Thursday, March 25, 2010

Breakfast in Vancouver

Why don't Vancouver restaurateurs know how to run successful breakfast spots? I visit Bellingham and Portland regularly, and both of these cities have more great places for breakfast than you can shake a waffle at. In fact, breakfast is one of the best things about the States. I would (will?) actually move to the US because of the plethora of greasy spoons, cafes, cha chaan teng, pancake houses and diners...and the superb Arts institutions. Vancouver restaurants believe that breakfast must be on equal standing with the other meals of the day in terms of quality, complexity and price. Due to this pretentious and unworldly practice, it is incredibly difficult to score a decent breakfast for under $8.00. What ever happened to the $2.99 bacon n' eggs? Where did the classic 2-2-2 for $6.00 go? Even a visit to America's corporate, not-so-greasy spoon, Denny's, will set you back $10.00 per person. I'll tell you where you can slam your over-priced 'Sizzlin' Skillets' grandly.

Like an addict, I go out for breakfast often in Vancouver. I just can't resist the temptation of having someone bring me endless coffee, cholesterol-imbued protein, and buttered toast on those uneventful, groggy mornings. Here are my "favourite" places, in no particular order: 

Sevasty's Coffee Bar and Grill (Net Loft, Granville Island)
The Net Loft is an odd little structure located just before Granville Island's Public Market. Amongst the shops selling cards, crafts and Canadiana in the Net Loft is a tiny coffeeshop that is operated by a mother-and-son duo. I do not frequent this cafe because it is outstanding, but it is one of the few places that serves breakfast items on the island, and their breakfast bagel matches up perfectly with a piping (travel) mug of joe.     

Paul's Omlettery (6th Avenue and Granville)
Paul's is my current favourite, as their menu is diverse and the service is great. The owner,  Dino, is often there pouring (the great) coffee and is always attentive. When it comes to breakfast, the details always make or break a place for me, as I have "particular" tastes. For example, I hate running out of jam for my toast, but Paul's serves their jam in little cups and you can ask for as many as you desire. The wait staff are always sure to ask if you would like their homemade hot sauce too, which I appreciate. Paul's is on the borderline of being pricey, but it is reasonable at this blog in time. 

Joe's Grill (4th Avenue and Arbutus)
Joe's just raised their prices a few months ago, but previous to this they were purveyors of the best breakfast deal in Vancouver: The Waffles Combo. Consisting of two waffles, two eggs, two bacon, two sausages and fruitcup - for $7.95 - the Combo had you covered on all angles. This dish is now $8.95, but Joe's offers other greasy spoon specialities at a reasonable price. I also recommend their corned beef hash and breakfast burrito. Pass on the omelettes. FYI: there is a Joe's Grill on Denman Street too, and both serve breakfast all day long! Speaking of all day breakfast...

9th Avenue Grill (Broadway and Burrard)
All. Day. Breakfast. So much more meaningful to me than those other three significant words. I love you, All Day Breakfast. I wish I could marry you. This way, I wouldn't have to make you eggs in the morning, and I could indulge myself by having brinner most every night. 9th Ave Grill is a fairly standard faux-diner, but they do have a well-constructed Greek omelette and an affordable 2-2-2 deal. Coffee is not great, but it will always be in your cup because the service is quick and consistent. 

Zen Cafe (1st Avenue and Yew)
The best thing about Zen is that they allow you to split your bennie orders. In fact, they encourage you to order two different types of eggs benedict. I have never found Zen especially comfortable, and I believe this might be a negative subconscious reaction to the abnormally low ceiling and cramped seating arrangement. The food, however, has always been good. Again, I wish it were a few dollars cheaper per dish, but I suppose I should stop complaining about value whilst dining in Kits. Pass on the pancakes...bennies and french toast is where it's at, yo.

Reno's Restaurant (Broadway and Main)
You will likely be accosted by a rubby or become depressed by the drab interiors whilst eating at Reno's, but at least you will be happy that you found an all day breakfast special in shi-shi Vancouver for under $4.00. You stick it to those yuppies, Reno. Stick it with your truly greasy spoon.

Keywords: "Alex Dawkins Vancouver", "Vancouver Breakfast"

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