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Jul 30, 2008 02:06 PM

Medina - new lunch/brunch place near Chambar

This place just opened on Beatty, right near's a coffee/brunch/lunch place with Middle Eastern and French elements...

I've been there twice: while there are a few kinks getting worked out as they start up, it has a lot going for it. The egg dishes are more intriguing than most brunch places: e.g."cassoulet"-style eggs, lebanese-style etc.

i had the eggs Libanais...this was two poached eggs which came w/ a a side of babaghanoush (very good w/ nice garlic) and some "foul" (pronounced like "fool"). The latter dish wasn't authentic: foul is a Middle Eastern dish that is made w/ mashed fava beans, cumin, lemon juice, and olive oil. The foul here was a more of two-bean salad w/ chick peas and some kidney beans: a decent thing but why not serve authentic foul, which is delicious and often a mini-revelation to people who try for it for the first time.

My other small quibble about the brunch is that they have harissa (red pepper hot sauce) listed as two dollars, as a side dish...this is ridiculous: which i pointed it to them (that's like charging for Tabasco), and they gave me a little bit for free. It was yummy, and i highly recommend asking for it as a free condiment.

On my second visit, i had the fish soup: a big healthy bowl w/ lots of halibut, some shrimp, carrots, olives, and greens in a tomato base. While i was expecting something with a fishier base, it was a very satisfying meal. Dishes on other tables (e.g. a pork and morbier cheese sandwich, Moroccan meatballs w/ hummus and cucumbers) also looked very tasty.

Coffee was great both times.

The room has a comfy banquet and woodsy feel.

Overall, i recommend giving this place a try, as it's a much needed brunch option in the greater Gastown/Crosstown area, and they are clearly putting a lot of fine effort into the menu.

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  1. I've been numerous times for breakfast, but I haven't made it out for brunch/lunch since they started offering it a few months ago. It's on the list!

    1 Reply
    1. re: fmed

      They are actually only offering brunch/lunch starting today. A colleague had lunch there a couple of months ago leading me to believe that they have been serving it since. It must have been a short term trial run.

    2. Thanks for the detailed news! I just had a look at menus on their website + they are definitely heartier than when we went shortly after they opened.

      I had read they did great coffee + waffles so I brought my BF for breakfast - I was running a little late so he was really hungry by the time we got there. When we were presented with beautiful petite 2"x2" waffles you can imagine the look I got. They were lovely but a bit too tiny for a strapping young man with a big appetite...

      It's a beautiful space + the coffee was fabulous. I can't wait to try it!

      1 Reply
      1. re: pamelaj back and tell us all how it is...i'm curious whether the place will work out...

        re: tiny waffles story...that reminds me of a time in LA when i went to an Italian restaurant w/ a buddy of mine, who is a fairly large, muscular African-American athlete...he ordered gelato for dessert and was presented w/ a scoop about the size of a single heaping tablespoon...he just looked at the server and started laughing, and, to the server's credit, without a single word being exchanged, he immediately took the gelato away and returned minutes later w/ a ice-cream sundae-sized portion...

      2. Had to check out Medina since they extended their menu and I was definitely not disappointed! I had the Fricasse which had braised short ribs, roasted potatoes, caramelized onions and applewood smoked cheddar with two fried eggs sitting on top. Not sure how "breakfast like" the dish would be without the eggs but I am definitely not complaining! Usually not a fan of foccacia either, but it was so fresh and perfectly grilled in a panini press and perfect for mopping up the shortrib sauce. Their waffles are small, but as a side order it's perfect. Their waffle and a latte is the best combo ever. Friend had the Moroccan meatballs and loved it. (See pics below)

        3 Replies
        1. re: alwaysroom4dessert

          Thanks for the pix, always. The fricasse sounds great. And please tell me that small bowl next to the waffle contains condensed milk :-).

          1. re: grayelf

            Happy to take pics.
            Oh wow I wouldn't have been disappointed if it was condensed milk, but it was pistachio white chocolate sauce! I have been thinking about their Jambon et Formage sandwich which would have been my other choice and with all this talk, I just had to go back for lunch today! Panini grilled fruit and nut bread stuffed with braised pork, gooey melted morbier cheese and fresh cherries get it now while the cherries are still in season! Served with a side of fresh cherry compote (which I saved to slather on tomorrows toast) and a apple pecan endive salad it was a pretty large portion but I'm definitely not complaining about that either! (See pic below). Besides being stuffed I had to refrain myself from getting a waffle...

            1. re: alwaysroom4dessert

              Nice! Thanks for the pics. Middle-eastern (-ish) for breakfast. I must indulge soon.

        2. This is all very exciting. Medina is one of my favorite cafes in town for coffee, waffles and design. Since my upcoming semester of classes doesn't start until later in the day... this might become a destination for breakfast every once in awhile.