Why Can’t We Have Nice Things?

One of the most honest and excellent eateries in town is packing it in and we're all the worse for it.

December 15, 2017

By Lee Man

Heartbreakingly, the owners of Molli Cafe have decided to call it a day. Rafael Flores, chef and co-owner, along with Berenice Balbuena, have been quietly informing regulars that the business is up for sale and though there are no firm timetables, they will be moving on to other projects. A combination of a difficult layout (the small room only seats 14 customers at time), additional required capital improvements, and poor evening foot traffic meant that the restaurant was simply not making financial sense. We here at Vancouver magazine had even recently noted how endless city construction projects made a visit to Molli Cafe a logistical nightmare.

Molli Cafe owners Rafael Flores and Berenice Balbuena. (Photo: maryinvancity.com)

What an incredible loss to our dining scene. The kitchen applies tremendous technical skill and, much more importantly, genuine care to everything they make. Seemingly simple tacos resonate with deep complexity that only comes from slow, attentive cooking. Nothing is rushed. The beautiful soups, layered and comforting, are all finished to order instead of sitting in a tired cauldron. The crispy crusted tortas are generously filled and edged with bright condiments. Restaurants like Molli Cafe show us that Mexican food is not about crazy spices or searing heat (though the house-made salsas will put a tingle on your palate)—but about real flavours coaxed out of good ingredients that is the hallmark of excellent cooking everywhere. We suggest you grab yourselves some of the lovingly prepared dishes while you can, particularly the Saturday-only lamb tacos and consommé.

Molli, you will be missed.

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