Brunch Time at the Nuba Cafe in Vancouver’s Waldorf Hotel

Nuba Cafe at the Woldorf Hotel brings Mexican brunch to the world (specifically Strathcona).

Credit: Michael Robertson

Spacious dining at Nuba at the Woldorf Hotel, Vancouver

The recent addition of Nuba Café to Vancouver’s Waldorf Hotel has set a lot of tongues wagging


The Waldorf is enjoying a resurgence as a nightlife and arts venue, and inclusion of Nuba provides a more complete package. Nuba Cafe at the Waldorf Hotel is open for lunch and dinner, as well as weekend brunches, so I checked it out on Sunday to sample the fare.


The menu is marketed as Mexicana brunch, one of the few recognizable menu items is huevos rancheros, but the over-arching theme seems to be “hangover cure.”

Nuba not for you? How about these brunch restaurants.

The vibe at the Waldorf Nuba

Nuba Cafe at the Waldorf Hotel

1489 E Hastings St, Vancouver

604-253-7141 | Website | Map

At 11:30 on Sunday morning, with an icicled-sun streaming through its windows, Nuba at the Waldorf was largely empty. Half a dozen couples and one small group sat in the booths by the window; our friends waited for us at a larger oval table in the middle.


The light, airy space is a far cry from the grotto-like Nuba of Gastown and makes a nice change from the tightly packed, long skinny joints of Main Street. The tiki-esque décor feels well suited to our Mexicana brunch but might clash with a Mediterranean evening meal.


In keeping with its hangover theme the café didn’t start to fill until we left around 1 o’clock.


The Waldorf Nuba clientele

Ironic hipster and artistic-looking types, complete with ironic suits-and-ties and vintage hats, largely comprise the clientele. Despite its hep disposition, Nuba seems to be very child friendly (perhaps because the room feels so vast).


Los alimentos

I can safely say, of my brunch at the Nuba, that it was the best Barbacoa I have ever had. It is also the only one I’ve ever had. I have had similar Mexican lamb dishes in broth though; the Barbacoa was bland by comparison.


The hotcakes were highly praised, by adults and children alike, and even little Miss Fussy finished her entire plate.


The huevos rancheros looked as though they’d be best eaten through a straw, ideal if you’re so hungover that you can’t chew. Other non-chewing options: half the menu is drinks.


I’m not sure what has made Nuba, renowned for great Middle Eastern food, branch into Mexican cuisine. I like the idea but some of the execution needs a litte work.


A different kind of brunch in Vancouver

Many of the little issues above will likely be resolved as the café settles into the Waldorf. It also has several points in its favour.


  1. I like the idea of a themed (i.e., Mexican) brunch; devoid of eggs benny and eggs and bacon.
  2. We had two small children in tow and ordered a plate of hotcakes for them to share. Without even being asked, the staff morphed the order into two child-sized plates, complete with two stacks of adorably child-sized hotcakes.
  3. Pork sausages.
  4. No queue.

This won’t be my every weekend spot, but I will come back from time to time when I feel like something different (much like Yum Cha).


Location, location, location

Nuba is a boon for people who live in (and east of) Strathcona who have long been in need of a neighbourhood restaurant. As an added bonus for foodies, it’s right down the road from the Gourmet Warehouse.


Useful glossary for gringos

There may be some terms on the menu that you, and your server, are unfamiliar with. Here’s a wee glossary to help you:


Barbacoa – slow cooked meat

Cajeta – caramelized milk (similar to dulce de leche)

Chelada – beer with lime and salt

Chilaquiles – corn tortillas cut in quarers with refried beans, green or red salsa and topped with cheese

Desayuno – breakfast

Michelada – beer with lime, salt, tobasco and Worcestershire sauce

Pico de Gallo – a.k.a. salsa fresca (chopped tomato, onion and chilis)