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Best Authentic Indian Cuisine in Vancouver


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We ventured out tonight to a very casual place that I had heard of via a co-worker at 46th and Fraser called Al-Watan, Indian and Pakistan food. It's on the east side of Fraser. Ordered nemari (beef curry), butter chicken, two plain naan and it came with a side salad of lettuce and cucumber. Not knowing what these dishes are supposed to taste like I can only give my opinion. I liked both very much except the butter chicken was unusually orange and very salty. The naan was the best I've ever had, not greasy at all, some air pockets made it seem light. It was very neutral in flavour which I like when eating spicey food. Both dishes were spiced to my liking, making the nose run and the lips burn. The bill came to $17.63 with tax. I definitely am going back to this place to try the other items. The biriyani that other customers were having also looked delicious. I recommend it for cheap eats. Be warned, no fancy South Granville or Yaletown decor here.

"One chocolate truffle is more satisfying than a dozen artificially flavored dessert cakes." Darra Goldstein, Gastronomica Journal, Spring 2005 Edition

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That's because like many of the best kitchens in this city, his line cooks "clean"--distinct, variegated, in profusion and diversity, but always ultimately in that wonderful paradox of complex simplicity.

Before we get told to carry on this discussion in the corner i just want to say two things:

1) Jamie, you should have the above sentence bronzed. Or put it over the entrance to Vij's. Which leads me to...

2) I'm not sure if anywhere in this thread there was an attack or slight towards Mr. Vikram Vij that required such a dedicated defense. (I agree that he has done much for this city and it is important to recognize that contribution.)

3WC

Drew Johnson

bread & coffee

i didn't write that book, but i did pass 8th grade without stress. and i'm a FCAT for sure.

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Which ironically brings us straight back to the original question, where is hot now, if you care enough to register on this board, you're probably well aware of Vij's.

And earlier I posted a flippant comment regarding dining at a temple, I kinda hoped to encourage comment, reading back I see it was just smartassed and semi-disrespectful, so really no suprise that nothing came of it. I honestly am interested if anyone has ever gone to a temple to eat, and what is the protocol. It's almost like an urban myth that anyone can stroll into a Sikh temple and be fed.

Couple of problems, how does one walk in and end up fed without feeling like a freeloading cheapskate? Also, I kinda feel like I would be intruding, and that it's disrespectful to enter a religious space to feed the body but not the soul. I'm relatively ballsy, but can't really see myself walking in and asking where the chow is. I guess if you had a friend that attended the temple it would be less uncomfortable, but then it would not dispell or confirm the urban myth that anyone can walk in.

The various churches/temples/synagogues etc that line #5 road here in Richmond have an open house every year, (I think in May) I've always wanted to go, and always find out about it too late.

We've gone to the Hari Krishna restaurant on Marine in Burnaby. Before we continue I should ask, any Krishna here? Good, I'll continue then, it was about as good as you'd expect from a bunch of vegan caucasian hippies.

So, has anyone ever walked into a temple to eat?

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re:temple food

I have eaten at a Sikh temple twice in my life. The most recent was about 7 years ago with my Sikh roommate, and we attended a service first. I have to admit that I felt hugely intimidated and out of place, despite the fact that I was with a group of "insiders" The food was also only so-so, very oily, and slightly cold. But it was free, so I shouldn't complain.

About 15 years ago, I went with a school group in Nanaimo and we ate at the temple. Very good food, warm welcoming people.

I don't think that I would repeat the temple experience, but it is an interesting and educational thing to do.

< Linda >

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Best Indian meal I have ever enjoyed was at a "wedding" celebration for some friends. I say "wedding" because they are not married at all, but it was easier for the "bride's" mother to say they were married than to explain to the rest of the family that the couple was simply living in sin :laugh: Anyway, I digress ... (what else is new?)

The restaurant was in Abbotsford, and there were about 200 people there at any given time. J & I attended along with my two sons. My eldest son M is an adventurous eater, his younger brother, R? Not so much. R is however much more sociable, and soon was running around with an Indian boy about his age.

When it came time for dinner, I found R sitting with his new friend, with a plate full of dahl, saag, paneer, butter chicken, aloo gobi. I asked R "So, how do you like the bread?" He glanced up at me with that look of disdain that only an 8 year old can have and said "Dad, it's called naan. Duh!"

I'll find out the name of the restaurant for y'all :cool:

A.

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One of my favourite places for quasi-Indian is The Original Good Morning. First of all, you cannot beat that name. Well, maybe you could if you called your restaurant Uncle Soupy's Mega Ultra Fun Happy Den. Anyway, great name. The restaurant itself is totally unassuming (on Kingway out near Joyce) - it basically looks like a cafeteria, and you scribble your order on a paper scrap and bring it up to the cashier. The food is good and cheap, and is of the Ugandan variety. Evidently Uganda was filled with Indian expatriates until Idi Amin sent them packing, so the country's cuisine is an interesting blend of Indian and African. My favourite dish on the menu at the OGM is Moggo. Again, great name. Perhaps I will henceforth refer to this dish as The Original Good Moggo, which is even better. Or O-G Moggo, or, bah, I digress... The Moggo is cassava fries spiced with a chili powder mixture and served with different chutneys for dipping. YUM. Their butter chicken is also tasty, as is, well, everything else on the menu, and the naan is great, with a little bit of an African flatbread vibe to it.

I have also heard wonderful things about Tamarind and Chutney Villa, and am going to try to get to those as soon as I eat my way through the ever-expanding list of must-tries. :blink:

Jenn

"She's not that kind of a girl, Booger!"

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One of my favourite places for quasi-Indian is The Original Good Morning.

The same person who recommended Al-Watan to me also told me about The OGM at Joyce and Kingsway. Next day off, I'll be there.

"One chocolate truffle is more satisfying than a dozen artificially flavored dessert cakes." Darra Goldstein, Gastronomica Journal, Spring 2005 Edition

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As mentioned in another thread, our favourite Indian restaurant:

Indian Oven - Indian, casual $$

2006 West 4th, Vancouver BC, 604-730-5069

• what to order:

shahi paneer (home made cheese curry dish)

malai chicken (Malaysian style chicken curry)

butter chicken (Indian style chicken curry)

saag gosht lamb (Spinach lamb curry)

More 'killer dishes' than Vij's. Although Vij's lamb (the one with the yellow colour curry, last on menu) and ribs dishes are also first class. IMHO, Indian Oven is definitely more athentic and less pretentious. Best thing about Indian Oven, underrated with no lineups.

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Totally OT (sorry) - but Snacky_cat you have just made my day - I have a disgusting cold, and "turtle booger" is a really gross thing to say at the moment :raz::biggrin::raz::biggrin: - blocked sinuses, 'nuff said - so I just wanted to say thank you.

Topic - after consultation with some East Indian friends (damn allergies) I too have eaten at the temple in Nanaimo - the food was fine, but a lack of anything to compare it to other than a banquet prepared by a friend's family upon graduation from high school (now THAT was amazing food) makes it less than helpful as a benchmark. Free, plentiful and filling - but I'd agree that it was a bit oily.

Edited by Viola da gamba (log)
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  • 2 weeks later...

An article in today's Vancouver Courier noted that Rubina Tandoori is closing its doors on April 1 after 22 years of business. Apparently, Krishna Jamal is packing her bags for a culinary adventure to India and London this April in search of new recipes and cooking methods. Tamarind will be staying open in Jamal's absence.

For its closing run, Rubina Tandoori is featuring its annual festival of Indian street food -- Mumbai Masala -- from March 7 to 31.

I, for one, will be sad to see it go. Get it while you can.

Joie Alvaro Kent

"I like rice. Rice is great if you're hungry and want 2,000 of something." ~ Mitch Hedberg

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Sorry to hear about Rubina Tandoor but the building is old and the kitchen was probably a trial to work in every day. :unsure:

Managed to catch the street food festival last year-it was 'ok' but lacked the tang of diesel, the roar of traffic and the lowing of wandering cattle. :rolleyes:

:biggrin: Happy to report that All India Foods buffet is still an excellent value.Dragged a friend who lives nearby in Oakridge into All India for lunch last week-he was chagrined that he hadn't eaten there more often-tasty food/attentive service/cold Kingfishers.

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I love the Butter Chicken at Tandoori Palace on Commercial Drive. It's just a little hole-in -the-wall, but service is friendly and the food is great.

The belly rules the mind.
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  • 2 weeks later...
I haven't been to any of these, but wonder if anyone has tried this place?

Handi

tsquare,

Welcome to the northern side of the PNW :biggrin:

I've been to that Handi, and they've opened recently in Burnaby ... or at least the name is "Handi" even though the Website (CLICKETY) seems to tell a different story. Good, basic fare ... delicious naan and their aloo gobi & lamb vindaloo is pretty awesome too.

IMO, Indian is one of those cuisines it's difficult to do poorly, and difficult to do really well. The Himalaya (yes, they have the huge sweets counter) is a good example. For about $6 you can stuff yourself silly at the lunch buffet and you'd be hard pressed to differenciate it from more expensive buffets in the area.

A.

That a whole different Handi, methinks.

I was curious about the first as the owner has a long standing place in the Seattle area - Raga (okay, Kirkland now, and they used to be located in Bellevue) and I wondered about him locating in Vancouver rather than Seattle.

Thanks for the "welcome". I'm really overdue for a visit to Vancouver. Always a pleasure.

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Are you willing to travel to New Westminster? The Royal Tandoori Restaurant located at 246 6th St, New Westminster. 604-521-2247 is really good. Tho' I have not been for awhile. But very good from what I remember. www.royaltandoori.ca

A friend mentioned the Clay Oven?? in Delta. I have not tried this place but perhaps someone can give us a review.

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This thread along with a few recent Indian meals set me to wondering if my all-time favourite Indian restaurant in the world was still running. It was called Shan e Lasalle, and was uncermeoniously plunked down in the middle of a 1960s strip mall in a generally forgetable suburb of Montreal. Even though it didn't look like anything special and the menu offered dishes that you could find at just about any Indian place worth its salt (or chutney, as the case may be), what set it apart was the amazing home-cooked quality of the food. It's difficult to put into words, but the flavourings were delicate, it was off the fresh-o-meter, and there was non of that greasy heavy-handedness that is so prevalent.

According the Montreal forum, the other day was Shan e Lasalle's LAST night in business, so now I can no longer console myself with the "One day I'll go back and eat their food again" thought. I have to begin the home-cooked hunt all over again.

So, do any of the places that we've mentioned so far in this thread merit a visit? The primary criterion in judging them will be:

1. Mystifyingly delicious "home-cooked" quality of the food

- The dishes themselves might be standard offerins, but their quality should taste like nothing else you've ever eaten. That was how I would describe Shan e Lasalle.

2. Perferably small family-run place.

- Shan e had about 12 tables. Son owned the restaurant and managed the business end. Mom worked the room and made the sweets. Dad cooked in the back.

Maybe I should head down to the gym now and pre-emptively work off all the butter chicken.

Jenn

"She's not that kind of a girl, Booger!"

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snacky-cat

the only place on this thread that I think comes close to meeting your criteria would be Rubina Tandoori on Kingsway and Victoria. They are closing their doors at the end of the month - so this little gem will be gone also.

when I lived in California there was a vegetarian indian restaurant - Saravan Bhavan that I loved. it was a chain from India and I think that they have an outlet in Toronto. the food was so different from the 'normal' mughal style cooking usually found in Indian restaurants. I know what you mean about how freshness when you find in Indian food is such a revelation. the spice are more pungent but cleaner tasting and the food has a real liveliness rather than just a stewed taste. ughh - I am making plans to go to Rubina before the close their doors.

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  • 1 year later...
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