You’re in Vancouver. You just woke up. Now how do you start your day before Design & Content? Luckily the hotel and conference venue are near/in Gastown, which is one of the best food neighbourhoods in Vancouver. There are a wide variety of great choices for an early morning bite within a quick walk from the venue.
Not a breakfast person? In that case stay tuned for a coming post on Vancouver’s coffee scene. (Not judging, but I totally don’t get you.)
Fast & Cheap
You won’t have time for a leisurely sit-down every morning, but that doesn’t mean you should settle for fast food. While I tend to veer more toward the savoury options myself, even those with a sweet tooth should find something to love at most of these places.
Visit this creative donut shop for good coffee and a sweet fix, specializing in flavours like smoked walnut, earl grey, and honey parmesan. They offer vegan and gluten-free options,
Alocal coffee roaster chain with locations around the city. One of their nicer cafes is immediately outside the conference venue. Sweet and savoury pastries & muffins are baked in-house, and their breakfast wraps include a vegetarian option. Their feta & herb breakfast bun is a local favourite.
This hip bakery cafe offers a tight bread-focused menu. Think eggs or avocado on toast with a choice of toppings paired with excellent coffee.
A top notch bakery with a huge selection of pastries and bread-based goodies, and conveniently right around the corner from the conference venue.
Great coffee from local roaster 49th Parallel and a variety of breakfast items await you at this local mini-chain. Waffles, wraps, and various topped toast options are available at most of their locations, including the one closest to the conference.
While a bit of hike from the conference venues, if you find yourself in Yaletown this meticulous bakery offers excellent pastries, breads, scones, and coffee from multiple Canadian roasters. Not to mention their vegetarian omelette breakfast croissants.
Nearer the hotel than the conference, Tractor veers toward the lighter side for breakfast with yogurt, granola, and baked goods. Their heartier breakfast sandwiches are excellent, but a must-try here is their chocolate muffins with rosemary and sea salt.
Slower & Great
Each place on this list offers 7 day a week breakfast service, which can be hard to find elsewhere in Vancouver.
Acme offers a variety of egg-focused breakfast options. Since the kitchen is without a grill, they bake everything instead which limits the choices somewhat.
With a wide variety of larger breakfast choices ranging from omelettes and french toast to salads and breakfast sandwiches, this spacious all day room also offers a range of breakfast cocktails.
This Belgian-inspired local institution offers a brunch that takes cues from Morocco as well as Europe. With a huge room and a cute patio, this is likely your best choice for bringing a larger group to, but reservations are still recommended.
A classic diner-style eatery on the fringe of Gastown. With a slightly unfocused menu that ranges from southern to Canadian to Mexican, one thing’s for sure: with their giant plates, you’re not leaving hungry.
If you’re planning just one sit-down breakfast during your time in town, Medina if the place to go. With excellent liege waffles and a variety of toppings, a huge menu of savoury options from light to filling, and excellent coffee, it’s no surprise there’s usually quite the line at the entrance. Their fricassée skillet is almost definitely the best breakfast in Vancouver, period.
Further Afield / Specialty
If you travel like me, you may want to have a few options somewhat out of the way in your back pocket, in case you feel like exploring the city a bit more. These will take you to places like Granville Island, a popular tourist destination, or Mt Pleasant, a trendy neighbourhood not too far from the downtown core.
Breakfast at a brewery? When the brewery in choice is this one, it works better than you’d expect. Pastries and donuts available throughout the week with avocado toast and breakfast sandwiches, plus ever-changing weekend waffles and a full service espresso bar, and you could easily forget about the beer. But don’t.
Vancouver’s premiere all vegetarian/vegan restaurant offers an excellent breakfast menu on weekends that tends to stay fresh with the seasons. Lines are not unusual, so go early if you can.
Located on Granville Island (Vancouver’s prominent tourist hot spot that even locals like) Edible is a showcase for food from the region and the rest of the country with a restaurant and a small market. Brunch is available on weekends, and changes seasonally.
Runner-up for Canada’s best new restaurant in 2014, this cozy little neighbourhood eatery specializes in local seasonal offerings. They only offer brunch on weekends, but it’s well worth the trip.
Owned by local coffee roaster 49th Parallel, the two locations of Lucky’s are worth a trip for. High quality ingredients with each doughnut house-made and baked fresh, you’ll find flavours like salted caramel, PBJ, sourdough, and plenty of seasonal specialties.
This unassuming neighbourhood diner draws huge lines on weekends for a reason. Its all-day breakfast delivers on huge tasty portions. On your first visit you’ll want to go for the signature pulled pork pancakes with Jack Daniels syrup. No, it doesn’t sound like it should work. But it sure does.