Cafe Medina (Crosstown)
There are restaurants you need to try at least once in your lifetime. They might be slightly pricey, but it’s worth going there with people you love, as I said, at least once in a lifetime. I should preface this post with my usual disclaimer: I don’t do lineups. I don’t wait in line even for a bathroom. This is horrible and I know I’m a snob. I know, I am terrible and I admit it fully. But it’s true – I hate having to wait in line. Well, this past weekend I waited for more than 45 minutes in line, but at least I was waiting for a fantastic brunch and with the wonderful company of Chris and Ashleigh. I love these two and waiting in line with them was just a lot of fun. And the food was totally worth it. We also managed to chat with people around us. The lines at Cafe Medina are a little bit of an exercise in community building themselves, as people chat and joke amongst themselves. The staff at Cafe Medina make the wait bearable by providing witty commentary when calling for the next set of people in line.
For brunch, I ordered a Paella (at $13, the Paella – 1 baked egg, curried orzo, Hungarian chorizo, zucchini, red pepper, roasted corn, grano padano, watercress, tomatoes, avocado, is about at the same price point as other higher-end brunch places, so this is reasonable). The amount of food was perfect for a big morning appetite like mine. The staff were kind enough to change my order from baked egg (which I don’t like) to full hard-boiled egg. The curried orzo was genius (instead of using rice which would have been the Spanish Paella, Cafe Medina used fluffy, warm, almost-melt-in-your-mouth orzo), and the Hungarian chorizo combined with avocado, tomatoes, and grano padano made the combination of flavours spicy and rich. Mouth-watering, complex flavours with a beautiful appearance.
For drinks I ordered a Moroccan mimosa, which in hindsight, I probably would have preferred the standard mimosa. At $8, perfectly on price point, but the flavours were kind of weird, I found. The Morrocan Mimosa has fresh orange juice infused with Sumac, star anise and fig mixed with sparkling. Between Chris, Ashleigh and I we ordered a couple of Belgian waffles with mixed berry compote and pistachio/rosemary dip ($3.50 per waffle + $1 for each topping). Cafe Medina had me at Belgian waffle. Delicious.
Overall, yes it’s a bit pricey and you have to wait in line, but the staff’s friendliness and lovely service, the quality of the food, portion size, excellent flavours and overall atmosphere make Cafe Medina one of the hottest destinations for brunch. I’m glad I came here with Ashleigh and Chris, and I will come back for sure. Totally worth the visit.
Disclosure: Each one of us paid for their own brunch items on our own dime.