As nice as a beautifully composed plate of food can be, sometimes it’s nice just to grab a plate and fill it up with whatever you want. By no means should buffets be an everyday sort of dining affair, but special occasions call for a little indulgence!
Once the Easter egg hunt is complete, here are nine places to go for an all-you-can-eat meal with anyone from that aunt who never stops pestering you to the little nephew you love so much.
AURA waterfront restaurant + patio (Victoria, BC)
Even if you’re not staying in this beautiful hotel on the waterfront, it’s still worth grabbing a table in its restaurant, Aura, to enjoy a good breakfast with a view. Fresh juices, eggs, and vegetable and meat platters are just a few of the things you’ll find ready to be eaten. Opt for a mimosa (or two) as well, since that is just simply the thing to drink when you’re this close to the ocean!
Craft Beer Market (Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver, BC)
With three locations in Western Canada, this beer-focused eatery can tend to get a little rowdy during the evenings, but their brunch hours are calm as can be and also family-friendly. On holidays like Easter, the gastropubs will put together a big buffet full of anything from prawns and charcuterie to an omelette station and as much chicken and waffles as your heart desires.
Fairmont Palliser (Calgary, AB)
This historic hotel (over 101 years old!) has been serving extravagant weekend brunches for decades. Here, it’s appropriate to put on a dress shirt and tie and make sure your group is looking extra polished for a morning bite. It may not be the most contemporary space in the city, but there’s something so regal feeling when you’re in one of the Palliser’s historic dining rooms that money just can’t buy. Luckily, money can buy you access to an array of eggs bennys, pastries and more.
The Hot House Restaurant & Bar (Toronto, ON)
There’s never really a good strategy when tackling a big brunch spread, aside from starting out with the savoury and ending with the sweet. If you lean more to the savoury side of things, you can fill up on barbecue chicken, Thai beef salad and baked lasagna — hey, buffet offerings don’t have to always make sense! — among other things. If your sweet tooth is tingling, satisfy it with fruit scones, cinnamon buns and pain au chocolats.
Oak Bay Beach Hotel (Victoria, BC)
This local Victoria landmark tucked along the shoreline of the Pacific Ocean is a charming spot for family brunch. Distract any kids in tow with a grilled cheese sandwiches and the cookie-decorating table (just watch for excess icing intake), while you spend time perusing the locally-made cured meats, West Coast mussels and clams, and the ham-carving station. It says the cookie decorating is “for kids”, but I say crash that party anyway.
Old Mill Toronto (Toronto, ON)
Oddly enough, the Fairmont Palliser is not the only 101-years-old establishment serving brunch on this list. The Old Mill ties for the eldest Sunday buffet in Toronto. Expect to bask yourself in succulent roasted pork tenderloin, bacon, sausage, delicious cheeses, pasta, salads…you name it, you’ll likely find it here.
Saskatoon Inn (Saskatoon, SK)
There aren’t many spots to go for brunch in Saskatoon generally, let alone a grandiose everything-is-on-the table sort of experience. So if you’re looking for a spot that can offer you anything from sliced fruit, muffins and salads all the way up to prime rib, this is your stop. If you don’t leave feeling full, then you haven’t done this buffet justice.
Yellow Door Bistro (Calgary, AB)
Holiday or not, the morning buffet at this restaurant inside Hotel Arts is always on the top of its game. You’ll find mini casserole dishes full of everything from mini pancakes to truffled grits with poached eggs or soft-scrambled eggs. Of course there’s muffins and sweets along the bar too, but don’t overlook the yogurt parfait. Made with compressed fruits and house-made granola, it’s leaps and bounds more delicious than any other yogurt and granola combination you’ll find elsewhere around town.
YEW seafood + bar (Vancouver, BC)
Normally this busy restaurant inside of the Four Seasons Vancouver is all about sustainable seafood and coursed meals, but on special occasions such as Easter, YEW will create an array of plate-filling offerings. A raw bar with freshly shucked oysters and chilled seafood, roast leg of lamb, tuna tacos, mac ‘n cheese and mini apple doughnuts (for the kids, of course!) are just a sampling of all of the tasty things you can sink your teeth into here.
Dan Clapson is a food writer and culinary instructor based out of Calgary. He is constantly creating new recipes and striving to expand his culinary horizons. He thinks yam fries are overrated.