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Best cafes in Vancouver


Not a bad roundup. Did she miss your fave? (She missed one of mine.) Any you disagree with?

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    1. re: Sam Salmon

      What are you drinking these days ? Coconut water ?

      1. re: LotusRapper

        Craft Beer, IPA of course, from a stainless steel growler is the beverage of choice.

    2. She missed Matchstick (Is that the one you were thinking of GE?), but it may not have fit her "by the neighborhood" format.

      Off topic but has that area (Fraser & Kingsway) been given a trendy name yet? It probably will get one soon as there are some good eats there.

      3 Replies
        1. re: moyenchow

          NoFra ? FraKing ?

          Actually I thought that last one was fraking funny ;-)

          1. re: moyenchow

            Yes, moyen, and apparently it was a software glitch that left out that area so maybe check back for the correction.

          2. In the West End the newly opened Greenhorn is looking like a contender. Not that there is a lot of competition.

            3 Replies
            1. re: Anne M

              I was just googling Greenhorn per NMS' thread and found this rather groovy linkage: http://cafeyvr.com/opening-soon/ for keeping track of newish places to caffeinate.

              And yes, it was Matchstick that I was thinking of. For me, it has the right combo of ambiance, solid coffee, friendly staff and (most importantly) excellent baked goods. Just wish it were closer to home. Kits is a bit of a wasteland for good coffee shops that do well with all for things at the moment.

              1. re: grayelf

                Thank you for that very handy link grayelf.

                I see JJ Bean is opening on Bidwell and Davie. So it seems there is hope for coffee in the West End after all.

              2. I'm surprised Matchstick isn't on that list. They supply Nelson the Seagull and I would hope they could make their coffee better than those they supply to.

                I usually go in for their iced assam tea (unsweetened) and their pecan cookie (seriously delicious).

                10 Replies
                1. re: quddous

                  Quddous, try Matchstick's double-baked almond croissant next time. If you get there past 9:15am you're most likely out of luck (and I might have been the guy just in front of you who snagged the last one, then yelling "YEAHHH !")

                  1. re: LotusRapper

                    I think we have had it but might not have; will get it if I ever see it. Our favourite almond croissant in Vancouver is Thomas Haas; I have to admit I eat *all* the leftover crumbs from that one. The best I've had is Koign Amann in Montreal. Quite similar to Thomas Haas but less sweet and less crunchy. Just a little more held back.

                    I also like the praline pinenut croissant at Beaucoup but it is more than overwhelming in richness and crunchiness. I'm only having that one once a year maximum.

                    1. re: quddous

                      Haven't had the Beaucoup one yet, but that sounds more like Matchstick's than Haas'. I did (too) many comparisons between Matchstick's and Haas'. Both are equally good but quite different, Haas' being more traditional croissant-like whereas Matchstick's approaches a heavy, dense puff pastry. It's a meal in itself, and you could split one with your SO and it'd only be $2.225 each :-)

                      1. re: LotusRapper

                        Temper Pastry in West Van has double baked almond croissants along with a coconut variation. He worked at Thomas Haas' shop as well for several years..

                    2. re: LotusRapper

                      FWIW, Matchstick appears to be baking at least a couple times a day at the original location. Arrived at 11:30 in the torrential downpour today to find no double bakeds left, but by the time I got to the front of the line, a tray had appeared, to which I shouted Yay as well :-).

                      Really good pourover of a Guatemalan today (Las Guyabales or something like that, first one on the list, one of two from Huehuetenango). My DC loved her decaf americano as well.

                      1. re: grayelf

                        I hafta give a shout out to Timbertrain here with the caveat that I've only had their nitro-tapped cold brew. Worthy!

                        I'm interested in trying 247 Main across from the courthouse, as well as Pallet out east just off Hastings. Also intrigued by Basho. Any Hound reports on these?

                        1. re: grayelf

                          Timbertrain is my morning Americano and the shot they use is tasty and nuanced. Been able to reduce the amount of sugar and cream to a bare minimum. The guys at Timbertrain are good.

                          Also Very interested in Pallet since they are around the corner from Basho.

                          1. re: grayelf

                            I really enjoyed all three.

                            I would also toss in Lear Faye Espresso Kitchen and Renfrew Cafe if you want to try some other new cafes.

                            If you can get in before this week (limited supply), Brassneck has a coffee beer made with cold brew/Anchored Coffee.

                            1. re: grayelf

                              Basho is excellent and I love it dearly. Unfortunately they have changed their hours and are only open M-F until 4pm. They have excellent coffee (Handworks) and matcha lattes, an amazing tuna tataki salad (or rice bowl) and a variety of really interesting baked goods. Pallet (nearby) has a great espresso - I bought the beans that they sell. Beautiful interior as well.

                              1. re: VanGrrl

                                Thanks for the update on Basho's hours, which pretty much limit it to local clientele. Hope that works for them.

                      2. I finally had one of the DB almond croissants at Matchstick and was not all that enthused. It was just too much, total overkill.

                        If you are looking for a DB croissant check out Beaucoup`s rhubarb croissant. yooowzaaa!

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: koshfoodie

                          @moyenchow: Agree re Timbertrain coffee not needing any additions, at least the nitro cold brew doesn't!

                          @cafeyvr: Lear Faye and Renfrew are new to me, will deffo explore! Thanks. Not big on the coffee beer generally but that is cool.

                          @koshfoodie: Good tip on the rhubarb croissant! I haven't had anything I've liked from Beaucoup since the bricks and mortar opened which bugs me since it is so convenient to my office.

                          I tend to share the almond croissants as they are so rich. You might want to try the ones from Chez Christophe which I thought were a bit lighter but still decadent. Their hazelnut chocolate ones are also worthy if you like that flavour combo.

                          1. re: grayelf

                            Replying to myself as I managed to hit several new-to-me cafes today, reported upon in this post: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9877...

                            PS Lear Faye are family names, in case anyone was wondering :-).

                        2. I have to add another "Gold star" for Timbertrain. Spotted this on a trip report by SF poster, Reformed, in another thread who mentioned they had a cookie with potato chips in it at Timbertrain.

                          I had to check it out. The cookie is unique and wonderful. Called the Comfort cookie, this thing contains not only Potato Chips but also Pretzel bits and chocolate chips!

                          It's a nice bake good that combines both savoury and sweet.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: moyenchow

                            Those cookies are sourced from Float On on Fraser http://www.floatonbakeshop.com/daily-... and are gluten free, in case anyone wants to try them outside Timbertrain.

                            I need to get to Timbertrain earlier to see the full panoply of their baked good offerings. Last time I went they only had two lonely waffles left in the case. To be fair, I've visited twice, both times late in the afternoon. The nitro cold brew continues to impress...

                            Grabbed lunch at Pallet last Sat and had a chance to try two of their a la minute sandwiches: the pulled pork and the club. The first was on special for $8 (reg $10) and was big enough to share. The latter was a bit less substantial but not much. Both came with a mixed green salad that was unremarkable but fine. Only quibble would be that I prefer focaccia toasted and they do have Panini presses so maybe it could be done for the pulled pork, or maybe not, as the filling is quite "wet." The fillings in both sandos were very nice -- real breast in the club, and the pork was good and porky, and not too sweet as pulled pork can be. Keepers, both.

                            We had coffees too, an iced Americano (they're talking about doing cold brews at some point) and a traditional cappuccino. Both were well considered, expertly prepared beverages, but the roasting here seems to lend itself to an older school, "second wave" flavor profile that leans toward bitter. I am so used to third wave citrusy notes that it threw me a bit. Not bad at all, just different than what a lot of other places are doing. The SO was pretty pleased, as he is a bit more into the old school way :-).

                            Just found cafeyvr's "Opening soon" linkage, which I've bookmarked and will be following: http://cafeyvr.com/opening-soon/ Can't believe how long it's taking Wide Open Throttle to get up and running. Therein lies a tale, I'm sure but I wish they'd get on with it as the location is spittin' distance from the bro and SIL's house!

                            Continued sadness that there are so few decent coffee places on the west side -- of her list, I don't like Wicked anymore for coffee, was never a fan of the coffee at T Haas, Elysian on 5th has great coffee but the seating is so ratty and filthy I just can't overlook it anymore, 49th on 4th is good but I don't love the space and Bica can have weird service issues when they are busy -- I do need to check out Innocent but find it's not easy to get to either on foot or by car. I was at UBC trying to think of one nearby recently and came up empty. Mix is not it, trust me :-(.