Quick tips: 1) This place is a little bit hard to find as it's in a generic, large mini-mall near the back, but the food is worth it 2) The food is set out as a buffet, but if you know of something that isn't out, they can probably provide it if you ask (i.e. garlic naan, aloo tiki, etc).
I moved to the lower mainland just a few months ago and am always on the look for new good eats. A good friend of mine has lived in the lower mainland for about 8 years, and absolutely loves good food. He told me, as soon as I moved back, he was going to take me to Maharaja. I was assured it was good as Maharaja is normally a catering company for high end East Indian weddings. Sure enough, after only a month of being back, I went to Maharaja and have gone back several times since.
This is one of the best East Indian restaurants in the lower mainland for your money and just for taste. Period. Unfortunately, they are only open for lunch (no dinners), but it is worth traveling during a lunch break or on the weekend to get there. To give you an idea, I've gone twice at 11:30am when they open. Both times there have been at least 4 car loads of people waiting to get in as soon as the doors open. I almost always take this as a good sign.
Inside the décor is very plain and simple - pretty much bare minimum or some tables and banquettes (no pictures, plants, etc.). Since my first visit, there have been continual renovations and updates to the décor, making it appear a lot more open and clean than it originally looked.
Since the restaurant is buffet style, you come into the restaurant, find any open table, place down your stuff and go right to the back to the restaurant to get your food. At the back you'll find your cutlery, plates and the wonderful, wonderful food. To start, there are some salads 1 or 2, several Indian dips (yogurt, curry, habenero, mint, chutneys, etc), along with several garnishes/toppers (i.e. green onion, pickled lemon, etc).
Then..... there's the hot food. There are between 10-12 hot dishes, with the majority of the dishes (~8) are vegetarian based, but that should not turn you off in the least. Maharaja is plentiful with spices and flavors, but not to the point that it ever becomes overbearing or inedible. All the standards that you would expect at an Indian restaurant are regulars on the buffet: butter chicken, palak paneer, lamb vindaloo, etc. along with many others that rotate from day to day. When you sit down a server will bring you naan, but you can ask for garlic naan, roti bread, or others if you'd like for no cost.
To add to this you can find a dessert table too for after you've overstuffed yourself (which I'm sure you will as it's A) a buffet for $11 B) it's damn tasty). You'll find items like laddu, jalebi, fruit and more. If you feel so inclined, there is a sweet shop attached to the restaurant where you can take some of the sweet treats home for later.
If you like good East Indian food, this is a place to go out of your way for. This is my go to place for a great East Indian lunch.