We’re well-rounded eaters (lol a fat joke) which means we enjoy everything from fusion cuisine to froofy chef’s creations. It also means that we occasionally enjoy other unsophisticated indulgences, like food trucks, fast food, and diner food. Here then is Tania’s Restaurant, a classic diner offering breakfast all day, and burgers and sandwiches for lunch. As one of the only places in town open early on weekends, we find ourselves visiting from time to time (when not already at one of our favourite breakfast spots).
This visit was no different on YET ANOTHER cold and rainy weekend morning. Seriously, this Spring’s weather has been atrocious, but we digress. Tania’s is in the tiny strip mall on the corner of Norwell and Departure Bay Road. It’s easy to spot and there’s plenty of parking – though mostly for small cars.
Upon entering, we were greeted by a friendly server and invited to choose any seat. A window seat was available so we grabbed that, despite the gloom outside. Tania’s is the kind of place where there are multiple servers roaming about with coffee pots and it was only seconds before we had hot coffees in hand. With all the cream and sugar options already at the table, we were sipping joe only moments after arriving. Diners! They’re great!
Tania’s isn’t the prettiest diner though. Like many similar eateries, décor is pretty much an afterthought. Nice furnishings give way to high chairs and tables that can take the abuse of dozens of wipedowns daily. The washrooms look like they’ve seen some abuse over the years. And the art is uhhh… well, you can go see for yourself.
Nobody goes to a diner for the art though. It’s all about quick, greasy food, served in large quantities, alongside those bottomless coffees. Tania’s delivers. For our meal this time we each ordered the “mini” breakfast, with sausages for him and with bacon for her. We had plenty of toast options to choose from, so went with rye for him and sourdough for her. The “mini” there is really a misnomer as these breakfasts plates were just heaped with food. Two eggs, hashbrowns, toast, and meat. Whoa.
One thing we always check first is the eggs. Nanaimo is complacent in allowing too many short order cooks off the hook for not preparing eggs as ordered. Time and time again in this town, eggs come out over easy regardless of order. Not so here. Our eggs on this visit were cooked perfectly and were just oozy enough to get friendly with the hashbrowns, themselves well-cooked and seasoned.
The meats were nicely done too. The bacon was decent quality (not too fatty) and was cooked to halfway between limp and crispy. We like it that way. If you’re particular about your bacon (limp or crisp), make your preference know as we weren’t asked first. The sausages were hot and well cooked, with snappy casings and steamy insides. Overall, these were great meals. There are plenty of options for larger appetites on the menu too. We did find it a bit curious that her meal came with only two rashers of bacon, but his came with three great big sausages.
With inflation on the rise post-Covid, we’ve seen everybody raising prices and Tania’s is no exception. A few years ago, the breakfasts we just ate were in the $8-9 range, but are now $11.25. That’s a big price increase of at least 30%. Even so, Tania’s has gone from being excellent value, to merely great value. The two of us both ate our huge “mini” breakfasts, drank multiple coffees, and left a modest tip for just under a $40.
Tania’s in an easy recommendation for those looking for a basic diner breakfast. DON’T go expecting to be wowed by service or facilities. DON’T go expecting for find creative menu items. DO go if it’s early in the morning and you want your belly filled. DO go if you’re hungover and just need a pot of coffee and some toast in you. DO go if you just want some simple, hearty food at great prices. Don’t forget to let them know we sent you!