Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Classic diners in Metro Vancouver


Recommended Posts

I used to love going to the Normandy on South Granville before it was closed by fire. Solid food, nothing fancy. Big crowd of regulars, faded but unique decor, fast service. Here's a list of a few of my personal faves in the region for those who like these kind of places.

Ovaltine Cafe - 251 E Hastings

Save on Meats Coffee Shop - 43 W Hastings

Argo Cafe - 1836 Ontario

Art's Place - 2407 W 41st @ Balsam

Docker's - 6094 Fraser @ 45th

LT Cafe - 1640 Kent Ave SE

Truck Stop Cafe - 1046 Clark Drive

Net Shed Cafe - 3820 Moncton (Steveston)

Moodyville's - 101 Lonsdale Ave @ 1st (North Vancouver)

Lynnwood Inn Coffee Shop - 1515 Barrow St near Main + Mountain (North Vancouver)

Round-Up Cafe - 10449 King George Hwy @ 104 Ave (Surrey)

健啖家(kentan-ka):A hearty eater

He was a wise man who invented beer." - Plato

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Bon's Off Broadway! Corner of Broadway & Nanaimo. All-day brekky for $2.95.

Helen's Grill. Corner of Main & King Edward. It's been there...forever.

Has anyone tried the Wallflower on Main yet (in the old Aurora Bistro space)?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I like classic old diners/greasy spoons as much as anyone but i have to disagree about the ovaltine, ya ok the decor is old school i'll give it that but the food is truly awful, i mean when the food is that bad the fact that it is cheap is meaningless, do you just go and grab a coffee and hang out?if so that i can understand

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You're absolutely right vandan. The Ovaltine Cafe is all about the atmosphere. I go there and imagine that I'm in the cover of Tom Waits' Nighthawks at the Diner, minus the cigarette smoke. I just had to include it for that reason alone.

But the food was pretty bad. And the coffee, as Waits would say, was "too weak to defend itself." :wink:

健啖家(kentan-ka):A hearty eater

He was a wise man who invented beer." - Plato

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Reno's Restaurant on Broadway and Main. The clientele is a mix of old-timers from the area and Main St hipsters. The food is decent enough...far less greasy than Bon's for example. $3.75 for their all-day breakfast special (doesn't include the pie):



de gustibus non est disputandum

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

I'm looking forward to trying Acme's too, though it's Sunday am opening time of 10 am is too late for me -- we're talking diner brekkys here not brunch, right?

Anyone know the exact status of Save On Meats right now?

Here's my in-progress list of places, most of which I haven't tried yet (and some are unconfirmed re continued availability), that I've been working on from various sources. I've added the ones I didn't have on my original document from posts above, so thanks for that. Names have been removed to protect the innocent :biggrin: :

Diner breakfast and/or burgers

Hamburger Marys, Davie & Bute, Vancouver

Teresas Cafe, Denman, Vancouver

The Grove Inn, Denman, Vancouver

Ovaltine Cafe. (604) 685-7021 251 Hastings St E btwn Main and Gore breakfast all day till 8:30

Grade 'A' Cafe at 1173 Granville at Davie is a fave. Looks more than a bit sketchy, and some of the clientèle might have shared a cell or psyc ward with you in the past, but it's well-run (the boss lady takes no shit from anyone, not even large crazy people), the food is as cheap as it gets, and it's not full of the trendy scum that fill the Templeton up on the next block. Breakfast until about 7pm every day except holidays.

Smile Restaurant, 424 W Pender. It's huge and actually pretty clean and usually empty and lacks the edginess of the Grade A, but has the same Chinese-and-Canadian food theme, breakfast served all day, and the pancakes are good. Not sure how late they're open.

Tacos Mexico Rico A little known fact is breakfast is now served: eggs scrambled with onions peppers and tomatoes, fresh cream and beans with a side of tortillas 9:30-11:30. $6.50 Dollar more for coffee. 309 West Pender at Hamilton (604) 688-7426

Red Onion, 41st & Kerrisdale, Vancouver

Arts Place, 41st & Balsam, Vancouver

Lotus Eatery, 7th & Hemlock, Vancouver

*Joes Grill on Fourth

*Flying Swan on 4th

The Diner 4556 W. 10th Ave., West Point Grey, 604-224-1912. This Point Grey staple has been doling out gravy-dressed shepherds pie and endless cups of sugary Joe for half a century. Kitschy décor full English fry-up ($7.85): bacon, sausage, egg, beans, tomato, and bread Breakfast is cheerfully offered until closing, around 11:30-6 or 7 p.m.

*Paul's Place Restaurant & Omelettery South Granville breakfast haven featuring omelettes, corned beef hash and other specialties served all day. Paul ex- of Gladys 2211 Granville, 604-737-2857 7 am 3 pm 7 days

**Sunshine Diner decent bennies, a bit expensive for what you get, décor is either quaint or too gaudy depending on how hungover you are, lineups after 9:30

Flowers Café 337 E Hastings Street (604) 633-9987

Uncle Henry's 547 E Hastings Street (604) 254-3629 Chinatown

Roundel Cafe (Hastings at Nanaimo) 2465 East Hastings Street (604) 253-2522 Sorta similiar to Sebs May 2007

Kings Cafe, Hastings, Vancouver

Master Chef, E. Hastings, Vancouver

Tom & Jerrys, Hastings and Kaslo, Vancouver

Slocan Family Restaurant, Hastings & Slocan, Vancouver

LT Cafe 1640 SE Kent Ave (604) 324-4828 below SE Marine just past Knight

Ristys, 63rd & Granville, Vancouver

Truck Stop Cafe 1046 Clark Street btwn Parker and Napier (604) 254-6331 East Van

Teresas 1260 Commercial between William and Grant mondays 8-2pm, tuesdays - sundays 8-9pm (604) 676-1868 free-range eggs and our delicious baked home-fries; reasonably priced, breaky sandwiches, (wheat-free) pancakes, cream cheese French toast, organic porridge (note this is a coop owned and run by the workers)

Renos, Broadway & Main, Vancouver

Sunny Spot Café (on Main near Broadway) 872-1816

Bert's Restaurant 2904 Main Street 604-876-1236 The problem with putting this place in a best-of list is that you might go there with inflated expectations. We're worried you'll sneer at the wood panelling, or snort at the single small television, or scoff at the unironic quaintness of the menu. It's just an old-timey diner, all right? There are no lattes here, no croissants, not even crazy crap on the walls. But oh my, the breakfast. Light, tender pancakes of satisfying size, appetizing colour, and pillowy texture. Perfectly poached eggs. Maple syrup. Crispy bacon. Mounds of hash browns. Best ethnic Canadian breakfast (GStraight 2007)

Molly's on 2nd, right behind the CityTV studio

Argo Cafe 1836 Ontario for a post-modern take on the diner (breakfast and lunch only -- be sure to check out the lunch specials like duck confit or seared tuna for like $12!?) weekdays only??

Sebs 592 E Broadway (604) 228-4403 Great food, cool place, cheap, good veg options

strawberry and Camembert omelette ($9.95) or the seared elk Benny ($9.95) served atop savoury biscuits with chipotle and wild berry hollandaise.

Libby's Kitchen A recent change in ownership hasn't affected this homey little café one iota. From the charming antique stove in the entranceway, to the local artwork that hangs from saffron-coloured walls it's all warm. Big and cheerful patio hosts a munch of grilled panini with spicy capicollo, caramelized onion and sweet pepper mayo ($6.95); all-day breakfasts, and a daily soup and sandwich special for $5.95. A free WiFi connection that's as strong as the fair trade coffee lets you surf the net, with the help of those delicious triple chocolate brownies, of course. 3429 Porter St., East Side, 604-874-5547. $-$$

Nice Café 154 East 8th (604) 874-4024, super cheap, fast, greasy spoon but nicer, lineups; 8-4 T-S 9:30-4 M 8-3

Helen's Grill 874-4413 at Main & 25th I'm not so much a brunch person as I am a honkin' big breakfast person. For that I like Helen's Grill (Main & 25th) - very old-school, complete with little juke-boxes at each booth; breakfast served all day T-S 8-8 M8-5 Sun 8 am-7 depending how busy they are

Bon's Off Broadway (2451 Nanaimo Street). Expect to wait up to half an hour weekend mornings. The seats are lumpy, the staff is sometimes surly, and the potatoes, though seasoned sublimely, are occasionally undercooked. this East Van institutionwith its battered booths, frayed carpets and poster-plastered yellow wallsis always full, serving its famous all-day breakfast for less than you'll find in your couch cushions. Just $3.95 gets you bottomless coffee, a heaping helping of eggs, sausage, hash browns and toast, plus a front-row seat to serious people watching-from Bon's motley crew of servers scurrying to handle the overflow to bleary-eyed patrons attempting to eat themselves out of a hangover. 2451 Nanaimo St., East Side, 604-253-7242. $

Dona Cata 5076 Victoria drive (604) 436-2232‎ now serving breaky Tues to Sat 9-2

Deacons Corner Monday to Friday 7am - 3pm Weekends 9am - 3pm 101 Main Street Vancouver BC (corner of Alexander St.) 604.684.1555email: info@deaconscorner.ca (Gastown/Railtown)

Dockers Diner aka Dockers Grill 1869 Powell Street (604) 254-3732 (May 2007 Brand UD) plentiful booths, clean restaurant and immaculate bathroom, and the friendly attitude of owner Joanne and her regular waitresses. Food is standard diner fare, with some Greek specialties, but they are open to substituting salad for fries or hashbrowns. Dinehere Apr 2008 (Outer Railtown) liver and onions, pancakes, egg breakfasts

Steveston Hotel Restaurant, Steveston, Richmond

Net Shed, Steveston, Richmond

Sandwich Tree, Cambie Road, Richmond

Fishermans Boot, Steveston, Richmond

Hilltop Cafe, 240th & Fraser Hwy., Aldergrove

Poultry in Motion, Marine, White Rock

Skyhawk Restaurant, Boundary Bay Airport

Tommy's 1308 Ross Road 604-988-0053 NVan

Corner Cafe, 15th & Pemberton, North Vancouver

Lynnwood Hotel, Main & Mountain, North Vancouver

Highboat Cafe, Mosquito Creek Marina, North Vancouver

Whytecliffe Park canteen, West Vancouver

Calvin's Café 2452 Marine Dr., West Vancouver, 604-922-4222 This tiny spot in West Van has an easygoing community feel during the week, but can quickly become an asylum of wet wool and Gore-Tex on Sunday mornings. Its the cheapest restaurant in Dundarave, and it offers standard daily quiches and consistently good omelettes that often lure walk-ins away from the excellent crêpes. But stick with your gut instinct and go for the Crêpe Princess: filled with spinach and Swiss cheese and served with real-deal hollandaise, its a steal for a measly $8.50 (all brunch items are the same price). Coffee refills are as timely as the service, which is breakneck at best and genuine at worst.

The Moodyville (Lonsdale and 1st) $4.99

Cosmos, Sperling & Hastings, Burnaby

Parkcrest Diner, Broadway, Burnaby

Big 6 Restaurant on Sixth Street just west of 10th Avenue, a handy pit stop before heading into town or over the Pattullo Bridge. seven days a week, from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays and from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekends, Trucker's Special, a hearty plate of two eggs any style, buttered toast, four rashers of bacon, a pile of crisp panfried potatoes and coffee, for $3.75. family owned, busiest first thing in the morning Everything, says Kara, is homemade, including the pancakes, which are eggy and heavier than any mix you'll ever try and will keep you full until at least dinnertime, along with all the other robust fare, swimming in butter and calories, just as it should be, seats 60

Pauls, Hastings St., North Burnaby

Fraser Park Restaurant, Byrne Rd., Burnaby

Amelias, two locations, New Westminster

Rosies Country Cafe, King George Hwy., Surrey

Round-up Cafe, King George Hwy., Surrey

The Roadhouse, 160th & King George Hwy., Surrey

Fresgo Inn, King George Hwy., Surrey

Rockos, Lougheed Highway, Mission

Kitchen on the Ridge, 224th & Lougheed, Mission

Michaels, Lougheed Hwy., Mission

Home Restaurant, Maple Ridge

Bobby Sox 50s Diner, Maple Ridge

Dots Cafe, Langley

Willards (or Dayrunner), 200th & 96th, Langley

Craigs Cafe, Austin Ave., Coquitlam

Pocos Cafe, Shaughnessy, Port Coquitlam

Hopewell Chinese Kitchen, Coquitlam

Edited by grayelf (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Choppers Diner, relocated to the east side of Nanaimo south of Broadway from its former spot on 1st Avenue. Organic free-range eggs, house-made preserves that are fantastic on rye toast. Have been meaning to get back there for their burger and onion rings. Grease with a side order of biker rock and roll.

Edited by Mooshmouse (log)

Joie Alvaro Kent

"I like rice. Rice is great if you're hungry and want 2,000 of something." ~ Mitch Hedberg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for sharing that awesome list Grayelf! Have you been to all of them or is that your to-do list? :wink:

Mooshmouse I didn't know that Choppers had gone organic - or maybe they always were? When did they move?

- and good to have you posting again!

Edited by Kentan (log)

健啖家(kentan-ka):A hearty eater

He was a wise man who invented beer." - Plato

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for sharing that awesome list Grayelf! Have you been to all of them or is that your to-do list? :wink:

Mooshmouse I didn't know that Choppers had gone organic - or maybe they always were? When did they move?

- and good to have you posting again!

To quote myself (how indulgent!): "Here's my in-progress list of places, most of which I haven't tried yet (and some are unconfirmed re continued availability)" Plenty more snacking to do first hand!

Also thanks Mooshmouse for reminding me about Choppers. It was on the list then off when it closed. I had heard it reopened but obviously forgot to add it back in. Nice to have reliable recent feedback on it too :smile:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Took another quick scan through your list, grayelf, didn't see the North Shore's Tomahawk Restaurant on there. Also missing is The Well on Main Street between 14th and 15th, just south of Bert's. Haven't been myself but have heard good things and intend to get there sooner rather than later.

Roundel Café isn't as good as it once was... I'd take the extra few minutes and drive to Seb's instead.

And gracias for the shout out, Kentan! :smile:

Joie Alvaro Kent

"I like rice. Rice is great if you're hungry and want 2,000 of something." ~ Mitch Hedberg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks, Mooshmouse, duly noted -- I'm not a huge fan of the 'Hawk but it needs to be on this list, and The Well sounds good. We almost went to Roundel last w'end but opted for Teresa's on Commercial instead. If anyone else has feedback, I'm terrible keen to add it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


  • Create New...