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Fabulous brunch spots?

I'm looking for the best brunch spots in Vancouver. I've heard mixed reviews on Cafe Medina. Can anyone recommend others? Will be visiting in March.

Thanks!

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  1. Red wagon - not as refined as cafe medina and maybe not fabulous depending on your definition, but some decent eats. Long line ups.

    Yolks. Also on Hastings.

    3 Replies
    1. re: jmil

      Vancouver is a bit of a breaky/brunch wasteland, I fear. I usually recommend doing dim sum but understand you may be looking for a more western way to break your fast.

      With jmil on Red Wagon -- it is the only place I bother with for breakfast these days. You note I say breakfast, because I generally go before opening on a weekday. Don't even try to go on a weekend, seriously. The lineups are stupid, and you're on a busy street, waiting for the small number of tables they have to turn.

      I've only had Yolks at the farmers market so can't comment on the bricks and mortar. I'd be intrigued to see how the décor compares to when it was the Brave Bull.

      Medina is inconsistent, per the OP's reading, and that I can't abide. I used to love the back room there, especially on a sunny day. The front room is just a cramped cave.

      I would like to try Burdock and Co's brunch, as it looks appealing, but I haven't made it in yet.

      I do like reading this blogger's write-ups: http://breakfastinvancouver.blogspot.ca/ -- hope springs eternal that I will find *the* breaky/brunch spot, and I wish you the best of luck.

      1. re: grayelf

        How about Provence in Yaletown? Their food is maybe not amazing (don't remember) but at least the view is nice. Also, Lift? same shit, re: food, but view and patio?

        1. re: brokentelephone

          Views at Provence and Lift are good, food is not, IMO.

    2. For pricey, fancy brunch, I've tried Farmer's Apprentice and Burdock & Co, and enjoyed them both. Some pics and commentary here:

      https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?s...

      https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?s...

      I like these places because they're doing something a bit different from the usual heavy comfort food.

      2 Replies
      1. re: flowbee

        Ack, how did I not know Farmers Apprentice is doing brunch on Saturdays? That would be worth checking out, based on our dinner there last October. Here's a writeup from Scout with some details and more pix that I obviously missed as well: http://scoutmagazine.ca/tag/farmers-a...

        I wonder if they take brunch resos (another pet peeve of mine is that so many places here don't).

        flowbee, you mentioned you had brunch at Tuc Craft Kitchen the week before in your FA writeup. I considered adding it to my post above, but our breaky there with 4 people was uneven, as were our two dinners with 4 and 2 diners. What did you think of it?

        1. re: grayelf

          Oh yeah! Tuc!

          https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?s...

          Totally forgot. Of the three things that I had there, all three were good ;) But it was a heavy meat overload brunch for me that day... I do want to try their dinner.

      2. It may not be a popular recommendation but I've really enjoyed the brunch at Italian Kitchen.

        I also like Dockside on Granville Island - a bit expensive but there is always space, the view is lovely, service is good and they take reservations. Also a tip for anyone with little diners in tow, their kids menu is a steal and they have the wrap around fish tank below the open kitchen counter to keep little ones occupied.

        1. A friend and I hit the (fairly) newly reno'd Locus on Main a couple weeks ago and to our surprise enjoyed it rather a lot. Neither of us had been their for a couple years, in the past the food was never consistent etc. Apparently with the new reno came a new chef. I had the Benny of the day and she has a different benny (don't remember which) and both were solid. I'd go back, especially with a varied group, the menu was large for brunch. I also love what they did with the room and the bar and the open kitchen.

          1 Reply
          1. re: starlady

            Nice one, starlady, and good to see your handle again. Do you think Locus would be okay with a small person? It used to be kinda dark and forbidding but it sounds like it's changed a lot.

          2. I've always enjoyed Paul's Place Omelettery on Granville. Cozy, casual, reasonable prices, and they do everything well when it comes to eggs. Great drip coffee. You can hang for hours and not feel pressured to free up your table. And good service too.

            Chef Meme Baguette Bistro (Hastings, Burnaby) is another great place ! Of course, there I'd be tempted to just linger after I've finished my brunch and order lunch too. Their duck confit omelet is to die for.

            3 Replies
            1. re: LotusRapper

              I went to Paul's once and was disgusted. The place is so shitty and dirty, or at least it was probably 9 years ago. That said, I used to be an insufferable snob so maybe it's fine, who knows?

              1. re: brokentelephone

                And 9 years later, what kind of snob are you now ? ;-)

                1. re: LotusRapper

                  I don't hate Paul's but I don't love it. The food is solid but it suffers from the toonie-too-much syndrome. I do find myself there occasionally because it opens (and closes) early. Haven't noticed any tidiness issues recently, but they did spruce it up a few years ago.

            2. The Gallery Cafe @ VAG (Vanc Art Gallery) is a suave way to start the day. Pricey, 'tho:

              http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/14/180684...

              1. So many tempting suggestions! So little time!

                1. Forgot to mention, The Dockside on Granville Island (beside the hotel) is a nice relaxing brekkie/brunch spot, even on a dreary wet day:

                  http://www.docksidevancouver.com/take...

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: LotusRapper

                    You and islandgirl both recco Dockside -- I may have to revisit. We had a shockingly blah brunch there several summers ago (the fact that they allowed dogs didn't help). And then we had an equivalent-to-chain special work dinner there in June of 2012 that still makes me shudder.

                  2. I have had a few great brunches at Fable in Kits, Trevor and his team do some pretty good plates. Far from the traditional eggs, sausages, ham etc. but well thought out dishes with something for everyone. Shout out's to Tomahawk in North Van (large portions, traditional diner breakfast's) and Tommys (various bennys, great coffee)

                    1. I'll second the recommendation of the brunch at Fable - this has become my favourite spot to go. Hot tip - the last Sunday of the month they do a boozy brunch there, with half-price drinks, so you can get well sloshed with your delicious bacon and mushroom omelette.

                      Farmer's Apprentice does a nice brunch, and it's fun to try some unusual dishes, rather than the usual fare. One minor complaint, I had a dish there once that promised bacon, and what we were served was clearly pork - it was not even slightly cured. Still tasty though. I heard the exact same conversation at a table near ours. "This... isn't bacon! This is pork..." Be warned.

                      It isn't fancy, and you have to fight for a table, but I absolutely love to have brunch at the Market Grill at Granville Island. The breakfast croissant #2 is my favourite - croissant with egg, tomato, bacon and boursin mmmmmm. Their waffles are homemade and cooked a la minute, and the BELTCH is a classic. Americano sold separately at JJ Bean, natch.

                      And while you're in that neighbourhood, on Saturday mornings only, you can fight for a table at Patisserie Lebeau and get their Saturday special, a brussels waffle with fresh fruit, whipped cream and creme patisserie. Don't skimp - get the full meal deal - you'll regret it if you don't. Admittedly it's a huge portion size, I can usually only eat half. But such good leftovers!! They usually do a stewed fruit version in the winter too, but I love the fresh fruit. It's always beautifully prepared.

                      I've tried the Yolks brick and mortar restaurant once, and the food was as good as the food truck prepares, plus the bonus of sitting in a nice, warm room. The chicken and waffles are unbeatable, and I love how they cook their eggs. Also major props to the lemon-oil'd hash browns. You get a much bigger portion at the restaurant, though I'm pretty sure it's more expensive too.

                      Oh one last thing, I'm told that the breakfast/brunch at Forage is fantastic, though I've only ever been for dinner. Has anyone tried this? It's probably pretty easy to get a table there too, since it's attached to a hotel.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: StarryFork

                        Good call on the BELTCH for a super casual breaky, Starry! It's been too long since I had one. And I didn't even realize they do waffles (I only have eyes for that sando, obviously).

                        Another Very Good Thing from Patisserie Le Beau is the ham and cheese savoury waffle. It's more of a pastry substitute than a full breaky, but worthy. Heats up really nicely later in your toaster oven too.

                        1. re: grayelf

                          Hot dang, I love those ham and cheese waffles too! If you're lucky, you can get a frozen 4-pack of them for pretty cheap, which makes for a week of delicious (if decadent) toaster breakfasts :)

                          I don't want to oversell the Market Grill waffles, they're nice and hot and fresh, but not the best you'll ever have. There's a reason I still get a breakfast sandwich every time! At least they come with real maple syrup, a dealbreaker IMO.

                          1. re: StarryFork

                            Just to be clear, I like the waffle at PLB that *isn't* stuffed, it just has ham and cheese right the way through. I think it is called a Brussels waffle but I usually just point and mumble incoherently :-).

                            Much as I hate to rag on my hometown, it's becoming clear from this thread that we really don't have any fabulous brunches. So I'll take nice and hot!

                            For the OP, the thing that draws me back to Red Wagon despite the lineup fandango is the pork belly, and they are now serving it in the cassoulet at Bistro Wagon Rouge on Powell also. No resos there either, and dinner only, but it is a fine spot.

                            1. re: grayelf

                              I haven't been yet but the brunch menu at Campagnolo Roma looks intriguing.

                      2. I quite like Tableau. Last time I went, they had a poached duck egg, duck breast and confit duck special. It was ducky :-)

                        1 Reply
                        1. A couple brunch options I enjoy that haven't been mentioned on this thread yet: Merchant's Oyster Bar (buck-a-shuck during brunch, great bacon-washed bourbon Caesar) and Café Regalade

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: twinkienic

                            Buck-a-shuck oysters for brunch ?? Hmm ......

                          2. Chewies (their 2nd location, in Coal Harbor) now serves brunch:

                            http://gastrofork.ca/2014/chewies-coa...

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: LotusRapper

                              We had an entertaining brunch at the OG Chewies location in Kits last weekend, the whole bar singing along to 70's and 80's power rock ballads ("MOTORIN'!!"). It's a fun atmosphere, and the mostly-male servers are pretty hunky, but it's no relaxing chill-out brunch.

                              The food was good but not outstanding. I enjoyed the chicken and waffles, but I've had better (Yolks FTW). Nice sauce that comes with it! My husband had a similar reaction to his short rib hash. Solid but not extraordinary. Good, hot coffee for sure.

                            2. I'll put in my two cents worth, even thought the OP has already traveled, as I recently consulted this thread myself for suggestions.
                              I was at Cafe Medina for the first time last Saturday. Got there 20 mins before opening -- 15 people already in line. I was solo. The host was very friendly, seated me at a table for two rather than the bar (which only seats 4). I liked the ambiance -- cozy, brick wall, dark wood.
                              Both my waitress & the other in the area were very nice, and volunteered information about the (unusual) menu items. I had the lavender latte, which was enjoyable, but nothing "out of this world." The fricassée was solid, the meat tender, eggs cooked just right. I was too full to order the waffle as dessert, but the people at both of my neighboring tables had them & one woman said hers was delicious. I would not wait in line on a second visit, but if I was in the area, I might stop by for an afternoon waffle & latte.

                                1. re: LotusRapper

                                  There’s a raft of newish places I’d like to try (in fact I'm planning on hitting K&M this weekend with a friend):
                                  Kessel and March (no resos, 10-3 brunch Sat Sun Powell and Commercial (604) 874-1196
                                  Good Wolfe (resos, opens at 11)
                                  Forage (resos, opens at 9:30 Sat Sun)
                                  33 Acres (doesn’t show up on their website but reliable CH loves it; just three items; no resos)
                                  Merchant’s Oyster Bar (opens at 10:30; resos)
                                  Belgard Kitchen (11-3, no resos)

                                  What I think we are missing is good brunch places that are open on weekdays, notwithstanding my beloved Red Wagon. I had high hopes for Forage as it is in a hotel but they stop serving at 10 on weekdays.

                                  1. re: grayelf

                                    Vancouver can't possibly have brunch places open on weekdays, GE. We are ALL too busy with at heads down at work so we can earn our rents/mortgages :-/ :-)

                                    1. re: LotusRapper

                                      some of us work nights :-/ and so might like a breakfast "out" at noon? ;P

                                    2. re: grayelf

                                      Thanks for including the "resos/no resos" information. Helpful!

                                      1. re: WeightWatchersNot

                                        No probs, I was checking these places out for myself so thought I should share the research. No guarantees though -- do call before going as these places are all (relatively) new and might change their policies!

                                        SF and Portland, the other two places I eat in fairly regularly, both have some fine weekday brunches so I just want to mimic them. We are getting better beer options here, and some places are even (gasp!) implementing a version of happy hour, so there is hope that we will catch up.

                                      2. re: grayelf

                                        Any updates GE? Looking for a good brunch spot for this Saturday. Resos a bonus.

                                        1. re: À la carte

                                          Alas, haven't had the brunching opps I'd hoped for this summer, with the SO traveling so much. Kessel and March was tasty but the room was hotter than Hades and that was well before the current heat wave, and of course no resos. I think I'd try Good Wolfe or Merchant's if resos are important.

                                    3. Too late for your March visit, but on the topic of brunch, the Calabash Bistro recently started serving a very tasty Caribbean brunch menu. Tried the crab cakes with poached eggs and rundown (coconut "hollandaise"), the roti with turkey sausage and the Brunch Bowl with jerk beef and fried plantains. I'm always up for a new brunch option with something a little different. Of course, being the Calabash, brunchy cocktails were delicious (grapefruit. rhubarb. mimosa. yes, I'll take 3 to start please.)

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: NoMoreSnuggles

                                        Great intel, NMS, as always! I figured with the thread name, we should just add new/good places as we find them.

                                        Re Calabash, that is a tricky block at night so I'm glad to know there's a daytime option :-).

                                        I wonder where the OP ended up going...

                                      2. Heading to Catch 122 (122 West Hastings St., across from SFU Woodwards), and will report back. The website states that brunch is served until a civilized 4pm :) Have only had drinks/coffee there, thus far, but the room itself is appealing.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: KarenDW

                                          Would love to hear your report, Karen. Went a couple years ago for snacks (poutine etc) and thought it was just okay.