T: 604 879 3114
Brief Description: Located in that odd area of town, locally known as Crosstown, Medina Café appeals to the masses with their unique breakfast and lunch offerings. Leave your thoughts of a traditional fry-up at the door.
Medina Café joins Chambar and The Dirty Apron to complete one of Vancouver’s most well-known foodie trifectas. Nico and Karri Schuermans cannot seem to put a foot wrong with their endeavors and Medina Café is no exception. With rave reviews and constant line-ups, it has certainly become a local favourite.
Considering the somewhat gritty location of Medina, the décor comes as an unexpected surprise. Stylishly designed with a slight industrial feel, Medina offers a raw elegance. Brick walls, wooden floors, exposed light bulb fixtures, and teal art features create a funky atmosphere. The front room is quite small, with limited seating and tightly packed tables, but there is another room in the back for when things become too crowded. Service is generally efficient but, due to the constant turn-over, be prepared for less than perfect service.
I have to let you in on a little secret; I honestly don’t know how to define the food at Medina Café except to say that it is good. Moroccan, French, and even Belgian influences are all evident but the jury still remains out (and slightly confused). Prices for breakfast are between $12 and $16 and for lunch it is slightly higher at around $14 to $16.
As I said, when you go to Medina check your expectations of what constitutes breakfast at the door. You won’t find pancakes, bagels, or bennies on the menu here. Instead you can select from hearty, exotic dishes such as Tagine (two poached eggs, spicy tomato stew, merguez sausage, sundried black olives and cilantro), the Cassoulet (two fried eggs on baked beans, saussion de Paris, double smoked bacon, and andouille sausage) or the Saumon Fumé (open faced ciabatta sandwich with fried egg, smoked salmon caper cream cheese, avocado, arugula, pepperdew and artichoke salad).
If a sweet breakfast is more your style then look no further than the warm waffles. They are so popular that they almost have a cult following! Try some of their interesting toppings like milk chocolate lavender or raspberry caramel. Aside from the waffles, The Fricassé (two fried eggs, braised short ribs, roasted potatoes, caramelized onions, arugula, applewood cheddar and grilled focaccia) also seems to be a Medina must-have.
At noon, the menu changes over to their lunch menu. In addition to the few items from the breakfast menu that carry over, the lunch menu is beefed up by unique salads, some interesting wraps, and daily curry, pasta, and soup offerings. Medina also offers interesting specialty coffees such as raspberry lattes or white chocolate pistachio mochas and, for those that prefer alcohol, they are licensed.
Although I do enjoy Medina for lunch, I have to be honest and say that the breakfasts can be a little heavy for early in the morning and most of the dishes rely quite heavily on meat. Some of the dishes can be made vegetarian but you do need to ask for options.
Medina Café is open during the week from 8am to 4pm, with breakfast being served until noon. The menu then switches over to lunch. On the weekends they are open from 9am to 4pm, with brunch being served all day. Note: they do not take reservations on the weekend so do expect to line up – Medina is extremely popular.
Final Thoughts: Medina Café is a good alternative for those looking for something different to the usual breakfast choices. The quality of the food is high, the ingredients are unique, and the flavours are extremely interesting. Certainly the best place for breakfast in that part of town.