It’s no wonder brunch has been a perennial favourite in Vancouver—it offers the opportunity to enjoy some of your favourite breakfast items on your time, at your leisure, while you're on your break from the 9 to 5 grind. It's hard to get more West Coast than that.
Well, actually you can because here are three brunch spots in Downtown Vancouver that have opened up over the past year and have become some of our periodic morning destinations.
While all offer familiar breakfast and lunchtime favourites, you’ll notice that all of their menus have been recast through the lens of various international culinary traditions, speaking to Vancouver’s manifold cultural influences.
Brunch (1147 Granville Street) Our list—nay, our lives—would be incomplete without this one, which wife-and-husband team Clementina Oliveras and Ian Turnbull launched in May, for the name alone.
This 34-seater took over the cozy space from fellow brunch outfit Twisted Fork, which replanted itself in Gastown, and has already found a following (it was full capacity on a sunny Sunday afternoon when we dropped by).
Now West Coast faves cozy up with Mexican recipes.
Semi-traditionalists can opt for an array of pancakes, French toast, and crepes; the Breakfast Sandwich—scrambled egg, bacon, caramelized onion, bell peppers, and cheddar on a croissant or ciabbatta; or, for a hint of adventure, the classic Brunch Benedict accented with pickled jalapeño.
But for those whose hunger arises from being starved of sun-drenched-vacations, there are huveos rancheros (refried beans and sunny-side egg atop a tortilla), molettes (grilled cheese and refried beans on ciabatta with pico de gallo), and the popular enchiladas suizas (cheese-coated corn tortillas filled with cheese or chicken immersed in a pool of green salsa).
Order your caffeine fix to give a helping hand to Mexican kids with cancer—10 percent of coffee sales go to the nonprofit Casa de la Amistad.
Palate Kitchen (848 West Hastings Street) This class act, which officially opened on February 8, comes courtesy of the fine folks from Pallet Coffee Roasters.
Housed in the 1921-built Ceperley Rounsefell Building in the Financial District area of Coal Harbour, the airy high-ceilinged split-level space (two upper-level dining spaces bookend the room) offers plenty of distancing room while staying social. Although the original seating capacity was for 120 people, the amount has been reduced to half that amount during the pandemic.
Brunch staples get intriguing Euro-touches—safe-bet Palate Breakfast is a plate pleaser of two eggs, bacon and sausage on toast, roasted potatoes, baked tomato, and baked beans while the brisk Fjord marries Nordic-style cured salmon with whipped cream cheese, avocado, greens, and pickled shallots on sourdough.
Cinnamon French toast outfitted with mascarpone praline, berries, ginger crumb, and meringue? Yes, please.
Okay, so we’re venturing beyond brunch now, but how could you not when chef Khalid Kahya casts a compelling Moroccan sway over the lunch menu, with the likes of kefta tagine (two poached eggs perch atop meatballs bathing in tomato sauce), taktouka skillet (scrambled eggs meet traditional Moroccan salad), and the sumptuous 24-Hour Lamb sandwich (ultra-tender 24-hour cooked lamb with fried egg, baba gahnoush, harissa labneh, pecorino cheese, and greens on sourdough).
Coffee—needless to say—a must. Save room for the meal-cleansing Palate Tiramisu.
Noah’s Café (572 Davie Street) Yoshoku, or Japanese takes on Western food, continues to sprout up in pleasant surprises. Chef Clifford Chi's pop-up grew permanent roots in the former Yaletown-ish location of the late Ramenman (sob) as of October 1.
The most difficult part? Choosing only one item.
For instance, there’s the deconstructed hamburg steak and onsen egg atop bread, drenched in mozzarella and gravy. Still mourning the loss of Robson’s Spaghetéi, which shuttered in 2016? Good news: here’s Napolitana spaghetti with smoked ham, bell peppers, and mushrooms in spicy tomato dashi sauce, or uni cream pasta with shrimp, baby scallops, and uni (sea urchin) sashimi.
Searching for Japanese breakfast? Found it—this hearty teishoku (set meal) features grilled mackerel with rice, miso, salad, and essential tsukemono (pickles) for the traditional way to start the day. Japan adjacent—Hawaii—manifests in loco moco—a sunny-side-up egg astride either hamburg steak or sous-vide pork loin cutlet in tonkatsu gravy over rice. There are also sandos (sandwiches) with egg katsu (with caramelized onion butter jam and sweet ginger tonkatsu tomato sauce), deep-fried ebi (shrimp), or chicken karaage.
If you really can't make up your mind, for the full meal deal, catch a ride on Noah’s Ark—a weekly special platter of tongue-tickling delights, from quail scotch egg with aurora sauce and albacore tuna takaki to seared vinaigrette saba (mackerel) in sweet sesame soy sauce.
Who says you can’t have it all? Answer: your stomach. Ah, but that’s what repeat visits are for, right?