The Best Breakfast in Banff – Where The Locals Go

Exploring the mountains is hungry work, so starting the day with a good meal is the best way to prepare yourself for the adventures ahead. Whether you’re looking for a breakfast buffet, a greasy fry up, a healthy smoothie bowl or something quick for the road, there are plenty of options in Banff. You just have to know where to look!

The following list is our best attempt at compiling all the decent breakfast options here in Banff National Park. Of course, most hotels offer some kind of breakfast, so we haven’t included absolutely everything, but for the most part, these are your best options!

Let’s start with our favourite type of breakfast, brunch!

(by the way, click here for our favourite restaurant recommendations in Banff)

Quick note: if any of the photos are incorrectly attributed, please contact me and I’ll make sure to correct them. This post is not sponsored and all of our recommendations are based on our own experience. We love food, eat everything and will try any restaurant at least once (good or bad), usually twice.

Best Brunch in Banff

Weekend brunch in Banff is a growing trend, but it still hasn’t taken off here in the way that, say, Australia, has embraced it. You’ll generally only find brunches on weekends or sundays, and more often than not, they tend to be brunch buffets rather than a la carte brunches.

But, if you are looking for a decent brunch option, there are a few great options to be aware of. I’ll mention them all here, but some are definitely better than others.

The Bison

The Bison brunch only operates on Sundays, and is probably the best food on this brunch list. Brunches are all a la carte, and include things like duck confit eggs benedict, Huevos Rancheros, steak and eggs, sausage skillets and more. They even have a couple of vegan options, such as the sweet potato hash skillet. There are also a few lunch options like bison poutine. And of course, there are plenty of options for drinks (including mimosas) if that’s the way you like to brunch!

We recently visited and I think the menu might have been a little streamlined due to COVID. There are currently no sweet options for Brunch, so that’s good to bear in mind if you’re after pancakes or waffles etc.

steak and eggs at the bison

The Bison Sunday brunch has been running since 2006, and generally has a live band performing throughout. Brunch runs from 9am to 2pm on Sundays, and has outdoor seating on the balcony as well as indoors,

  • Address: 211 Bear St # 213, Banff, AB T1L 1E4
  • Website: https://www.thebison.ca/
  • Phone no: (403) 7625550
  • Breakfast hours: Sundays 9am-2pm

The Primrose at the Rimrock

Note: Due to Covid, breakfast buffets are currently chef attended, meaning the chef spoons things onto your plate rather than helping yourself.

The Rimrock Hotel is notorious for its fine dining and excellent food. It has one of 3 of Canada’s only AAA 5 diamond restaurants (the Eden), as well as a mouthwatering pasta buffet on Wednesday evenings (currently suspended due to Covid) and a world class resident pastry chef (the wedding cakes are out of this world here). But you’re here for breakfast, so let’s talk about the breakfast buffet at the Primrose restaurant.

Image credit: The Rimrock Hotel, Banff

The buffet features a wide selection of hot and cold items, and there’s also an a la carte menu featuring things like pancakes, eggs benedict, scones and more. Make sure you make a reservation!

The Primrose Restaurant is a bit of a hidden gem, but would be a great place to start your day if you were planning to take the Banff Gondola or visit the Banff Upper Hot Springs. It’s within easy walking distance of both.

  • Address: The Rimrock Resort Hotel, 300 Mountain Avenue, Banff, Alberta, Canada T1L 1J2
  • Website: https://www.rimrockresort.com/PRIMROSE/
  • Phone no: 1 (403) 762-1865
  • Breakfast hours: Monday to Friday: 7:00 am to 11:00 am, Saturday & Sunday: 7:00 am to 11:30 am. Buffet runs Friday to Sunday.

Vermillion Room (no longer known as the Bow Valley Grill)

Formerly known as the Bow Valley Grill, the restaurant at the Fairmont Banff Springs hotel underwent a huge renovation a couple of years ago and rebranded as the Vermillion Room. We used visit the Bow Valley Grill all the time, but since the renovations, there’s significantly less variety in what’s on offer at the buffet and we’ve visited less.

Having said that, it is the Fairmont, and the food that they do produce is extremely high quality.

Image credit: Fairmont Banff Springs

In a normal year (not COVID), there’s generally (at the very least) a breakfast bar with things like eggs benedict, sausages, pancakes, etc., a lunch counter with roasted items, an omelette bar and a hefty dessert selection.

This year, there’s an a la carte brunch that includes items such as crispy chicken and waffles, Alberta B.L.T benedict and a hanger steak. You’re definitely not going to go home hungry, and there’s generally something for every taste. This is also another great place to fill up on mimosas!

Juniper Bistro

Juniper Bistro is another hidden gem with a reputation for one of the best brunches in Banff.

Located on the other side of the TransCanada highway, you can escape the crowds and have a brilliant breakfast out on the patio with views of Mount Rundle and Sulphur Mountain across the valley.

Photo credit: Juniper Bistro

Brunch is actually served here Thursday – Monday, and includes amazing dishes like stewed apple stuffed french toast, shakshuka, salmon eggs benny and Juniper eggs benny served on Bannock (an indigenous bread).

The food is delicious, and well worth the commute from town.

  • Address: 1 Juniper Way, Banff, AB T1L 1E1
  • Website: https://thejuniper.com/dine/
  • Phone no: (403) 763-6219
  • Brunch Hours: Thursday – Monday 8AM-2PM

Crave Mountain Grill

Crave Mountain Grill is the restaurant in the Banff Park Lodge Hotel. In a normal year, they have an excellent sunday brunch with a huge variety of breakfast and lunch buffet items, however the menu is now drastically reduced to an a la carte dining option.

You’ll find the usual crowd pleasers like eggs benedict (Banff is obsessed with eggs benedict), waffles, granola, pancakes etc. and some interesting additions like short rib poutine bowls, burgers and steak sandwiches.

I mention Crave Mountain Grill, not because it’s the absolute best breakfast in Banff, but simply because it’s one of the few decent brunch options.

Best A la Carte Breakfast Restaurant in Banff

Tooloulous

Style: Cajun + a bit of everything

Tooloulous is our all time favourite place for breakfast in Banff. We probably should have kept it to ourselves though because now the secret is out and the lines are usually out the door. It’s worth the wait though; a mixture of amazing traditional breakfast food like eggs bennie or peaches and pecan waffles, and cajun food like gumbo and grits.

Photo Credit: Tooloulous

My family obsesses over Tooloulous, and insists on visiting almost every day whenever they’re in town. The food is great, the service is top notch, and the shelves are packed with an astounding collection of hot sauces.

Seriously can’t recommend it enough… I mean, er, don’t go, it’s terrrrrible (kidding).

  • Address: 204 Caribou St, Banff, AB T1L 1A6
  • Website: http://www.tooloulous.com/
  • Phone no: (403) 762-2633
  • Breakfast:  7.30am until 2pm.

Seed N Salt

Style: Healthy / Vegetarian

Seed N Salt is the new kid on the block in Banff, and it fills a much needed hole in the market. As you might have already seen, almost every breakfast place so far has served some kind of variation on waffles, eggs benedict and pancakes, so this is a welcome break in the form of healthy food!

At Seed N Salt, you’ll find a ton of vegetarian and vegan breakfast options, smoothies, smoothie bowls, variations of oatmeal, salads and frittatas. Most dishes are meat free, but have an option to add bacon or eggs.

The coffee is actually pretty decent too, so it’s a good spot to check out if you’re looking for something decent quality.

salt n seed avocado toast
  • Address: 202 Caribou St Unit Box 70, Banff, AB T1L 1A2
  • Website: https://www.seednsalt.com/
  • Phone no: (403) 985-7258
  • Breakfast: Open – 11am

Coyotes Southwestern Grill

Style: Southwestern

Coyotes is right next door to Tooloulous, and while Tooloulous is famous for its cajun creole cuisine, Coyotes is popular for its southern style food. Here you’ll find breakfast burritos, fritattas, pancakes, a variety of french toasts, breakfast bagels and more.

In the evenings, you’ll find a variety of Mexican and Southwestern dishes, like tacos, chicken Mole and more. Well worth a visit!

  • Address: 206 Caribou St, Banff, AB T1L 1A2
  • Website: http://coyotesbanff.com/
  • Phone no: (403) 762-3963
  • Breakfast: 8:00 am to 11:30 am

MacLab Bistro

Style: Canadian

MacLab is a strange place, that’s far away from the hustle and bustle of the town, nestled away at the Banff Centre for Arts. It kind of has the vibe of a museum cafe, but the menu is actually surprisingly delicious, particularly their salads, burgers and flatbreads for lunch.

As with 99% of the other breakfast places in Banff, you’ll have no trouble finding eggs benedict at MacLab, but you’ll also find interesting dishes like ricotta pancakes and breakfast quesedillas.

Overall, Maclab is a great place to go if you just want a quiet breakfast with a view.

Currently the entire Banff Centre is closed due to Covid.

  • Address: 107 Tunnel Mountain Dr, Banff, AB T1L 1H5
  • Website: https://www.banffcentre.ca/
  • Phone no: (403) 762-6100
  • Breakfast: 7.30 am to 11 am

Melissa’s Missteak – May no longer exist

Melissa’s Missteak has always been an important part of Banff’s restaurant scene, and almost has a local cult following. We’ve been visiting for years and they’ve always had fantastic steak deals. This year, their future existence has become uncertain as we understand their lease may have been unceremoniously scooped by another local restaurant chain. Sad news.

If it does come back, you can look forward to traditional Canadian breakfasts with sausages, eggs, hash browns and all the trimmings. Watch this space for updates!

El Toro

Style: Canadian with a Spanish twist

El Toro has been a feature in Banff for over 40 years, and features Canadian cuisine with a spanish/latino twist. Breakfasts cost between 7 and 15 bucks and features a very egg heavy menu; eggs benedicts, omelettes, scrambles, breakfast burritos etc.

It’s wholesome food that’s worth checking out if Banff is busy and you’re looking for a breakfast spot in a pinch or you’re getting an early start. Call ahead and make reservations if possible.

Cougar Pete’s Restaurant

I’ve been going to Cougar Pete’s for many years, ever since I first lived in the HI Hostel almost a decade ago. It’s cheap and cheerful breakfast food that tastes great after a night out, or before you head up to the ski hill.

I always loved the breakfast burrito and hash browns, and even ordered it for my wedding entourage the morning before we got married. It’s nothing fancy, but it gets the job done, and it’s perfect if you’re staying at one of the many hotels up Tunnel Mountain but don’t want to drive all the way into town. (Also available for takeout)

Best Breakfast on-the-go (takeout) in Banff

Tim Hortons

OK, you can get Tim Hortons virtually anywhere in Canada, and Banff is no different. It’s nothing special, but it is a great way to get some quick breakfast on the move without having to sit down. The other great thing is that on a normal year, it opens at 5am, which is perfect if you’re up early to catch a sunrise but need a little coffee and snack to pick you up first.

Currently, due to covid and reduced demand, Tims opens at 6am (accurate as of August 2020).

  • Address: 100 Gopher St, Banff, AB T1L 1J3
  • Website: www.timhortons.ca
  • Phone no: (403) 762-2520
  • Breakfast: 6am onwards

Wild Flour Bakery

Not so much a breakfast eatery, but somewhere to grab a quick snack on the go.

Wild Flour bakery sells a variety of baked goods, cookies, cakes and sandwiches, that are great if you just want to grab something on the go. They also sell great coffee with virtually every milk substitute you can think of. We get our bread delivered from them every week, and their cranberry and walnut bread is unbelievably good.

If you don’t want to trek over to Bear St., they also have a mini coffee shop/bakery on Banff Ave, called the Little Wild: Coffee by Wild Flour.

Wild Flour Bakery Details:

  • Address: : 211 Bear St #101, Banff, AB T0L 0A0
  • Website: wildflourbakery.ca
  • Phone no: (403) 760-5074
  • Opening hours: 8am-4pm

Little Wild Bakery Details:

  • Address: : 119 Banff Ave, Banff, AB T1L 1E8
  • Website: littlewildcoffee.ca
  • Phone no: (403) 762-0329
  • Opening hours: 8am-6pm

JK Bakery

JK Bakery is another small, locally owned coffee shop that sells a good assortment of baked goods, cakes and pies to take on the go. Coming from England, I was pretty over the moon to find sausage rolls and pies for sale here, which are the perfect road trip snack. They also have pretty tasty cinnamon rolls occasionally, sandwiches and soups.

You can find JK Bakery on Bear St., inside the same building as the cinema. There are also two more branches in Canmore.

  • Address: : beside the movie theatre, 229 Bear St, Banff, AB T1W 1A9
  • Website: None
  • Phone no: (403) 760-0800
  • Opening hours: 8.30am-4pm

Stock – Fairmont Banff Springs

Stock is the cafe located in the lobby of the Fairmont Banff Springs. They do all sorts of delicious cakes and desserts, oatmeal, sandwiches and soups. They even do a delicious pizza. In the winter, we like to come here and grab a hot chocolate and play their oversized scrabble. It’s a little on the expensive side, but what else can you expect from the Fairmont!

Photo Credit: Chris Amat

The coffee at Stock is also pretty good, and their early opening times are awesome if you want to get a jump on the day!

Breakfast in Lake Louise

Lake Louise has far fewer breakfast options than the town of Banff, but there are still several decent choices. Here are our favourites in the area:

Trailhead Cafe

This is my all time favourite place to eat breakfast in Lake Louise Village. The grilled sandwiches here are unbelievable, and they’re the perfect breakfast, brunch or lunch option if you just want to grab something and go.

For breakfast, I absolutely love the avocado and toast (with extra bacon), but you really can’t go wrong. There are also plenty of cold cakes, samosas and savoury snacks to choose from if you don’t want to wait. The coffee is also pretty decent here, but I far prefer the espresso drinks over the drip coffee.

  • Address: : 101 Lake Louise Dr, Lake Louise, AB T0L 1E0
  • FB page: https://www.facebook.com/lakelouiseAB/
  • Phone no: (403) 522-2006
  • Opening hours: 9am-4pm

Laggan’s

Laggan’s is the other place to eat in Lake Louise Village. This is far more of a bakery than the trailhead cafe, and the selection of biscuits, cookies, pastries, Nanaimo Bars and cakes is much higher. They also have a decent selection of pies, sausage rolls, patties, pizza and other deli foods.

I generally prefer the Trailhead Cafe to Laggan’s, as I’m a sandwich guy and they’re a lot more interesting (the coffee is also better). But when I’m in the mood for something quick and tasty, Laggan’s is a better bet.

  • Address: : 101 Village Rd Building B, Lake Louise, AB T0L 1E0
  • Website: https://www.laggans.com/
  • Phone no: (403) 522-2017
  • Opening hours: 9am-4pm

Bill Peyto’s Cafe

Bill Peyto’s Cafe is the Lake Louise equivalent of Cougar Pete’s in Banff. Again, Bill Peyto’s Cafe is located in the Lake Louise Hostel.

The food at Bill Peyto’s is simple, cheap food that’ll fill you up in a hurry. There are extremely basic options like cereal or oatmeal, or slightly more interesting options like pancakes or breakfast scrambles. It isn’t fancy, but it’s a sneaky option if you don’t want to deal with the crowds in Lake Louise Village or the Fairmont.

The Chateau Deli

The Chateau Deli is one of the best options for a quick breakfast if you’re popping in to Lake Louise early in the morning. There are options ranging from oatmeal covered with a delicious fruit compote or stewed apples, bacon croissants, spaghetti bolognese or even chocolate eclairs. It’s a small deli but there are options for most tastes.

I like to grab some of their incredible banana bread if I’m just looking for a quick snack. The Deli is usually open pretty early, so it’s a great place to stop in if you’ve just been up to Moraine Lake for sunrise.

Finally, it is licensed, so you can even Irish that coffee or stick baileys in your hot chocolate on those cold winter mornings!

Again, in 2020, unless you’re a guest in the hotel, you may not have access to this.

Lake Louise Sightseeing Gondola

The food might be basic for this breakfast deal, but the experience on the Lake Louise Sightseeing Gondola is far superior to anything else on this list.

For $41.95 (for adults) or $21.95 (for kids), you get the gondola lift ticket as well as eggs, hash browns and sausages at the base. You might get to see bears after breakfast, so it’s the best one on this list if you ask me!

Lake Louise Whitehorn Bistro Views
Lake Louise Whitehorn Bistro Views

If you miss breakfast, head over for the lunch deal. It’s absolutely worth it and the entire experience will blow you away, much like it did for us when we visited recently!

  • Address: : 1 Whitehorn Rd, Lake Louise, AB T0L 1E0
  • Website: https://www.skilouise.com/explore-summer/sightseeing-gondola/
  • Phone no: (403) 522-3555
  • Opening hours: 9.30am to 5pm

Poppy Brasserie (not a great breakfast spot in 2020)

The Poppy Brasserie is arguably the Fairmont Lake Louise’s equivalent of the Vermillion Room in Banff. In a normal (not Covid) year, there’s an amazing buffet breakfast with plenty of variety, however this year the only option seems to be lunch between 12 and 6pm.

You’ll find the Poppy Brasserie in the basement of the Fairmont, right by the South entrance of the hotel.

Best breakfast on the ski hill (In Banff)

Sunshine Village

Chimney Corner

Chimney Corner is the best breakfast option at Sunshine Village, although if you’re looking to just fly through and get out on the slopes you might want to try the Alpine Grill instead. Chimney Corner is a sit down restaurant with full a la carte menu, but best of all, it opens at 7am, meaning you can be finished before the first chairlift!

Breakfasts here are all generally quite light, and you’ll have a few decent options like fruit parfait, oatmeal, eggs bennie (of course), pancakes and even steak and eggs.

Lake Louise Ski Resort

North Face Bistro

The North Face Bistro offers a full breakfast buffet in Winter and generally runs from 8-11am during the season. The buffet includes a pancake and waffle station, a cooked food station (beans, eggs, bacon etc), an egg and omelette station, and a cold continental station. Plenty of food to keep you going on the slopes!

Final thoughts

I’m a big breakfast person, so I get around Banff and try as many of these places as possible. This list is everywhere I can think of that does a decent breakfast, but some are definitely better than others.

If I was really pushed for a solid favourite, I’d have to say it’s Tooloulous, but that’s obviously my biased opinion. If this is your first time to Banff, never fear, there are some really good breakfast spots and you’re guaranteed to find something you like (especially if you like Eggs Benedict)!

Finally, if you’ve landed here accidentally and are actually looking for our favourite Banff restaurant recommendations, click the link!

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