Ovaltine Cafe

251 E Hastings St, Vancouver
(604) 685-7021

Recent Reviews

Kevin S

I have worked near enough to this restaurant for over 10 years. I finally went there this week. It met all my expectations. It reminded me of how a place to eat should be. I plan to become a regular and bring in as many people I know as possible.

Darcey Lewis

They serve breakfast all day and I love a good hot breakfast. Price is right too.

Brennan Fitzgerald

Ovaltine has a long, incredible history, and was recently names one of the top cafes in the world noted for its distinctly Edward Hopper charm. Food is great and affordable.

Kali Madeline

This Is one of my new favorite restaurants. The food is great and affordable. The staff is friendly and it's got a funky old-school diner vibe.

Bern Clark

Very quiet, nice n relaxing. Fast service

kyle reakes

great food even better service

Mr J

Excellent Breakfast...Great atmosphere

Harold Miller

Food is col prices are good must go eat there place is FAMOUS for doing movies there check it out cool place

Geoffrey Reid

It was fast. We were greeted by a fresh beautiful face. She was flawless in her knowledge of the menu. She made frequent stops to see how we were doing. And communicated quite effectively with guests that were just arriving, already seated guests, and guests she was waiting on in the moment. Coffee was topped up until we declined. The food came out promptly. Exactly how we ordered. It was fresh and always delicious.

Jeremy Allan

As authentic as you can get. Cheap good eats in a relaxed environment. Frequented by customer s of all income levels and housing arrangements.

Louisa Chan

Waitress is friendly. We ordered fish and chips and Benedict egg. Both Fish and benedick egg are tasty. There is not busy even in Saturday noontime. I think location is the crucial impact.

Khalil Ramírez

Great experience, great food, great service, first time in this place and I had a great food

Coquitlam 40

Went for a burger the patty was tasteless, the poutine had very little cheese but the fries where good. It was very dirty. Loved the nostalgia but don't think I'll be going back.

rob heeb

A very nice place for lunch or breakfast. It still sports the old neon signs from its hey days of the 50's, 60's, and 70's. Many movies and TV shows are shot here and it is possible to sometimes see famous actors there. Food is good, people are great and the prices are reasonable.

Naomi Wilson

loved the service amazing food. excellent feel to the place

andrew mellish

Best greesy spoon dates...

Faby Martinez

Some menu pictures here show they have a lot of Gluten Free options, but they changed it. They were able to change up the menu a bit for me to make it suitable though. It was all in all a good experience :)

L. E.

Very disappointed. The server was stressed she appeared to have about eight tables which is standard for a lunch service. I suspect there were other operational issues at play that were contributing to her stress. She was trying to keep up but she was clearly fed up and had a short fuse. When my food arrived it was cold the server apologised and told me that the cook was overwhelmed (not what you want to hear) She later returned with a hotter plate but I after a few bites I had to stop. The cooking oil for the fries was old making the food inedible. When we were ready to leave we waited for an unusually long time for our bill. Again I could see our server was struggling. The Ovaltine Cafe has some charm but the lack of cleanliness outweighs to charm. While my friend waited for the bill I went to the restroom. The restroom was the dirtiest restaurant restroom I have ever seen in Vancouver definitely a health concern. Just because it is located in a neglected area does not mean diners deserve a lower level of service and a lower level of cleanliness. I do hope they can elevate their food service and cleaniless so all diners can have a some dignity during their restaurant experience. I know it's a challenge to keep the safety and health concerns on east hastings in check when they flow into the restaurant however a basic level of care is possible. Unfortunately The Ovaltine Cafe is missing the mark on multiple levels. I will not return.

Earl Jenkins

Food is decent. Service is decent. Prices are good. Interior is old, but VERY authentic. I had the Clubhouse, and it was made with big pieces of real turkey, so that's a good sign. Fries look like they are hand-chipped, although they come unseasoned, so a little salt and pepper makes them much tastier.

A. L.

Because of the sketchy neighbourhood it's located in, I finally found the courage to go here with a friend (if I was with another friend, we would've walked back out...haha). My friend laughed over my nervousness & squeamishness - hey, who can fault someone over cleanliness & friendliness (that's a lot of ness...haha again). This is definitely a diner joint with 4-seater booths on one side of the restaurant with a divider blocking the view where a long counter is in the middle & counter seating all along the other side. Cheap eats here. Ordered the BBQ burger (lettuce, tomato, cheese, jalapenos & a "haystack" of onions) with a choice of fries, salad or soup but since we didn't ask for soup or salad, it came with fries; & coffee. My friend ordered the same burger & a strawberry milkshake. Service was pretty good, the server checked on us often enough. Burger tasted pretty good & the coffee was ok, but I look at the table for sugar & there's a juice bottle that contained the sugar...yuck. All in all, it was the experience & now I can say I've been here but probably won't return.

Gordon Ross

Nice place to eat. Friendly staff, good food.

Varun B.

A historic gem in Vancouver's DTES. Friendly service, tasty food, reasonable prices, and a huge gust of nostalgia.

Brent Turcotte

Comfortable little hole in the wall. Amazing proportion of food price is extremely affordable and it has some wonderful history!

Mister E.

I am a fourth generation customer. In all the years of patronage, I am never going to be back. Today I sat with my son in the restaurant. We were two of maybe six customers. The chubby young hipster dressed in black who served us was an arrogant jerk. We waited 40 minutes and still no food. Not once did he offer a coffee refill. I finally asked when will our order be ready? He said "when it's done" I said "how much longer? Five minutes, ten minutes, half an hour?" He said "yep" and walked away. I will never go back. Too bad such a great place is ruined by stupid fat jerks like my waiter today

Morgan H.

I have been coming here since I was a child. Literally nothing has changed, except the food has improved and the staff have changed. Cheap 6.99 breakfast, always consistently great good. They have a decent menu with a bunch of options depending on what you like. They are always very welcoming and polite. It's a very relaxed environment, an old diner style restaurant.

Lorry Ballantyne

Old style famous restaurant with a small menu. Delicious food

Paul M.

Sublime 1942 long-running neon-windowed, diner cafe in the heart of the DTES. Reinvigorated recently but not ruined. Mahogany panelled cozy booths, and long, low counter bar. All-day breakfast is $6. Lovely server enthusiastically swapped out the carbs for some avocado. A delightful steal.

Antonio S.

It was the morning before Christmas and all was right, as we drove to Hastings near Main the Ovaltine Cafe was soon in sight. The big sign, neon red, beautiful and historic, inviting, "comfort" is what it said. We entered, early it was, before most awake and at the back we found a booth to take. All around is history to be found, the Ovaltine is from the 1940's and the past abounds. Like a time machine. It is awesome. So much time it has seen, like an oak tree four foot around had been. We ordered eggs Benedict and the house breakfast, good, hearty and flavourful. The prices so low as to be in another time. Service with a smile, the atmosphere inviting us to sit for a while. Dave, a patron came over and sat and said hello. Told us his story, full of interesting times. We talked about life in nonsensical rhymes. Nothing is as it seems, that's the lesson to learn. Open till three, so if the chicken we want, lunch it we'll be. And so it is, we will come again for breakfast or lunch, soon, and have the burger, the chicken or the soup, all of which delight. Time stood still for me and a friend in this place, a great morning escape from the human race.

Gord McCaw

Very reasonably priced, decent chow in one of the very few old school diners to be found in Vancouver. I have had a long association with the Ovaltine, having first eaten there back in about 1980. Not to mention that it still has what is likely the coolest neon sign in the city...

McKay W.

Good cheap eats exactly what we expected. Came for breakfast with the kids and they loved it. Cool experience.

P G.

People won't go here because it is in the worst neighbourhood in Vancouver but that doesn't phase me! The people won't bother you if you mind your business. I guess it helps that I have a resting bitch face and a 6'4" boyfrand. Anyways, the food is your typical diner fare, greasy but delicious and what you crave for your hungover, sleepy, half delirious selves. It is cheap, they have amazing coffee which is fresh and an array of items that will satisfy your vegan friend to your carnivore self. This place is my definition of a real, old school diner. *If you're walking from downtown I suggest you walk on E. Pender and take a left onto Main rather than walk along E. Hastings. The neighbourhood friendlies change from drug addled to the cute Chinatown seniors this way.

David M

Fine meals, especially the breakfast with it being so close to my hotel. Would recommend the cheese omelette & Corn Beef Hash.

Ken L.

My friend hadn't been there since maybe 1963. Really! This was my first time. He quite enjoyed himself for his own personal nostalgia. For me, I could see what it was like back in the day. The decor has not changed either. This place is as you'd expect, a greasy diner with history from the 1940's. The menu has a good selection with very reasonable prices. This place serves the people in the neighborhood and workers in the area. It's OK. Check it out!

Silver Rae Stevens

The service is fast, the food is good, but the environment is below Parr. The place needs restoration and it would be ace! On the flip side, I understand it's also a favorite location to shoot any film in production so no upgrades will be made to this landmark! So far my fave scene is that in Dreamcatcher! Second is iRobot...

Judy L

I enjoyed experiencing the nostalgic setting of The Ovaltine, but I was disappointed with their menu and the service wasn't that great. The server forgot to tell us that several items on the menu were no longer available ... not much choice for picky eaters.

Teition S.

Ovaltine Cafe is a solid diner. They have the entire selection of foods you'd expect, the aesthetic you'd expect, plus a very clean establishment and happy staff eager to make your meal enjoyable. I ordered the classic breakfast which did not disappoint. The potatoes were fried expertly, the eggs were a perfect sunny side up, sausages were as greasy as I'd hoped, and toast was buttered. All in great proportions for a filling experience. The only thing that bothered me was the coffee. It was regular coffee, nothing to return for, which they not only charged $2.50 for the small cup (cup, not mug), but they charged an extra $1.00 for refill. I can walk a block away and get a much better bean, more coffee, for less money. As a passionate coffee person, this is big. Also, it's hard to not be a bit bothered by drug-related debris along the sidewalk out front of Ovaltine, but rest assured, it's quiet, clean, and enjoyable inside. Oh! And their music selection couldn't have been better!

Steve W.

If heaven and hell are diners, then the Ovaltine exists in both places. Filled with the hungry, the drug-addled, the hung over, the hipsters yearning to appear real. The food is greasy but honest and cheap. Service is terrible, but when it comes, it comes with the smile of an angel. The ambience is sticky linoleum, bare tables and smudged wall mirrors that give you surreptitious views of women with two-pack-a-day voices swapping tales of loser boyfriends and drunken men moaning in vain for a menu. It's perfect.

John B.

Finally! Went in the other day, for the first time. It wasn't the last Wednesday of the month, so I went for it.....yes I heeded the warnings. Like walking back in time. Thank God (yes GOD you loser Libertards) the place is still in business. I played it safe, by ordering the grilled cheese and substituting cheddar ..for another dollar. Brought it to around $5.99 I think. Much cheaper than those other joints that go charging $6.00, right? I really hate that desperate 99 cent shite....I should knock off a star just for that alone. Anyways, the prices have no doubt gone up, with the new owners. But still good prices as far as I'd noticed. Just as long as the menu is improved also(?). I asked for gravy with the fries, and was a decent sized ramakin........99 cents. Walked around a bit while waiting for the food. I had a booth, but naturally had to sit down at one of the stools for a bit and take it all in. Cool. Stainless steel everywhere behind the counter. Dark stained wood, coat hooks and grey bevelled glass mirrors everywhere outside the counter. Most with cracks. A red neon-encircled clock on the back wall. This place was very old and even beautiful to look at, however it did seem a bit bare. OK, food came. It was actually good! Enough gravy to dip my sandwich in, too. Or into. Can't decide which. I also had dessert. They only had apple or blueberry pie, WOW ice cream (my lame attempt at an abbreviation for "with or without"). I had the apple......also good. I politely asked that slightly chubby asian waitress (probably the one that gets yelled at a lot) for a glass and spoon. She actually didn't give me a rude-assed stare *GASP!*. And yes, there was enough ice cream, so.....I made a Float out of my can of coke. This all had me somewhat impressed by the way. Then I left. A little too quick, so turned around and went back in for a moment. It was fun zinging a $2 tip 15 feet across the side counter to that lady, and seeing her catch it. Although I can't help but wonder if I actually was hoping for a bit more adventure. I'll be back. On a Wednesday.

Nelson C.

It's NOT hard to imagine that this place existed since 1942....NINETEEN FORTY TWO!!!! I mean, you walk in and the wood paneling on the booths, the tiny mirrors with the tiny glasses and old dishes...it's not retro. It's ORIGINAL! Seriously! Just go here and look at the old dishes and you can tell it's something that your grandma (especially if they were Chinese) probably had! And the glasses. They are TINY! Compared to today's glasses of whatever, the glasses that they have are really probably 8oz. No one serves a glass of milk or pop in those sizes anymore. Wow, it makes you realize why North America is so obese compared to the 1950's. The serving sizes were literally smaller back in those days! But I had to come here. To at least try it and because I remember seeing Will Smith in I Robot sitting here along with Agent Maulder from X-Files. I remember being a little kid with my mom waiting for the bus across the street noticing the neon sign of the Ovaltine. And yet, all these years, I've never come to eat her. Maybe it was because of the way Main and Hastings has become, or that I thought it was dirty. But not today. I had to get this off the bucket list and since I was in the neighborhood I came in for their breakfast special. $5. I had two slices of toast, sausage, potatoes and eggs. My friend had the bacon. Tip: Order the sausage. The bacon...didn't taste right. Maybe it was too fatty or something, but my friend couldn't finish it and neither could I. But the sausage was OK. The eggs, nothing special, nor was the toast. To be honest, the breakfast special was only passable and barely at that. But to be able to sit at the Ovaltine, and enjoy a meal with a friend here and just inhaling 74 years of history was something in itself. I'm sure this place needs a reno, but that would take away the charm. (But something in the ceiling needs to be fixed based on the stains in the ceiling that's for sure.) But just imagine, your grandfather was probably just a little kid when this place opened. And it still exists! I wouldn't come for the food. To be honest, the food just needs to be cooked better for me to come back as a regular. (All this place needs is a better cook, and it would attract more hipster..s...I mean...customers.) But to experience what it would be like to be in an ORIGINAL diner from the 1940's and 1950's is worth the $5 admission.

gaby g.

This is definitely in a seedy part of town. Site of Mulder's pie-eating scene in the X-Files episode 'Jose Chung's From Outer Space'!