A no messing around guide to the coolest things to eat, drink and do in Vancouver and beyond. Community. Not clickbait.

A Look Inside ‘Casa Molina’, Now (Softly) Serving Up Spanish Food in Mount Pleasant

When I walked up the sidewalk toward Casa Molina for a recent ‘friends & family ‘service, it didn’t look like anything had changed since my previous visit, in October: same red house with black trim and white railings; not uninviting, but not compelling either, if I’m honest. Maybe it was the fact that my expectations were not soaring when I climbed the stairs leading to the front door of 2211 Manitoba Street that made it all the more enjoyable to cross the threshold into a completely transformed room.

The last time I saw the space, it was literally a pile of rubble (story here). Now, its calming tones with interesting (but not overwhelming) splashes of colour, light wood accents, minimalist lines, and just the right amount of Spanish tile make the room feel fresh, modern and homey simultaneously. An impressive feat since, in my experience, restaurants in residential houses can lean too heavily on the cozy, lived-in vibe of the house itself, neglecting the polish of professional service and confidence of a skilled kitchen. It’s a hard balance to strike, but Casa Molina has successfully managed to mix that laid-back, at-home feeling with great service (hat tip to Operations Manager Natalie Cheung) and a strong food and drink program.

A Full Room at Casa Molina | Photo by Rubén Nava | Less Noise Studio
The Food
Paella at Casa Molina | Photo by Rubén Nava | Less Noise Studio

Chefs Javier Blanc and Elea Blasco’s menu achieves a similar modern-familiar balance. There are expected items – such as paella (how could they not?); Aceitunas and Marconas almonds (a perfect start); and Croquetas (jamón/ham, gambas/shrimp, and espinacas/spinach – served in multiples of three and priced by the piece) – but also dishes melding Spanish home cooking with a contemporary twist, such as a delicious Salmorejo (cold tomato soup similar to gazpacho) served with a cool and rich island of house-made Manchego ice cream, croutons and crispy jamón ibérico crumble; slowed cooked beef cheeks with jus and sweet potato purée; a rich Huevo Trufado (sous vide egg, potato foam, truffle, paja potatoes; and a light, shareable dish of pickled Carrots, garlic and piquillo peppers on a bed of ricotta, served with bread. Check out the full menu in the gallery below.

The Drinks
Bartender Samantha Mah Making Drinks at Casa Molina | Photo by Rubén Nava | Less Noise Studio

Casa Molina’s wine list is beautifully Spanish, with some nice bottles from BC thrown in for good measure. Cocktails – designed by award-winning and massively talented bartender, Tara Davies (Chupito, Cantina 189) – are varied, interesting, and impressively zero waste. I tried a “Panxon” (Mezcal, Vermouth Rojo, bay leaf, and pink peppercorn); and a “Cafe Con Leche” (clarified milk punch of Flor de Cana, coffee, cinnamon, orange, and ancho), as well as a zero proof “Lorca” (Seedlip Distilled Non-Alchoholic Spirit spice, NA Amaro, quince, grapefruit, and egg white).


When I first spoke with Chef Blanc about Casa Molina back in October, I asked what he wanted guests to feel when they sat down in the space. His response: “In Spanish culture, family is at the heart of everything. At Casa Molina, we aim to recreate that experience — inviting guests to enjoy meals with their loved ones, free from distractions; sharing stories and creating memories together.” From what I have seen so far, they have achieved exactly that. With that in mind, grab some loved ones and visit Casa Molina to experience the food and ambience for yourselves: the Mount Pleasant restaurant is now (softly) open from Wednesday to Saturday, 4:30-11pm. Keep in mind that this is a new restaurant with a small number of seats, reservations are recommended (get sorted here). While you wait, take a look at the pictures below…

The Details

Chefs: Javier Blanc and Elea Blasco
Cocktails:  Program designed by Tara Davies
Bartender: Samantha Mah
Operations Manager: Natalie Cheung
Branding and Photography: Rubén Nava | Less Noise Studio
Hours: Wednesday to Saturday, 4:30pm to close

Casa Molina
Neighbourhood: Mt. Pleasant
2211 Manitoba St.

18 Vancouver Restaurants Named Among the 100 Best in Canada

Explore the Full 2024 List of Canada’s Best Restaurants and Bars, Including Top New Eateries and 50 Best Bars, Plus a Map of 29 Award-Winning Establishments in British Columbia.

Outtakes From a Maenam-aLena Staff Meal

We love a good family-style staff meal. Last month, we caught wind of a variation on this theme: a staff meal exchange between neighbourbood restaurants, Maenam and AnnaLena.

Field Trip: Tagging Along for a “Glorious” Tomato Appreciation Feast

Inspired by their love of tomatoes and everything that farmer Mark Cormier and his farm crew put into growing them, the team from Say Hey Sandwiches head out to Aldergrove on a mission to cook a feast for the Glorious Organics team...

Reverence, Respect, and Realization: What The Acorn Taught Me

At 21 years old, I'm still just a kid and relatively new to working in restaurants, but I grew up umbilically tied to the hospitality industry. My father was a food writer, and my mother is a photographer. Their careers meant that most of my early years were spent in kitchens and dining rooms instead of on playgrounds and soccer fields; consequently, I learned my table manners before I could count past one hundred.