Rise and dine! Head north of the border for Vancouver’s belly-filling breakfasts.
by Jenny Adams
CAFÉ MEDINA | 556 Beatty St., medinacafe.com
Bring an umbrella: Vancouver’s rainy, and the two-room Medina promises a wait. The front window displays a mouthwatering view of the famous waffle station, where chefs produce perfect Belgians dusted with pearl sugar. Complete yours with $1 toppings, including dark chocolate or raspberry caramel, or more esoteric dribbles of fig orange marmalade or white chocolate pistachio rosewater. The savory offerings lean Middle Eastern, like the rich Fricassé—two fried eggs on top of braised short ribs with thick-cut potatoes, caramelized onions and Applewood cheddar. To drink, it’s a hard choice between the energizing, 16-ounce latte or the midday buzz of a Moroccan Mimosa—that’s house-squeezed O.J. infused with saffron, star anise and fig, topped with Champagne.
LOLITA’S | 1326 Davie St., lolitasrestaurant.com
Tiny Lolita’s is a bit Polynesian, with its low bamboo ceiling, quietly bubbling fish tank and cascading plants, and a bit Mexican, thanks to a menu that offers nine mix-and-match taco options, ceviche and grilled turkey tostadas. It only serves brunch in fall and winter, and locals welcome the earlier hours on Saturdays and Sundays starting in October. Request the banana-stuffed flambéed French toast, or try the twisted take on eggs Benedict: Homemade Grilled Bennies come atop jalapeño cornbread with free-range poached eggs and chipotle Hollandaise. Wash down that spice with more spice, via a stellar “Hail Mary” Caesar, with fresh Clamato juice, home-pickled jalapeños, pepper, tequila spicy olives, hot sauce and freshly squeezed lime juice.
RED WAGON | 2296 E. Hastings St., redwagoncafe.com
Red Wagon goes at brunch like a pole vaulter sprinting for the crossbar: They push hard and aim high. Take the pancakes, for instance: They’re lightly crisped around the edges, moist and fluffy inside. And in between each, there’s a layer of pulled pork. The only logical thing to do is douse the tower in maple syrup infused with Jack Daniel’s whiskey—odd, yes, but it works. The food’s outlandish, but the Wagon’s décor is straightforward: It’s a classic diner without the tacky kitsch, and the sunlight streaming through the windows is ample excuse to leave your sunglasses on if the previous night’s revelry necessitates it.
LATE-NIGHT NOSH: A beloved institution near Kitsilano Beach, The Naam (2724 W. 4th Ave.) is open 24/7 and has been refueling the late-night crowd with hearty vegetarian dishes for more than three decades. The menu lacks protein, but it doesn’t discount carbs. Hello, sesame fries: A plate full of thick-cut potato cubes are sprinkled with sesame seeds, baked and slathered in warm miso gravy or sharp Cheddar.