To taste all the delicious menu items you may just have to stay for breakfast, lunch, and weekend brunch.
Cafe Medina is a local staple, often with a lineup of regulars and tourists eager for weekend brunch in this quaint spot. A combination of quality food and an emphasis on hospitality helps to maintain the cafe's spot as a local favourite.
Open for breakfast, lunch, and weekend-brunch, the cafe was bustling with chatter and filled with tasty aromas as we stepped in at 2PM in the afternoon. Brunch is available seven days a week, a rarity in any city. Families with young children, friends catching up at the bar, a gentleman enjoying a light lunch, and a group of coworkers huddled near the coffee bar ordering coffee - evidently the cafe is loved by people of all ages and backgrounds.
While Cafe Medina is known for its crispy, indulgent waffles with various sauce toppings, its Mediterranean-inspired menu offers so much more to experience. Its menu has gone through minimal changes in the ten years since the cafe first opened its doors, proving that restaurants can be sustainable without constantly refreshing their menu. Despite the city's growing pain of being unable to hire servers and waitstaff, the Cafe Medina team has weathered these troubles, with a dedicated staff team where the 'newest' member has been there for at least two years.
Our menu for the day was filled with signature dishes, such as the La Santé, Harissa "Burger", Fricasseé, and Paella. The La Santé is great for sharing to start off a meal, with 1 Soft Boiled Egg, Marinated Tomato Salad, Olive Tapenade, Avocado, and Oyama Charcuterie with Grilled Ciabatta. As a midday pick-me-up, we ordered a Matcha Latte and Lavender Latte to accompany our forthcoming meal.
The Harissa "Burger" is delicious, nutritious and great if you are hungry. It comes with 2 Fried Eggs, Preserved Lemon & Harissa Spiced Beef in a Grilled Pita, Parmesan, Tomato Salsa, Spiced Hummus, Baba Ganoush with Seasonal Greens. It's a lovely medley of flavours including the tangy salsa, spiced hummus and savoury beef.
The Paella was my personal favourite, as its prepared using orzo instead of the traditional Bomba rice. The orzo soaks up the delicious sauce of the dish and is flatter and a bit more chewy than Bomba rice. We loved this hearty dish, with its fried egg, spicy chorizo, seasonal vegetables, Grana Padano, avocado & spicy charred tomato salsa. While I am usually not a fan of spicy and tangy dishes, this dish had me cleaning the bowl.
No meal would be complete here without their infamous Belgian waffles. So of course we had to have three and not just one. It came with a White Chocolate Pistachio Rosewater topping, and just the name would make one's mouth water.
As we sipped on our lattes and savoured the delicious waffles, our host shared a love story that happened right in the cafe, back at its original Crosstown location.
A girl had come into the cafe one day shortly after the opening of the cafe in 2008. She sat alone at a table for two, and Robbie Kane, the owner of the cafe, who had been called into work on a rainy Saturday, noticed her sitting alone. When the cafe got busier, the girl offered up her table to sit at the counter. Her name? None other than Medina.
Three years later the couple were married and a year after that they welcomed their son.
With a heartwarming story, a team tight like family, and a dining atmosphere with hearty food that makes you want to visit every morning, it's easy to see why Cafe Medina is a preferred spot for locals to start their day. Pay them a visit and it is likely a morning stop by Cafe Medina will become a part of your daily routine.
780 Richards Street, Vancouver, BC
Cafe Medina does not offer reservations, seats are first come first serve!
Photos: Florence Leung