We go for breakfast at Café Medina in Vancouver, where we chat to owner Robbie Kane and learn how-to cook harissa burgers and fricassée champignon with their Executive Chef, Jonathan Chovancek:
How did you get started?
Café Medina first opened in 2008, and we’re grateful to have since established ourselves as a favourite in Vancouver for breakfast, lunch and brunch. We serve eclectic bistro-style fare and continually strive to raise the bar for cafe culture in our city. This August, we moved to a bright and spacious new home in Vancouver's Library District. The new location features a number of upgrades including a full bar and expanded seating, but we’ve also gone to great lengths to preserve the same quaint touches and old world charm that patrons have come to know and love. We look forward to growing along with our neighbourhood, and our city.
Where are you located?
780 Richards Street (between Robson and Georgia) in Vancouver’s Library District.
What are your specialities?
Café Medina is perhaps best known for offering the city’s best Belgian waffles (with toppings like milk chocolate lavender, salted caramel and peach butterscotch bourbon), as well as connoisseur-savvy coffee. However, it’s our signature breakfast, lunch and brunch that has allowed us to really make our mark. Executive Chef Jonathan Chovancek has put his own stamp on our Mediterranean-inspired menu with dishes like the Harissa Pain Plat and the Fricassée Champignon, along with our original favourites like the Tagine, the Paella and the Fricassée (with braised short ribs).
What's your personal favorite thing on the menu?
My personal favourites are the Harissa Pain Plat, a beef ‘burger’ with fried egg, manchego, tomato salsa, spiced hummus and summer greens, and Le Peameal, an in-house bacon and egg sandwich with caramelized lemon aioli and mustard vinaigrette.
What's on the stereo?
It depends on the day, but I’m partial to classic rock. Almost everyone likes The Rolling Stones!
Where else should we visit in your area?
Vancouver is such a small city so I couldn’t limit it to just our area. I’m a fan of Toshi Sushi for sushi, Pizzeria Farina for pizza, La Quercia and Cinara for Italian, L’Abattoir for french-influenced West Coast, and UVA Wine & Cocktail Bar for cocktails.
Do you host any special events?
Our space is available to be booked for special events and private functions. The decor is inspired by the romance of 1920s Paris and the utilitarian sensibilities of a working person’s cafe. The room features high ceilings, up-cycled lighting fixtures and antique mirrors with deco panel moulding, and can comfortably seat 75 guests. Contact us to inquire!
Is there anything else you'd like us to know?
Café Medina doesn’t simply serve food — we pride ourselves on providing enlightened hospitality, and sustenance in every way. We want our guests to leave thinking, “that was an exceptional experience”, and to look forward to coming back and sharing it with friends and family.
Do you have a favorite cafe, restaurant or bar in your town that we should feature? Send us a message!