Latest Updated November 7, 2019: VancityAsks is your source for reliable local recommendations, manually curated by locals. We genuinely endeavor to find the best of Vancouver – hence, we do our best to minimize bias across all our recommendations.
We hope to save you time; helping locals rediscover their amazing city and visitors to find the best Vancouver has to offer. To maintain the validity and accuracy of our content; we review/edit/update our content from time to time. The latest update on this best cafes in Vancouver article was done on November 7, 2019.
Who is this “Best Cafes in Vancouver” list for?
First off, to ensure we’re connecting you with the right local recommendations, we should take some time to clarify you’re on the right article at VancityAsks.com
- This “Best Cafes in Vancouver” article is to categorize the BEST cafes in Vancouver with considerations to (1) cafe space – ambiance, uniqueness, location (2) coffee – You’re at a cafe presumably to get coffee (3) food selection – It’s nice to get a delicious bite with your coffee. Having a cafe with good food selection certainly helps with making the cafe a better spot to read your book, finish some work, or chat with a friend. Finally, the all important consideration is (4) service – your experience at a cafe will inevitably be toned by the service staff; you’d want personal and consistent friendly staff at a Vancouver cafe (it’s the main reason to keep people coming back).
Effectively, what we’re saying is these recommendations for the best cafes in Vancouver are relevant for you if you’re looking for a nice, chic, or unique cafe in Vancouver with good WiFi to get some work done, study, or spend a couple hours with a friend – over some good coffee and delicious food.
If you’re looking to find the best coffee in Vancouver (without consideration for the cafe ambiance, space, or food selection) we have that too. In such article, we focus on quality & value of the coffee shops’ coffee.
If you’re looking to find the best coffee roasters in Vancouver (to enjoy your french press, pour over, or espresso in the comforts of your own home each morning – or afternoon. Afternoon pick-me-up coffee is always a nice treat.) we have that as well!
Now that I presume you’re looking for the best cafes in Vancouver, here are five cafes in Vancouver that is worth visiting!
Vancouver LOCAL Recommendations – 5 Best Cafes in Vancouver:
We true Vancouver locals always enjoy a good cup of coffee. There are cafes in every corner of Vancouver. Everyone one of them are great in their right but when you want to find the best “MUST-try” cafes in Vancouver, here’s where you look. We’ve highlighted these establishments for their interior experience and phenomenal Vancouver coffee. These are also some of the best cafes in Vancouver to sit-back, enjoy a good cup of Americano, and dive into a book, paperwork, or let your mind wander. If you’re privileged enough to be around the area regularly, make sure to visit them for your daily coffee runs…only if you appreciate luxury for a small price. $2.75 is a nominal cost for such enjoyment and the productivity from a good cup of coffee. (not to forget, the hipster vibes – who knows you may be more creative at work?)
Here are VancityAsks‘ TOP 5 recommendations for the best cafes in Vancouver to try (subject to improvements and updates). If you’re a local, it would be a shame not to try these local Vancouver cafes. If you’re a tourist, experience a local’s unique appreciation for good Vancouver coffee at the best of the best – the best cafes in Vancouver, BC. You can understand a lot about a city by their food scene; some of these cafes are also conveniently located near tourist attractions, points of interest, or neighborhoods hence you’ll find a few cafe stops recommended in 48 hours tourists itinerary. (Some activity ideas if you’re visiting Vancouver for a brief lay-over upon arriving in Canada. Itinerary assumes you arrive on an international flight in the morning/afternoon however you can easily adjust the schedule to your time of arrival and cherry pick your choice of activities. The activities plan are fairly economical; we’ve tried to incorporate as much of a local experience, as much as possible to provide a solid insight to Vancouver, BC… added with your typical touristy activities. Blah.)
It was a difficult decision trying to find the best cafes in Vancouver as there are no lack of good Vancouver coffee and cafes, but we believe these are absolutely the top 5 MUST-try cafes in Vancouver… especially if you’re around the area.
Here are the 5 BEST cafes in Vancouver:
1) Best Cafe in Downtown Vancouver – Caffe Artigiano:
Caffe Artigiano is the place to be if you’re looking for a cafe in downtown Vancouver with some unique character, comfy & cozy atmosphere, and plentiful seating. It’s also an excellent option to grab a quick homemade breakfast sandwich, sit-in for an eggs benedict with your coffee, or grab and go their freshly roasted coffee with an in-house baked muffin! Caffe Artigiano is a great choice to start your day with, especially important if you find yourself waking up to some dreary weather in Vancouver common from November to February.
The cafe may be small but there are plenty of seating available and power plugs to charge up your devices while you sip a cup of delicious coffee. Service is quick and consistently friendly while the high ceilings & soft walls ensure any conversation or noise becomes white-noise for your comfort. For these combination of reasons, we believe Caffe Artigiano’s flagship branch on West Hastings to be the BEST cafe in Vancouver currently.
Address – 740 W Hastings St, Vancouver, BC, V6C 2X1
Caffe Artigiano has quickly become a favourite cafe in Downtown Vancouver for several reasons…
(1) good coffee – always important if you’re looking for the best cafes in Vancouver.
(2) good service – especially important for the service industry. You’d think it was a given but surprisingly sometimes non-service professionals get into the service industry and get hired. Caffe Artigiano in Downtown Vancouver have chosen and trained their team well to assure customers get a great experience in their West Hastings store – so it seems.
(3) nice ambiance – the downtown Vancouver cafe is rather unique and chic place. This is the perfect little cafe in downtown Vancouver with a quaint and warm interior design (perfect for a cold, rainy day in Vancouver) and high ceilings for spacious feel and muffling conversations (in a good way – to minimize distractions and unintended listening… of course those nearby can still hear you audibly but with higher ceilings, noise seems to get caught in the ceiling than curious ears across the room.)
Caffe Artigiano on West Hastings (Note that this description refers to their 740 West Hastings location; they have another cafe in downtown Vancouver’s Coal Harbour community at 1101 West Pender which is a larger cafe – walking distance to Loden Hotel actually – but without the same characteristics, warmth, or coziness as their flagship branch/commissary kitchen which presumably would bring fresher pastries & food as well) is a small cafe in downtown Vancouver, their flagship store, but it’s cozy and well designed inside. It has the ambiance similar to something European, specifically Spain, and a little bit of Italian along with a hint of rustic/rawness to the interior design. A plus is the many power plugs and seating available if you’re looking for somewhere to finish some work, catch up on emails, or read an e-book.
The cafe is often packed with office professionals which is good and bad; you might have trouble finding a seat during peak periods (but there are many seats) and it’s also good if you like a lot of white noise. (Most people speak moderately and as mentioned with the high ceiling, noise really muffles to a consistent white-noise so to drown out any specific conversation. It’s the exact type of white noise you might look for increasing productivity as well; go figure – cafe white noise is actually something people have on their playlists Haha.) It makes a great place to get work done, read a book, have a casual meeting, or enjoy a good cup of coffee (possibly with an delicious in-house baked pastries, or their delicious & quick, fresh-made daily, sandwich, or perhaps their popular salmon lox eggs benedict).
If you’re looking for a cafe in downtown Vancouver, be sure to pop by Caffe Artigiano for their delicious coffee, great service, and freshly-made pastries, or a meal – the salmon lox eggs benedict is a favourite of many. It is well deserving of the “best cafe in Vancouver” title for it’s unique cozy cafe vibe, excellent white-noise, good coffee, delicious cafe food, and excellent service in a exceptionally convenient downtown Vancouver nook. The next time you’re looking for a cafe in downtown Vancouver, you know where to go!
If you live or work in downtown Vancouver, you can visit Caffe Artigiano today and enjoy a delicious cup of coffee in a warm and cozy cafe with high ceilings making for excellent acoustics (you can hear a good and consistent hum of white noise if you’re sitting in to read a book or finish some work – while also being able to hear conversations nearby clearly). The staff is friendly and the food is good. Nothing to critique about Caffe Artigiano’s location on West Hastings. (Coffee is a little weak though but the ambiance makes up for it.) They are open from 6 AM to 5 PM Mondays to Fridays; if not, you can pop by on the weekend till 4 PM from as early as 7 AM but come before 2 PM if you want to try their brunch!
2) Best Hipster Cafe in Vancouver – Revolver Cafe:
Located in Gastown, Revolver Cafe is 10 for 10 when it comes to espresso. They are known for their coffee tasting events! Quite possibly some of the BEST coffee in the Gastown locality.
Revolver Cafe baristas can frequently be found wearing a beanie.
Address – 325 Cambie Street Vancouver, BC V6B 1H7
Revolver Café is not just any café. It has espresso tasting flights. Yes, espresso tasting flights. Go and try their variety of espresso to find which beans you like. Revolver has a huge fan following for good reason.
The coffee is made fresh to order from specially selected roasters across the globe – liken to your exclusive LV purse (or murse). These coffee are quality-checked and Revolver only serves the BEST coffee. You’ll be sure to get wowed by the taste and feel like a million bucks. (possibly – no guarantee). Certainly good coffee that will keep you awake and productive.
Price wise, the cost of coffee at Revolver Café is nominal for the utility you get from such a fabulous cup of coffee. You don’t want to miss this. 10/10 MUST try!
3) Best Cafe in Vancouver’s Gastown – Milano Cafe:
This is the coffee brand I see so often on UBC campus. This coffee roaster supports certified organic and small farms with an emphasis on quality.
Go for their unique espresso bar and try the different blends. Milano has several branches but you may wish to visit their coffee lounge at 156 West 8th Avenue.
Address – 156 8th Avenue W Vancouver, BC V5Y 1N2
Milano café takes 3rd place currently because they also roast their own beans and distribute to UBC. More interestingly Milano Café main branch has a nice espresso bar that’s a unique experience. It’s a bit out of the way but certainly worth a visit.
This is a larger coffee roaster that distribute their beans far and wide. You may have recognized their coffee at various cafes downtown so give their Vancouver Cambie-area café/roastery a visit and taste it freshest.
Price wise, you’d be looking at $3 for a shot of espresso or $2.75 to $4 for an americano. Certainly worthwhile for the enjoyment at their espresso lounge.
Here’s a tip from Holly on Yelp:
“I always get a large, because the medium and small are a little on the skimpy side for what you would usually get if you were at a large chain coffee place. Having said that, there’s a good reason the sizes are small – this stuff is strong. This coffee goes down slowly because it’s so full of flavour, and by the end you find yourself way more alert and energetic. It definitely gets you going. ”
4) Best Original Vancouver Roasters Cafe – 49th Parallel Coffee Roasters:
If you haven’t heard of 49th Parallel Coffee Roasters, you’re likely either new to Vancouver or the coffee scene in Vancouver. 49th Parallel Coffee is a Vancouver coffee icon whose beans are also used in various cafes nationally.
The ones I’ve tried were too mild for my liking personally. Also, you may like to know it’s the same company that spun off Lucky Donuts arguably the BEST donuts in Vancouver.
Go ahead. Treat yourself. Go step into their Kitsilano store at 2198 W 4th Avenue and sip a freshly brewed cup of coffee with one of their unique Lucky Donuts like Creme Brûlée or maybe an apple bacon fritter? You deserve it. If you’re around the area you can also pop by their Main St. store at 2902 Main St.
Address – 2902 Main St. Vancouver, BC, V5T 3G3
49th Parallel Coffee Roasters might be considered the grandfather of coffee culture in Vancouver, BC. They were one of the first artisan roasters who had a neat little cafe on 4th Avenue.
They soon branched to artisan, small-batch donuts known as Lucky Donuts; you will find Lucky Donuts at all 49th Parallel Coffee Roasters cafe. It seems the next step is towards 49th Parallel Brewing (beer).
While many branches have since opened representing 49th Parallel Coffee Roasters including one in downtown Vancouver on Thurlow (close to Trump International Hotel, Shangri-La Living, Coast Coal Harbour Hotel, and Loden Hotel), their original cafe is located on Main Street with the Roastery/Head Office in Burnaby.
They serve a (fresh) fruity flavoured style of coffee that might be enjoyable to some. Fair warning that while they cafes are typically fairly large, airy (lightly furnished & bright), they are not very laptop friendly. (Few power plugs & cafe owners do not like people sitting with laptops.) Their cafe is recommended on our best cafes in Vancouver as an ode to one of the early Vancouver artisan cafes/coffee roasters.
5) Best Casual Cafe With a View in Vancouver – Coal Harbor Cafe:
The Coal Harbour Cafe is not exactly known for their coffee but their location & convenience (to Vancouver’s cruise ship terminal at Vancouver Convention Centre in downtown Vancouver and most of Downtown Vancouver’s Waterfront area.)
This is an excellent coffee to sit in and appreciate the views while visiting Vancouver or perhaps before your cruise as the location is connected to Vancouver Convention Centre.
Zomato – https://www.zomato.com/vancouver/coal-harbour-cafe-coal-harbour-vancouver (Coal Harbour Cafe has two branches one at 1055 and the other at 999. The 999 is better than 1055 although Zomato doesn’t have a listing for 999 by Canada Place docks)
Address – 999 Canada Pl, Vancouver, BC V6C 3E1
The Coal Harbour Cafe serves acceptable coffee, but they serve amazing views right at Canada Convention Centre makes for a nice sit-in café to sip & read (or type). Service is standard, sub-standard, or slightly-better than average (don’t get us wrong – they are not at all rude, just not overly personal or memorable). The cafe features full walled window on one side and sliding doors to Vancouver Convention Centre Exhibition Halls on the other side. It is typically empty (as people grab and go their coffee it appears) but there are adequate sitting space with excellent views if you want a sit-in cafe with your friend or a place to sit back & relax around the Coal Harbour area. It has a bright (when it’s not raining) and simplistic interior design.
They also sell Thomas Haas bake goods and a variety of sandwiches. You can also typically catch a special daily deal in-store like a croissant and coffee for $3.40 (at time of writing).
They do not have power plugs though if you were looking to charge up your cellphone/tablet/laptop. If you were hoping to enjoy the view and get some work done, make sure you have your batteries fully charged. WiFi is unsecured publicly accessible WiFi which can get slow. (This is a popular spot where many people walk along Canada Place Boardwalk who also use the WiFi.)
The view though once again is amazing. Sit there with your coffee in hand and watch the Harbour Air Seaplanes land and take off by Coal Harbour or catch an amazing view of North Vancouver. They don’t have a Zomato or Yelp listing but it exists! You got to walk towards where it says Port Metro on the Google maps.
Honourable Mentions – Best Cafes in Vancouver:
Matchstick Coffee – 213 Georgia St, Vancouver, BC V6A 0B1
Excellent coffee and clean open cafe interiors and communal tables are two things reputed with Matchstick Coffee. It’s a good cafe to pop by in Vancouver but nothing spectacular or intrinsically unique about Matchstick Coffee. Service can vary; sometimes you get stuck-up hipsters – my beanie is cooler than you – type of service, sometimes you get very friendly hipsters – I love coffee and want you to feel the love – type of service.
Timbertrain Coffee – 311 W Cordova St, Vancouver, BC V6B 4K2
A coffee roastery in Gastown with a tight space but cozy design intended to foster interactions and close meetups; would make for a great place to bring your out of town guest to catch up or perhaps a date? The important thing is their coffee beans are highly recommended and used by many cafes across Metro Vancouver. Expect a hipster vibe as you would in Gastown. They may not be mentioned on our best cafes in Vancouver (because the cafe itself is meh) but they are mentioned in our best coffee roastery in Vancouver because they truly shine best with their coffee beans.
Pallet – 2002 W Broadway, Vancouver, BC V6J 1Z4
Another cafe that is well known for their coffee. Pallet is a coffee roastery that is catching on like wild fire amongst baristas; their coffee is good, very good. The location on West Broadway also has a spacious cafe with plentiful of natural lighting from an open concept. It may not be the most conducive for a meet-up or cozy atmosphere but it’s spacious and bright. Pair it with house-made baked goods, salads, paninis, and sandwiches and you’ve got a great cafe in Vancouver… quiet possibly one of the best cafes in Vancouver? Maybe later. One thing for sure is they have GREAT coffee! Pallet is currently #1 on our Best Coffee Roasteries in Vancouver recommendations.
(Apologies about the sporadic writing with this section… been watching too many Section 4 clips of Scott Galloway on Youtube of recency. You’ll see. Pun intended.)
More Vancouver Cafe Options to consider:
Once again, leave your suggestions bellow and we’ll shake things up base on feedback. VancityAsks.com is community based list. Your call. Quite possibly the most controversial decision you’ll make today so think carefully. Coffee is always a difficult topic.
Here are some that come to mind:
(1) Creme de la Crumb – Located right by Waterfront station, 200 granville street, Creme de la Crumb is a convenient location, nice communal tables, and good coffee
As you can tell, we’ve intentionally left out the franchise options like Blenz and Starbucks on our list.
Lists of Updates to Best Cafes in Vancouver local recommendations on VancityAsks.com:
November 7, 2019 –
Updated and revise recommendations for the 5 best cafes in Vancouver. Added more good cafes in Vancouver to consider, and honourable mentions.
May 24, 2019 –
– Added Caffe Artigiano to #1 best cafe in Vancouver (nice ambiance, good service, plentiful seating & power plugs for your laptop if you choose an eBook, good coffee, unique interior design)
– Removed Trees Organic Coffee from #4 (Average cheesecake, Ok coffee, crowded cafe, small space. Initially listed for novelty of seeing the coffee roasted at their Granville Street branch in Downtown Vancouver along with their indie music nights for a unique atmosphere/vibe to experience… but we’ve categorized and refined our recommendations for the best cafes in Vancouver to focus on ambiance <and of course good coffee is still a must> with another article for the best coffee roasters in Vancouver. So with the new categories and ratings, Trees Organic Coffee doesn’t fit either as the category leader. It was good at a little bit of everything initially to fit our initial recommendation for the best cafes in Vancouver but in properly segmenting our content recommendation, they don’t hit sufficiently on any one point. If you want to see coffee roasting, you can still visiting their downtown Vancouver cafe on Granville but it’s not worth going as a sit-down cafe. Not many power plugs – just one, and limited seating in a cramp cafe with overpriced cheesecake that’s not the best in Vancouver. Their coffee is also not consistently good and their service is neither consistent as well. So it doesn’t make a bonus consideration for consistency. Single-origin beans does vary in taste by time of year so if you don’t like the taste of one-batch, you’re stuck with it for some time and if you like the taste of one-batch, it might be short lived.)
– Former description for Trees Organic Coffee listed bellow:
4) Best Dessert Cafe in Vancouver – Trees Organic Coffee Roasters:
Trees Organic is a new addition to our list of the best cafes in Vancouver. Having been enjoying their coffee for several months, their stores are always packed with patrons who enjoy their freshly roasted, single-origin brewed coffee as well. They’re also relatively known for their in-house pastries, notably varying flavors of cheesecake. (That rings in at $7.50/slice!) But, let’s get back to coffee…this cozy cafe on Granville Street is where you have to visit if you enjoy good coffee. Forget 49th Parallel, Trees Organic coffee beans are even better. (Slightly a notch under Milano Coffee. Revolver Cafe doesn’t roast their own beans but procure a variety of unique suppliers; it is still one of the only spots in Vancouver where you can enjoy coffee prepared three-ways.)
They have a frequency card that gives you every 10th coffee free. Reasonably priced at $2.55 for medium size, $2.90 for large, and you should never go small with coffee at Trees Organic, because why would you? Their standard drip coffee comes in medium or dark roast. Trees Organic roasts their own beans much like Milano Coffee and 49th Parallel; the roasting is right at their Granville branch. Mentioned earlier, Trees Organic also only uses single origin beans for their coffee so depending on where the beans come from at the time you savor their freshly roasted coffee, your coffee may taste slightly different month to month. (It’s subtle but moderately noticeable. An interesting experiential process to observe over-time.)
A visit to Trees Organic is recommended if you enjoy good Vancouver coffee in a cozy cafe, especially so if you like cheesecake (and willing to spend $7.50 for a small slice.) The main branch is on Granville Street, right outside Canada Line Waterfront station (how convenient.) while another branch is right at Gastown outside the Gastown clock. This is the one on our 48 hr tourist itinerary activity list.
Address: 450 Granville St, Vancouver, BC V6C 1V4
Other things to note: The Granville Street location is just minutes from Waterfront and Vancouver Convention Centre; grab a coffee and enjoy it by the water as you see the furry of activity on the water. (Seabus, Boats, Planes, Cruises, and the occasional Cargo ship.) There is also a nice look-out seating spot at 200 Granville Street above the Waterfront Station, where Denton’s and PWC office is. It is no more than 5 minutes walk to Trees Organic Granville.
They say they have the best cheesecake in Vancouver but truth be told, it’s “average at best” as many food bloggers/reviewers will share. The gimmick gets a few who haven’t yet tried, shelling out $7.50+ for a slice. Best only means something when you truly are the best hence we try to be as honest with our recommendations on VancityAsks. When ratings goes to “votes” it’s rarely accurate but a marketing ploy; all our highlights on VancityAsks are manually and locally curated. Go for their coffee but do yourself a favor and skip the cheesecake.
April 10, 2019 –
– Moved Revolver Cafe from #1 to #2
– Moved Milano Coffee from #2 to #3.
September 21, 2016 –
– Removed TimberTrain Coffee Rosters from #4.
– Moved 49th Parallel Coffee Roasters from #3 to #4.
– Added Trees Organic at #3. Remarkable coffee
– Best Cafe in Vancouver for #1, #2, #5 remains unchanged.
– Former description for Timbertrain Coffee Roasters bellow:
With a name like that, you already know the coffee is going to be hipster good. Timbertrain Coffee Roasters is an artisan coffee roaster. It’s as good at 49th Parallel but slightly lesser known in Vancouver. Make no mistake however, they are highly acclaimed for some of the BEST coffee in Vancouver…hence why it’s on this VancityAsks.com list.
“Timbertrain Coffee Roasters is committed to the fundamentals and the science of brewing perfection into each cup of coffee we serve.”
Address – 311 W Cordova Street Vancouver, BC V6B 4K2
Any cafe that roasts their own beans immediately get a notch over others. Timber Train nestled in downtown Vancouver with passionate owners who enjoy good coffee and company. If you’re looking for a delicious, fresh coffee then Timbertrain Coffee Roasters is where you ought to go.