Nelson the Seagull is one of the best things to happen to Vancouver since I moved here.
Every place should aspire to do what Nelson the Seagull does. Namely:
1) serve amazing food, prepared fresh, sourced locally when possible, and all with a laser focus on quality.
2) prepare perfectly-made espressos (and I mean perfectly) sourced from local, responsible roasters (Agro).
3) be the place that I want to hang out in all day and never want to leave.
It’s the place in Gastown for espresso, breakfast, and lunch. With the food being prepared right before your eyes, Nelson the Seagull is doing what every restaurant and cafe should be doing: putting themselves out there for public scrutiny, holding themselves accountable to their patrons, and not feeling the need to hide themselves behind walls and kitchens and cutting corners like so many cafes and restaurants are apt to do nowadays. And in doing so they provide a live show into their food preparation and organization. This is not just the place to spend time in Gastown, it’s the place to spend time in Vancouver.
The space is outstanding. I could spend hours here. It’s wide open, relaxing, and almost therapeutic. No loud music. No trendy outlandishness. Nelson the Seagull does a great job of using the space by not using it. Its minimalist mindset is not only showcased in its decor but in its food and its simplicity is tasteful and feels lovely to linger in. The furniture, the flowers on the tables, the couches - all are in complete harmony with the space they occupy.
I had a macchiato and then had to have a second one. It was one of the best I’ve had in the city. Better than any I’ve had at Agro (from whom the beans are sourced ironically). The roast the barista (and part owner) served me was a single-origin Ethiopian roast and was responsibly-sourced as all Agro beans are.
I had a lovely lunch there today. The poached eggs on ciabatta with a fresh salad of roasted tomatoes and fresh mushrooms was excellent and the chocolate banana tart I had for dessert was perfectly filling. No excessive portions or excessive use of rich ingredients. You leave Nelson the Seagull perfectly satisfied and refreshed - the feeling you should have when you leave any cafe or restaurant.