The best Vancouver cafés for artisanal toast

Anyone who’s familiar with foodie photos on Instagram will be aware of the increasing popularity of toast. The once-humble breakfast food has experienced a trendy resurgence in recent years, and plenty of Vancouver cafés have jumped on the artisanal bread bandwagon. So why buy your own loaf at home when you can spend $10 on a gourmet slice topped with small-batch jam or smashed avocado? Get your camera ready; it’s toast time.

Nelson The Seagull

1
315 Carrall St, Vancouver, BC V6B 2J4

Perhaps the city’s most infamous purveyor of artisanal loaves, Nelson the Seagull is THE place to start if you’re hopping aboard the toast trend. The café itself is an enchanting hipster haven – the lofty space features an eclectic collection of vintage furnishings and an old wooden cabinet turned quirky community mailbox – and the hand-kneaded sourdough bread is arguably the best in the city. Try their Instagram-famous buttered toast topped with soft poached eggs, avocado, roasted mushrooms and cheese or with a simple serving of jam. Pair your snack with a caffeinated beverage – the flat white is delicious.

Bel Café

2
801 Georgia St W, Vancouver, BC V6C 1P7

Bel Café is the more casual sister restaurant to David Hawksworth’s eponymous fine dining joint, and its a beautiful downtown spot to unwind with a cup of coffee and a bite to eat. The café menu features sweet treats and light lunch options, including a rotating toast of the day. A slice of fresh bread from Point Grey’s Mix the Bakery serves as the base for this open-face style sandwich. Daily toppings are always changing; you might find burrata and tomato one day and smoked salmon gribiche the next. Our fave? Marinated figs with house-made ricotta and frisee.

Batard Bakery

3
3958 Fraser St, Vancouver, BC V5V 4E4

Bite into classic French country-style baking at this cozy European café on Fraser Street. Chris Brown (the owner/baker behind Rise Artisan Bakery) is one of the co-founders of this eastside joint, so it should come as no surprise that locals rave about Bâtard’s in-house toast bar. Order up two thick slices of rustic white bread served with a side of seasonal jam (made in-house of course), nut butter, olive tapenade, French cognac liver pate or wild B.C. smoked salmon pate. You’ll definitely be tempted to pick up an artisanal loaf to recreate the experience at home.

Matchstick Coffee

4
213 Georgia St E, Vancouver, BC V6A 1Z6

Matchstick’s baristas take a casual cup of joe to a whole new level, meticulously brewing pour-over coffees with single-origin beans. The Chinatown location is always bustling with cool creative types looking to stay caffeinated and keep hunger at bay with tasty snacks and baked goods. Here, organic fresh-baked bread is toasted and served with a slab of butter. If you want to get creative, ask for a spread of nutty walnut butter, cinnamon-sugar butter, house-made seasonal jam or tapenade. You’ll also find toast on the menu at Matchstick’s charming original outpost, a quieter neighbourhood gem in Mount Pleasant.

Soho Tea Room

5
3466 Cambie St, Vancouver, BC V5Z 2W8

You might not expect to find artisanal toast alongside bubble tea, but this pan-Asian hotspot will surprise you with its sweet carb-focused selections. At Soho Tea Room, golden slabs of thick-cut white toast are topped with everything from condensed milk and peanut butter to vanilla ice cream and bacon. If you’re looking for something truly unique, try the Honey Toast Box, a Taiwanese treat that features a hollowed-out loaf filled with toasted bread cubes. The sculptural dessert is then topped with an array of sweet goodies (ice cream, berries, Oreo cookies, sprinkles) and finished with a drizzle of syrup.

The Belgard Kitchen

6
55 Dunlevy Ave, Vancouver, BC V6A 3A3

If you’re looking to enjoy gourmet gluten-filled goodness in a cool historic setting then we’ve got just the place. Belgard Kitchen was once a forgotten heritage building that has been transformed in recent years into a Downtown Eastside hotspot. The interior has a dark and funky industrial vibe with soaring ceilings, old-growth timber beams, leather seating and roaring fireplaces. Take in the surroundings while savouring smashed avocado, olive oil, salt and pepper atop chewy sourdough bread. Ravenous brunch fans can ramp up the simple avo-and-toast with the addition of wild sockeye salmon gravlax, a poached egg, or creamy burrata cheese.

Café Medina

7
780 Richards St, Vancouver, BC V6B 3A4

There’s always a wait for a table at this much-hyped breakfast spot so once you’ve finally managed to score a seat you’re probably gonna be pretty hungry. Toast might not seem like the most filing option on the menu, but hear us out. Medina’s avocado toast is simple, yes, but it’s also seriously tasty. Grilled focaccia bread is drizzled with olive oil and topped with fresh avocado and tomato salsa. Ask for a poached egg on top if you’re feeling famished or, better yet, follow up your toast with an order of their infamous Liege-style waffles.

The Sardine Can

8
26 Powell St, Vancouver, BC V6A 1E7

Try your toast tapas-style at this trendy little Spanish eatery in Gastown. Sardine Can’s signature menu is filled with regional delicacies and small-plates that are designed to be shared and accompanied by a glass of sherry and or a bubbly bottle of cava. Here the tostas come in two varieties: tostas de queso fresco arrives slathered in fresh herb-and-garlic cheese while the tostas de sardinas is topped with smoked sardines. If you prefer your carbs straight up, the menu features a serving of classic sourdough from Terra Breads for just $2.50.

Small Victory Bakery

9
1088 Homer St, Vancouver, BC V6B 2W9

The all-day breakfast menu at this dazzling Yaletown café features a simple toast-and-jam combo that’s anything but ordinary. Opt for naturally leavened white whole-wheat bread or seeded whole-wheat and honey. Slices are topped with your choice of fruity preserves: strawberry orange, strawberry balsamic, or an apricot-plum-orange marmalade. With its airy feel, marble surfaces and sparkling gold accents, the café is a pretty space to catch up with friends while snacking on the fresh-baked goodies.

33 Acres Brewing Co

10
15 8th Avenue W, Vancouver, BC V5Y 1M8

Everybody knows about the waffles and craft beer at 33 Acres, but have you ever tried the toast? It turns out hops and carbs go hand in hand at this uber hip Mount Pleasant brewery. The daytime snack menu features Nelson The Seagull toast topped with sweet and savoury spreads from local suppliers. Get creative with add-on options like small-batch preserves from East Van Jam, Benton Brothers cheeses, poached eggs, ham, avocado or almond butter. Bonus: the tasting room’s stark white interior is filled with natural light and minimalist Scandinavian decor, making it the ideal backdrop for an Instagram snapshot.

Tourism Vancouver’s annual Dine Out Vancouver Festival is back this winter from January 19th to February 4th. The 17-day culinary festival will see some of the city’s hottest restaurants serving an array of mouth-watering prix-fixe menus. If you want to take your significant other for a special meal, plan a date night at one of these romantic eateries. [Photo courtesy of Boulevard/Leila Kwok]
Tourism Vancouver’s Dine Out Vancouver Festival is back this winter from January 19th to February 4th. The 17-day culinary event will see some of the city’s top restaurants serving mouth-watering prix-fixe menus for lunch and dinner. If you’re looking for a kid-approved spot with a casual atmosphere and plenty of choices for picky eaters, book a table at these family-friendly restaurants. [Photo courtesy of Bufala]
Tourism Vancouver’s annual Dine Out Vancouver Festival is back this winter from January 19th to February 4th. The 17-day culinary event provides foodies with a great opportunity to eat at Vancouver’s most acclaimed restaurants for less. If you want an upscale meal in an elegant setting, these high-end spots deliver a great bang for your buck. [Photo courtesy of YEW Seafood + Bar]
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