Through the years, brunch has become more than just the combination of two mealtimes. It’s become a (mostly) weekend tradition – a time to hang out with friends, enjoy good food, and try out new cafes all over town. Vancouver’s West End is definitely no slouch in the brunch department and has a wide variety of diners, cafes, and high-end restaurants that offer the ever-popular menu offering.
Here are our recommendations:
Red Umbrella on Davie Street is a homey café with a menu filled with popular brunch favourites. It credits its success to its owner, restaurateur Mitra Ameri, who took over the business in 2014, seven years after Red Umbrella opened its doors. Through her passion for fresh, straightforward fare, she elevated the café to a popular neighbourhood staple, as if it has been around for years. As the cook, Mitra helps develop handcrafted meals made from the freshest ingredients – from rolling out the sourdough herself to braising the meats for the sandwiches, and baking the pastries that line the display – everything is 100% homemade.
Forage hints at a commitment to searching for the best sources of food and ingredients from its name. Chef Welbert Choi believes that chefs’ responsibility is to help build long-term farming, fishing, and foraging legacies by deepening relationships with local producers. The result is an exemplary menu that has been constantly ranked as “the best brunch in Vancouver’s West End.” Forage’s classic breakfast dishes and featured specials can be found at the corner of Robson and Jervis, and you can check out their online shop of small-batch gourmet products here.
The Basic, formerly Joe’s Grill, is named after its most popular menu item: a dish made up of a choice of bacon, sausage, or ham with two eggs. A beloved neighbourhood diner with two West End locations (Denman and Davie), The Basic is a dependable spot for affordable and simple food, served to the customer’s liking. They even have a dish called Simply Eggs, or two farm fresh eggs cooked “any way you like it.” With its straightforward dishes and affordable prices, The Basic offers no frills or fancy dishes, just good food that everybody loves.
Since it opened in 2007, Score on Davie quickly became a Vancity favourite, with its selection of rich comfort food and bar chow that caters to even gluten-free or vegetarian diets. Their brunch menus differ depending on whether it’s a weekday or a weekend. Still, both include “Score Army” faves like the Bacon and Egger and The Breakfast, a heaping dish made up of two eggs, toast, tater tots, a choice of bacon, ham, tomato or avocado. Score on Davie is also famous for their indulgent take on the Caesar cocktail, which they pair with famous brunch staples like the Egg Mc-Caesar (Ham and Egg muffin sandwich and tater tots) and the Grilled Chaeser (Grilled Cheese, Deep Fried Pickle, and Onion Rings).
Greenhorn is a colourful space that caters to brunch lovers and artists alike. Unlike most restaurants, it serves delicious brunch all day long, making sure to satiate your craving any time of day. They also pride themselves on serving fresh, handcrafted coffee, so much so that even if you drop by for pickup, they will be made once you arrive to ensure high quality at all times. Inside, the space has a display of different vinyl records that are also up for sale. New to the area? Greenhorn should be easy to spot on Nicola Street – it’s the one with the vibrant “stronger together” mural on its wall.
With a vibe that’s more museum than café, Café Portrait’s portraits line nearly every nook and cranny of their space. Its soothing brown interiors are unlike what you see in most brunch spots, giving you a wholly unique and artsy dine-in experience. Their menu, small yet impactful, is also filled with tributes to famous artists, like the Chagall Pancake, Monet Plate, and Matisse Avo Toast. Plus, they serve Vancouver’s own Pallet Coffee via drip and do their own take on Turkish Coffee, which is brewed over hot sand. A must-see space with must-eat plates? Definitely worth a try.