The best cafes in Vancouver are hard to rank. Hundreds of businesses will serve you a cup of joe and for the most part, most coffee here is pretty good. In my particular ranking of coffee though, I have to take into account the entire experience. Fact of the matter is, most coffee shops in Vancouver charge around the same price for coffee, so the differentiation needs to come elsewhere.

Inside La Forêt
Inside La Forêt

Here is my criteria for a unique cuppa on this guide:

  • Branding. This sounds super shallow but it's hard for me to be a coffee snob and blindly identify tasting notes unless they are provided by the roaster. Generally, the more a roaster can invest into marketing their beans, the better the taste in my brain. Psychological marketing is truly a force in coffee.
  • Vibes. I like to enjoy myself when having coffee and surrounding myself in a totally different vibe than the office, my home, or the grocery store.
  • Options other than coffee. Sometimes I want something a little sweet or savoury with my cupping session. Coffee will always be a part of the equation but if there's a small assortment of pastries or food to go with it, that's a good time for me.
  • Counter-service only. It's acceptable if the food is delivered to you at a table, but restaurants where you sit down and order your coffee are not in scope for this guide.

Without further ado, here are the cafes I currently regard as the most unique in Vancouver:

  1. Nemesis Coffee
  2. Analog Coffee
  3. Isetta Cafe Bistro
  4. Flourist
  5. Novella Coffee Bar
  6. Starbucks Reserve Bar
  7. Pomona Coffee
  8. TurF
  9. Le Marché St. George
  10. Caffé Citadella
  11. Aiyaohno Cafe

Nemesis Coffee

AKA "the rose petal one"

Out of all the cafes listed here, Nemesis values modern architecture the highest. You're basically paying regular restaurant prices to dine here but you will be fully immersed in their concept of feeling like a rich person while drinking coffee. For the best experience, which costs the same as the other locations, visit their location on Great Northern Way next to the Emily Carr University.

Full review here.

Nemesis Coffee (Great Northern Way Location)
Nemesis Coffee (Great Northern Way Location)

Analog Coffee

AKA "the legend from Calgary"

They are legends of the coffee scene in Calgary and and have taken over the farmers market there. Here, the vibes are bricky and cozy. You can enjoy your coffee inside on an inviting couch or take it outside on their cornerside patio.

Flat White from Analog Coffee in Vancouver
Flat White from Analog Coffee in Vancouver

Isetta Cafe Bistro

AKA "the renovated gas station"

Isetta Cafe Bistro is an all-in-one cafe serving coffee, food, and alcohol to stay relevant all the time, and you'll love spending time in their "dogtrot house" style of building while you soak in the former gas station vibes before or after a hike at Lighthouse Park.

Full review here.

Isetta Cafe in West Vancouver
Isetta Cafe in West Vancouver


AKA "the bread one"

If you're on a no-wheat diet, Flourist will be your ultimate test with their house-milled flour and baked products. The minimalist interior and communal feel will help you feel connected to the business and elevate your love of bread. The best vibes are at the Cedar Cottage location. They use JJ Bean espresso here, another local Vancouver bean.

Full review here.

Flourist in Vancouver, Commercial Street Location
Flourist in Vancouver, Cedar Cottage Location

Novella Coffee Bar

AKA "the one that turns into a wine bar"

Mornings are best for Novella so you can avoid crowds, but if crowds are your thing, the whole place turns into a wine bar in the evenings. Come for the turbo breakfast sandwich, stay for the rarer coffee beans you can't find elsewhere, and wait for the pinot to start pouring.

Inside Novella Coffee Bar in Vancouver
Novella Coffee Bar in Vancouver

Starbucks Reserve Bar

AKA the "nice" Starbucks

Starbucks knows to reach beyond the mass market of coffee drinkers, it has to do something different. That's where the "Reserve Bar" concept comes into play. For the fullest extraction of coffee flavour, check out the siphon coffee option which comes with a 10 minute live espresso pull and an education in the bean, the farm, and the tasting notes by the brewer.

Full overview here.

Starbucks Reserve Bar in Vancouver
Starbucks Reserve Bar in Vancouver

Pomona Coffee

AKA the "Victorian farmhouse" one

Pomona has to be one of the most elegant rooms to have coffee in. Not only are they one of the few places that offer siphon brew, but each of their coffees have a traceable origin and tasting notes. It's a bit of a farmhouse-meets-tea-room vibe and I am totally here for it. There could be better food options, but this is a spot worth visiting if you're out in Richmond for caffeine.

Pomona Coffee – Siphon Brewed Coffee (Ethiopia Yirgacheffe)
Pomona Coffee – Siphon Brewed Coffee (Ethiopia Yirgacheffe)


AKA "the fitness one"

TurF in Kitsilano is probably the only place in Vancouver where you can schedule a workout, refuel with Moja-roasted espresso, and walk out with a new sunscreen so you can hit the beach for a dip or chill.

Full overview here.

TurF Kitsilano in Vancouver
TurF Kitsilano in Vancouver

Le Marché St. George

AKA "the one in a residential neighbourhood"

Le Marché St. George does it all from scratch. In addition, their home-roasted beans are available alongside other local goods in the market side of the homey cafe. If you are looking for throw blankets and cushions to keep you cozy in the bayside window, this cafe is the vibe you're looking for.

Le Marché St. George in Vancouver
Le Marché St. George in Vancouver

Caffé Citadella

AKA "the one in a house"

Caffé Citadella doesn't win any points for their coffee, but the vibes and fact that it lives in a heritage home makes this business feel extra special when you step in through the front door.

Full review here.

Caffé Citadella in Vancouver
Caffé Citadella in Vancouver

Aiyaohno Cafe

AKA "the one with a tiny takeout window"

You can actually eat inside too but Aiyaohno is popular for being a takeout window separating a tiny kitchen of wonder from the rest of the downtown eastside. They focus on using local and seasonal ingredients and are founded and run by a culinary chef duo with experience training in France.

Full overview here.

Iced Salted Sakura Latte from Aiyaohno Cafe in Vancouver
Iced Salted Sakura Latte from Aiyaohno Cafe in Vancouver

Honourable Mentions:

The following cafes are still great visits but they didn't make the cut competitively against the ones above. I would love to be wrong but at least this way it is known which cafes I am comparing against:

  • Prado Cafe
  • La Forêt
  • Oidé Coffee
  • Timbertrain Coffee Roasters
  • Pallet Coffee
  • Yama Cafe
  • Di Beppe Caffe

Final Thoughts:

There are hundreds of cafes in Vancouver. I'm sure I've missed some. The criteria is stated above. If you have more to suggest me to visit, let me know in the comments, via email (, or on social media. Happy sipping!


  1. 2023-10-09: Replaced Tru Cafe with Novella Coffee Bar