I really love breakfast foods. Like, SO MUCH love them, I could eat breakfast items for all three meals of the day. I especially love a really awesome breakfast place, which is why Medina Cafe is – and will always remain – on our must-go list in Vancouver.
I found out about Medina Cafe the good old fashioned way – GOOGLE! On our last trip to Vancouver, we really wanted to find a good breakfast place as our plane landed in the morning. So I Googled “best breakfast in Vancouver” and Medina Cafe was one of the top hits. After a quick perusal of online reviews and the cafe’s official website, I was sold. I pretty much knew I had hit the jackpot when we got there and the wait for a table was at least 25 minutes (and the line-up never, ever ended) – this is an excellent sign. And at the end of it, the wait was definitely worth it. I might even be as bold to say that Medina Cafe does the best breakfast EVER.
Knowing all this worked to my advantage. I planned ahead. I checked their website to noted what time they opened on Saturdays. I told Mark that we had to get there before 9:00am in case there was a line up.
So we got up early on Saturday and headed out to Medina, which was a pretty short jaunt from our hotel. It was a really beautiful morning (although a bit chilly), sun shining and the streets still quiet. It was walking along Beatty Street that I happened upon the Street Art that’s featured in this post (photos 10-17). On a really random note, this was also the walk where we saw a coyote run down the middle of the street. Yes. A coyote. Randomly. Middle of the street. Just trucking along. The guy walking past nonchalantly nodded and said, “yup, that’s a coyote” and kept on his way. Mark and I were both a bit dumbfounded and I didn’t get a chance to take a picture. Definitely a missed opportunity. But I digress.
We ended up getting to the cafe much too early. It was too cold to wait at their door in the shade, so we ventured off up the street to the sunny spots and hung out for a few minutes.
We moseyed back to the door to wait out the last 10 minutes. And good thing we did because line-up was starting to form.
We ended up chatting with a lovely couple from Revelstoke on vacation for the long weekend in Vancouver. We mostly talked about all the great places to eat in Vancouver (I’m not the only one who plans Eatfests, lol) and then a gentleman from Ohio also joined into the conversation. By that time, it was at least 25 people in the line-up behind us.
The door opened and we were ushered in. We got ourselves a cosy table by the window, where I could watch all the action unfold. Within 5 minutes, all of the tables were full and the cafe was alive with chatter.
Medina is known for their Belgian waffles. Their waffle “batter” is actually a dough instead of a runny batter like I’m used to seeing. I watched the Waffle Guy make trays and trays of them, one after the other. It’s really hard to resist getting a waffle when they were pretty much right there for my viewing.
The space itself is really beautiful. Exposed brick walls, really warm, deep rich wood and sparsely decorated to keep it minimalist. It just has such a nice, relaxed vibe, even though the place is always packed and busy. It feels like a nice place to be.
I find that their breakfast menu is very unique. Most of the items come in a cast-iron skillet and the combinations are quite fascinating. But, to start off, Mark and I decided we both should get a waffle (actually I decided that we should each get one, hah). We get a choice of sauce to accompany the waffle.
Mark went with the Dark Chocolate and I was intrigued by the Salted Caramel.
Look at this. It’s a thing of beauty. Such a shame I had to eat it, drizzled with the homemade salted caramel sauce (which as DIVINE). I found the waffle to have a slight tartness which was nice (buttermilk, perhaps?) and I enjoyed the chewy texture. Yum!
Mark got the Fricassee (2 fried eggs, braised short ribs, roasted potatoes, caramelized onions, arugula, applewood cheddar, grilled foccacia), which was what he had last time. It works out best if he sticks to what he knows (sometimes he can have really bad luck with trying new things).
I stuck with what I had last time also, the Cassoulet (2 fried eggs on baked beans, saussison de Paris, double smoked bacon and andouille, grilled foccacia). I mean, really, all I have to read is double smoked bacon and I’m sold! It was just as delicious as I remembered it. The homemade baked beans are SO amazing – they’re in a very light, tomato-based sauce with just the right amount of acidity. All the cured meats are to die for – how you can go wrong with bacon and sausages, right? The perfectly cooked sunnyside-up eggs are perfect for dipping with the grilled foccacia. Mmmmmm.
By the end of the meal, we were both SO stuffed, right to the point of explosion. It might’ve been the waffles that did us in, but I can guarantee that they don’t skimp on portions. These skillets are generously sized.
We didn’t linger too long as there was a crowd outside waiting for tables. We finished off our excellent Americanos and headed out.
Definitely another great experience at Medina Cafe. The items are priced higher than usual breakfast fare (our total bill came to around the same amount that we’d pay for a decent dinner), but it’s basically a once-a-year treat for us so we don’t mind splurging. The quality and amount of food make it well worth it, plus the excellent service. I can’t wait until our next annual breakfast!
556 Beatty Street
Vancouver, BC V6B 2L3
Phone: (604) 879-3114