Cafe Medina in Crosstown

by Victoria on December 23, 2009

On the weekend there was something that I was really craving, and that was the lavendar latte and Fricasse at Cafe Medina, on Beatty Street in the Crosstown area of downtown Vancouver. So on Sunday afternoon, after waking up super late with the day already half over, we managed to make our way over there by 2 pm for brunch. Yes, that’s right. 2 pm.

Cafe Medina is usually quite busy, but I was hoping that at this time of day there wouldn’t still be a line up.  Last time we went by fairly late as well, and I remembered that we managed to walk right in to an empty table. 

Well, my assumption didn’t hold true this time.  While Mike was having a low blood sugar breakdown from not yet eating, we had to wait for about 20 minutes to get a seat.  What’s worse?  Another couple walked in after about 15 minutes, and got seated at a table that was just getting prepped for us (or so I thought) while we were outside in the cold and rain.  The server seemed to be trying to explain that we were next, but somehow they still got seated and their orders taken first.  We were then seated a few minutes later after I gave a few glares through the window. It was kind of ironic when they couldn’t figure out what to get and ended up leaving because there were only breakfast items on the menu, since it was the weekend, and they wanted lunch food.

Right away, we ordered ourselves some decaf lavendar lattes (I don’t do well with caffeine), which had some fun art for us in the froth.  The lavendar undertones make these warm drinks extra delicious – if I lived nearby, I would often stop by just for those.

Lavendar Lattes Rating: 5Rating: 5Rating: 5Rating: 5Rating: 5

We started off with a few of the Belgian waffles, as they’re so delicious and ready-made, so I figured in a matter of minutes we would at least be a little less cranky. This time, we tried them with the mixed berry compote, the pistachio white chocolate rosewater  topping, and the raspberry caramel.  I wasn’t big on the pistachio one this time – it was an interesting flavour (and I love pistachio gelato), but with the white chocolate, it didn’t quite give me the satisfaction I was expecting.  The caramel though? Sooo sickly sweet, but in a good way. I couldn’t stop eating this one – just be warned that it is very, very sweet.  The mixed berry was probably the best one – not so much like having candy to start off your day.  I did find this time that the waffles did seem almost a little bit more doughy than usual. I’m hoping that it was just a case of timing, and the fact that we had ordered right before the kitchen was about to close (and not that they are going downhill).

Belgian Waffles Rating: 3.5Rating: 3.5Rating: 3.5Rating: 3.5Rating: 3.5

Following this, I waited in great anticipation for our meals to come.  We both had the Fricasse  and I tried La Sante for the first time, upon recommendation from a friend.  The Fricasse is just amazing.  The combination of the braised short ribs with the eggs, caramelized onions, and smoked applewood cheddar cheese is something that I think of in my dreams at night.  (Okay, maybe more of a daydream – just try it.) It’s all served with a hearty slice of grilled foccacia bread that’s perfect for dipping in the yolk.

Fricasse Rating: 4.5Rating: 4.5Rating: 4.5Rating: 4.5Rating: 4.5

As for La Santé, or the healthy menu option, this was a lot of fun for me to eat.  It comes with a soft boiled egg, ripe avocado drizzled with a vinaigrette of some sort, some prosciutto, grilled ciabatta, and some tomato slices with an olive tapenade.  There was also some olive oil and balsamic vinaigrette. I savoured each and every bite, and made my own creations with all of the ingredients.

La Santé Rating: 4.5Rating: 4.5Rating: 4.5Rating: 4.5Rating: 4.5

I’ll definitely be coming back for the food again, although the service wasn’t very good this time.  From not seating us properly, to having someone ask if we want the bill and then completely forget followed by someone else bringing us the wrong bill, it was just so rushed and busy that it seemed like there wasn’t any focus on whether or not that part of the experience was just as good as the dishes themselves.

Have you had a recent similar experience?

Cafe Medina
556 Beatty Street
Vancouver, BC
View Map

Overall:  Rating: 4Rating: 4Rating: 4Rating: 4Rating: 4
Food:  Rating: 4Rating: 4Rating: 4Rating: 4Rating: 4
Service:  Rating: 3Rating: 3Rating: 3Rating: 3Rating: 3
Atmosphere:  Rating: 4Rating: 4Rating: 4Rating: 4Rating: 4
Price Range: $$

Cafe Medina on Urbanspoon

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

KimHo December 23, 2009 at 10:44 pm

Yup, something similar happened to me. I was seated at the bar and they took forever to take my order, bring my food, give me the bill and take my CC to process.

However, my thoughts of the food (I ordered cassoulet) were different from yours. In my case, I found it overrated. Ever since my post, everybody have been telling me it was a snafu and I should visit it again and, instead of the cassoulet, order the fricasse, just like you. Should I? Hmmmm….

Victoria December 24, 2009 at 12:53 am

Yes, definitely go back and try out a couple of different things. The Tagine is also really good if you’re into tomato-based stews.

Kleoniki January 3, 2010 at 8:43 pm

I consider myself to be a “foody” as well, which is why I enjoy reading your blog. I love Cafe Medina as a brunch spot, I frequent there pretty regularly and like you I just love the lavender latte, which I consider to be a decadently cozy drink and as well I go for the berry compote waffle and either the “fricasse” or “la sante”. Yes it can get pretty busy (I usually go around 1pm on the weekends or shortly after and usually don’t have to wait too long, sometimes 5 minutes, sometimes 15- really depends). I believe Robby is one of the owners, he has dark wavy hair, I’ve introduced myself to him in the past and everytime I show up he greets me and makes the effort in assuring I’ll be seated fairly quickly.

If your interested in brunch let me know and I’ll share a little secret with you if you haven’t already tried it- today I stumbled upon what has to be the yummiest french toast I’ve ever tried in my life! (And I normally don’t even care for french toast!!)

; ))

Victoria January 4, 2010 at 3:34 pm

Kleoniki – hmmm…I’m also not a french toast fan usually either. Now you have me intrigued! Please do share 🙂

Kleoniki January 6, 2010 at 1:54 pm

Alright… it’s at Market at the Shangri-la. It is on the brunch menu which I believe is only offered on the weekends now. (They were not open for brunch on weekends until recently.) Enjoy!
PS Love the blog- it seems like we have pretty much the same taste in food!!

Take care : ))

Kleoniki January 6, 2010 at 1:56 pm

Oh and a few more words in regards to the french toast- baked apples, bacon and moist brioche bread (a little crispy on the outside though)…Mmmm…..

Victoria January 6, 2010 at 9:25 pm

Kleoniki – thanks for the tip! I’m going to have to sneak over there for brunch sometime soon! I’ve had dinner there before and was sadly disappointed but this French Toast sounds like it could change my mind!

Kleoniki January 7, 2010 at 6:53 am

Your very welcome!!

Victoria January 18, 2010 at 11:10 am

Kleoniki – so I took your advice and went to Market for brunch yesterday. You are very right about the French toast! I’ll be writing up my post sometime this week. Thank you. 😉

Frank January 25, 2010 at 3:47 pm

I tend to agree with Kim. Food was a little overrated. For waffles, I have had better and at a cheaper price. Also, I waited for an hour, and the host was not that friendly. The egg dishes taste rather plastic. Well, the coffee there was great. But, I would like to give it another go and try something else.

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