Stack 'Em Up
Vancouver's Best Pancake Joints
5 March 2019 by Kiera Greenwood
Thin and crepe like, or thick and fluffy, stacked high, or rolled with a filling, doused in lemon and sugar, or full to the brim with bananas and syrup – however you take them, one thing’s for sure, pancakes are a delicacy that very few would turn down. Forget avo’ on toast, this is what brunching out was made for. Real, undeniable indulgence.
To celebrate all things delicious this pancake day, we’ve done a round-up of Vancouver’s best pancake joints. Because where would be better to enjoy this staple breakfast-menu-treat than in the country that brought us maple syrup?
Impossibly fluffy with just the right amount of tang, the pancakes at the ever-elegant L’Abattoir are a game changer. Say hello to their buttermilk and ricotta offering, featuring apple, whipped creme fraiche and smoked maple all to be enjoyed in the surrounds of a painstakingly chic restaurant that sits on the historic site of Vancouver’s first jail. Here French style meets classic West Coast fare to create one of the hottest spots in town – Gastown to be more specific – to indulge in a pancake or two. And if you can bring yourself to dig in (they are almost too pretty to eat) carb lovers beware, because this one will steal your heart.
Jethro’s Fine Grub
Food challenge on your bucket-list? Well look no further because Jethro’s Fine Grub offers up pancakes bigger than your head and we’re not exaggerating. Coming in everything from the staple buttermilk variety, to twists like frosted flake stuffed stacks, chocolate chip and espresso flavour, crispy bacon filled monsters, nut and banana bonanzas and a good old Grandma inspired recipe of cinnamon apple, sprinkled with a nostalgia-inducing streusel topping. Anyone else's mouth watering? The setting may be pretty basic, but at Jethro’s Fine Grub, you’re here for the classic Canadian food and the mammoth portions rather than the Instagrammable aesthetics. For anyone who doesn’t manage to finish their plate, and by that we mean everyone – it may be worth not eating for a day or two before if you’re really set on polishing your plate – this all-day breakfast cafe will provide you with a doggy-bag box and re-heating instructions which means that your late-night snack/next-day breakfast is sorted. #Winning.
A sophisticated eatery that is all about contemporary dining, offset by an equally contemporary farmhouse style setting, Honey Salt’s ‘break the fast’ pancakes will not disappoint. The classic buttermilk variety come with seasonal fruit and quebec maple syrup, whilst for the gluten intolerant there’s a delightful sweet potato alternative, served with almond butter and an oat crumble. Sound healthy? We think so. And for those who’s sweet tooth isn’t quite so strong, perhaps a latke is more your thing. The potato pancakes are served with the traditional combo of thick sour cream and tangy applesauce.
The Red Wagon Cafe
A neighbourhood joint where sweet meets savoury. These pancakes are not for the faint hearted – we mean, pulled pork pancakes? Avocado and green onion stuffed pancakes? It all seems a bit mad, but it tastes delicious. And you don’t have to go for the whackier options. The buttermilk stack with a choice of bacon, sausage, blueberries or bananas are always a winner, whilst the ‘Trucker’ options take it up a notch with the addition of eggs, homefries, toast and your choice of bacon, sausage, pulled pork or crisp pork belly. It may not be veggie friendly exactly, but meat-eaters will be in their element. This is reasonable comfort food in a no frills setting.
Boasting two prime locations in both buzzing Downtown and the laidback neighbourhood of Kitsilano, the Jam offers rustic vibes and a brunch menu worth queuing for. The star of this cafe’s show? Its red velvet pancakes. Oh, yes. One bite of these beauties and you’ll soon see what all the fuss is about. But it doesn’t stop there, the menu also offers up a choice of blueberry, banana walnut, spiced double chocolate and cinnamon cream cheese swirl triple stacks all served with a generous helping of maple butter syrup. Yum. And for those who prefer savoury to sweet, there’s the pulled pork pancakes option; a double stack layered with pulled pork and topped with a maple BBQ glaze, jalapeno sour cream and pickled cabbage. Sounds good, right?
Sophie’s Cosmic Cafe
Sophie’s has been a local’s brunch go-to since it opened back in 1988 and is yet to lose its quirky charm. This colourful, American Diner style eatery is all about comfort eating, and what could be more comforting than a big ol’ stack of pancakes? Their Deluxe Buttermilk Pancakes with a choice of berries and whipped cream, applewood smoked bacon, sausages, or fresh, seasonal fruit and yoghurt, offer up the ultimate opportunity to gorge.
The Naam Restaurant
If you’re a fan of natural, wholesome food with a healthy helping of the word ‘organic’, then you’ll just about love Naam. Serving up both organic, whole-wheat and vegan pancakes with optional add-ons of organic blueberry syrup, real maple syrup and veggie sausages, this small cafe certainly knows how to please. Plus, opening 24/7, even if you miss out on the breakfast and brunch menus, you’ll be sure to find a pancake alternative whenever you feel peckish. Midnight feast here you come.
Pancakes, but make it fancy – the Victor is the ultimate treat. Enjoy buttermilk pancakes topped with fresh strawberries, lemon curd and ricotta to the chilled-out sounds of the resident DJ and sumptuous surrounds that just about ooze luxury. The only way to begin a Sunday, obviously. Expect a delectable menu and aesthetics that were made for the ‘gram.
All day breakfast at its very best – at yolk’s, the pancakes are dreamy, the setting is laid-back and the staff are ever-friendly. Claiming to be on hand to help with any nagging sweet tooth, Yolk’s customisable tall stacks are where it’s at. They don’t take reservations and close at 3pm so we recommend heading here early, before hanger kicks in! Enticing add-ons include bananas, toasted walnuts, whipped cream, salted caramel, blueberries, Yolk’s homemade marmalade, fresh fruit, lemon, honey and mint. Feels practically endless, right?
Yew Seafood + Bar
The super stylish on-site restaurant of Dowtown Vancouver’s Four Seasons Hotel, Yew serves up a fluffy stack of buttermilk pancakes (with a Gluten Free alternative also available) on its sumptuous breakfast menu that’s served daily between 7am-11.30am. Hotel dining may not always have the strongest appeal, but even if you’re not staying there, this restaurant is definitely worth the venture. It has a special occasion feel – and what’s more special than being in a new city for the first time? Treat yo’self. They come with a side of maple syrup, homemade jam, or whipped cream, and you can add fresh fruit or seasonal berries as an extra. What a way to start the day.