As much as I love certain eateries in Victoria I'd be remiss not to give a shout out to a few cherished restaurants in neighboring Vancouver. After all, most of us take the ferry over occasionally for a little big city action. Steve and I have found brunch heaven in the French Moroccan inspired bistro Cafe Medina.
Cafe Medina serves fine food in a relaxed environment. The restaurant sports my favourite decor, lots of dark wood in Parisian bistro style yet with a modern edge. The first time Steve and I visited Cafe Medina it was bucketing rain outside. The little bistro proved a warm and welcome respite from the deluge. We were drawn in by the smell of waffles wafting out on to the street.
We were warmly welcomed when we walked in the door. Somehow I felt as in Casablanca that "this was the start of a beautiful friendship". The loving continued as I perused the unique and appealing menu. We decided to order some a la carte breakfast items. We chose poached eggs, bacon, roasted potatoes, a plate of fresh fruit, and a waffle each. Medina offers mouth-watering waffle toppings such as salted caramel, lavender milk chocolate, dark chocolate, mixed berry compote and more. We asked for mixed berry compote and good old maple syrup.
The food was a revelation. I am normally more of a savoury breakfast person but if you visit this restaurant you simply MUST put your bias aside and order one of the waffles. You won't regret it! These babies are so ethereal, light and crisp and the accompanying fruit compote was absolutely delicious. The roast potatoes were similarly scrumptious. They arrived in a generous mound on the plate. The potatoes were flecked with herbes de Provence and smothered in oozing Gruyere cheese. Eggs were free range with sunny yellow yolks. The bacon was thickly cut and meaty rather than fatty. They drizzle the bacon in balsamic reduction, which adds a hint of smoky sweetness. We mopped our plates clean. A second visit in July proved the quality of the food had not diminished. Happily, Cafe Medina had expanded their space to include their neighboring restaurant space. This worked out great as we had tried on another occasion to go back but were daunted by a line up that stretched halfway down the block.
There are many other intriguing dishes on the menu at Cafe Medina such as La Santé- soft boiled egg, ripe tomato, avocado, prosciutto, extra virgin olive oil and grilled ciabatta or the Moroccan inspired tagine with poached eggs, spicy tomato stew, merguez sausage, sun dried olives, cilantro and served with grilled focaccia. This is only a sampling of the many creative, mouth-watering entrees in the offing at this cozy eatery.
These days, I can't visit Vancouver without at least one visit to Cafe Medina. The owners are considering opening a similar establishment in Victoria. Fingers crossed! In the meantime those superb crispy waffles will be an essential part of my big city repertoire.
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