Trim the Turchetta, Not the Tree

In honour of the holidays, Executive Chef Jonathan Chovancek is wrapping up a gift of one of his most-loved and unique recipes — Brined Turchetta with Cascade Celery Bitters and Pumpkin Seed Salsa Verde — for our Café Medina kitchen spotlight recipe this month.

A play on porchetta, this signature Chef Chovancek offering is not a regular item on the Café Medina daily menu but has quickly proven to be a popular highlight of our evening private event menu.

The genesis of this recipe comes from one simple, burning culinary query: how do you make turkey better? “The answer? Wrap it in pork belly,” says Chovancek. “It’s been one of my specialties for the last three years and I’m excited to now make the celebrated and legendary Turchetta a feature on our holiday menu for private-event bookings.”

For those adventurous at-home chefs looking to carve out their own holiday Turchetta tradition, Chovancek is proud to share his trade secret with this recipe.

Brined Turchetta with Cascade Celery Bitters and Pumpkin Seed Salsa Verde

Yields 12 servings

Turkey Brine

2 L water
½ cup sea salt
2 tablespoons white sugar
½ cup Bittered Sling Kensington Aromatic Dry Bitters
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 cup curly parsley leaves and stems
6 green onions, split lengthwise
6 branches of thyme 


Three days ahead of serving, make the turkey brine. Heat the water with the salt and sugar and bring to a simmer. Whisk to dissolve and remove from the heat. Add the remaining ingredients and allow to cool. Strain out the ingredients and discard. Keep the brine in a sealed container in the refrigerator.

See full recipe here.

The Gift That Keeps On Giving

Just in time for the holidays, we’re excited to debut our new Café Medina gift cards. Available in a variety of denominations and at our new home at 780 Richards St., our gift cards make perfect stocking stuffers that will not only warm the heart but the taste buds as well.

It’s the gift that keeps on giving — especially if the recipient decides to show you their “thanks” by bringing you along!

"Sockeye" To Me

In keeping with Chef Jonathan Chovancek’s steadfast kitchen credo of using the freshest local, seasonal ingredients, we’re shining our Supplier Spotlight this month on Organic Ocean, located on Granville Island.

One of the founders of the Ocean Wise — a Vancouver Aquarium conservation program created to educate and empower consumers about sustainable seafood — Organic Ocean’s wild sockeye salmon is used by Chovancek in such mouthwatering dishes as the Forno-roasted salmon with quinoa tabouleh and sunflower tahini and the Poisson Lem Marrakech with sesame yoghurt, sprouted faro, greens and pistachios. 

“The quality of their fish is incredible,” says Chovancek, who has worked closely with Organic Ocean for the past decade. “It comes from the way that they fish and the way they handle and process the fish. They’re one of the best resources for sustainable seafood in Vancouver, if not all of Canada.”

A New Dawn — and Dusk — for Café Medina

Now Available for Private Evening Events

That’s right – Café Medina’s warm and inviting new space at 780 Richards Street can now be booked for a variety of private nighttime events.

Our expansive dining room, which marries the romance of 1920s Paris and the utilitarian sensibilities of a working person’s cafe, offers an instantly memorable setting for celebrations, parties and gatherings for up to 60 guests seated, or 100 guests reception-style.

Executive Chef Jonathan Chovancek has designed an array of seasonal evening menu options for all sorts of events, from cocktail-and-canapé minglers to plated multi-course dinners, all featuring our signature brand of rustic, Mediterranean-inspired cuisine. In addition to a variety of canapé and appetizer selections, we offer dinner buffets, and three-, four- and six-course plated dinner menus — all of which can be paired with a variety of our custom cocktail creations, wine or beer.

For information, inquiries and pricing, please call 604-879-3114 or email Robbie Kane.

Café Medina is the Best of the West!

We’re pleased to announce that Café Medina was singled out as “Best Restaurant” at the 2014 Western Canadian Notable Awards, held November 12 at the Imperial Vancouver. The award was graciously accepted by Medina owner Robbie Kane.

“I’m grateful to receive this recognition,” said Kane, while accepting the award on stage before an audience of leading restaurateurs, architects, entrepreneurs, entertainers and the like. “This award wouldn’t have been possible without the hard work of my talented team — including executive chef Jonathan Chovancek and manager Jenna Briscoe — and the support of our guests.”

Created by, The Notable Awards spotlight forward-thinking, innovative and successful young professionals across Canada. Winners were selected according to dedication to career; ability to inspire coworkers, colleagues and clients; charity and community involvement; and number of votes cast by readers. See event coverage here.

Medina in the Spotlight

Café Medina recently welcomed Breakfast Television Vancouver “Live Eye” host Dawn Chubai, who stopped by with a camera crew to capture all of the action during a bustling morning service. Watch the segment here.

Owner Robbie Kane also showed CTV Morning Live viewers how to make our famous Liège waffles, served with mouthwatering toppings like blueberry sumac juniper preserve, peach & bourbon butterscotch, milk chocolate lavender and white chocolate pistachio rosewater. Watch the segment here.


A collaboration between Vancouver's O5 Tea Company and Bittered Sling Extracts, the 'Kombucha Micro-batch Tea' is served exclusively at the Café Medina. This custom kombucha (in Japanese: “tea sponge”) includes select ingredients like fireweed honey from Langley, sencha green tea from Japan and Bittered Sling’s Lem-Marrakech bitters. To create the special soda, O5 Tea brews 60-litre micro-batches of kombucha in Italian stainless steel wine fermenters, which is then stored in kegs until ready to serve.

Other standouts include the Hawayij Root Beer Float, Bergamot + Buttermilk Cream Soda and Rosehip + Jaffa “Orange Crush”. Come in and try them for yourself!

Go With The GRAIN


As part of our commitment to serving fresh, locally-sourced cuisine whenever possible, Café Medina works with a number of suppliers who provide quality, Canadian-grown ingredients.

GRAIN, whose ‘Golden Quinoa’ variety is grown by a farmers’ cooperative in Saskatchewan, is the first commercially available quinoa in Canada. High in plant-based protein and prized for its grassy, sweet flavour, GRAIN Golden Quinoa is markedly different from the white quinoa traditionally imported from South America, and is used as the base for Café Medina’s Tabbouleh side salad.

Chef Jonathan also uses GRAIN chickpeas in Medina’s Tagine, as well as our hummus, which is served in our Harissa Pain Plat and as a side dish. Grown in Tyner, Saskatchewan by “Farmer Bob” — part of a family that has been tending to the same stretch of farmland for 47 years — GRAIN chickpeas are valued for their large size and soft, buttery texture when cooked, which makes them ideal for our signature menu.