Sometimes all you want is a comforting breakfast in a neighbourhood joint that doesn’t stand on pretense, isn’t more concerned about decor, and has staff that gets good service can be as simple as being yourself. Welcome to Nice Cafe.
You want to know what’s nice about Nice Cafe? Pretty much everything. I love this tiny spot tucked away on 8th Ave at Main St. I love it because it knows what it is, and stays consistently in that comfort zone. This isn’t a fancy breakfast spot. You aren’t going to find unique ingredients.
You are going to find simple food cooked with heart and staff that can be over-attentive but never overly-sensitive. If you ask for time to chat, they give it to you. That doesn’t mean they ignore you. Instead, they are coffee cup filling ninjas, stealthily ensuring you never see the bottom of the cup. The Brunch Buddy and I had a wonderful relaxing breakfast and the staff were a big part of that. I should mention that my Brunch Buddy on this foray was none other than actor Elizabeth Bowen. Liz and I have discovered a mutual love of breakfast and we had some catching up to do, so this was a natural match meeting ground for us.
Elizabeth had two eggs scrambled, hash browns, toast and bacon; the hallmark dish of every good diner. I decided to have the veggie and cheese omelette. I chose to have hash browns instead of toast. You need to make a choice as the omelettes don’t come with both.
The scrambled eggs were fluffy and the bacon crisp, just as you want them. My omelette had chunks of vegetables, not diced, but chunked; button mushrooms halved, and pepper pieces the size of nickels. You are not going to be served a classic French omelette; there will be colour on the outside of it. I know that might be to the chagrin of some foodies, but I actually like my omelette that way so I was perfectly happy with what I was served.
Let’s zip along to the important part; hash browns. My love of shredded hash browns is well documented. It turns out Elizabeth feels the same way. There is nothing finer on a breakfast plate than shredded hash browns with a good crisp on them. Seriously, it’s breakfast nirvana. The Nice Cafe doesn’t make nice hash browns, they make glorious hash browns. I could order a plate loaded with hash browns for breakfast and next time, I just might. The lesson that some places in town could learn from this; make it simple, make it well.
If you’re inclined to go to an unpretentious cozy hole-in-the-wall diner for a classic breakfast, consider “Nice Cafe”. The coffee is plentiful, the hash browns fantastic, and the service will make you feel at home.
Movie Recommendation: Back to the Future (1985). Who cares who’s in it, or the fact there’s a DeLorean. The only thing you need to care about is Lou’s Diner.
154 E 8th Ave, Vancouver, BC V5T 1R7
Open from 8 am M-Sat, 9 am on Sunday