Content originally written for the Let’s Go: USA & Canada Guideby our researcher-writer, Graham Bishai.
Breka Bakery ($)
818 Bute St. (604) 620-8200; www.breka.ca; open daily 24hr
While it’s a great quick and cheap breakfast place, this 24hr eatery has your back around the clock. There is a ton of variety, friendly service, and reasonable prices. While there are no frills to it, this place does not cut corners. The coffee is excellent, and if you’re not a coffee person (I know some of you exist out there—that’s suspect, but I still respect you), there are smoothies, too. There’s space to spread out and nice lighting. So, whether its an early morning or a late night, you will feel relaxed. The baked goods are fresh—you can taste it in every bit. For the value you get, it’s a hard place to beat whenever you need a fill-up.
Baked goods from $1 CAD, coffees $2 CAD; vegetarian options; wheelchair accessible; outdoor seating available, weather permitting, 7am-11pm
Granville Island Public Market ($-$$)
1669 Johnston St., on Granville Island; (604) 666-6655; www.granvilleisland.com/public-market; open daily 9am-7pm
The Public Market is the highlight of Granville Island. While it doesn’t only sell food, you should definitely make a meal out of it. A plethora of smells and colors will greet you at the door. You’ll want to eat everything in sight, so don’t buy the first thing you see. Especially if you’re on a budget, you’ll need to be discerning and decisive. “Options” is an understatement. The market just has rows and rows of food vendors, everything from artisanal pickles to pies. Near the market’s entrance, the offerings are more grocery-esque. As you move towards the back and out to the outdoor plaza facing the water, more eateries pop up. A trick to save money, though, is to purchase a prepared food or produce item from one of the grocery stands, where the prices are cheaper than the hot food section. Sit out by the water—there’s sometimes live music and the view of boats going under the bridge is spectacular.
Prices vary; vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options; wheelchair accessible
Ramen Danbo ($$)
1333 Robson St.; (604) 559-8112; www.ramendanbo.com; open daily 11am-11pm
One size does not fit all at this fast (and I mean fast) casual ramen place. You thought the key to a good bowl of ramen was the broth? Didn’t pay much attention to the noodles, did ya? Big mistake. Here you have five choices for your noodle firmness. Don’t get me wrong—broth does matter. You’ve got four options there for its thickness. You can watch them master your order before your very eyes, since the kitchen is just behind a waist level counter. The place is a well oiled machine. It’s bustling, loud, and fun. There can be a line, so go in the late afternoon and early evening, or late before it closes if you don’t want to wait. Up to closing time, it’s bumping, filled with lots of young people. For the quality you receive, it’s a great value.
Entrées from $10 CAD, beers $6 CAD; vegan and vegetarian options; wheelchair accessible
375 Water St.; (604) 689-2739; www.steamworks.com; Su-Th 11:30am-12am, F-Sa 11:30am-1am
If you like beer, go here. If you don’t like beer, still go here. This brewing company boasts not just a variety of beers, each with eccentric tasting notes, but a choice of what shape of glass you would like it served in, and notes on how that impacts the flavor. Yeah, seriously, the glass. So the beer costs like ten-thousand dollars, right? Nope. For what you’re getting, it’s actually reasonably priced, not more than any other Vancouver bar. Barley and hops aside, it has a feel-good vibe, a lot of space, and a mesmerizing view of Vancouver Harbour. It’s hopping, but elegant. Ask to sit in the back, where the view is; it’s definitely worth the wait. It has regular pub food—burgers, fries—so you won’t find any fancy fare here, but the food is delicious. It’s a chill place that would be a hit with anyone.
Entrees from $12 CAD, beers from $7 CAD; vegetarian options; wheelchair accessible
780 Richards St, Vancouver; (604) 879-3114; www.medinacafe.com; M-F 8am-3pm, Sa-Su 9am-3pm
Serving up the “best place for breakfast in town,” according to a local, this popular place is known for waffles, but has a lot more. Many brunchy entrées are served in pans that are fired up in a stone oven. It’s bustling, yet orderly, filled with travellers and chic townies alike. Get there early and go on a weekday, because the wait can be long. The decor is quaint and old-timey but still modern. This is #brunch after all, and what are you paying for if it doesn’t have a good background for your Instagram? The waffles are small, so you’ll want to order multiple if you’re making it your meal. The passionfruit topping is out of this world.
Waffles from $3.25 CAD, entrees from $12 CAD; wheelchair accessible