From Montreal to Vancouver to Al Watan is a journey I would be happy to redo.
I had read rave reviews on different sites and wanted to see if they were deserved. No doubt about it - they were. The food was delicious. It was as good as you can find in any Pakistani/Indian restaurant.
I had Nihari and Butter Naan. The butter naan was out of this world. Take it apart and the butter flows out. Really excited my cholesterol loving taste buds. The nihari meat was tender and not too spicy. Finished every bit of it. And yes, the service was outstanding.
A word of warning. If you are the type who look for decor, stay away. If you want quality food, this is the place.
Thumbs up to Al Watan
Al Watan is a good place for great Pakistani food.
I don't have much for comparison when it comes to Pakistani food, but a friend of mine who did assured me it was as close as it gets to the real deal.
personally, I thought it was delicious.
the cost of food was descent. a filling dinner for 3 came out to $44 (including tip).
the service was solid. nothing to complain about, but nothing particularly outstanding either.
the atmosphere leaves a little to be desired though...
its a kind of hole in the wall type place you wouldn't really consider unless you already knew about it or were in the area.
there was no decor of any kind to give the restaurant an inviting feeling... but when it came down to it, I went there for the food, and it did not disappoint in that regard.
this place is a little gem in hiding.the food is excellent and authentic. i am east indian and so i can say truthfully its on par with most of the good mughal cusine one gets in bombay..their naans and rotis are fresh and made in a real tandoor as our theri kebabs..i would have to say i prefer all their meat dishes over their veggies..its a down to earth simple place ,fairly clean where its only about the food.the service is decent and humble.their ambience is 0..but who cares when one is interested in getting excellent food..all my friends white and non white have loved this place when i have taken them there.go ahead and try it out..their "kheema nan" is incredible.. i dont think any indian restruant in greater vancouver including vijs's can beat their tandoori and kebabs dishes..
Al Watan is a good solid Pakistani eatery. It is more of a cafeteria type place. It caters mainly to the homeland community. The food is nothing fancy more stick to your ribs fare. The meat dishes are better than the vegetable dishes. The lamb korma is especially good. This is one of the few places where one gets enough rice to go with your meals.
It was a horrible food and frustrating experience for me to visit Al-Watan. Today I came to Vancouver for an official tour, and after reading good reviews about this restaurant I decided to travel a long distance to experience their food. I was quite hungry, so I ordered Chicken Boti, Lamb Karahi, Chicken Kebab and Naans. The poor decor, and shabbily dressed server raised some concerns, however, I hoped that their cooking will be OK. When the food got served, the Naans were good but the tasteless Kebabs had been cut in to small pieces, the Lamb Karahi was actually horribly cooked and RE_HEATED lamb curry, and chicken boti was immersed in orange colored paste & chillies. Just by seeing the lamb curry, I refused to eat, and asked the waiter that is it reheated? He agreed and offered to replace this with another item called Chicken Tikka. As I was very hungry, so meanwhile I washed down some food with soft drink. When the Chicken Tikka came, it was with onions, and looked good. However, its taste was horrible. So I left 3/4 pieces totally untouched, paid the bill, and came out of Al-Watan. It was a horrible food, cooked by waiters who even don’t bother to shave or wash their face. Their service was OK, but I will hate to spend money for a combination (service with smile + horrible food + bad decor). I have never been so much disappointed, and decided to write this review so that other people can know the real Al-Watan.
everything was complete. so just eat and taste this myfavorite restaurant. and the food is hot and also the service was good. and i'm very satisfied too for everything...
The restaurant decor is very plain, but with this quality of food, we really don't care. It's clean and well kept, and the service is decent. They are willing to alter dishes for special dietary requirements too, which is great, as a lot of places seem to have issues with doing this. Our favourites so far are the garlic naan, saag, lamb biryani and chicken curry. Definitely recommended.
We initially tried this place on the recommendation of a friend, and we now go back on a regular basis. The food is authentic and flavourful -- "home-style" cooking. The naan is especially good, and appears to be served fresh from the oven. We always order too much and end up taking a full meal's worth home, but it is equally tasty the next day. The restaurant decor is very plain, but with this quality of food, we really don't care. It's clean and well kept, and the service is decent. They are willing to alter dishes for special dietary requirements too, which is great, as a lot of places seem to have issues with doing this. Our favourites so far are the garlic naan, saag, lamb biryani and chicken curry. Definitely recommended.
Firstly, I dare you to find a place in BC that serves better Indian inspired food.
I went with 7 other guys for a food binge fest. We ate, and ate, and ate and it worked out to less than $20 each.
SO what to eat? The naan is second to none. Different varieties are available. I recommend the garlic naan. mmmmm.
The butter chicken and tandoori platter are incredible.
Now the food is great -and I think that part of the reason why is that it is served HOT. I mean off he grill/stove/tandoor and on a plate and on your table. No waiting for meals to coordinate timing, no letting it rest. The food is piping hot. It is obvious that they use super fresh ingredients. I guess that because of the high turnover. We sat for 45 minutes and dozens (I really mean dozens) of locals came in to pick up some take out. When locals pick up takeout for dinner at home - you know its gotta be good.
The catch - service seems ok/decent. The interior of the place is drab and overshadowed by a giant neon sign with the menu and prices. Decor is lacking/absent. Oh, and the dining area is pretty small.
This place is a hidden jem and a must visit....
We were looking for a new Indian/Pakistani restaurant to replace our old standby(s) which have either closed or taken a turn for the worst over the last few years. The reviews for Al Watan, seem solid and well grounded so we gave it a go. This review is base on one visit only, but were very surprised. We visited on a Sunday afternoon, it was very busy. Both Indian/Pakistani clients as well as other nationalities. Everyone seemed to be having very satisfactory experience, it is easy to tell because the restaurant is small (less than a dozen tables), plus the owner and the cook both came out and asked how things were!
My wife and I both ordered the lunch special. We figured that since they were so busy, it would be best to keep is simple for our first visit. The special consisted of chicken curry, veggie curry, tandoori chicken, dal, rice, raita and nan. For $6.99 needless to say, this was very good value. The food was excellent, it tasted much like a meal you might get in India or Pakistan (I'm reasonably qualified to make this judgment as I've visited both a few times times). This is not the type of indian food you'll find at Maurya or Rangoli. These are tried and true recepies that have a very homecooked feel to them. Not overly swimming in rich creams or ghee. The food has healthy simplicity to it that is hard to find in Indian/Pakistani restaurants abroad. Refreshingly, the veggie curry and dal is not cooked to soft mush as in many Indian restaurants, but retains some of the original texture and contains fresh chopped coriander/cilantro. Nice. The tandoori chicken was pleasantly moist and had a nice smokey flavour, while the curry chicken was nicely baked, and was served on the bone (which it was falling off of). The food also came within 10 minutes and was hot, including the nan that was so fresh that it needed a couple of minutes to cool.
The lighting is bright and the decor is minimal, with the exception of a embroidered blanket featuring the Kaba in Mecca. This spartan interior is actually refreshing. I'm sick of dimly lit Indian restaurants swimming in nick-nacks that never get dusted. I wouldn't reco it for a romantic dinner, but then again, it may appeal to some couples who appreciate the nostalgic feel of a solid travelers eatery on the subcontinent.
Oh yeah and what about the chai? Spot on, genuine and only $1.50. Sure beats the $3.50 I paid at JJ Bean last week for something out of a TetraPak that mostly tasted of cinnamon (yes this is pet peeve, sorry)!
Anyway back to Al Watan. We'll be going back in a week's time to check out their meaty halal kabobs, a Pakistani treat that you rarely find on the menu of a typical Indian restaurant.