Roundel Café has been part of East Vancouver’s Hastings-Sunrise neighbourhood since 2006, establishing itself as a go-to spot for fantastic brunch.
Head there on weekend mornings and you’ll see what we mean: line-ups of people gathered to get in on Roundel’s chorizo hash, extensive eggs Benedict offerings, and Huevos Rancheros.
And while the café is most well-known for these breakfast items, many folks don’t know that it also offers a fantastic dinner menu too.
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Launched only a handful of months ago, El Roundel’s dinner service menu has been created by its head chef Miguel Hurtado, who says that the menu is, in a lot of ways, his dream menu.
The authentic Mexican dishes are prepared using ancestral techniques and are a reflection of the country’s diverse and vibrant flavours.
El Roundel’s plates are small and are intended to be shared with friends, and on a recent visit to the restaurant, that’s exactly what we did.
To start the meal, Hurtado brought us charred beets with a housemade ricotta and habañero purée – the first of many dishes where the hot pepper would play a starring role – which was earthy and fresh.
We were also able to try El Roundel’s two tostada options: one with cauliflower ceviche (great for vegetarians), and one with aguachile de atun. Both were fantastic, but the tuna stood out, especially for us; made with sashimi grade ahi tuna and served with a smokey habañero salsa (warning: use this sparingly!), the tostada was incredibly flavourful and fresh.
With several tacos on the menu, it can be hard to choose which to go for, but if we can sway you in any direction, it would be toward the cochinita pibil. Made with slow-cooked marinated pork, pickled onions, and cilantro, this taco is simple but continues to haunt our dreams – it was that good.
When asked which of Roundel’s dinner menu items were his favourite, Hurtado answered that there were many (the menu was originally much longer before he had to trim it down) but that he really enjoys the encacahuatado con nopoles – a pan-seared cauliflower “steak” with a rich peanut mole and grilled cactus served with blue corn tortillas.
As for its drink menu, El Roundel offers a lineup of cocktails like a classic margarita, paloma, michaleda, and more, as well as some specialty cocktails. We tried a Mistress Hibiscus (with mezcal and hibiscus syrup) and the Smoking Hot Piña, also made with mezcal in addition to a habañero pineapple purée.
Don’t skip dessert here either, as El Roundel makes an incredible chocolate habañero cake (we told you there’d be lots of habañero!) made with dark chocolate and an avocado buttercream, which is the perfect balance of sweet and spicy – our favourite way to end a meal.
In addition to having really killer Mexican dishes, El Roundel offers one of the warmest, most welcoming atmospheres in the city. By the time we were finishing our meal, the restaurant had filled with locals sharing tacos and sipping on bottles of Modelo Especial, folks who knew that this was the place to be on a rainy Friday night in Vancouver.
El Roundel Café’s dinner menu is available from Thursday to Saturday from 5 pm to 10 pm.
Address: 2465 East Hastings Street, Vancouver