Cafe Medina on Beatty Street, Vancouver

Updated: 20th Nov 2014; Cafe Medina had moved to Richards St., Vancouver.

Life is good — especially not having to work on Fridays.

So, after the boys went to school, Suanne and I went to have a real nice breakfast. I just love those unhurried mornings. It is unhurried because it felt like a bonus day off and I had nothing specifically I need to do.

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The Medina Cafe is located just next door to the Belgian restaurant, Chambar (our previous reviews here and here). The address is 556 Beatty Street and is just outside from the Stadium Skytrain Station.

Look at the stacks of food by the window (above). That is what Medina Cafe is known for … Belgian Waffles.

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Suanne and I went to the Medina Cafe. We had been wanting to go there for a long time but could not because … well … it is not exactly a conducive place for a family breakfast. I don’t know, I felt it has a Parisian Cafe feel to it.

The Medina Cafe is super busy. They will only take reservations for parties of six or more. So if you are in a smaller party of six, you could be in for a wait during mid mornings on weekends. I have heard that waits could be up to 1 hr.

We did not have to wait. We were early. Moreover, it was on a Friday. But we got a really crappy table. It was the only one clean and it was by the door. So, each time someone walks through the door, the freezing draft hit us directly. We had our coat on the whole time.

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Suanne had coffee — the largest 16oz Latte which is $3.60. The latte was … well just latte. I had always wanted to learn how to do that fern thingy.

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I tried to be fancy right?  So without knowing what it really is, I ordered the Moroccan Mimosa.

The menu said that it is “Fresh OJ infused with cinnamon and fig”. No mention of alcohol.

Mimosa as I learned later is a mix of orange juice and champagne. Not nice. I did not like it. I just felt that liquor and orange juice is not a good mix. But I finished it nevertheless. The reason is simply because this is $8.

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The Medina Cafe serves breakfast and lunch only. Breakfasts starts at 9AM to Noon while lunch is from Noon to 3PM (4PM on weekends).

The menu is not very big. Two columns … one for breakfast and one for lunch. That’s it. But each item is interesting and so it was hard to choose.

Service wise, not good. They are busy and you need to flag them down if you wanted anything extra. But when you got their attention, its OK.

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As simple and humble the Belgian Waffle is, this is the hero of our breakfast. This is what we were here for. It is $3.15 for the waffle and an extra $1 for the fig orange marmalade.

But the waffle is so … small! It was good but small.

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I really got to hand it to them. They simply make the best waffles in town. The thing is, you should go to the Medina Cafe early to get it when it is just freshly made. Early as in 9AM.

Other than the fig orange marmalade, the other toppings available are Dark chocolate, Milk chocolate Lavender, White Chocolate Pistachio Rosewater, Raspberry Caramel, and Mixed Berry Compote.

Makes your mouth water doesn’t it?

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The Medina Cafes is known for their pretty and hot breakfasts served on cast iron pans. Their platting is really good especially when you contrast them with the pile of food you normally see in chain breakfast places.

Not knowing what to order, we thought that if we went with the most expensive item, it should be good. That item is called the Fricasse and costs $15.

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It is described as 2 fried eggs, braised short ribs, roasted potatoes, caramelized onions, arugula, applewood cheddar. Grilled foccacia on the menu.

The eggs are beautiful and delightful.

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The thick grilled Foccacia was equally interesting. Can anyone tell me what is the main difference between a Foccacia and a normal bread? They seems the same to me.

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This is a rarity … Suanne eating eggs. She hates eggs, especially egg yolk. I think she likes the foccacia.

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While the rest of the stuff in the pan was OK but I felt what spoils this was the beef and the sauces. It was too salty. It was so salty that I thought it was kind of weird, like they made a mistake or something.

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The bill came to $33 before tips. Although I can’t categorize Medina as expensive, I have to say it is not cheap.

Café Medina on Urbanspoon

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  1. Not cheap, you’re right. Especially since you guys didn’t even get TWO menu items! Imagine the price then!

    But yeah, I like Belgian waffles (Liege, they’re called). I don’t see them anywhere. Although, before, they had them at Costco and they were really good. They have long discontinued those now. Too bad. =(

    For foccacia, the ones from Calabria Bakery are good. They’re on Voctoria Dr and around 33rd Ave or so. Buy a few and grill or even just toast them at home. =)

  2. Mary

    If you are ever in Toronto, you have to try Wanda’s Waffles. It’s a tiny little place (take-out only) that sells those little Belgium waffles just like at Medinas – they are so good. I was visiting TO last summer and ate there at least three times. Cheap too – I think $3 for a waffle with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and chocolate drizzle.

  3. trisha

    foccacia is an italian flat bread. it is usually seasoned with with olive oil and herbs, sometimes topped with onions and/or cheese. it’s also usually made with high-gluten flour. hope that helps!

  4. Jessica

    Waffles! I was craving waffles and went kind of wild. There’s Damien’s Waffles in Steveston, and also Patisserie Lebeau on 2nd Avenue…they also produce frozen waffles which are sold around town, if you’re ever needing a waffle fix.

  5. ladybug

    If you have a consumer waffle machine (not expensive, you can get it at any home kitchen gadget store), just use store bought waffle mix (or you can mix your own batter) to make waffles and sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar (icing sugar), that will be Belgian waffles for you. Easy.

    Mini waffle just looks sad. Belgian waffle is supposed to be big. A Belgian waffle is a type of waffle identified by its large size, lighter batter, and deep grids.

  6. Victoria

    I’m sad to hear that you thought the fricasse was too salty! I love the beef in it – maybe it actually was a mistake the time you were there? I’ve been twice and it was soooo good.

  7. Meerschaum

    Outside of this cafe hangs a sign reading “Life is too short for bad coffee”. I agree. And on that basis, my advice would be to spend your lifetime wisely and give this premises the widest possible berth. Vancouver has many, many great cafes. It has some mediocre ones. And, it even has some bad ones. And I can say, in all good faith, that each and every one of them is a hundred times better than this hell hole. Not only is the service here the worst of any eatery in Vancouver. It is the worst that I have ever experienced in five decades across the entire world. I’ve had better coffee and service in Siberia, North Korea, the backwaters of the Amazon and the roof of the Vatican. Avoid.

    1. Ben

      Hi Meerschaum: There has to be another reason why you don’t like Cafe Medina. I don’t think it’s just the coffee, right? Anyway, I find Cafe Medina overpriced but then I am an well known cheapskate too. Ben

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