It’s a weekday morning, and you want to go out for breakfast – but you’ve got something beyond coffee and a muffin in mind. No prob. We’ve compiled a list of our go-to breakfast joints to share with you. The following is far from exhaustive – just a small roundup of places we like to go. Think we should try one of YOUR favourite places? Let us know in the comments below.
The Birds & the Beets
Centrally located, Gastown’s Birds & the Beets is just as easily a place for a morning meeting as a solo breakfast. The miso barley bowl will fuel you well into the afternoon, and the ricotta on toast is as light and fluffy as it looks in the above picture. DETAILS.
Located on Pemberton Avenue off of Marine Drive in North Van, Douce Diner is a little off the beaten track…but a worthy pilgrimage and easily one of our favourite rewards after a North Shore mountain hike. The eggs Benny are outstanding (any version that you choose) and buttermilk waffles with brined panko fried chicken breast should not be missed. Milkshakes are legit too. Now open on Mondays! DETAILS.
The doors to Finch’s in Strathcona open at 9am, and the light-filled room populates quickly for good reason. We are partial to the Eggs & Soldiers (reminds us of being five years old, dipping our bread soldiers into bright yellow yolk with glee) but you can also order the grownup version with a side of avocado and salt-and-pepper-dusted sliced tomato and dill . The chai latte is a great accompaniment to either. DETAILS.
From huevos rancheros and a “Trucker Breakfast” with rosti, to salted caramel French toast and roast duck pancakes – nobody ever called Fable Diner’s breakfast menu anything close to “light”. But sometimes a big ol’ plate of eggs, meat and carbs, along with a milkshake, is the only thing that will do the trick. So if that’s where your stomach is at: look no further. Old-school diner vibes abound both in the atmosphere and on the menu. DETAILS.
The calm of being surrounded by healthy, happy plants only amplifies the feeling of nourishment we get from the food at The Garden. Build your own ‘Breakfast Bowl’ with a base of organic yogurt or porridge, finished with your choice of toppings (think amaro poached apples, bee pollen, hemp seeds, toasted coconut, and rotating flavours of fruit compote), or go for the toasted (and shockingly gluten free) Banana Bread with espresso cream cheese, cacao nibs and cardamom maple drizzle. Add one of their organic smoothies for an extra boost. DETAILS.
Even on the rainiest of days, it feels bright and sunny in Hunnybee. Located on the Chinatown-Strathcona border, this counter-service bruncheonette and cafe is all about delicious, warming goodness that strikes a wholesome balance between light and hearty. Go for the gently spiced shakshuka, seriously good hash Benedict with curried ketchup (and your choice of sausage or avocado), and/or the incomprehensibly fluffy ricotta pancakes. DETAILS.
Laura’s Coffee Shop
Built in 1905 as a house, then later converted into a corner store, and finally turned into a cafe, Laura’s sits on the corner of West 4th and Manitoba, in lower Mount Pleasant. This family-run diner has a handful of booths, and serves up a classic diner-style menu, including all the winners – scrambled eggs, hash browns, hot cakes and French toast – Monday through Friday, starting at 8am. For some backstory on Laura’s, have a look here.
Since its opening in 2019, Livia has quickly become a neighbourhood staple. A line-up at the Commercial Drive bakery and cafe’s to-go window is a common occurrence, if not a given. If you’re on the go yourself, slip by the window for a coffee, loaf of sourdough, assortment of treats, or a killer breakfast sandwich for the road. But if you have the time, head inside instead, where Italian comfort food breakfast is waiting. Whether you’re down for soft polenta with braised local vegetables, fagioli brasati with focaccia, or spaghetti carbonara, you’ll feel the love in Livia’s food. Indoor seats are a precious commodity, but there’s often a spot open at the bar AND it won’t be long before patio seating is comfortable once again! DETAILS.
MAXINE’S Café & Bar
We subscribe to the school of thought that if there is the option to order a Dutch Baby, then a Dutch Baby should be ordered – and Maxine’s Café & Bar does a nice one with fried egg, shaved ham and mornay sauce. Other items on the menu range from a Falafel and Spicy Crispy Chicken Sandwich though to a PB&J Quinoa Bowl, and basic Bacon and Eggs. Their line-up is real, so we suggest planning ahead by making a reservation, available Monday to Friday only, from 9am to 3pm. DETAILS.
Café Medina helped lift Vancouver from its brunch doldrums 15 years ago and has been setting the bar ever since. Don’t miss Medina’s signature Liège Waffles with a lavender latte. Other fine choices include Braised Short Ribs Fricassée with eggs; Cassoulet; Tagine; and the Cardamom Pistachio Granola. Don’t worry, the line moves quickly. DETAILS.
Nelson the Seagull
The folks at Nelson the Seagull make really good bread, and a thick slice of their robust sourdough is a delicious denominator for your home breakfast equation. If you have the time though, we recommend pulling up a seat in the open-concept cafe space to avail yourself of their dine-in menu. Some added numerators to your breakfast at NTS include: poached eggs; peanut butter and jam; avocado; and peaches and ricotta (our favourite). It’s a handsome and brightly lit room, favourable to morning meet-ups with pals or on your own while knocking back a few chapters in your book. DETAILS.
At Novella, the French omelette with gruyere and fine herbs is the ticket, but they also make a nice Turbo Breakfast Sandwich, savoury Steel-Cut Oats with wild and cultivated mushrooms, and yogurt ‘Bavarois’ with sea buckthorn and hemp seeds. Plus baked goods from ButterBoom and coffee via House of Funk. DETAILS.
Red Wagon Cafe
A no-nonsense neighbourhood joint in the heart of Hastings-Sunrise, Red Wagon Cafe nails the hearty side of the milieu with their pulled pork pancakes and Trucker breakfast with as much skill as they plate more delicate offerings, like scrambled eggs with smoked salmon or tofu. It’s all tasty. Sure, there will likely be a queue, but rest assured that it moves surprisingly fast, and the buttermilk pancakes alone are worth waiting for. DETAILS.
Hit up this East Hastings diner for a “Hungry Man” breakfast (hamburger steak, two eggs, hashbrowns and toast), French toast, Denver omelettes, or hot porridge. The ambience (linoleum flooring, upholstered booths held together by duct tape, and bright red plastic ketchup bottles on the tables) is as ‘no-fuss’ as the service. Cash is king at S2 (there is an ATM on site, because they aren’t joking around). Open from 8:30am every day. No website (not even close).
Brought to us by the good folks behind the award-winning AnnaLena restaurant, Kitsilano’s Their There recently launched an ‘all day’ menu that will take care of you for breakfast (as well as brunch and lunch) six days a week! Choose from two types of Benedicts; cereal milk panna cotta; cassoulet with pork and poached eggs; beef brisket hash; chicken & waffles…and (believe it or not) more! Plus, this team “knows” coffee, and they always have mochi doughnuts on hand. Oh, and tater tots – don’t forget the tater tots! DETAILS.
TRUCK STOP CAFE
Fast, friendly and unpretentious, Truck Stop Cafe serves up basic diner-style breakfasts from 9am to 3pm, Monday through Saturday (closed Sunday). The All Day Breakfast (2 eggs, 2 bacon or sausage, hash brown and toast) will run you a more-than-fair $6.95. Famished? Upgrade to the Trucker’s Special (3 eggs, 3 bacon, 3 sausages, and 3 buttermilk pancakes) for just $11.95 (“When in Rome”…) Look for the bubblegum pink building on the corner of Clark and Napier.
The window for the breakfast menu at Ubuntu is small (just two hours, Wednesday through Friday) but the food is always excellent, thoughtful and comforting; the room is always cheerful and relaxing; and the people are always lovely. Get in while you can because this neighbourhood hub is ONLY open until Sunday, April 16th (Ubuntu’s last day of service). DETAILS.
Breakfast at this bustling family-run Hastings-Sunrise cafe starts at 9am (closed Sunday and Monday). We suggest the “Morning Set” which is a tray composed of nicely portioned small plates featuring a choice between sockeye salmon or mackerel, as well as steamed rice, miso soup, an egg, pickles and veg. Fresh and light – right down to the sliced orange. Don’t skip their matcha latte. DETAILS.