A small casual middle-eastern and Indian restaurant. Sit in or take out and quite affordable.
East is East is one of those places you either love or hate. I personally liked the ambiance of the place, the softness that is contrasted by the wood tables and all, but maybe because I had not heard much about it. My colleagues were a little disappointed because they felt the place had been hyped, and weren't too fond of the lack of lighting.
That aside though, the food was incredible. A bit of a fusion between Indian food and Afghan food made for a great selection. I personally am a fan of Asian and ethnic so I didn't mind. There was a wide variety of veg & non-vegetarian dishes: I opted for the Bombay Masala and Mughal(?) to try a bit of both. Extremely tasty - the coconut curry was delicious and the chicken did not disappoint. Not too spicy, and definitely worth it.
A small group of us gathered here for a Sunday evening get together. Not knowing what to expect we were thrilled with the outcome.
Its soothing decor takes you away from the traffic of Broadway with warm colours that leaves you with a sense of calm. Right down to the furniture details everything feels authentic, including our tree slab counter; it's concave nature made for some cautious maneuvers. Really, the sense of authenticity.
The menu is kept simple, really only 2 entree choices: the stuffed roti rolls or the Eastern plates that offer various small dish samplings. It was easy to forget that most of the dishes are vegetarian while I enjoyed my potato and cauliflower roti and the fantastic Dhal soup and especially the various nibbles off my gf's plate, which included Afghan rice, Saag Paneer and Chicken Masala. The portions here are not the hefty North American servings so it can be a bit of a shell shock, but this is where good flavours and textures overwhelm you and truly where less is more. The complimentary teacup of spiced chai also hit many notes on the tongue once we were seated.
Our server was friendly, cheerful and full of zest. A bit tardy on the ball once the dinner rush really got going but worked through the grind with poise.
Happened to stop by here on a Sunday afternoon after checking out the local farmer's market. What a lovely little restaurant! The service is friendly, ambience is a bit dark but cozy and warm. Food is delicious. I had the Eastern Plate - Dhal Soup, Salad, Roti, Afghan & Coconut Rice w/ Chicken Masala & Mango Butter Squash, and my hubby had the DHAALCHA - Roasted chunks of lamb in organic dhaal soup, topped w/ lime, red onion, & Afghan rice served w/ Roti. Both dishes filling and yummy! I was so full from the Eastern Plate that I didn't have room for the free refill! Next time! Love the flavours and food - will definitely be back for more! =)
That's about all I can say. The place is definately different. Ok once. After that the food has to be good, the service great and the value there. That's where it all falls apart. We all had different food and it all tasted the same! It was very dry too, I did not order one of the refillable plates, which is good because I tried some of my friends' food and was not a fan so I would not have refilled. Most of them did not either, which seriously affectedt the value rating. But, then I left hungry! It was quite expensive too. But I really didn't want any more of that kind of food, I actually felt like a Filet-O-Fish. That's how much the whole place turned me off. Hit Mcds and was ok. Would not go again.
Food: I really liked the mango dish they had. All the meat dishes were disappointing though...the fish and the beef tasted the same - dry!
Service: They missed our refills once and it took forever to reorder it. They need more servers.
Value: I wish they gave you the option to try 3 dishes (without refill) for a cheaper price. I know the price is as it is because of the unlimited refills. However, the 3 dishes filled me up quite quickly and I didn't think it warranted the price tag.
Ambiance: Really cozy; I totally love the setting. The table and chairs may not be suitable for really tall people though. They had live music that night; it sounded great.
I may consider returning, but more for the ambiance than for the food.
Roti rolls w/meat are superb! I was so impressed by the fact that the roti wrapping the juicy contents had NO hint of sogginess--even better was the fact that the wrap was crispy to a point but still completely giving off the texture of bread & no grease! Absolutely mouthwatering! The meat/veggie plates are good as well--served w/single roti to use as you will, salad, soup & rice. If you like thick, fuller flavoured drinks, go for icec ream shakes, not the lighter lassies. I'd recommend their delicious teas or chai's whilst eating in (you get a sampler cup while waiting for seating or for takeouts, etc., either w/milk or soy added) to go with your dinner @$2-4. After your meal, wait around out/inside for a takeout order of the thick dessert drinks being that small's $4.50 while large is $5.50, but dining in, they're $5.50 & $7 respectively. A warm drink'd actually better complement the meal. The fact that the entree plates are served on a round sectioned metal dish/pan (think tire/wheel cap and/or prison dishware), it only adds to the experience (practical to use/clean, sanitize, and durable, etc., I'm sure)*grin*. The service is friendly & enthusiastic. Few seating lends for a cozier atmosphere. 2 tables of 4 seated on comfortable benches; 2 larger tables of 6-7 with one side seated on cushioned/couch along the one wall which may double up as possible communal tables; and 1 possibly larger table at the back. It is spaced well enough that you aren't anywhere near bumping elbows w/neighbouring tables. The rice pudding dessert would have been better if it was served slightly warmed so that the refridgerated-rice texture & taste wouldn't have been so apparent. Entree plates @$17; single roti wrap dish (comes w/potato lentil soup & baby spinach leaves) $11.50 or two rolls (can choose a different meat/type for 2nd) for $14 instead. Their simple menu consists of lamb, beef, chicken, vegetarian/vegan dishes, and a grilled shredded salmon variety. I'm in love~
Went here tonight with 3 other people and I am quite satisfied with the place. Since my pros happen to be more than my cons, i'll start with the cons.
#1 - small tables - i'd say 90% of the tables seemed to be made for people under 5 feet (no offense) because they are really just that small. Combine that with a large party and people will start fighting for elbow space.
#2 - lukewarm food - the food are all pre-made so they came lukewarm not hot which is usually what foods "should" be at.
that's basically all the cons :) nothing too serious so now onto the pros!!
#1 - generous place - FREE REFILLS of entrees. This is going to be their number 1 selling point and customer grabber.
#2 - generous place - FREE UNLIMITED SAMPLES OF DRINKS. Another big sell off because you can practically get 4-5 samples in 1 swoop and that'd be enough for you free loaders :) of course I tried both samples and also ordered :P.
#3 - mostly organic ingredients - the use of organic produce in this restaurant is one of the reasons I will return for more.
#4 - pretty waitresses - hehehe
#5 - semi-authentic with a dash of contemporary flavors = creativity
#6 - the drumming upstairs got me anxious because I couldn't eat up there tonight :(...they're only open wed- sunday for upstairs entertainment and buffet.
#7 - fair price - for the amount of free refills and sample drinks i'd say the price is more than fair for this place, even if entrees start at $17 a pop it is actually only half that because you will definitely have room for more. Take your time :).
I'd definitely return tot his place because i love the drinks and their watiresses @O@
I stopped in here after hearing good things and really enjoyed my meal. The chicken thing (whatever they call it, it was simply butter chicken with rice and raisins in a whole wheat wrap) was delicious. The salad was a garnish and didn't taste good (again with boxed greens and nothing).
I got a sample of the lassie and it was great although they put nuts in it so you have to chew carefully....
I enjoyed it but I thought it was overpriced (12$ for a chicken wrap, not insane but for something out of a takeout window it seems a bit odd). might go back might not
this place is quite expensive for what it is, but does taste good. And considering they don't actually have a kitchen, they do a pretty damn good job of serving up meals.
The curries are refillable, but they take so long to give you the refill, by the time they arrive, your brain has had time to catch up with your stomach so you're not hungry anymore. Ended up having my friend eat the rest.
The sample chai they give you is strong and good, but not sure I want to pay $5 for a cup of tea.
Overall, the taste is exceptional, but so is their high price.
My husband and I decided to try this restaurant. We were pleasantly surprised. The decor was definitely interesting with wooden tables, benches and perusian rugs on the walls. Ethnic music played in the background.
BEVERAGES: All we have heard about with this place is how good the chai is. We both had the Darjeeling Marsala Tea and it was absolutely amazing. The best chai I have had in Van anywhere. It is SUPER spicy, but SO GOOD!!! Water is served in stainless still glasses, with lemon, which is a nice touch.
FOOD: The menu is certainly not extensive; however, there seemed to be some good items. We decided to go with an appetizer salad and share a "feast" meal with the Silk Road Salmon and Spinach Paneer as our entree's. The salad was good with lots of vegetables, served with an excellent hummous; however the salad in itself had no dressing on it, so I found it to be a bit bland. I really liked the addition of the beet and fresh herbs though. The "feast" dinner we found very good. It's not huge, but by the end of the dish we had eaten everything and were FULL. The Dahl Soup was excellent with tons of flavor, the tabboulli salad was good (nothing special). The salmon was excellent and the Paneer was good as well, but quite spinachy (not as creamy as we expected). The rice was also good. We were actually impressed with how good the food tasted.
VALUE: A little bit more on the pricey side, but I certainly don't think the food is overpriced, for what you get. The portion sizes could be a bit bigger, but by the end of the meal we were full.
SERVICE: We had no proble with the service. Our waiter was friendly, polite, attentive and prompt with the cheque. Food came out within a satisfying time frame.
Overall, we will definitely be back to try this restaurant again. It was a great experience!
I confess that I only like to get take-out from East is East. While some may enjoy the ambiance and theatrics, it is not my cup of tea. Yes, Kitsilano was once a hippy haven, and this restaurant acts as a hommage to a previous era. Personally, I prefer not to reek of patchouli after enduring an hour of sitar and silly stage sets! So: I do encourage other yuppies out there to try the take out. It isn't easy to find healthy options when on the run. I recommend the Daal soup, which is fantastic. Most of the Smoothies and shakes are unbelievably good. I appreciate the fact that the take-out window exists - and they even let you sample the chai when you order from outside!
Kind of a disappointing experience. This was my second visit to this restaurant. The first visit I was disappointed that the portions were so small and the meal was served lukewarm to cold. I loved the atmosphere. Just thought it was a bad night but a group of us went again last week and had the same experience. We made reservations (online) as we were coming to Vancouver from out of town. We saw on the website that there was a free drumming class on the night we had reserved. Sweet...Got to the restaurant and the server didn't have our reservation, and had no knowledge of the drumming session and the part of the restaurant (The Chai Room) that we had reserved to eat in was actually closed and being renovated. After we had our meal (again disappointing....very small portions and served up cold/lukewarm. Rice was too dry to chew and the Alu Gobi was inedible - burnt and looked like it had been scraped from the bottom of the pot.), we were standing outside and heard the drumming from the restaurant upstairs. I asked some patrons on the street and they knew about the drum class. Too bad the serving staff didn't. Regarding the small portions - too bad the serving staff didn't let us know about the "more food" option - apparently you can ask for more of your entree. I learned of this when I read about the restaurant on this page. Personally I think $17 for a meal that is little more than finger food or pickings is too expensive. Drinks were expensive as well considering their size. $7 for a relatively small mug of chai tea. With tip it was close to a $30 meal. Not worth it. Sorry....I doubt I'll be back.
The atmosphere of East is East is beautiful and calming, the wait staff is friendly and attentive but not overbearing, and the drink I had was very good (Himalayan High). However, the main dish didn't taste that great for the price. It was ordinary and none of the flavors stood out. Friends agreed about their plates. And I'd have to agree with others... weirdly enough the tables are too low for the chairs, so many of us had to sit sideways.
Firstly, I think the description above should be changed: East may be East, but it is NOT an under $10 restaurant! Expect between 20-30$ if you plan to get a meal and a drink, entres go between i think 11 and 17 dollars.
Unfortunately, they messed up our reservation, but our server was timely and polite.
We got awesome samples of their signature spicy chai and the amazing mango lassie.
The food was really good, smaller portions than we expected- what you really come for is reliably tasty cuisine and a truly different atmosphere. Stepping into the restaurant feels like you've just been teleported- its extremely bohemian, exotic, and sexy!
I'll definitely come back soon!
You can cross the globe by climbing a single flight of stairs when you visit Chai. An Aladdin’s cave of cushions and candles, Chai offers the adventurous dinner and immersive experience. The heated enclosed patio off the north end is a pleasure on its own. Everything here is outstanding. Go to Chai and settle in for a night of sensual relaxation.
How does something that looks so nondescript from the outside hold such pleasures within? From your first sip of the complimentary Chai tea to your final bite of roti both East is East and it's sister restaurant upstairs are not to be missed. It is about time that someone got creative with the dining experience in this city and chose to challenge their clientele. My first experience was upstairs at CHAI. From the decor to the subtle touches of garnish on the most incredible snapper, I was in awe.
The restaurant was very interesting. The decor inside feel very relaxing. They have booths with pillows and curtains drawing down. The lighting was very dim, but with a candle at each table.
The waitresses there were very friendly and nice. They smiled a lot and were informative about the menu. Throughout the night their service was great from table to table.
The food was not that special. However, there were some plates were you can order and get refills of. I'm not sure if they mean the refill of the rice, roti, and vegetables, or the actual curry as well. Yet by the end of finishing a that plate we were full. They have other items, but we were only there for a quick dinner, so we weren't able to sample other foods.
It's a solid value. You get what you pay for.
If I have more time on my next visit, I'll definitely try their other dishes.
The food was yummy and fun to share, the server was just lovely, and the ambiance was terrific! Aside from the overwhelming scent dispenser, the place was pretty spectacular in terms of mood and atmosphere -- the live music is a special treat. Do try it if you feel like getting away from the buzz of city life for a while!
Wary of the reportedly high prices, we dined here on a Saturday night with Entertainment Book coupon in hand.
The Persian tea was wonderful! I cannot explain in words the delicate flavours that tickled my tongue. My wife’s Kama Sutra smoothie was also an extremely tasty beverage.
When our meals arrived, the amount of food appeared to be rather small. However, by the time I had finished my meal, I felt quite satisfied. I really enjoyed the soup that accompanied my dinner platter.
All in all, two thumbs up for the great flavours.
Overall the food was good, but portions are small and I found it over priced for what you got. I left still feeling hungry (& I'm a girl!). While the food had a lot of flavour, it wasn't spicy enough for Indian and was kind of cold by the time it arrived.
The seats are horrible. You either get stuck on a stump or a bench that looks comfortable but isn't. The stumps were so bad that I had to keep standing up and wandering around during my meal so my bum didn't get too sore!
And the absolute worst thing about this place is...THEY DO NOT SERVE ALCOHOL. I'm not just talking the hard stuff, no beer, no wine, no nothing...no love! No one bothered to tell me this, so be warned.