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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: East Side
  • 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 21 - 38 of 38 Reviews FoundSort: Useful | Helpful | Reviews | Date
Yum!
By cheeky604 of Surrey , B.C. (3 Reviews)
Submitted Friday, November 19, 2010 - 5:36pm [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 - 3:42pm [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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Please sir, can I have some more? ..Really? I can!?
By El JamesO of Vancouver (east) (9 Reviews)
Submitted Thursday, April 1, 2010 - 10:12pm [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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Bland, Bland, Bland
By eastindian of Vancouver (8 Reviews)
Submitted Monday, February 23, 2009 - 12:25pm [Dine in]

I'm east indian, and I visited this restaurant as part of a group celebration. First off, the staff were friendly, laid-back and generally attentive. The ambiance created is good to look at given that the restaurant is a hole in the wall with poor ventelation (hence don't wear a sweater when you go or you will roast). It is funny what people pay for. You sit in uncomfortable tree seats with really no place except your lap to hold your thali (plate) of food, i.e. don't stay too long. The food itself is fresh but very very very bland. I tried the chicken masala (decent but bland) and the lamb kebab (no taste at all, and this was not a kebab, but rather a curry). The food was served lukewarm. They may be making a bit less on margins by using some organic ingredients, but they sure make up for it on what must be a low low overhead, again, it is a hole in the wall. The shakes are pretty good, had the Himilian High, that was prob the best part of the evening, but it was overpriced at $7, no refills on those. The restaurant was confusing too - some Afgan food, some East Indian food, Spanish Flamenco entertainment, and a buddha on the stage - the kitchen staff are from Afganasthan, but it's like they couldn't figure out which ethnic theme to go with. Would I go again? No, food is not decent enough, bland, bland, bland. Decent food doesn't need to be hot or spicy, but it should certainly be tasty.

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Glad I tried it
By BananaBread of Port Coquitlam (22 Reviews)
Submitted Wednesday, June 13, 2007 - 11:30pm [Dine in]

A co-worker and I were looking for something different for lunch and we found it. Decor really added to the experience and for us (two shorter asian women), sitting on a low bench whilst eating our delicious roti wraps w/soup & salad was easy to do but I can't see my 6'3 husband being comfortable.

Service was a bit slow even though there were only 3 others eating in. NOTE: Check your bill. Was charged for drinks we didn't have. Speaking of drinks the chai packed punch! Was crashing from my morning caffine kick but a couple sips of the complimentary tasting cup of spiciness I was recharged for 2 days.

Price was on the higher side but for something other than lousy food court food worth a try if you haven't yet.

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A local gem
By peppe of Burnaby (32 Reviews)
Submitted Saturday, January 27, 2007 - 7:28pm [Dine in]

My wife and I and our baby have been going to this restaurant every 2 weeks for the past couple of months and the service has always been excellent. One time, we told the server that we find the rolls to be much smaller than the usual and we didn't feel full at all after eating, and to our surprise they offered to give us each another order of the double roll for free. The manager asked us for feedback about the size the next time we went, and told us that they're working on keeping the sizes consistent. We almost always order the roti rolls there and all varieties are very delicious. We find that sometimes the spicy roll (Bombay Masala) is more spicy than other times we go, but they're working on the consistency. One downside to this restaurant is that there is no bathroom facililities except going around to the back, even for their staff. They're next to the liquor store so there's always panhandlers next to them which is another concern. Parking is limited out on Main and we always end up parking on Quebec street in the residential areas. Despite these limitations, the staff are eager to provide a great service experience and the food is great. They also use all organic ingredients as well. We also love their chai tea, they usually offer a sample for everyone. The yogurt lassie were also great and delicious. The price is reasonable for organic and the rolls are filling. We will continue to go back for as long as they keep this up.

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Great food and ambiance!
By gap87 of Vancouver (14 Reviews)
Submitted Thursday, May 6, 2010 - 7:39pm [Dine in]

This was my second time to East is East, and i find the food is very yummy. I had the platter feast with chicken masala and the saag paneer. Both were very tasty. For $16.50, the portion size is pretty filling. I really like the ambiance, very traditional middle eastern decor with the persian rugs. I do need to get used to the low sitting position of the wooden crafted chairs and table. It could get uncomfortable after an hour or so.

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Don't go for the food
By HeartOfSilver of Surrey (16 Reviews)
Submitted Monday, January 18, 2010 - 11:49am [Dine in]

I was so dissapointed! I decided to do takeout (though the inner part of the restaurant was gorgeous and tempted me), and this place is right near the knitting shop I was taking lessons at.

The menu sounded great, but the tiny portion size and the price nearly made me take the bus all the way back to ask for a refund. Absolutely ridiculous. The amount of rice in the wraps as opposed to the meat was astounding, and I asked for double the salad instead of soup, and was given a small crumpled paper wrapper with a tiny amount of spinach inside.

I do not suggest this restaurant at all.

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I go for the ambiance
By poulet of Vancouver (22 Reviews)
Submitted Tuesday, March 31, 2009 - 1:57pm [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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Great...!
By noshingallday of Quilchena, Vancouver (27 Reviews)
Submitted Friday, October 10, 2008 - 5:55pm [Dine in]

I read about the reviews and so I knew about the refills beforehand (we asked about them anyway).

We were served samples of all three types of chai that they had which were amazing!

I had a chance to try many of the dishes and if there is one thing you can't miss out on, it's the Mango Butter Squash. It is divine and hits all the right notes.

When I go back, however, I'll probably skip out on the Baked Eggplant. Eggplant tends to absorb oil very easily and I found this dish a little too greasy for my tastes.

Ambiance is lovely and they have a little woman who washes dishes in the back (on your way to the washroom).

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little food; less service
By harihari of Vancouver (11 Reviews)
Submitted Thursday, April 9, 2009 - 2:34pm [Dine in]

A friend recommended this based on her experiences with the other East Is East. I'll stick to the facts:

a) the waitress took far more time on her cellphone, texting, than she did in helping us.
b) We ordered two mains and an appetiser. The mains were a joke: about four mouthfuls each for $13 each. At the end of my $20 meal, I was starving. Thank God McDonalds is just up the street.
c) Chai was unavailable because "we don't make it ourselves." Black tea-- water + teabag-- was also unavailable. When I pointed out how ridiculous this was, black tea (Twinnings tea bag) came. The waitress' cell-phone, however, was certainly available to her.
d) The ridiculous tables mean you cannot sit facing each other-- can you say "neck cramps"?
e) The food was...twice the price you'd pay in Surrey for Indian food, half the quantity, and about equally tasty.
f) In India, the lowliest chai-vallah cooking with charcoal on the street can produce a magnificently spicy and thick glass of black or milky chai. This restaurant barely managed to throw a teabag into a cup of water.

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Exotic dining
By vegan of Vancouver (5 Reviews)
Submitted Wednesday, June 27, 2012 - 11:07pm [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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Incredible Service and Delicious Food
By Burnbaby of Metrotown, Burnaby (4 Reviews)
Submitted Sunday, June 6, 2010 - 4:44pm [Dine in]

My husband and I decided to forego our usual lunch choices and try something different, so we headed to Main Street, parked south (no meters!) and walked north perusing menus when posted and whether or not places were busy. It being a rainy Sunday, most places were pretty hopping, but nothing appealed to us food-wise. When we walked past East is East a very pleasant young woman offered us samples - eggplant Roti rolls, grilled stuffed Roti, mango/pistachio and coffee/chocolate smoothies - and we were instantly hooked by the amazingly delicious food. I don't know how any hungry person could walk past this place after sampling some of their dishes. We took a bit of time over the menu choices, and finally opted for sharing a platter, as we were both pretty full from all those samples! And about those samples - they just kept bringing us more and more. The two dishes we chose for our platter were coconut lime salmon and saag paneer, but over the course of our meal our server also brought us a dish of chicken masala and lamb, as well as chai, and we had to turn down additional food 'cause we were stuffed.

If you're not a huge eater, opt for sharing, which brings the $17 cost of the platter to a more than reasonable lunch choice. Next time we're going for the double Roti (I've GOT to have that eggplant dish again) which includes salad and rice as well as two Roti rolls for $13 or so.

A lovely atmosphere, exceptionally welcoming (and generous) servers, and a marvelous selection of outstandingly flavourful food make this a solid choice. Highly recommended.

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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 - 11:30pm [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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Meh
By ieatfood of Vancouver (east) (1 Review)
Submitted Thursday, April 29, 2010 - 9:50am [Dine in]

The only thing going for this restaurant is its ambiance. We ordered aloo gobi and it came with no aloos (potatoes). We also ordered palak paneer and it came with no paneer (cheese). They're pretty simple dishes to make (I've made them before). For paying $20, the portions are very small. I probably won't go back.

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Great friday night
By cityinthepark of burnaby (4 Reviews)
Submitted Thursday, October 22, 2009 - 2:59pm [Dine in]

I went there last Friday night and was plesantly surprised. We went around 7pm and had no problem getting a table. The ambiance was very warm and inviting with the candlelight lighting and rugs on the walls. We sat at a very low table which was interetesting because we were eating at the same table as some other customers. That night they had an amazing trio playing live music for us. My friend and I shared two eastern plates which were delicious and filling. These plates come with soup, roti, salad, rice and two sides. We had lamb kebab, chicken masala, mangobutternut squash and cauliflower. YUM! I will be coming back for sure....

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Tasty Eats and Exotic Ambiance - A dining experience
By aharrison of Vancouver (3 Reviews)
Submitted Friday, May 15, 2009 - 11:55pm [Dine in]

Imagine you are a hungry and weary merchant of a spice caravan that is trekking across Persia into Afghanistan with a pack train of camels.

You arrive at the oasis and enter a long canvas hut where the walls are covered in lush persian rugs, low tables and comfy piles of cushions line the walls, several musicians play a tabla and sitar in the corner and in the dim light a dancer moving to the rythyms of the music.

As you settle among the pillows and take it all in, the hostess brings you a warm cup of complimentary chai and a glass of water.

She offers you a selection of roti - chicken, lamb, eggplant and more, all cooked in exotic spice blends that set your taste buds tingling when you bite into them.

This is East is East on Main St.

Delicious roti for $10 comes with lentil soup and a mixed herb salad. If you are really hungry dinner plates come with rice, 2 choices of meat/veggie dishes, salad and lentils and are bottomless.

The milkshakes, especially Turkish Chill and Nutty Gypsy are nothing short of heavenly.

Unforgettable atmosphere for a dine-in experience and tasty 'fast food' for a takeout option.

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goin downhill....
By janfada of north vancouver (1 Review)
Submitted Monday, August 10, 2009 - 9:48am [Dine in]

what happened to the live band on fridays nights??? i went a few times just to enjoy the middle eastern band that plays on fridays, but i went this friday and was told they wont be playing anymore , im quite dissapointed. and to be frank its not really worth the late night stomach problems caused by the food to go there anymore.

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