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Restaurant type

  • Cafeteria,

Cuisine type

  • Canadian,


  • Tea,
  • Lunch,
  • Snack,
  • Coffee,
  • Baked Goods,


  • Restaurant With Wifi Internet,

Languages Spoken

  • English,
315 Carrall St, Vancouver, BC V6B 2J4
Useful Information

Opening Hours *Holiday hours

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  • $11 To $25,

Methods of Payment:

Meet the owner

Second to serving up delicious coffee, Nelson the Seagull is known for its beautiful, unusual interior. The Gastown café’s remarkably high ceilings, original tile floors and industrial-sized kitchen and bakery distinguish it from the many others that occupy Vancouver’s trendiest neighbourhood. “The café wasn’t supposed to look this way,” says owner and head baker Jonathan Snelgar, who moved to Canada from South Africa in 2010 to open “a very small coffee bar” with his sister, Lee.

“But then this giant space became available and we fell in love with it,” he says. Faced with more square footage than they had bargained for, the siblings got creative, identifying everything they’d ever wanted in a café: perpetual scents of bread baking in an open-concept kitchen, enough tables to seat 50 customers and a full lunch menu.

A former photographer, Lee infused the space with her eclectic style, acquiring vintage furniture and artwork, including a framed print of Nelson Mandela in boxing gear. They opened their dream café in 2011, borrowing its name from the South African folk song, “The Seagull’s Name was Nelson.” The beloved tune was played on the radio to support Mandela during his time in prison, Jonathan says.

Read the story of Nelson The Seagull

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Appears in 7 Smart Lists

Editor’s Pick
Enjoy an egg-free breakfast in Vancouver

Enjoy an egg-free breakfast in Vancouver

What’s every vegan’s go-to breakfast? Avocado on toast, of course! Nelson’s version incorporates house-baked sourdough (still warm from the on-site oven) toasted and pressed with fresh avocado, and served on a charming wooden board. It’s a simple, healthy dish that can be lingered over throughout the morning or chowed down during a quick pit-stop en route to the office.

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Vancouver bakeries for fresh-baked bread

Vancouver bakeries for fresh-baked bread

Despite encouragements from friends to branch out, Nelson the Seagull’s owner and head baker, Jason Snelgar, continues to make just one kind of bread: lovely, sourdough loaves, served piping hot each morning. If you’re in the mood for one of these, make sure you leave early; the loaves are usually gone by lunch. But if you do miss out, you can still enjoy Snelgar’s trademark bread off the café menu – try the avocado toast or simple bread with butter.

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Great breakfast places for granola in Vancouver

Great breakfast places for granola in Vancouver

Some might say that paying a visit to this Gastown café and NOT sampling their fresh-baked, thick-cut sourdough bread is somewhat of a travesty, but those folks haven’t tried the house-made muesli. Toasted, nutty granola is served in an oversized shallow bowl, topped with fresh strawberries and accompanied with a side of plain yogurt and honey. The entire spread is delivered to your table atop a rustic wooden board, an ideal canvas for avid Instagrammers. After your breakfast, be sure to peek inside the community mailbox drawers for a glimpse at a few local love notes.

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