Boasting a prime location and a brand new chef, Secret Location’s killer Gastown patio brings all the boys – and girls – to their yard to soak up the sunshine or laze in the shade under the colourful turquoise patio umbrellas at the weekend for brunch. Chef Monty Lau’s stylish take on brunch launched on July 4th and will include a lobster hash, smoked salmon with a 64° egg – and pastry fans can try the house take on kronuts.
Bringing a welcome splash of colour and style to downtown patio brunching, the comfy seats, animal print cushions, flowers and fireplaces on The Roof make for an excellent hangout for groups of friends and families catching up. As you take in the rooftop views high above Alberni Street, relax and feast on brunch standards such as spicy huevos rancheros, the meat lovers Wagyu steak and eggs and Belgian waffles drizzled in maple syrup and smothered in Chantilly cream.
1032 Alberni Street, Vancouver
Sure it’s Sunday-only, but it’s worth waiting all week to get thoroughly groovy at Dockside’s legendary jazz and blues Sunday brunch extravaganzas. From 11 a.m. till 3 p.m., diners are entertained by top-notch performers, dazzled by show-stopping views of the city and thoroughly satisfied by an Ocean Wise menu of brunch standards – from smoked wild sockeye Bennies to bacon, potato and Boursin cheese frittatas. Check out the drink specials and make sure you make a reservation.
1253 Johnston Street, Vancouver
Although brunch is available on weekends only, Chambar’s weekday breakfast menu does a great job for those who work weekends and miss their brunch time. The all-new Chambar boasts a prime strip of patio space alongside the restaurant. The views may not be especially magical, but when diners are surrounded by the alluring aroma of buttery Belgian waffles cooking fresh outside, who cares what you’re looking at? Waffles aside (because obviously, you’re having one for dessert) try the Bon Matin, a kind of breakfast tapas of everything good from tapenade to Brie, or the tajine with an egg on top. Heaven.
568 Beatty Street, Vancouver
One of the West End’s gems, Left Bank’s dappled sunny patio on the side of the restaurant buzzes with locals each weekend, getting their fill of the traditionally French sweet and savoury crêpes on offer alongside hearty omelettes and authentically buttery croissants. Join in and see what the fuss is about. Score one of the seats at the front to watch the action on Denman as you sip on a lavender-infused vodka sparkling cocktail and get stuck into the serious business of catching up on the week’s gossip.
When it comes to stunning views of the water, mountains and our gorgeous glass city, Tap & Barrel goes to the top of the class with both locations at Coal Harbour and Olympic Village. Brunch here is a family-friendly affair with kid-tested items on the menu plus high chairs, change tables in the bathrooms, and paper and crayons to keep little hands and minds busy. Try the pork belly and soft egg pizza or the breakfast pretzel for a fresh twist on brekkie classics. Brunch cocktails include the Craft Beesars made with Red Truck lager and clamato juice.
Coal Harbour, 1055 Canada Place, Vancouver
Olympic Village, 1 Athletes Way, Vancouver
Ruling over us all with their vast wallet-friendly menu of brunch awesomeness, hella huge rooftop patio, and over-the-top excellent customer service, ‘Joe Fortes’ is usually the correct answer to any group wondering: ‘It’s sunny, where shall we go for brunch?’ Patio dining is first-come, first-served, but there’s a decent turnover so the waits aren’t too tiresome. Perfect for visiting out-of-town friends, family gatherings or groups, sure Joe’s seafood towers and oysters are the stuff of legend, but have you tried their chicken and waffles? If not, you know what you’re ordering next weekend. You’re welcome.
777 Thurlow Street, Vancouver
Bringing a slice of Ibiza-style island cool to VanCity, the Shangri-La’s popular Bubbles, Beats and Brunch session is back every Saturday and Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. until Labour Day. Bringing an after-party vibe to brunch, DJ Charles Blair spins an eclectic blend of tunes alongside Buddha Sax. On the menu, Jean-Georges’ classics include quail eggs Benedict, Korean fried chicken and brown butter waffles with macerated berries, mint and maple syrup. A summer-themed pitcher and punch-bowl cocktail program should keep the party going. Try the Market Punch with Bulleit bourbon, pomegranate and blueberry tea.
1128 West Georgia Street, Vancouver
Who knew that the city’s best smoked salmon Benedict could be found here? Pull up a seat on the sun trap patio outside the Sutton Place Hotel on the marvellously ornate monochrome tiles and get ready to make Boulevard's brunch a regular fixture in your social calendar. Traditional brunch cocktails get a delicious twist by ace bartender Justin Taylor, the Bellini (a real one, by the way, all wonderful white peach puree and not a gloop of frozen goo in sight) comes with a Violette ice cube and the Caesar boasts a smoked oyster. Perfect for romantic dates or brunch with the girls.
845 Burrard Street, Vancouver
The Farmer’s Apprentice
There are three things you can be sure of at brunch at David Gunawan’s tiny West 6th street restaurant: queues, hipsters and insanely wonderful food. The patio here is tiny and yes, competition is fierce to lounge out there while devouring smørrebørd open-faced sprouted rye bread sandwiches topped with delights like Icelandic lamb tartare or pickled mackerel and sea asparagus, but stand firm and that prime queue-staring seating shall be yours. The one thing you’re unlikely to spot here is basic brunch fodder – Gunawan’s elevated farm-to-table kitchen does nothing so pedestrian as Bennies – so leave your desire for the usual at home and instead dive into whatever’s on the frequently changing menu. You won’t be disappointed.
There are few things Vancouverites love more in the world than brunch, unless, of course, it’s brunch on a patio. After all, if you’re going to queue for the pleasure of eating eggs, it’d better come with a side order of an unspoiled sightline of the greatest city in the world – or, at the very least, a chance to sit outside in the sun and do some serious people-watching. So, with no further ado, here’s our top 10 favourite places to indulge: some have amazing views, some less so, but all of them have the kind of food that makes you want to get out of bed, put on pants and swing into brunch mode STAT.
In no particular order, may we present, Vancouver’s finest brunch patios.
Nikki Bayley is an award-winning travel writer, guide book author and spirits and cocktail journalist whose work appears in National Geographic Traveller, The Globe and Mail and the Difford’s Guide. A cheese fan, hula hooper and all-round word nerd, she writes regularly for BCLiving about food, drink, spas and everything else that makes life worth living.