If you’ve ever been to Vancouver, you’ll know it’s one of the most picturesque cities in the world. For a coastal city with such an active and outdoorsy reputation, many people are surprised to learn that its food scene is equally impressive. Even prior to moving here, I spent many visits exploring the diverse culinary scene and find myself regularly discovering new spots.
Today, I want to highlight the coffee spots currently on my radar. We were absolutely spoiled by New Zealand’s café culture, so I was a little worried about acclimatizing to Canadian coffee, but it’s not all Tim Hortons. There are some incredible people doing incredible things with coffee (and pastries) right here in Vancouver. These are a few spots worth checking out, but it’s by no means an exhaustive list:
This Kitsilano spot tops many lists as a favourite café in Vancouver. Not only is the coffee excellent, the food is ridiculously good. If you’re there for breakfast, be sure to get one of their breakfast sammies (brioche bun, folded scrambled egg, hundy sauce, sprouts and bacon, sausage or a veggie option). Served with a side of tater tots and kewpie mayo. Their mochi doughnuts are unreal with the most delicious squishy texture. Their There has managed to adapt to the ever-changing restrictions and there’s usually a line out the door.
I first discovered Nemesis a few years back when visiting Vancouver with my sister and two local friends. We ventured to the Gastown location for kombucha (it was later in the day and I was already quite caffeinated) but I remember eyeing up the stunning interior and cabinets filled with pimped out croissants and cruffins. I vowed to return to try the coffee (verdict: it’s superb) and a treat. Having been back several times since, you’ll understand why I was thrilled to hear of their upcoming THIRD location on Great Northern Way, not far from my apartment. You can count on me to be there sipping their pour over every other day. Oh, and it’s an awesome spot to pick up beans if you like to make coffee at home.
Marché Mon Pitou:
Relatively new on the scene, Mon Pitou is arguably Vancouver’s most beautiful café. It feels like a slice of Paris in South Granville. The flat white here is made exactly how I like it; strong but not bitter. (I like to taste my coffee, ya know?) The vibes are immaculate, the food and baked goods are perfect and the service is always friendly. If you’re looking for a nice brunch spot with great coffee, look no further.
It seems like a lot of “best of” lists forget about Timbertrain and I’m not sure why. Another favourite of mine, it is an essential Gastown spot with the BEST almond croissants and cortados in the city. Order a cortado or an iced latte to start your day
Elysian Coffee Roasters:
Elysian has multiple locations scattered throughout the downtown core, but my local is on the leafy intersection of 7th and Ontario in Mount Pleasant. I first visited this spot with my sister and her partner after they claimed it to have the best filter coffee in Vancouver. I usually order a filter and a croissant when I visit and can’t wait for the day that I can once again sit in and people watch.
Matchstick Coffee Roasters:
Again, Matchstick has a few locations throughout Vancouver, but I frequent the Fraser Street one because it’s only a short walk from my house. Nick and I both really enjoy Matchstick beans and it’s typically our go-to whenever we realize our supply is low. Their pain au chocolat has to be the best I’ve had so far in Vancouver and their chocolate chip cookie is equally divine. The best part is that when you buy espresso beans, your coffee is discounted, so you can be doubly caffeinated.
You’ll notice that most of the cafés I’ve recommended excel in the pastry department in addition to the caffeine department and Liberty is no exception. Located on Main Street, this spot is always teeming with regulars ordering warm beverages and fresh baked goods. Their cardamon buns are well worth a try and the interior reminds me of the cafés I visited in Stockholm and Copenhagen.
Whenever I walk past Small Victory in Yaletown, I can’t resist stopping in. Here you’ll find some of the best pastries in the city plus an all-day menu and thoughtfully prepared coffee in an open loft-like space.
No Vancouver coffee crawl is complete without a visit to Revolver. It was the first Vancouver coffee shop on my radar because it’s Australian-owned and has been for as long as I can remember (well, 2011). Its name refers to the revolving selection of roasters including Bows & Arrows, Proud Mary and Luna. It’s a go-to of mine for stocking up on espresso for this very reason, but I haven’t ordered a coffee from him for awhile, but they do have an alleyway set-up currently, so you can easily grab and go.
What are your favourite coffee shops in Vancouver? I’d love to know which ones I need to visit.