Having dined at many brunch spots in Vancouver, Medina Cafe still tops the list as one of my all-time favourites. I fell in love with Medina years ago, when they had just opened in Crosstown and most of Vancouver hadn’t yet caught wind of their amazing waffles and lavender lattes. Serving Mediterranean-inspired food, delicious liege waffles and note-worthy coffee, it’s no wonder that Medina still has hour long waits despite their recent space upgrade.
I visited Medina on a Wednesday morning around 11:00am, hoping to dodge the lunch crowd and join the tail end of the breakfast crowd. My theory proved wrong, because there was still a 45 minute wait! At least I was able to stay positive about the 45 minute wait having seen the lineups down the block on the weekends.
The food, as expected, was beautifully presented and tasted great. The latte I had was one of the best lattes I’ve had in a while. The short ribs were tender and soft, and the portion size was good for one person. Between the latte, fricassee meal and half of the cheese potatoes, I was quite full and couldn’t finish all of the food. The Peameal sandwich looked a little plain, and despite being tasty, my friend wished she had ordered something else. Unfortunately we were too full to order waffles, so we will have to make another trip back to Medina!
Vancouver Foodster & Dine Out Vancouver Festival teamed up for a series of weekend Brunch Crawls in the different neighbourhoods around Vancouver. These Brunch Crawls take you on a journey visiting 7+ trendy restaurants with a wide variety of different brunch food ranging from classics to modern twists.
The Gastown Brunch Crawl, the first of six Brunch Crawls was a great success. The check-in was at Milano Coffee, one of the Brunch Crawl restaurants for the event. Upon check-in, you are given your ‘passport’ that is required to show to each restaurant as well as a list of the menus you will be served at each restaurant. The passport includes a map of all of the restaurant locations, which are conveniently within walking distance of each other. There is no specific order in which you must visit the restaurants. This allows you to customize your crawl, letting you choose which restaurants you want to try first or which route will minimize your walking.
When starting the crawl, I was a little concerned that I would not be able to make it to all of the restaurants within the four hours you are given (10:00am – 2:00pm.) The four hours proved to be more than enough time, and I was also pleasantly surprised that I did not have to wait for a table any longer than ten minutes at any of the restaurants. In most cases, I was seated immediately.
The restaurants were all well prepared for us Brunch Crawlers. Quickly and efficiently, the food was served timely at each restaurant. Some portions were larger than others, with many of the locations serving more than enough food to collectively put you into a full blown food coma. Prepare your stomachs for the biggest brunch you will ever have!
As a first-time Brunch Crawler, I was unsure of how the Brunch Crawl would pan out. I ended up having an amazing time, delicious food and met some new people along the way. I enjoyed that every stop of the crawl was a unique experience, and was introduced to a variety of restaurants that I may have never tried! It also turns out to be great value for the price! ($40 per person.)
Brunch at Ask For Luigi! Popular, good reviews from many people I’ve spoken to, and always busy. I attempted to go a couple of times earlier in 2014 but didn’t want to have to wait a long time to be seated. I really wanted to try their dinner menu, but one day decided to go for brunch. I went right when it opened, and was luckily seated immediately. The restaurant filled up quite quickly, and had I gone 20 minutes later, I would have had to wait. Smaller than I had imagined, it’s cute and cozy inside. I don’t normally associate pasta with brunch, but I knew that I had to try their pasta! I was curious about their noodle textures and was pleasantly surprised. My noodles were truly al dente, a lot firmer than most places serve their pasta, but I appreciated the fact that they were cooked properly. I’m a pasta connoisseur, but it felt right if that makes any sense. The pasta flavours were also very good. My favourite item was the meatballs, but as you may or may not know, I’ve got a thing for meatballs. The pork belly, although tasty, I felt like I could have done without having it. I will be back for the dinner menu one day!
Having been to the food cart, I knew that I would love Yolk’s Restaurant. I’d had their breakfast sandwich and loved it! Here, with only a 15 minute wait (I had expected longer) I was seated and served quickly and efficiently despite being a full house. My boyfriend had the Chicken & Waffles, and I chose the Two Poached Eggs with Double Smoked Bacon, Aged White Cheddar, Benedict Style open-faced on an English Muffin with Truffle Lemon Hashbrowns. The chicken was crispy and the waffle was moist and flavourful. The egg sandwich was tasty and the truffle lemon hashbrowns were some of the best hashbrowns I’ve ever had! I personally love truffle, so truffle on anything makes me instantly like it!
I used to frequent Cafe Zen quite often, but due to the increase of new brunch spots opening up in the past couple years, I haven’t been in a while. I decided to re-visit today, and decided to finally try a new menu item! I’ve always ordered eggs benedict, but today I decided to try the Mexicano Baked Eggs. Runny poached eggs over avocados, tomatoes, refried beans and rice, covered in cheese and then baked. I ended up liking them more than their eggs benedict, so my lesson of the day is try new things. I know it sounds lame, and predictable classics are easy choices but sometimes you may end up surprising yourself- and find a new favourite!
My fellow foodies and I (#yvrfoodclub) went for brunch at Belgard Kitchen to celebrate two of our birthdays (one was mine!) The restaurant was consistently busy, even as the menu transitioned from brunch to lunch. Unfortunately, they ran out of the Belgard Meatball Brunch Skillet, which was what I wanted to order, so I ended up getting the Belgard Brunch Burger instead. I love brioche buns so that was a plus! I also got to try some of the Belgard Bacon which was thick-cut and sweet from the maple caramel it was served with. Everything tasted good and I loved the interior of the restaurant! I’ll be back to try the Meatball Skillet!
My first visit to Hawksworth was made possible by attending Brunch Club- their 2 for 1 Brunch special they offer on holiday long weekends. I don’t often eat at “fancy” restaurants, 1) because my wallet really wouldn’t be able to handle that, and 2) I’ve often found that just because a restaurant is higher priced and “more fancy” it doesn’t necessarily mean that they serve better food. My overall opinion: the food is good, but not fantastic- with all of the hype Hawksworth has gotten, I expected a lot more. I probably would have been even more disappointed with the food if I’d had to pay full price for the food. I preferred my boyfriend’s burger and fries over the steak and eggs I had ordered. No complaints, but I was expecting more.
Of course, after our meal I had to go next door to Bel Cafe for some macarons for dessert. I liked the flavours (Passionfruit and Cookies And Cream were my favourites), but Thierry’s texture still trumps anyone else!
I had the day off today, and decided to go to dim sum! I don’t go very often although it’s one of my favourite meals to eat…I see it as the Chinese equivalent to “brunch” and who doesn’t like brunch? My must-orders are always Shiu Mai, Pan Fried Eggplant with Shrimp Paste, and Steamd Rice Rolls with Prawns, although I honestly don’t think there’s a single item on a dim sum menu that I don’t like. Portion-wise, all of the dumplings are much bigger than at most dim sum places, and I thought the prices were very decent. It got pretty busy with people waiting outside around 11am, so I’m glad I went early at 10am. My favourite thing turned out to be the sticky rice (no surprise, I love rice!). I’ve had dinner here before as well, and enjoyed the food.
In the heart of Yaletown, The Parlour is a great place for brunch, or any other meal, with creative pizza flavours and options. Their regular (non breakfast) pizzas have the option of ordering two flavours (half and half) and all of their pizzas have gluten free pizza crust options. Their ingredient combinations are out of the box but all sound very tasty, and although I haven’t tried their other food options, I will be back one day to try them out!