The Michelin Guide just released its list of Vancouver restaurants with stars, Bib Gourmands, and recommendations, confirming the exemplary quality and breadth of this city’s dining scene—including Indian cuisine.
Vij’s, a ground-breaking restaurant that combines gourmet Indian food and drink with impeccable service, received a Bib Gourmand award, which recognizes restaurants that showcase “good quality, good value cooking.” Because Vancouver enjoys a vibrant and diverse Indian population, its restaurant options range from multi-layered northern Indian curries to southern Indian dosas packed with flavourful fillings.
Here are five Indian restaurants to get you started on your tour of Indian cuisine in Vancouver:
Tasty Indian Bistro
Tasty Indian Bistro originally started in Surrey as Tasty Sweets and Restaurant. Founder Avtar Saini, who immigrated to British Columbia from Gujarat on the west coast of India, was originally a hotelier but applied his same principles of excellence to the food at his new restaurant. Tasty Sweets quickly became popular among Surrey’s South Asian community. His son Inder Saini now runs the business following the proud tradition of his father. In 2018, he launched a second location in Yaletown, which has proven to be incredibly successful. A location in Abbotsford is on its way. The room is gorgeous, and the food equally impressive. The menu is extensive with various well-balanced and deeply flavourful curries, such as lamb vindaloo, mango chicken curry, and vegetable korma. Their tandoori dishes, which come sizzling on a hot plate, are also outstanding, including tandoor lamb chops and tandoori prawns. Inventive dishes such as crispy fish or paneer tacos are also available.
Davie Dosa Company
Although northern Indian cuisine has become well-known in Vancouver, southern cuisine is still on the ascent. Davie Dosa Company is a cozy downtown spot with welcoming service and some well-made southern Indian specialities. They serve an all-day breakfast with a variety of omelettes, such as one with lamb, in addition to dishes such as poori masala (curried potatoes). The star of the menu are their dosas, which are gluten-free and nut-free, and can be ordered with a variety of fillings (e.g., prawn, cauliflower, spinach paneer), or eaten plain. They come with sambhar (lentil dip) and chutneys. Other dishes available include starters such as vegetable pakoras, a range of curries served with rice and chapati, and biryani with your choice of protein (e.g., beef or chicken). End with gulab jamun with vanilla ice cream, and you’ll leave very satisfied.
East is East, Chai Lounge
With two locations, one in Kits and one on Main Street, East is East is the dream of two Afghani siblings whose family moved to India to escape the turmoil of war. They fell in love with Indian cuisine and culture there, and when they immigrated to Canada were intent on celebrating the meeting between East and West with a restaurant. They call it “silk and spice road” food, meaning that it draws upon multiple culinary traditions, including Indian. The room is a wonderful escape, with its embroidered design accents and intimate lighting and seating. Highly recommended is their chai feast tasting menu, which comes with three mains, soup, salad, and cold mezze, as well as bolani (flatbread), roti, and both Afghan and basmati rice. Mains include spinach paneer, chana masala, and grass-fed lamb curry in a five-spice ginger, onion, and garlic sauce. Roti rolls with fillings such as cauliflower and potato in a tangy tomato coconut curry, or one of their rice bowls are a lovely option if you’re not hungry enough for the full feast. They have live music nightly, starting at 7pm. And make sure to order a cup of their chai since as their restaurant name indicates, it is expertly made and very soothing.
Spicy 6 Fine Indian Cuisine
For a decade, Spicy 6 Fine Indian Cuisine has been welcoming diners to their restaurant on Robson Street. Their second floor location is right in the thick of Robson Street boutiques, making it ideal for a quick meal in between power shopping. The restaurant, which specializes in northern Indian food, is named after the six spices (e.g., cumin, turmeric) frequently in their cuisine. You can expect all your comforting favourites, such as butter chicken, lamb rogan josh, and prawn masala, in addition to starters like Indian masala fries and onion bhaji. There are a range of biryani, tandoori creations (e.g., fish tikka), as well as plenty of vegetarian options (e.g., yellow daal). Desserts such as kheer and ras malai finish off what should be a very hearty meal.
Vaades The Indian Restaurant
If you’re in North Vancouver, which is a quick and convenient trip beyond the downtown core, check out Vaades The Indian Restaurant. Their extensive menu has options the whole family will enjoy, such as the appy sampler with vegetarian samosas, potato fritters, and mogo (yuca), all served with tamarind chutney, chili cream sauce, and mint. Curries include a fragrant pistachio chicken curry, saag gosht (braised lamb with spinach), and coconut prawn curry. Sizzling tandoori options include pork sausage and chicken. Vegetarian options range from baigan bharta (eggplant) to portobello paneer butter masala. There’s even a kid’s menu where young diners (10 years and under) get to choose their sauce (e.g. cashew), protein (e.g., beef), and accompaniment (naan).
Especially with the cooler autumn weather, Indian cuisine in Vancouver will be especially satisfying.
By Tara Lee
Source Inside Vancouver