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3
  • Food3.5
  • Service3
  • Value2.5
  • Ambiance3.5
  • Reviews38

East is East

4413 Main St
Vancouver, BC V5V3R2
Tel: (604) 879-2020
Neighbourhood: Riley Park
  • Cuisine: Afghan, Middle Eastern
  • Price: $$ ($15 - $30)
  • Reservations: Accepted
  • Meals: Lunch, Dinner
  • Features: Live entertainment
  • A small, casual middle-eastern and Indian restaurant offering exotic organic flavors from Istanbul to Calcutta. Enjoy your meal in the cozy restaurant or use the convienent take out window.

Reviews

Displaying 1 - 20 of 38 Reviews FoundSort: Useful | Helpful | Reviews | Date
Good food and service
By cyberspace of vancouver (78 Reviews)
Submitted Saturday, August 31, 2013 - 6:35am [Dine in]

This restaurant has good food and service was good also. Good decor. Had the sampler menu so could try different dishes. Was not impressed with the seafood items but other items were good. Place was fairly busy for friday afternoon. The dessert was good and chai is also very good. Middle eastern food so if you don't like this kind of food then don't go. Very good spices and the aroma is good. Service was excellent. Will try again. Easy street parking available.

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Something different
By bozlee of Tsawwassen (102 Reviews)
Submitted Monday, December 3, 2007 - 1:59pm [Dine in]

On the way to the movies we stopped off at East is East as I had heard many positive reviews. The staff were friendly and accommodating when we told them we had to eat fairly quickly. The live sitar music finished at 7.00PM which seemed strange as the restaurant was filling up. It is small, no real tables (eating on one's lap or off a coffee table is not everyone's idea of a night out), no liquor licence and no washroom. On the positive side the food was appetizing, nicely presented and varied, the dinner plates ($15) had complimentary refills if you were still hungry and the chai teas excellent. Definately a different dining experience and one to remember!

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Not sure about this place
By princess123 of New Westminster BC (130 Reviews)
Submitted Friday, March 13, 2009 - 4:53pm [Dine in]

Well one thing I can tell you is don't go there if you're hungry. HALF of a wrap with a hand ful of undressed Costco greens and and thimble full of lukewarm unseasoned lentil soup will set you back over $10.

I have been here a few times as I have a friend who loves this place and Chai tea. Now as I don't like chai tea or fruit smoothies there is little to tempt me in that department. The wraps are ok but seriously I have had ones just as good at a local coffee shop. Plus I find I still burp up the spices hours later. The roti bread is good. I have not had a platter but would maybe try that if I had to go again. They are good about coming around with free samples.

I's say the ambiance is totally cool and great for one time but after that the food has to win me over. I'm not a huge eater, and I feel like I still need something when I leave. So try it once and then you decide.

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Mmmm...roti
By epicurious of Burnaby, BC (507 Reviews)
Submitted Saturday, July 14, 2007 - 10:41pm [Dine in]

I came here with my boyfriend last night after walking up and down Main Street trying to decide what to eat. We finally settled on East is East and I'm sure glad we did. I've driven by many times and have often wondered what goodies came out of here.
I couldn't pass up sitting inside eventhough it is some extra dollars compared to take out. The inside donned carpeted walls, wooden tables and benches and wonderful cushions. However the benches are meant for groups, not couples - so if it's busy, it's probably not the best place to bring a date.
Immediately after we sat, we were served water and a complimentary cup of chai. The chai is great - bursting with ginger and clove flavor.
I have to say, this place is unexpectedly expensive. We shared a double chicken roti and a large shake and the total came to about $25 with tax and tip.
Was it worth the price? The roti tasted really fresh and the flavors were awesome. The shake was the best and you can really tell they don't skimp on ingredients. At $5.50 for a large shake with soy milk and yogurt, it's really not bad.
I would have like to see lower prices, but even at what they are now, I would definitely return.

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Brb management is out for a smoke
By PontusEuxinus of Vancouver (1 Review)
Submitted Sunday, February 17, 2013 - 3:20pm [Dine in]

I used to dig East is East before they moved locations on Main. The food is still good if not a little overpriced. The service at the new location was poor.

I checked out the new location with my girl yesterday. So it's a Saturday, it's busy, but it's not an excuse for horrible service. My name was on the wait list. When I spoke with an employee on the phone they said that while it wasn't a guarantee to get a spot right at our desired time, it would be likely and we would not have to wait long.

We were greeted with a 40 minute wait. After about 25 minutes we were offered a table that was reserved for 8pm. I like chewing my food thoroughly, so that put the feast thing on the back burner. We were seated at around 7:10pm. We had to ask for our menus and had to flag someone down to get our waitress to place an order. The waitress was awkward and could use a communication dynamics course as a part of her repertoire. Maybe she was new. The only time we saw her that night was when we placed the order.

Anyway, no food and it's getting close to 8pm. The party that reserved the table has arrived. We ask to get our food to go. It's 8 and no one is coming by. We flag down a different waitress. The empathy is flowing like a pin hole leak in a hose. We get our food and go.

Anger was soon to erupt like a volcanous zit, as we zip lined over the evening on a tether of disappointment and mediocrity, fashioned in a sweat shop by East is East. Shameful experience. But the food was joocy and went down nicely in the comfort of our home.

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Good food and ambience but they should pay their dancers
By clauzeba of Vancouver (2 Reviews)
Submitted Thursday, January 31, 2013 - 1:53pm [Dine in]

I love coming here for the food and the ambience, of course I enjoy the music and dancers, some are better than others but who cares. What I find very awkward is that the poor dancers have to go around with their baskets asking for their pay while the customers are eating, it's not just unsanitary but shouldn't it be the business owner who pays them? This is not a street performance in Granville Island or a bar where you can just sit with a beer the whole night, this is a restaurant and not a cheap one for sure. I would suggest the business owners to start treating their performers with a little more dignity or have someone at the door charging a cover fee; at least customers can take the decision instead of being taken by surprise in the middle of their meal. The performers could always have a donation box sitting near the stage.

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Exotic dining
By vegan of Vancouver (5 Reviews)
Submitted Wednesday, June 27, 2012 - 10:07pm [Dine in]

I love the atmosphere, decor, ambiance, live music, excellent service and central location. Unfortunately, I found the servings small and the prices exorbitant. $7.50 for a small bowl of soup is in my opinion, totally outrageous. While they call it a large bowl, it's far from it. For that price, the bowls should be twice the size. The tables are impossible to eat on and seating is cumbersome. I had to eat the food on my lap. Even the all you can eat deal for $22 is too expensive. If the prices were lowered by 40%, then it would be reasonable.

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Such Fun
By millar of New Westminster, Vancouver (77 Reviews)
Submitted Friday, August 31, 2007 - 10:40am [Dine in]

A little hole in the wall cafe, but you enter and you feel like you've been transported to India. It's an experience. The perfect place to take visiting teenagers.

The food is good and prices are reasonable.

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Dark and exotic.
By 604girl of Vancouver (26 Reviews)
Submitted Sunday, August 1, 2010 - 2:08pm [Dine in]

Food: I don't really remember what we ordered. I went with a friend that totally loves this place. We went for lunch and ordered an appetizer that is very much like a flaky naan bread with chickpea "dipping" and a double roti combo. It was really nice that for a couple dollars more a single roti could be changed to a double roti, with a different flavour. It came with soup or salad (for the double one, you get to try both). We tried a chicken and lamb one. They were both pretty tasty but it all started to taste the same after a while.

Service: It was amazing. They were attentive and offered to explain the menu a little. We also got a couple samples of the chai tea, it was good but a little too spicy for my liking. The food came quickly and it was still pretty hot. We had 2 servers serving us at a point in time.

Value: Two dishes came to about $30 in total. Portions were large and we were stuffed but $15 each for lunch is just a solid score for me.

Ambiance: It's very special. It's very dark and exotic. When I first walked in, honestly, I was a little scared but my friend recommended it so there were we. The seats are very low so it would be very uncomfortable for ones with long legs to sit for an extended period of time. When the felling of awkwardness and uncertainty subsided, I started to enjoy the ambiance of the place. It was very well decorated with wooden tables and charts. There are wall hangings and neat little displays. It feels like you're in a royal castle/banquet in the ancient times.

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Food surprisingly bland even with the sauces (sweet taramind/spicy)
By semipicky of Vancouver (43 Reviews)
Submitted Thursday, December 20, 2007 - 7:34pm [Dine in]

There's a small eating area inside. You can either rest against the carpet covered walls or sit on a low bench on the other side of the low tables. It's small and intimate and quite dark. The servers had to constantly change the candles.

Eating in, the roti wraps are $10.50 for one, 2 for $13.50. We each had a drink.$5.50 Turkish chill with frozen yogurt (expresso, hazelnut, cinnamon...) It was strong and rich, much better than any starbucks drink.& Himalayan something, (mango). DELICIOUS. it had a sweet frangant smell as well. We each ordered an entree platter (which we shouldn't have because the server told us AFTER the meal that they came with complimentary refills) $15 for small bowl of soup, salad, 1roti, rice, and 2 side dishes.

Overall, the food was REALLY BLAND. All except for the soup was lukewarm to cold...I had the sang paneer (alright, just mushy spinach) and lamb kebab. Friend had eggplant (overpowered by tomato paste) and lamb too. The lamb was alright, but lacked taste. The roti was like a pita, basically everything lacked spice.

I would come back just for the drinks/tea. "Darjeeling masala chai" was DELICIOUS. $3.50 with one complimentary refill.

The server was patient, helpful and answered our questions (there was no one else there at the time either) All until the end of the meal when we paid, she didn't even smile or say thanks! It wasn't even because of how much we tipped because she didn't get a chance to check inside the folder. It was unexpected.

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My culinary home away from home...
By sublime_eater of New Westminster, B.C. (5 Reviews)
Submitted Sunday, November 28, 2010 - 2:50pm [Dine in]

Whenever I'm in the neighbourhood, I always go out of my way to grab a chai to go. Their chai is to die for.

Food:

I would have to say East is East is one of my favourite places I go to whenever I crave middle eastern, curry dishes. Usually I go on an empty stomach so I order the Eastern Plate Feast. You get a large plate with bowls of homemade Dhal lentil soup, two types of rice of your choice (Afghan rice and basmati for me), side salad of mixed greens, beets, parsley and dill vinaigrette, roti, biryani and TWO items from the menu. I have tasted the Organic Lamb Kebab, Organic Chicken Masala, Wild Salmon, Saag Paneer, Afghan Eggplant, Mango Butternut squash (creamy, so delicious) and Alu Gobi- all tender, flavourful, juicy and seasoned well. The added bonus is that the refills are FREE, but to get the refills you can’t share the plate (that’s why I go on an empty stomach, wink wink). I think it’s great value when you get to try various menu items!

I ‘ve also tried the Double Roti Rolls. Great value for 13.50 which is served with side salad and dhal soup. I absolutely love the Chicken Mughal, the Gandhara Blues. They are filled with Afghan Rice, delicious seasoning and meat or vegetarian delights. Go to www.eastiseast.ca to get the full ingredients.

Beverages:
They have a great menu for cold and hot beverages. I’ve had their apple ginger shot (tart and spicey), Nutty Gyspy (pistachio, cinnamon, chocolate, cardamom, with a hint of rosewater smoothie; Ganges Nectar (honeydew, pineapple, lychee, rosewater, cardamom); Himalayan High(Mango, pistachio, rosewater, cardamom). These are some that I’ve tried. I think the portion could be bigger for the price, but they make up for that with the ingredients and flavour. Great cold treat! Once again, I love their chai. Made in house you have your choice of green tea or black which either can be made with soy or milk that day at the Main Street spot. At the West Broadway location, they have added a Rooibos chai to their menu. They really should bring it to the Main resto. Another feature is that if you bring your own take away cup you get a 10% discount AND if you want a refill, the drink is half off!

Ambience:

As for the interior, they really excelled on making this spot feel as though you stepped into another place in time. It has a very organic look. The walls are a textured plaster with Afghan carpets hanging on the wall. Tables and stools/benches are crafted to look like they took a tree, cut off circular discs for the stool seats, thick branches for stool pegs, long pieces of the tree for the table tops, lightly coated with shellac. There are plenty of pillows to add comfort to your visit and more Afghan rugs detailed into the banquettes. The warm palette of creams, browns, burnt red and oranges are reminiscent of my own home. The sensual lighting is perfect for my dining experience.

Service:

The service is fantastic! I’m always greeted when I enter. The staff is very attentive and I always have my water refilled. Whenever I’ve ordered my Eastern Plate, I’m always asked if I want more....OH YEAH! They do take out as well, for those on the go.

Yes, I could be the poster person for this place. I give East is East two major thumbs up!
They are doing something great. I just wish they would open one in New Westminster!

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Love it love it love it!!!
By cmx_baby of Coquitlam (38 Reviews)
Submitted Monday, July 27, 2009 - 8:08am [Dine in]

We live in Langley but every once in a while we make the trek to Vancouver and try to stop here whenever possible!! If we haven't gone here in a long time we start to crave it!!

The chai tea is the most wonderful blend of spices i've ever had. It's very strong and has quite a bite but it's real and unlike any i've ever had.

The smoothies are also great; you have an option of yogurt, ice cream, or soy yogurt / ice cream which I LOVE since i'm a vegetarian & try to consume as much soy as possible. I personally like the ones with Cardamom and Rose Water since they're exotic and hard to find anywhere else. The mango smoothie w/ cardamom & pistachio is to die for!!!

The wraps combos are probably small to some people but being a small vegetarian, one wrap is enough to fill me. The flavours are wonderful, so exotic and bursting wtih flavour. For a normal person, I would definitely definitely recommend going for the 2 wrap combo.

The ambience is very rustic; you can tell there was alot of thought put into making the restaurant. I've never been to Afghan, but the personality of the staff + the ambience definitely makes me want to visit. All in all, i love East is East, so glad we found this little gem on Main, and come back as much as we can!!!

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Not So Great!
By djoe of vancouver (33 Reviews)
Submitted Monday, April 23, 2007 - 10:08pm [Dine in]

I have eaten here a few times, it is not that bad, but it is not consistent.
Tonight the meat was very fatty and the potatoes were hard. I was definitely NOT happy tonight.
Also hate any restaurant that doesn't have a bathroom. What's up with that?
Sorry, won't be back until I am desperate, really hungry and really don't want to cook dinner myself.

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Not sure what happened...
By honey915 of Kitsilano (16 Reviews)
Submitted Saturday, February 3, 2007 - 7:05pm [Dine in]

Decided to try East is East after reading some good reviews. We got to the restaurant, planning on eating in. After arriving, we changed our minds since there weren't really any tables. Everyone was basically eating with a plate in their lap which wasn't too appealing, so we opted on take out. Placed our orders and was told it would take only a couple minutes as everything is pre-made behind the counter in metal caf style containers. They were scrambling around to put 3 of our orders together. 20 minutes later, still no food so we asked if it would take much longer. She told us they "had to find the lids" to our soups that came with our orders. Ok.. Another 15 minutes go by and the food that was ready on the counter was all cold. Finally after 40 minutes she brings out a bag saying something about not enough salad in one container and too much in another. We told her we'd sort it out. Also note, no apology on the 40 minute wait even though all the food was prepped behind the counter.
We leave, upset on the wait, get home and find out an order was wrong and they forgot some of the dips included.
Small portions for what it was worth.
Overall, extremely upset on the whole visit, the food and service. Would NOT go back.

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Great for what it is
By trenzy of Vancouver (36 Reviews)
Submitted Wednesday, January 2, 2008 - 1:51pm [Dine in]

First off, don't go in expecting a real restaurant. This is a nice place for casual food and fantastic drinks. You can choose to stay, or take out, but either way it's a great little meal that makes you feel good you decided on here instead of Mcdonalds, or Quizno's etc.

The service is always with a smile and i wait for my food over a complimentary chai (even refreshing in the hot summer). When I get home with my roti plate, I enjoy a salad and a soup along side that hit all the right notes.

The drinks however, are the star of the meal... i stick with a Mango Lassi or something similar, but my fellow guests have tried and enjoyed a variety of other drinks.

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Yum!
By cheeky604 of Surrey , B.C. (3 Reviews)
Submitted Friday, November 19, 2010 - 4:36pm [Dine in]

I really love East is East when I am craving exotic curry dishes. There atmosphere is always so calming (I guess its because of the incense). I've tried most of their dishes and they are all pretty good. The waitresses are all really nice too :)

I always order the Turkish Delight smoothie, OMG! Its a must!

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So Flavorful!
By NNN of Vancouver (22 Reviews)
Submitted Sunday, July 18, 2010 - 2:42pm [Dine in]

I've been to this place twice, and I enjoyed the experience both times.

The food is delicious. The flavor just burst in your mouth.
Lots of vegetarian options, but I didn't miss the meat at all because the spices are used perfectly.

Service is not too consistent, but they serve with a good heart.
If you are lucky, they might give you some delicious samples of appetizers and a cup of chai.

As previously mentioned by the other reviewers, the portions are tiny.

Ambiance is very exotic, and quite dark.
The seats are not the most comfortable ones, but I'm ok with it.
They sometimes have live music, and it makes you feel like you are in a foreign country.

Will come back again.

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If you can get immersed into the theme then you'll love it because the food is pretty good
By purpleshiraz of Vancouver (9 Reviews)
Submitted Wednesday, May 12, 2010 - 10:30pm [Dine in]

Dang.. for $18 it's basically all you can eat curries and stews. A Great selection of tasty options. I can imagine this cavern like room getting packed and busy on weekends and nights. If you can handle the odd seating arrangement then you'll be good to go.

Basically the menu has rice bowl as the simpler option. If you're in for a real meal and treat.. get the platter where you initially get to choose 3 different dishes and then get to refill your platter as many times as you'd like. You even get to refill it with new items you had not ordered originally. That's greatvalue to me and the food is superb.

I don't think I'd enjoy the experience if it was packed. It's pretty claustorphobic in there and the them is a bit rich for me.. but again food is A+ and so is price.

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Please sir, can I have some more? ..Really? I can!?
By El JamesO of Vancouver (east) (8 Reviews)
Submitted Thursday, April 1, 2010 - 9:12pm [Dine in]

I liked this place cause it is not like your average sit in a booth and and eat your food place. I sat at a low table, on a low seat. Kind of interesting. I ordered Masala and some other stuff that I can't remember. You get to order about 3 things off the menu and they put it all on a plate for you. It comes with complimentary chai tea while you wait. It's $17 for that. But, the best part is, when you are done your food, someone comes and asks if you would like more!!! SWEEET! So, they will refill your plate at no extra charge! Good stuff! Awesome service too. And live Middle Eastern music as well. So, I think you should go.

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I go for the ambiance
By poulet of Vancouver (22 Reviews)
Submitted Tuesday, March 31, 2009 - 12:57pm [Dine in]

I find the drink prices a fair value because I like to have their chai and gulaab jamun. So at under $10, I can have a snack/dessert at this unique hole-in-the-wall and sit as long as my bottom can take it. It's a reasonable price to be transported to into a different place full of rugs and wood, and very attentive and relaxed service.

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