Four days in Vancouver is not nearly enough to taste all that it has to offer, so it’s important to be strategic about all available meal times and optimize the schedule for maximum gastronomic excellence. It’s a fine balance between the tried-and-true, the “I really want to try [insert] food, so let’s go to this place”, and the “I read really good reviews about this place and it’s time to spice up our restaurant selection, so why not”. I’m not ashamed to say I agonized and pored over our restaurant selections more so than flights, hotel, or activities. It’s finding the optimum calibration of location versus type of food; will the lunch selection work with the breakfast, and we will be too full for dinner at this place that has x type of food? Do we have enough physical activities to burn off the million calories that we will inevitably consume at Restaurant A on Day 2? Oh, so much to think about.
Luckily, when it came to narrowing the roster of our tried-and-true places, Medina Cafe was an obvious choice. We both love Medina and it’s one of the few must-go’s when we’re in Vancouver, so it will always make the shortlist.
The last time we went to Medina, we were strategic about the timing so we wouldn’t have to wait for a table. It didn’t quite work out this time around, but we managed to get there by 9:30 a.m. The place was already packed, save for a couple of tables. Sweet! We snagged a table by the window (strategic, also, to have natural lighting for the food photos).
My usual morning drink of choice is an Americano, but I felt a bit fancy and chose the Lavender Latte. It was smooth and creamy with just a hint of lavender that didn’t veer into “this coffee tastes like soap” territory (thankfully). Mark tried some, but wasn’t a fan and found it strange. I think he just wasn’t fancy enough that morning.
Mark has the worst luck when it comes to trying new things, so he stuck with his tried-and-true, the Fricassee (2 Fried eggs, braised short ribs, roasted potatoes, caramelized onions, watercress, applewood cheddar, grilled focaccia). You really can’t go wrong when a breakfast skillet comes loaded with tender braised short rib, and this fit the bill for him.
Maybe it was the fancy feeling driving my decisions, but I felt like I needed to get out of my Cassoulet box and try something new. I chose the Paella (1 Baked egg, curried Orzo, Hungarian chorizo, zucchini, red pepper, roasted corn, Grano padano, watercress, avocado, and tomato salad). Obviously this wasn’t going to be a take on a traditional Spanish paella, but rather a breakfast version with a Medina twist. There were dollops of rich tomato sauce around the perimeter of the dish, which was a bit too strong on its own but perfect when mixed with the orzo and veggies. It was hearty, but not too heavy, and I didn’t feel like I was going to burst at the seams after finishing it. I think the Cassoulet is still my favourite, but it was nice to try something new.
As usual, a line-up had formed, despite it being a dreary, rain-drenched morning, so we wrapped it up quickly to face the day. Medina Cafe is still very delicious, delightful, and reliable.
556 Beatty Street
Vancouver, BC V6B 2L3
Phone: (604) 879-3114