Cafe Medina review: a Vancouver institution reopens downtown

Cafe Medina | BCBusiness
Fans of the popular restaurant now have even more to like.

The new downtown location will have a new emphasis on lunch

It’s 12:30 p.m. on a Tuesday and the lineup for the recently opened Café Medina, in its new Richards Street location, is at least 20 people deep. It took owner Robbie Kane over a year of scouring the city to secure a suitable location, having considered one of his favourite locales, Main Street, and even signed a deal on a property near Olympic Village (that deal fell apart during negotiations). Kane finally settled on this bright, 83-seat space around the corner from Telus Garden—a strategic move that’s sure to pay off once the building’s thousands of workers and residents move in.

With the new location comes a new focus on lunch, which meant bringing executive chef Jonathan Chovancek aboard. “We wanted to keep some of the favourites, giving Jonathan artistic licence to create new things in the same light,” says Kane, adding that maintaining Medina’s signature coffee and waffles was crucial to the restaurant’s legacy (

BEST TABLE: When it’s busy, bar seating will get you in the door quicker and keeps you in the action in the open-concept dining room. But the tables along the windows offer cushy seats, plus a great vantage point of the room and city life outside.

DRINK UP: Bittered Sling co-owner Lauren Mote crafted the tantalizing house-made sodas—bergamot and buttermilk cream soda, rosehip and jaffa orange crush—which hit the right spot without sending you back to work with a buzz.

MUST-TRY ORDER: Don’t leave without trying a Belgian waffle. At just $3.15 each, the palm-sized creations make a sweet starter paired with one of nine toppings. For lunch, Le Peameal makes for a small but filling sandwich.

INSIDER TIP: To avoid lines, opt for either an early or late lunch. However, if you encounter a wait-list, grab a couple of waffles and coffees to-go from the bar to liven up your time in line.