notion of biscuit sandwiches (pork sausage, egg, cheese, hashbrown), but really the thing to do here for brunch is the chicken fried steak which comes with sausage gravy and pair of fried eggs.
Long a titan of Vancouver’s food scene – especially at dinner and in the realm of cocktails – South Granville’s West Restaurant also excels at weekend brunch, plating superb bennies (loaded with house-cured back bacon, smoked salmon or spinach and mushrooms) and many other delicious things besides. First time? Aim for the brioche French toast!
A touch of Parisian sophistication on a weekend morning is never a bad idea, especially when it’s coupled with a proper omelette aux fines herbes speckled with black truffle and a side of some of the best damn frites in town. Not so secret weapon for the strong of heart: house burger with raclette, caramelized onion, bacon and foie gras.
If a neighbourhood could be had with a knife and fork, we’d dig in at Mt. Pleasant’s casual hideaway, Dock Lunch, for Sunday brunch. The menu is always different, but good bets are the breakfast sandwiches and anything that involves frittata, polenta or a biscuit.
Beyond the fantastic bread and restorative bone broths at this easygoing Fraserhood newcomer from chef David Gunawan and his fellowship of talented food lovers, you’ll find joy in tartines, maple licked porridge, and granola.
This new addition to the Chinatown’s border with Strathcona is all about delicious, warming goodness that strikes a wholesome balance between light and hearty. It always feels bright and sunny in here, even on the rainiest of days. Go for the muesli, ricotta pancakes and gently spiced Shakshuka.
Ask For Luigi is a perennial lock in our Scout 25, having been voted onto the list of Vancouver’s best restaurants every time it’s been published. Its awesomeness extends to weekend brunches (where their proper pastas come topped with poached eggs). Bonus: Bottles of Aperol Spritz.
They make a tasty frittata and tasty apple sausage here (not to mention a good yogurt parfait), but we’re suckers for the “insalata di barbabietola”, which has roasted red beets dressed with preserved lemon and littered with fontina cheese and panissa.
Did we miss your favourite brunch spot? Let us know via @scoutmagazine