This yuppie enclave is famed for its beachfront lifestyle and good coffee. Whether you’re after an expertly-frothed cappuccino or single-origin pour-over, you’ll find it in Kitts.
Kitsilano or “Kits” is located west of the city centre, on a sandy stretch squeezed between West Point Grey and Fairview. Once a happy hippie hangout, the neighbourhood is now mostly occupied by young urban professionals, yummy mummies and sporty types – and where there are such individuals, artisanal coffee tends to follow. Kitts is no exception; its two square miles are brimming with brilliant coffee shops. The problem isn’t where to find a good cup of coffee, but which to choose. To save you overdosing on caffeine through having to sample your way around close to a hundred establishments, we’ve rounded up ten of the best.
KITS Cafe & Eyewear
KITS Cafe & Eyewear fulfils a rather obscure niche: coffee and sunglasses. While the team here has been making glasses and contact lenses for more than 70 years, the coffee isn’t just an add-on, they’re serious about it. Sacred Acre, the brand behind the beans, collaborates with farmers growing some of the world’s most unique and flavoursome coffees. The space is large, bright and airy, with lengthy communal tables and counter seating. In the morning, there are fluffy croissants and muffins too.
1500 Yew St
Kits Beach Coffee
Kits Beach Coffee might be a new kid on the block, but it’s quickly made a name for itself amongst the neighbourhood’s notoriously picky coffee aficionados. The cafe started life as a seasonal mobile cafe in 2020 and has since expanded into a “hyper-local cafe” focused on serving Kits Beach and the Kitsilano community from 1945 Cornwall Avenue. Fear not though, fans of the original mobile cafe can still find it parked up at the beach during the summer months. The family-owned business serves espresso, pour over and cold brew coffee made from single-origin fair trade sustainably-harvested beans roasted by Habitat Coffee Co and House of Funk. There’s a delicious daily selection of pastries, smoothies, and baked goods on offer too.
1945 Cornwall Ave
Viva Fine Foods & Bakery
A few doors down from KITS Cafe & Eyewear, Viva Fine Foods & Bakery is a local institution. The coffee is excellent, but the real draw are its freshly baked goodies. From hand-rolled cinnamon buns made with layered dripping-with-butter, croissant-style dough to cheese-stuffed scones, it’s a pastry lover’s dream. You could pull up a seat at the counter or pavement tables, but we heartily recommend getting your order to take away and tucking into it on the beach, moments away.
1555 Yew St
If good coffee and cakes aren’t quite going to cut it for you, look to Platform 7, a quirky cafe styled like a Belle Epoque french train carriage. Why? Who knows – and frankly, who cares? It works. But it’s not all about good looks, the coffee is excellent here too. The team uses Stumptown Beans, roasted in Portland, Oregon. Drinks range from caramel-infused espresso to tap kombucha, which means you’re unlikely to get bored here too. Paninis are delicious and there are all sorts of sweet treats on the cards, including a notably gooey chocolate brownie. The cafe is located on Broadway and Vine, easily accessible by bus.
2300 W Broadway
Arbutus Coffee is set on a quiet, tree-lined residential street off of West 6th Avenue in a turn-of-the-century cottage. It’s a ten-minute stroll from the bustle of the beach, making it the perfect spot to hole yourself up in with a good book on a lazy afternoon. There’s plenty of seating, with freshly ground beans, expertly-pulled coffee and homemade lunches on the menu too. A lovely, laid-back coffee spot in the heart of the community.
2200 Arbutus St
Not far from Arbutus Coffee, Pallet Roasters is a sleek, airy coffeehouse featuring two-story windows and plenty of seating. They roast their own coffee too, so they know what they’re talking about. Their ‘Benchmark Beans’ are a blend of Brazillian and Papua New Guinea coffee, and the team is dedicated to showcasing talented producers from across the globe. It’s not the only location in Vancouver, there are now seven Pallet Roasters across the city, but it is arguably the best-looking space.
2300 W Broadway
The Only Cafe
The Only Cafe, another newcomer to Kitts’ coffee scene, is an excellent option for those who have a deep appreciation for latte art and creative coffee concoctions. That’s not to say you won’t find the classics here – cappuccinos and cortados are on the menu – but you’ll also find beverages like iced pour-over with orange, rose lattes, and white chocolate matcha lattes. Best of all is the Royal Belgian Pot, an elaborate contraption that totally alters the flavour and is guaranteed to spice up your Instagram feed.
2678 W 4th Ave
Kahve is technically located on the fringes of Kitsilano, halfway between Granville Island and Kits Beach. Squeezed between high-end design shops and luxury car showrooms, it’s a stylish coffee shop inspired by Scandi design with minimalist and modern decor. Locals and tourists hotfoot here for quality coffee, tasty meals and sparkling service. There’s a good range of pour-over, drip, and espresso coffees, made by everyone from the likes of Dubon Brothers in Honduras to Phil and Sebastian in Calgary.
1822 W 1st Ave
This European-inspired coffee shop serves up silky smooth coffee and tiramisu as good as any nonna can make. It’s a large space, so you can bring your laptop and comfortably while away a couple of hours without anyone shooing you out the door once you’ve finished your cappuccino. You’ll find your usual cafe staples here too, like warm panini, generous salads and avocado on toast. The fire is a welcome addition come wintertime too. Stay until late and you can kick back with a glass of BC’s finest wine as well.
2610 W 4th Ave
There are two outposts of this beloved local establishment and the Kitts cafe is the newest of them. There’s a good grab-and-go selection, but we recommend setting aside an hour or so for a long, lazy lunch. Sandwiches and wraps are a step up from your usual cafe fare, featuring creative combinations like confit tomato with burrata, basil, and arugula, or lemongrass chicken banh mi with pickled veggies, jalapenos, and black pepper jam. Speciality coffees are custom roasted locally by Caffe Umbria and served by passionate baristas, so coffee connoisseurs won’t be disappointed either.
1780 W 3rd Ave