Restaurant: Benny’s Cafe aka Benny’s Bagels Cafe
Cuisine: Breakfast/Brunch/Cafe/West Coast/Canadian
Last visited: December 27, 09
Area: Vancouver, BC (Kitsilano)
Address: 2505 West Broadway
Price range: $10 or less
1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: Tres Excellent!!
- Homemade bagels, specializes in bagels
- Steady traffic throughout the day
- Baked goods/coffee/brunch
- Focus on healthy
- Cheap eats – student food/pricing
- Self-service/pay at cashier
- Feels like it’s operated by students
- Nothing seems to be made day of except for bagels
- Very casual and laid back hangout
- Kitsilano feel
- Attracts students, artists, locals in area
- Free Wi-Fi
- Late night/open late
- Serves alcohol
- Vegetarian/Vegan options
- Eat in/Take-out
- Patio seating
Recommendation: Fruit & Brie Melt
I pretty much tried their top 3 favourites and most popular items so I think this will be a pretty fair review. However if I tried the top 3 and I still wasn’t that impressed I’m not sure how much I care to try the rest of the menu. It’s not the like the food was horrible, but I’m in no rush to go back.
It’s a good place for studying, quick low maintenance healthy and light meals, coffee breaks, or even late night go-to dining. It’s cheap and pretty much self-service. It’s just wouldn’t be a place for most foodies.
It’s really relaxed and laid back inside and you feel like you’re lounging around in a ski lodge lobby. You could probably go in wearing pajamas and fit right in. It has a fireplace and wooden furnishings, it all feels very Canadian and very Kitsilano. It definitely attracts the regular locals in the neighbourhood, lots of students (being so close to University of British Columbia), and local artists as well. It’s has a hippie/lumberjack/student feel. If you’re from Vancouver you know exactly what I mean.
Benny’s Café highlights healthy, West Coast and Canadian flavours and it’s been around for 20+ years. The bagels are homemade and fresh but the baked goods are all pre-made and in display cases. They’re made in house, but I highly doubt they’re made daily. Walking in for lunch I couldn’t smell any baked goods or hear any sizzling or cooking on stove tops, or see any ovens. In fact the cooking area was spic and span and the set up was more like a Subway. Most of the hot food was made with fresh ingredients and made-upon order but the cooking was done all in microwave. All I could hear and see was the use of a microwave, which was a huge turn off for me. It was all students working and making the orders too. I like to see at least one cook/chef at the place I’m eating.
On the table
Breakfast Bagel – 2.5/6
- Your choice of bagel, egg crepes, hot smoked back bacon, salsa, green pepper, scallion cream cheese, onions, and melted cheddar cheese on top $7.15
- Vegetarian with avocado or Pacific lox version $8.25
- This is one of their most popular items and it’s served during lunch too and maybe even at dinner. I ordered the Pacific lox (smoked salmon) version with the “Super Purist” bagel which is their ‘Everything’ bagel.
- Each bagel half had 2 slices of old smoked Wild BC salmon. They were pretty generous with the toppings.
- It really bothered me that they used “egg crepes” which are those pre-made square egg patties. They have no flavour. I thought they were going to be actual egg crepes like real eggs being cooked into thin crepes on a stove top. I was disappointed.
- Even though it’s made upon order, nothing they used was really fresh except for the bagel, green pepper and cheese. Everything was made in the microwave. It was literally like a Subway. They assembled the sandwich and popped it in the microwave to warm it up and melt t he cheese.
- It can’t say it tasted bad, but it was such student food.
- The salsa was very blah and almost like marinara sauce, and I don’t know if it’s made in house. Even if it was I doubt it was made that morning. It has tomatoes, onions, green peppers, cilantro and it’s a bit too pureed. It was tangy, but it didn’t have a fresh flavour. A fresh salsa would have been perfect because it was a pretty healthy breakfast bagel.
- A fresh salsa would have brought it up at least 1 point. Another +1 if they used a real egg.
- They gave too much salsa and it was a bit overpowering. The thin layer of scallion cream cheese was a great addition though. That made this bagel a bit different. It paired with the salsa and went great with the salmon giving the sandwich a slight overall creaminess. For the little a mount they used, the flavour sure jumped out.
- I think they forgot the onions, or I couldn’t taste them at all. There’s no bacon if you order it with salmon either.
Fruit & Brie Melt – 4/6
- Our classic since 1986. Cinnamon Apple Raisin bagel with melted brie cheese topped with hot berries. Yum. $6.95 (Description copied from menu)
- The server really recommended this and it was her favourite. Out of the 3 items I tried this was the best.
- It was sweet, salty, and a perfect way to end a meal…or start one if you like sweet stuff. It’s very simple and you could easily make it at home, but I still enjoyed it here.
- I loved the creaminess of the melted brie and then the plump jui cy sweetness of the blueberries. It was like a cheese and fruit ensemble, but on a bagel instead of crostini.
- Again everything was made in the microwave though…*sigh*…well they do toast the bagels in a toaster if that counts as “cooking”.
- It wasn’t that hearty, but it was filling because of the brie and the fact that you’re eating a whole bagel.
- It had 3 really thin slices of brie and I would have appreciated a little thicker.
- The hot berries were just frozen blueberries microwaved. I don’t even think they put any additional sugar to it. They have a natural sweetness and again everything is pretty healthy and light here.
- The dusting of icing sugar was the only sweet thing. well the bagel was a bit sweet, but I couldn’t taste any raisins or really any apples for that matter. I could taste the slight hint of cinnamon though.
- I think they could easily up this recipe by using a drizzle of honey and some toasted almonds over icing sugar. I’d pay .50 extra for that.
Sweet Bee – 3/6
- Look for coconut and honey inside. When you find it you’ll love them! $2.25 or $8.95 for 6. (Description copied from menu)
- This is one of their popular items and it’s one of the few baked goods offered that’s actually included on the official menu.
- I was really excited for it because I love coconut. However I was disappointed to see it sitting in a basket of pre-baked goods. It didn’t look very fresh, but I still had to try it.
- The coconut and honey filling is EXACTLY like those Chinese coconut buns you get at Chinese bakeries. It looks totally different so I couldn’t tell. They’re usually called cocktail buns at Chinese bakeries. Now if you’ve had a good cocktail bun (the ones at Maxim’s Bakery are even great) then this one at Benny’s doesn’t even compare. It felt like it was a knock off or the “white” version of a Chinese coconut cocktail bun.
- The filling is identical to the Chinese version so that part is fine. It’s not too sweet and it’s made with coconut, sugar and butter. It’s almost like a paste and you can taste the dried shredded coconut throughout. It’s not too sweet and has a great texture. It’s really really good. I couldn’t taste the honey though.