Friday, 21 December 2012

Cozy Eats

Medina Cafe on Beatty Street
A good friend wanted to try out a restaurant in downtown Vancouver today so we headed out to meet for lunch there.

It's called Medina and is located on Beatty Street, near the Stadium/Chinatown Skytrain station.

Last Christmas my brother and I passed by the place before because we took a picture of the sign: "Life is too short for bad coffee," something very apt for him.

Steelhead on quinoa with beans, tomatoes and arugula
I arrived around 12.15pm and already there was a lineup. Someone in the line told me to put my name down on the list so I went in and saw several names before mine as the cafe doesn't take reservations. The sad part about waiting for a table is having to wait outside. In the cold.

But we were lucky and some of the parties ahead of us didn't show up and after about 10 minutes we were shown to a table -- near the door.

While the place is cozy, holding about 30 people, having the door constantly opening and closing made our dining experience on the chilly side.

However the food pretty much made up for the inconvenience.

The menu is Mediterranean in influence with items like hummus, tabouleh, halloumi cheese, tagine, and spicy lamb meatballs, but there are also breakfast items like frittata, cassoulet, and paella.

Lamb and beef meatballs with roasted vegetables
Medina is also known for its gourmet coffees and some people drop by here for take out java. There are lattes with flavours like lavender and raspberry, mochas with white chocolate pistachio and rosewater, and matcha latte. There is also a small selection of boutique ales and a small selection of wines for this easy-going restaurant.

For mains my friend ordered les boulettes ($14), which is a dish of spicy Moroccan lamb and beef meatballs, roasted vegetables like eggplant and courgettes in a hearty tomato sauce topped with fresh cherry tomatoes. It also came with a side dish of thick foccaccia with a hummus that tasted more like a thick tzatziki sauce.

Meanwhile I had tait saisonniere ($16), featuring fillet of panfried steelhead on a bed of quinoa with roasted squash, some crunchy chips in it, slices of avocado, garnished with arugula, beans and roasted tomato.

A cozy restaurant seating about 30 diners
The steelhead was perfectly cooked, but the cold quinoa was unexpected and took some getting used to as well as the chips within it. Nevertheless it was delicious, light but filling.

I had to try one of the waffles and ordered one with milk chocolate lavender ($4.15). The waffle topped with icing sugar is relatively small, but it's a good portion for dessert and comes with a small dish of the warm chocolate sauce. The lavender is definitely a top note, the first flavour that hits your mouth before the thick oozing milk chocolate that isn't too rich. With so many waffles stacked near the restaurant window, our dessert was probably reheated so it wasn't particularly crunchy, and is more an accompaniment to the sauce than the other way around.

With a chai latte, the bill came to $42 for two not including tips. Interestingly the bill was carefully split for us by the wait staff in case we had wanted separate checks.

Brunch is available on the weekends, while breakfast and lunch are served during the week.

We enjoyed the vibe here, casual, friendly but just a tad too chilly by the door.

Waffle with the delicious milk chocolate lavender sauce
556 Beatty Street
604 879 3114


  1. You're reviewing restaurants while on holiday??? :O

  2. Yeah sure why not! It was pretty good minus the cold draft!