Cafe Medina is a unique breakfast, lunch and weekend-brunch destination that effortlessly blends eclectic bistro fare, connoisseur-savvy coffee and sweet nourishment via their signature Belgian waffles.
This could be one of my favourite places for breakfast. Is it expensive? Probably. But is it one of the best in town? Also, most likely true. There is usually a bit of a wait especially on weekends to get in but in my opinion its worth it.
Every time I come here, I feel compelled to get the Fricassé and usually do. There is something irresistible about short ribs for breakfast. Its served in a skillet and has 2 fried eggs, braised short ribs, roasted potatoes, caramelized onions, arugula, applewood cheddar with a side of grilled foccacia.
Again, at $16 its not the cheapest breakfast in the world but if you are looking for cheap, then there are tons of 3.99 breakfast specials to be had all over the city. Medina is about interesting, unique and tasty breakfasts and they do it well.
The service is usually very friendly and prompt even though they are always slammed. When there is a wait, they do a good job of giving you an eta of when you will be in.
Definitely recommended and I will return often.
I came here for lunch with my father, they are located very close to the skytrain which was convenient. Upon arriving there was a line up of about 10 people waiting to get in. We gave our names and had to wait between 5-10 minutes and we were seated. I ordered the $16 Fricasse
2 fried eggs, braised short ribs, roasted potatoes, balsamic onions, watercress and smoked applewood cheddar. Grilled Foccacia.
This was a good dish with lots of different flavors. I also had a lavender latte which was tasty. The food here is good, the place is kind of small and cramped, service seemed rushed at times.
No reservations here, so it's a wait. A potentially long wait. If you get in within 15 minutes, consider yourself lucky I guess.
It looks like a small place on the outside, but there is quite an expansive back room, so there is more space than you think. Which makes the wait even more unbearable after the fact. To top it off, the staff just don't seem to care. Another group who came much after us got a table ahead of us (same size) because the servers didn't pay attention to the list and they shoved themselves inside, after we were requested to wait outside.
The ambience is not bad, that's probably one of the high points, because the service wasn't that impressive either. We waited quite a while before we even got water, some more waiting before they came to get our order and even more waiting for the bill. In fact, they forgot our request and we had to flag down another waitress ... who also somehow got tied up so we actually had to go to the register to pay. Seriously?
Now let's get to the food. Kind of rustic style, breakfast or brunch, it seemed like almost everything was served and cooked in small cast iron skillets. (That's not always a good thing, for some dishes with lighter flavours, you can taste the iron, blech). If I made this at home, or it were much less expensive, I'd be a happy man. But it wasn't. We had the cassoulet and the paella. Much to my surprise, the paella wasn't made with rice (which was not advertised on the menu) but pasta, orzo I believe. It's not the same.
It's difficult for me to say, especially since we had good experience at Chambar before and because the food is actually quite good, and we did have a pleasant morning, but I wouldn't recommend a trip here. It's not worth the food or the wait or the mediocre service, not at the prices they have. I would say the only people who would be impressed with this place are if you happen to have too much time on your hands, have too much money in your wallet and you can't cook. These are good dishes, but I would qualify as "low skill", they are easy to make. We could, and we have, made very similar dishes at home ourselves at the same level of quality. I don't need to wait and pay relatively exhorbitant prices to enjoy this stuff.
We visited Cafe Medina on a busy Sunday but still managed to get seated right away. This quaint little spot is relaxed and serves up great food (which deserves 3.5 stars by the way).
I had the salmon fume which was very well done with a great balance of flavours (I was worried the smoked salmon would over power but it complimented the greens and tanginess of the artichoke very nicely. The egg was cooked to order and salad was very fresh. One thing that really stood out above the rest of the brunch spots was their organic juices - possibly the best grapefruit juice I've ever had.
Service and ambiance are so-so and what's expected of a cafe. Our order took a bit longer that expected, but the food was well worth the wait.
Will be back.
I came here today with my mom for brunch. We were seated immediately and we each ordered an Oeufs Cocottes and Les Boulettes. The Oefs Cocottes is actually whisked eggs with cream / milk roughly mixed with small slices of smoked black cod ( which is a little fishy) with potato bits and crumbled feta and baked. It's served with asparagus salad and foccacia bread. The baked eggs were pretty good, the egg mixture was smooth and the fish not being too fishy. My mom's Les Boulettes is actually 2 poached eggs with 4 moroccan meatballs ( a little dense texture and spicy) smothered with spicy tomato based herbed sauce and it also comes with yogurt and grilled focaccia on the side. This tasted pretty good also, a very different way to incorporate poached eggs into meals and it was successful, just a bit filling for my mom. Afterwards we ordered a plain waffle for take out so that we can enjoy later on for snack as our stomach couldn't contain anymore food. When we had the waffle 3 hours after, it was good, a little heavier than the waffle at "patisserie lebeau" on burrard st but very good. N, for all these good food and my mom's enjoyment the damage to wallet was $40 inc. tax & tips, which is not bad. I'll definitely come back again for more.
When we arrived there around 12:30, the place was almost full house and by the time we almost finish our meal today it was fully packed. I guess this place is like the only place where people can have eggs cooked in a non conventional way, not just omelettes, scrambled eggs, & bennys. My only complaint is that the tables are too close 2 each other and it was difficult to get in and out from the tables.
The value is pretty good, depending on what you get.
I had the raspberry caramel latte and it is SO worth it for $4.50!!
I also had the tagine, which was really good and full of flavour but a little pricey. It includes 2 poached eggs with vegetable stew, 2 sausages, and chickpeas. It's a really filling dish.
There are always A LOT of people in there and there's always a wait, which is the only downside. However, when you are seated, the wait for the food/drinks is not long!
We were delighted to see and taste a different spin on eggs for breakfast and brunch -- not just the regular egg dishes you see in most places. We tried the cassoulet and the omelet (cooked like a frittata), which were both flavourful and generous in portion size. My husband thought the omelet was too salty because of the salt seasoning in addition to the feta cheese in the dish (although he still enjoyed it). Also, my husband thought the Americano coffee was excellent (he had two), but wished that they had the usual drip coffee so that one could get refills at no charge; here he had to order two individual coffees and wait each time for them to arrive -- expensive and on the slow side service-wise for breakfast. The cassoulet had perfectly cooked eggs with soft runny yolks on top of beans, andouille sausage, and bacon. Dishes are served in cast iron ware which keeps the food extremely hot. We found the place quite cozy -- diners need to move the tables to get in and out of their seats although, again, perhaps too cozy as privacy is non-existent with the man next to us easily looking at my husband's wallet as he paid. The place gets noisy once the restaurant is filled making it difficult to catch a server's attention. Service is not a forte, and the servers looked like the patrons. There is hussle, but it doesn't translate into actual service, it seemed. Who were the employees, we wondered. We left around noon and the place was extremely busy with patrons waiting out the door: come early. We would go back, but expect these caveats.
Dropped in for some waffles, coffee, and juice. Lovely room, nice waffles BUT hirer some staff! The lone French server, waffle maker, and busser ran the room himself. Not cool. Waffles tasty but small for $3 per piece. The sauces are way too sweet. The server was friendly and efficient and made up for the waffles and dipping sauces. good coffee and not bad smoothies. Lack of service staff/management ruins the concept.
Why is it that Medina is always packed? Lunch, brunch, weekends, or weekend, they just keep coming. I blame it on the fact that this establishment really has no competition. Where else can I go to get hot chocolate that melts my worries away? Where else do I look to find Lavender Lattes, that calms better than yoga? How long will I need to search before I find waffles which the perfect blend of googey-ness and crispness?
Please please, anyone, if you know of any another cafe that does just this, please send their name this way.
As for everyone else - stop going, you don't want to get in between Medina and me!
poor service, long waits and honestly, do you want to wait an hour to get breakfast? ultimately dining must also be enjoyable and no food is worth the wait. the waiters don't give a damn about you and you are treated like cattle. so give it a pass. go to pastis / raincity grill / DB and at least get some value for money.
This place is nice if you can get there early so you don't have to wait. If you have time to wait in line for over 45 to 60 minutes for a brunch, then try this place. The food is decent but not outstanding as per the other reviews. Service is typical of a busy place with lineup - they don't give a crap if you wait or not. There's a long waiting list on a piece of paper and they don't bother to tell you and don't even seem to want to talk to you. I didn't see any smiles in there. The place is cramped. Pretty soon the hype will die down and there will be the next hot spot and people will move on.
I absolutely love this place! The atmosphere, the food, the feel are like nowhere else in the city. It reminds me of the places I used to go to in NYC. If you're looking for a place to hang out in for hours on end, this is not your spot, but if you're looking for great fresh food, great coffee and good service, Medina can't be beat. The Lavender Latte and Tagine are awesome. And don't even get me started on the waffles...
What is the big deal with this place that people talk about? The last thing you wanna do during brunch is to wait 40 something minutes to get in! I mean it's brunch.
The food was meh, the short ribs fricas dish was too salty and the waitress said they couldn't do anything because the salt was in it already???
No privacy, overpriced and cramped, we were always rushed by the owner, can't even flag down the waitress. Oh it's special alright...What other breakfast place you have to wait 20 mins for a coffee!!!
Overrated at best. Try Edge if you want a real healthy, cheap brunch
Used to be my favourite cafe downtown, but seems to have lost it's shiny appeal. The les boulettes (meatballs), seemed to not be as tender as when I first had it, though the flavours were still delicious. Even more disappointing was that waffle wasn't cooked through properly. I will wait awhile before I venture back to the cafe.
I have been told my a few friends and relatives how good this place was for their waffles. I found them okay but nothing over the top. My friends who I went with though seemed a bit chewy but still tasty- a bit expensive also.
The other brunch items seemed interesting and what we ordered was a good size and tasty.
The room seems narrow but then they have a back dining area that faces the skytrain area with lots of light, this was a nice surprise.
I love a good brunch and Medina, in my books, has one of the best in the city. Sucker for the location and room, though it can be busy and noisy, I have always found the 'vibe' to be good. Menu highlights include the waffles, fricasse, tagine, and cassoulet. Waffles are my favourite, although usually can't get more than one as they aren't cheap. Fricasse is a hearty mix of fried egg, flavourful short rib, arugula, fried potato and onion, and cheese -- pretty much the best breakfast ever. The tagine offered a nice twist on classic breakfast plate and the cassoulet has a meaty goodness not found in many brunch plates. Impressed that the grilled foccacia and fruit salads we get on the side are always top-notch and not an afterthought. Some of the servers I have seen working have been so-so (likely since they are slammed for seven hours straight), but the owner/manager is great and has always taken care of us. It can run on the high end of price scale if you go for the full experience, but it is well worth it. Coffee is up to the task but the food is the real star here.
I've come a long way from $3.99 breakfast to $10+. But it's assured this place offers a unique twist on my favourites. The omlettes (more like a frittata) was absolutely amazing. Definately a great way to start the day (especially when you got up on the wrong side of the bed). If people have time to meet friends for breakfast, this would be the ideal place to be.
great food - this place makes the tastiest tiny waffles with a great variety of topping choices (warm fruit compote, fig and orange marmelade, e.g.), though you do have to pay for the syrup as well. each breakfast entree option is made and served to you in its own warm skillet, and the fried focaccia was delicious.
that being said, our server (who i think may have been an asst. manager) was hands down the most pretentious server i've ever encountered, and i've worked in food service for many years as a dishwasher, bartender, server and cook. he glibly answered our simple and straightforward questions about the somewhat vague menu with impatience, and almost seemed to go out of his way to make us feel like we wouldn't have the first clue about how to engage with this echelon of dining, or that. when i inquired about making an option vegetarian, he said, "well, what you're asking for sir is simply an omelette. i could make you some eggs with cheese and veggies, but..." as if to imply that he was going to go back and make the food himself. when instead what he did was forget half our order. and when we inquired about the roasted potatoes that were forgotten, he tried to pass it off as the kitchen's fault without an apology. the potatoes did happen to be the most scrumptious potatoes we've ever eaten, but they would have been even tastier with the eggs we ate nearly 30 minutes earlier. one should also note that they come cooked in melted cheese, which happened to enhance the experience for us, but all it says on the menu is "roasted potatoes." so if you're vegan or don't like cheesy potatoes...heads up.
it also took nearly ten minutes for us to flag down our server to get the check ("you guys ready to roll?" he asked when we finally got his attention), and we watched more than two tables come and go in our nearly 2 hours there. and my last gripe is that the setup of the restaurant is also a bit too cozy, with your other diners eating mere inches from your own elbows...
so sad to give this review, but i bet if you don't get this server your experience will be much better!
This was by far the best breakfast I have ever had in Vancouver. The service was outstanding, the food was fresh with vibrant flavors, and they pull a mean espresso. I had the fricasse and my partner had an egg souffle thingy with smoked black cod. This is unlike any other place I have been to for breakfast and far exceeded my expectations. I will be a regular.
I just recently heard about Cafe Medina, and decided to give it a try for brunch this morning since I'm a long-time devoted fan of Chambar. It definitely did not disappoint in any way. Though the menu is short, everything on it sounded mouth-watering (especially if you're starving, as I was). I ordered the first item on the menu: baked eggs atop a filling of smoked black cod, lemon roasted potatoes and goat cheese. It was cooked perfectly, with the center slightly gooey with cheese, and the flavours were just right. It came with a small arugula and shaved fennel salad, and a slice of grilled foccacia. I'm usually not a fan of grilled bread, as I'm so used to chefs leaving it on the heat for too long, leaving it dry and scorched around the edges, but this was perfect - warm throughout but still nice and soft. Not only did everything taste great, but as a professional chef myself, I couldn't help but think that it was probably the most technically perfect breakfast I've ever been served. I was so impressed by the food and relaxing atmosphere, that I stayed to have a waffle with lavender milk chocolate sauce for dessert. I will definitely be going back many times!