Cafe Medina – Vancouver
Nick and I have been in Vancouver a little over three months now, and still our search for a local go-to cafe continues. While we’ve enjoyed quite a few meals thus far nothing has really stood out (thanks NYC and your wondrous array of cafes you have completely ruined it for every other city). That was until we visited Cafe Medina.
Known to locals as one of Vancouver’s top breakfast, lunch, and weekend brunch spots, Cafe Medina blends enticing bistro fare, exceptional coffee, and a seemingly endless supply of fresh, hot Belgian waffles.
True to its reputation, Cafe Medina serves up some of the most delicious food in the town. A tantalising menu offers a range of incredibly tasty meals: granola topped with fresh seasonal fruit, house-made waffles, fried eggs with smoked salmon, poached eggs with spicy Moroccan lamb meatballs, chorizo summer vegetable paella, and a whole lot more.
Naturally, a menu featuring so many appetising dishes makes deciding what to order extremely difficult. On my first visit, after a lot of umming and arring I eventually opted for the Fricasseè — a delicious dish comprising of two perfectly cooked fried eggs (sunny side up), braised short ribs, roasted potatoes, caramelised onions, applewood smoked cheddar, and a slice of grilled focaccia. Served in a hot skillet and simply bursting with flavour, the Fricasseè had me savouring every single bite.
If you’re after something sweet or want to round off your meal with dessert, be sure to order one (or a stack) of the cafe’s perfectly crisp Belgian waffles with your choice of topping. My pick is the gooey salted caramel sauce, which is not only utterly divine but also just one of Cafe Medina’s many scrumptious options. The list includes: dark chocolate, milk chocolate lavender, white chocolate pistachio rosewater, raspberry caramel, peach and bourbon butterscotch, yoghurt, and maple syrup.
I really feel like you can’t go wrong with the brunch choices at Cafe Medina. Everything is made in-house and the ingredients used are super fresh. The food is contemporary, creative, and sophisticated with mainly French dishes influenced by Middle Eastern, Spanish, Italian, Moroccan, and of course West Coast flavours.
As to be expected, with so many wonderful dishes Cafe Medina is constantly packed. Therefore if you’re planning to turn up after 9:30am, you should prepare for the inevitable wait. At the weekend the line up for a table is occasionally so long that people can hardly move along the footpath. Having said that though, the line does move steadily and the host sees to it that everybody is accommodated. Tip: make sure you put your name on the list and that you’re not just standing in the line.
It’s not just the food, however, that keeps diners coming back time and time again, but also the cafes warm ambience and charming character. While the cafe’s interior has a modern fit out (think timber tables, galvanised metal chairs, and industrial lighting), the space itself is casual and inviting, thanks to the cafe’s high ceilings, thoughtful decorative touches, and bar and table seating.
The coffee also might have something to do with the cafe’s popularity. Using coffee beans from Vancouver’s own 49th Parallel, Cafe Medina’s talented baristas work incredibly hard behind a very retro looking aqua coloured coffee machine, pumping out coffee after coffee. Whether you order a cappuccino or a lavender latte you can expect a beautifully presented and great tasting drink. As the sign above the entrance says “Life’s too short for bad coffee.”
When a cafe is running at capacity you fear the food may not be as good as it ought to be. But not here. The food, which is reasonably priced is always exceptional and arrives quickly considering how packed the cafe usually is. So if you’re ever in Vancouver, make sure you drop by as brunch at Cafe Medina should not be missed.
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