East meets west: Indian restaurants in Vancouver

Warm, spicy, fragrant — just a few words to describe the rich flavours of India. Combine this with the typical hospitality you can expect from any Indian restaurant and you have the makings of a highly enjoyable evening. From north to south, modern and traditional, here are some of Vancouver’s best.

Vij's

1
3106 Cambie Street, Vancouver, BC V5Z 2W2

The world had never seen anything like it when Vikram Vij and his wife Meeru Dhalwala opened their modern Indian restaurant just off South Granville. Combining techniques and flavours of his native India with the abundance of produce, fish and meat of the Pacific Northwest resulted in unexpected, delightful flavours and epic two-hour lineups. Nothing much has changed in the two decades since: you can still expect Vikram’s warm hospitality at every visit and lamb popsicles to die for.

Vij's Rangoli

2
1488 11th Ave W, Vancouver, BC V6H 1L1

Intended as a more casual lunch spot and an overflow space for when Vij’s simply couldn’t accommodate any more diners, Rangoli’s bright modern interior began to welcome hungry workers midday in 2004. With many of Vij’s menu favourites, plus original items like black chickpea and onion cakes in coconut curry and other lunchtime dishes, Rangoli also acts as a market place selling the Vij’s line of premade curries for when you’re craving his perfect spice and ingredient mixes at home.

Ginger Garlic Cusine Of India Ltd

3
1738 Davie St, Vancouver, BC V6G 1W2

For some of the tastiest, most authentic Indian this side of the Port Mann Bridge, you need only travel as far as picturesque English Bay. Ginger Garlic, an unassuming restaurant in a strip of retail space along Davie near Denman, carries all the classic dishes you'd expect: lamb curry, vindaloo, palak paneer, aloo gobi. But there's something about the chef's hand with spices that brings this modest place up a notch. Likely it's the use of freshly ground whole spices, which banishes that dusty, muddled taste found in lesser Indian food and makes everything on your plate sing.

Raga Restaurant

4
1177 Broadway W, Vancouver, BC V6H 1G3

Here, classic Indian cuisine is served to your tableclothed table in traditional stainless steel bowls fragrant with cumin, ginger and cardamom. This long-standing restaurant on Broadway is famous for its stuffed naan, made to order in the tandoori oven, as well as other tandoori dishes like lamb, chicken and prawns. Bonus: if you live nearby and you’re making your own Indian curry, pop in for an order of that delicious naan to go. We’re betting you don’t have a tandoori oven at home.

East Is East Chai Lounge

5
4433 Main St, Vancouver, BC V5V 3R2

Though not strictly Indian, East Is East relies heavily on the spices and traditional dishes of this country to round out its enticing menu of eastern flavours. We suggest the Chai Feast tasting menu — a journey down the spice route and through some of their most popular and delicious dishes, like chana masala and aloo gobi, all served with naan, pickles and rice. Let the soothing sounds of their nightly live music be the soundtrack to this family-style feast.

Chutney Villa South Indian Cuisine

6
147 Broadway E, Vancouver, BC V5T 1W1

One of the few restaurants in Vancouver specializing in Southern Indian cuisine, Chutney Villa at Broadway and Main is like a breath of tropical air. Flavours like coconut and mango and a focus on seafood transport you to the beaches of Kerala. Try their dosas, large crepes made with lentil and rice and topped with curry. And as you can intuit by their name, an array of delicious house-made chutneys — tamarind, mango, tomato and more —accompany your dish.

House Of Dosas

7
1391 Kingsway, Vancouver, BC V5V 3E3

While also focused on the cuisine of Southern India, this corner canteen at Kingsway and Knight evokes an altogether different vibe than Chutney Villa. Open 24 hours a day, your dosa fix is never to be denied. Lively, casual and filled with all manner of people, you can expect dosas as long as your arm and, on Monday nights, unbelievable deals. Fast food this is not, so accept the wait and know that this wait will be worth it.

Indian Roti Kitchen

Another rarity in Vancouver is decent roti. Large whole-flour, unleavened flatbread is wrapped around your favourite curries: aloo gobi, saag paneer, eggplant bhurtha, lamb korma and more. Run by an adorable husband-and-wife team, this small take-out counter in the Cambie Village serves up massive portions tucked into square foil containers, with one serving enough to feed a family of four. But be sure to order a couple. Each is delicious in its own way and, as with any curry, tastes better the next day.

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