Thyme to Indulge
2858 Main Street, Vancouver, BC
Open 9am-4pm Wednesday-Sunday. Website.
My last stop in Vancouver was also my favourite: a charming bistro styled French, with a striped awning decorating the window and light brown and white woods filling the indoors. Among their selection of eggs benedicts is one of crispy, bacon-crusted poached eggs, covered in a smokey chipotle hollandaise, served with breakfast potatoes and toasted focaccia bread ($13.50). A waffle breakfast sandwich, omelette with all the fixings, and buttermilk pancakes (plain, chocolate chip, or blueberry) are also available. Their espresso bar serves fair-trade, organic coffee from Pacific Coffee Roasters of Chilliwack, BC, and they offer hazelnut, peppermint, and cinnamon syrups.
Edible Canada Bistro
1596 Johnston Street, Vancouver, BC
Open for brunch 9am-3pm Saturday & Sunday. Website.
Located on Granville Island, Edible Canada supports local suppliers and vendors at the public market and promotes locally-grown Canadian cuisine. It’s a focal point of the island with daffodils surrounding the patio outside, market tours meeting out front, and a gift shop selling Canadian-made products: Quebec maple syrup, west coast smoked salmon, and flavoured sea salt. On the menu: Yukon arctic char gravlax, egg dishes with duck fat hashbrowns, and below, poached eggs on grilled sourdough with asparagus, avocado, mushrooms, and hollandaise ($16). To drink, get a maple bacon caesar or a mimosa using Okanagan bubbly.
1298 East Hastings St., Vancouver, BC (Multiple Locations Available)
Open weekdays for breakfast 8am-3pm, weekends 9am-3pm. Website.
If you find yourself ordering eggs benny no matter where you go (let me just slowly raise my hand now) Yolks is the place for you. From restaurant to food truck, Yolks has mastered the customized benny. Choose from one or two poached eggs with your choice of double smoked bacon, thick hand-carved honey ham, or portobello mushroom. For your base, the traditional English muffin, truffle-lemon crispy hashbrowns, or gluten-free bun. To top it off, hollandaise, white cheddar, or Okanagan goat cheese. Pancakes, waffles, and French toast are on the menu too – but go for their specialty. They were the best eggs benedict I had in Vancouver.
55 Dunlevy Ave, Vancouver, BC
Open for brunch on weekends 10am-3pm. Website.
Belgard Kitchen is hidden inside The Settlement Building on the Downtown Eastside, sharing a space with Vancouver Urban Winery and Postmark Brewery. It’s industrial: filled with dark wood, high ceilings, and dim lighting. Barrels stacked four high draw a line across the room and pay homage to the on-site brewery. To eat, the Railtown breakfast wrap with fried egg, bacon, avocado, arugula, sprouts, hummus, and pickled onion in an open-mouth flat bread ($13) or salmon gravlax hash with house-cured sockeye, beet and Postmark IPA puree, poached eggs, and parmesan cream ($15). To share, the Belgard bacon is a skillet of crispy maple bourbon pork belly stacked high and drenched in a maple caramel sauce ($10).
780 Richards St, Vancouver, BC
Open for breakfast 8am-3pm everyday. Website.
Medina has a lineup outside by 11, if not earlier, every morning. The first thing you’ll notice is noise: a room full to the brim with hungry Vancouverites, classic rock through the speakers, the grinding of coffee beans and a ding from the open kitchen like clockwork motioning for a dish in the pass. There’s long windows facing the busy street, towering ceilings, and an open kitchen and cafe bar. They’ve combined the bustle of cafe culture with upscale Mediterranean to create a classy restaurant that feels European, and serves dishes like cassoulet, tagine, and paella – they exude dapper not diner.
The Birds Nest
An underground restaurant, Vancouver, BC
Reservation required – Saturdays and Sundays. Website.
Dining underground is a term to describe eating a meal similar to that of a restaurant but out of someone’s home, generally bypassing zoning or rigorous health-code regulations, and sometimes only being discovered by word-of-mouth. The Birds Nest is run by someone who loved to throw dinner parties and has exploded in popularity – you can make reservations online but do so well in advance. For a $20 ‘suggested donation’ you will have a seat at a large communal table with a multi-course surprise brunch menu, seasonal, local and organic produce whenever possible. Previous menus included a butternut squash and bean skillet, mini scones with fresh preserves and orange butter, or eggs benny with roasted tomato and zucchini on a freshly baked buttermilk biscuit.
219 Union Street, Vancouver, BC
Open for brunch on weekends 10am-230pm. Website.
The Union in Chinatown serves Southeast Asian food and is managed by the Cascade Company (Cascade Room, Charlie’s, El Camino’s). Here you can have a husked-to-order young thai coconut or lychee mimosa with your breakfast. Although the bao bun bennies were intriguing but disappointing, the Pandesal French toast makes it worth checking out. For those with a sweet tooth: it’s caramelized nashi pears, whipped cream, toasted coconut, and drizzled with five spice brandy toffee sauce ($12).
Meat & Bread
370 Cambie Street, Vancouver, BC (Multiple Locations Available)
Open 11am-5pm Monday-Saturday. Website.
More sandwich shop than a typical brunch place, Meat & Bread in Gastown is worth visiting nonetheless. Featured on bon appetit and Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, Meat & Bread is sandwiches done right. An always-changing menu may include a porchetta sandwich with crackling and salsa verde ($9) or a braised turkey thigh (from local Rossdown Farm) with smoked paprika jus, pumpkin seed romesco, edive, and arugula ($9.5). Their bread comes from artisanal breadmakers Swiss Bakery, often stealing a spot in the top 20 bakeries in Canada.
Cherry blossoms beginning to bloom, the smell of hot apple cider and fresh bread in the air, and the bustle of a community gathering around food – there’s nothing better. That was my experience when visiting the Nat Bailey farmers’ market on Saturdays this past March. Yolks (see #3 above) has a food truck parked there, Melt City sells grilled cheese sandwiches with gouda and caramelized apples, and a local baker has the best and biggest slices of carrot cake I’ve ever seen. PureBread, a Whistler-based family bakery, always has a line-up stretching through the market for their buttery almond croissants, scones, and hazelnut fig loaves. Locations of Vancouver’s Farmers’ Markets vary depending on the time of year, so it’s worth checking out which ones nearest to you.
1622 Commercial Drive, Vancouver, BC
Open for breakfast until 3pm Wednesday to Sunday. Website.
They’re known for their traditional Mexican dishes using organic, locally-sourced ingredients, free-range meats and eggs, and Oceanwise seafood. For breakfast try their Huevos con chorizo, scrambled eggs with chorizo, queso fresco, black beans, pico de gallo, and toast ($14) or salmon con tequila, an English muffin topped with tequila and citrus-cured salmon, poached eggs, and chipotle hollandaise ($16).