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3
  • Food3.5
  • Service3
  • Value3.5
  • Ambiance3.5
  • Reviews34

Jolly's Indian Bistro

2928 W 4th
Vancouver, BC V6K1R1
Tel: (604) 730-6929
Neighbourhood: Kitsilano

Reviews

Displaying 1 - 20 of 34 Reviews FoundSort: Useful | Helpful | Reviews | Date
Great food, poor service
By mbuhler of Surrey B C (1 Review)
Submitted Monday, December 17, 2012 - 3:17pm [Dine in]

I know these guys have been busy with the Groupon deal, but I had an awful experience this past Sunday, Dec 16. Got there around 530, half hour wait we were told. No big deal, we hung out at the coffee shop down the road waiting for a call. No call after about 45 minutes, so we walk back to see two or three set tables, with the waitress telling us "we were just about to call you". Fair enough.

So then we sat for over an hour before our order was taken. The couple that was seated minutes before us was halfway through their meal before we had our order taken. The gentleman eating alone that sat down 10 minutes after us had his order taken first, then was almost done his meal before we even got our appetizer. All in all, it was a 2.5 hour experience, hardly worth it for the small portions even with the Groupon. I normally would never stiff a waitress on a tip if there was some problem with the menu, food, whatever, but for the first time in my life I didn't leave a tip because it was solely the problem of the waitresses obviously forgetting about us (which is weird because there's only like 12 tables in there) and then doing their best to avoid eye contact and our attempts to wave them down. Not even a sorry afterwards, once everything was finally served.

Food was great, but no way was it worth the dine-in experience.

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Good prices, nice place, hit or miss food.
By pickyjerk of kitsilano vancouver (67 Reviews)
Submitted Thursday, January 24, 2008 - 6:18pm [Dine in]

I like Jolly's. The prices are good, the servings are generous, and whatever you order comes as a full meal including naan, rice, a salad.

Sometimes I feel like they over-season their curries to the point that all you can taste is one spice they went crazy with. Not a very balanced flavour. The naan is crunchy too, if you like that, I prefer it to be less so.

I will return for the good prices, decent food, and the nice ambiance.

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Very average experience.
By foodfanatic of South Vancouver (286 Reviews)
Submitted Friday, December 1, 2006 - 1:13am [Dine in]

Quite disappointing actually. Been meaning to drop by for a while now, ever since it came highly recommended by a Kits resident I met outside of East is East one cold winter night when we were both waiting for our take-out drink orders almost a yr ago.

Upon entering, I had a feeling that it might turn out to be dumbed-down flavours catered to the not-as-adventurous western tongue. My fear of such was confirmed with the uneventful dinner. The butter chicken (just over $10 post-tax) was "eh" while the chicken was bordering dry, the sauce was very nearly devoid of flavours. The portion isn't great, just that the bread it comes w/is impressive in portion & the only memorable part of dinner. The veggie thali ($13.95) and the beef thali @$15.xx) are a part of the menu now, if it wasn't b4. The portions for the thali doesn't shout value--it's about standard. The papadum it comes w/ has a nice blend of crunch & potato-y softness to it, but not enough spice. Most of the flavours come from the mango dressing that's used to prettily plate the order. The drinks are poorly made. The chai came luke warm w/ lots of powder left undesolved. The ginger lemonade (lemony ginger ale soda with some ginger powder and... salt?) tasted mainly of salted 7-up to me.

There was a noticeable wait for the entrees when there were few (3 tables) to serve.

The food had more flavour than, say, Chutney Villa, but definitely not worth returning for though I'd have no reason to avoid it either.

The service was alright. Just a single young student waitressing. She got the job done with nothing extra, and nothing noticeably lacking.

I was a little worried about the linen used for the table cloth. There were still bits of crumbs and black-somethings (herb from previous servings of...?). I'd have preferred bared, but cleaned tables over questionable tablecloth covers. I guess it's too much to expect them to shake them out or actually change them with every seating.

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Best Indian I've had in Vancouver
By victorianaylor of Vancouver (1 Review)
Submitted Sunday, January 27, 2013 - 7:08pm [Take-out]

Being from Birmingham, England, I know my curries and this is the best I've had in Vancouver so far. The main dishes are very good, we haven't had a bad one yet. There's also a good variety of vegetarian mains which are pretty delicious. Portion sizes are also great, we only need one main between the two of us! We'll definitely be revising this little gem.

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Great Discovery
By PointGreyGirl of Vancouver (5 Reviews)
Submitted Sunday, December 9, 2012 - 2:56am [Dine in]

Tried Jolly's because of a Groupon deal and we were not disappointed. The place gets really crowded as there's limited seating. Put your name down and they will call your cell once your table is ready. We had the butter chicken and the okra dish. Great presentation, great taste, great service! This is a real neighbourhood gem! Their naan bread is to die for! Garlic flavoured and amazingly tasty!

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Lovely food in one of the most beautiful restaurants in Vancouver
By kawaii of Vancouver (51 Reviews)
Submitted Tuesday, November 2, 2010 - 12:30pm [Dine in]

So I’ll rate this restaurant according to the standard that most other Indian restaurants are at in Vancouver. I have had amazing Indian food in people’s home, but I have yet to see that replicated in any restaurant. That being said, I thought Jolly’s had some of the better Indian restaurant food in Vancouver. Some of the sauces could be overly-sweet, but all in all, I enjoyed the meal. The service was also good.

What will definitely bring me back is the beautiful room and lovely style.The colors were gorgeous, I loved the style of sari-aprons the waitresses wore…just had a beautiful evening. The music could be irritating though, a bit repetitious. With the right music, we could have stayed there all night and just soaked in the atmosphere.

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Tempest in a Teapot
By millar of New Westminster, Vancouver (77 Reviews)
Submitted Saturday, October 9, 2010 - 8:56am [Dine in]

Note They have moved up a block. The address is 2928 W.4th.

Cute Indian restaurant in Kits. An Arabian nights decor. We had a bit of a wait for a table so we sat at the bar. There was no bartender, but the waitress gave us water and an appetizer of chick peas on the house, which was nice. No one asked us if we would like a drink. I thought that's where the profit is for most restaurants. Now when half of every couple is not drinking because they're driving you'd think you would ask the others in the party if they would like one. Customers won't demand a drink -- it's not classy. So we drank our water and waited for our table.

Finally seated, the menu is not extensive and some basic Indian dishes are missing such as Beef Vindaloo and Tandoori chicken. They have a Tandoori oven because they make great naan bread. So throw a few chickens in there guys.

We ordered the Lamb Rogenjosh and the Lamb Biryani. Both were very good. Portions larger than expected.
Served with Basmati rice, naan bread and Grandma's salad. You know the one, lettuce,tomato,cucumber with a vinegar and sugar dressing. Odd but not unpleasant.

Then came the nonsense with the tea. I ordered a chai tea. Hubby did not want tea. I am expecting a cup of tea. The waitress brings me a cup and a big pot of chai tea. There is way more tea than I can possibly drink. So now hubby will have a cup and I request another cup from the waitress. She then tells me OK but they will now charge me for TWO chai teas. I don't get it. They have already charged me for the pot of tea. It is not going to be served to anyone else in the restaurant. If I don't drink it, it will be thrown out. But if I now share it you are going to charge me double. What if there were four of us and I chose to share my pot of tea would you charge me four times. If we ordered a dessert to share would you charge me twice for one dessert. Am I being petty about this?

We didn't feel like having an argument and spoiling the evening so we shared and paid for two teas, but this sort of thing is death to a restaurant. There are a lot of restaurants in Vancouver, and with the recession and the HST increasing prices people are choosy about where they go. The food was an A but because of the Tea nonsense we probably won't go back.

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Indian-themed food
By foodiephil of Richmond (65 Reviews)
Submitted Thursday, February 15, 2007 - 11:09am [Dine in]

Jolly's has the right to serve whatever food it wants... as long as the food is clean, cooked properly, and there is a demand for it.

But.

I agree with other posts on here that this is food made for Kits' non-South Asian, nouveau-riche populace who live under the pretense that trying "ethnic" food is part of an "open-minded", "holistic" approach to good living which includes mandatory detox regimens every week and hot yoga. It's very fitting that Jolly's is parked near the Naam.

And hey... if that works for Jolly's, then great. It's not really for me, however.

I have something against getting served green-lettuce salad with carrots and salad dressing with my pakoras. If I want Cdn-style "white-bre(a)d" food, I will go to a Cdn-style "white-bre(a)d" restaurant (or make it at home!). The appies were ok... but not really flavourful.

The lamb tasted pretty good, but the curry was really, really mild. More salad on the plate, white basmati rice (which is good), and a fresh naan that would have been very good if it had been cooked (it was still raw and gooey inside... my friend's naan looked really good, however.)

The ambience was ok.

I won't return.

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This is not Indian
By bobo of vancouver (47 Reviews)
Submitted Monday, June 19, 2006 - 2:45am [Dine in]

Simply put, this place serves white man's Indian food. The food was bland and totally tasteless. To add some kick to my food, I asked the waitress if there's any hot chutney. She brought me chilli powder. While the chilli powder did add some kick, it did not blend well with the flavours that were weak to begin with. The mango lassi was also very watery and bland. This is not Indian.

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Fantastic food, great service, super ambiance...
By ksuleman of Yaletown (12 Reviews)
Submitted Thursday, December 8, 2011 - 2:03pm [Dine in]

My wife and I and our 5 yr old son went to Jolly's on Saturday Dec 3, 2011. The place was almost full, we got a nice small table, and got served pretty quickly. Compared to Indian restaurants, this was definitely a notch above, high ceilings, white table cloth and cloth napkins. My wife and I ordered two platters - the meat thali and the vegetarian thali so that we can try the different items on the menu. We also ordered the crisply prawns for our son. Well, the food is plenty full, the thalis come with a drink, the main dishes, and a desert. Our prawns were cooked just right, and they were wonderful with the coconut. ALL (and I mean ALL) the dishes in our thalis were superb!! I am an Indian, and I go to a lot of restaurants generally, we love Indian food. The dishes on our thalis were out of this world - very flavorful yet not too spicy hot. The nans were hot and soft with no greasy residue - just perfect. Our son was able to eat the butter chicken and the prawns as they were not spicy, but again very flavorful. Ofcourse, we could not finish all the food so they packed it all for us to take home. The service was excellent, our server was very attentive even though the restaurant was almost full when we arrived. We were the last to leave and chatted with the friendly owner for a bit, we complemented him on his stylish restaurant and the absolutely wonderful food. Clearly, we will be going back to this restaurant often.

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A Solid Reliable and Tasty Place-Not Expensive
By King_of_Kitsilano of My Beautiful Kitsilano (47 Reviews)
Submitted Tuesday, November 22, 2005 - 7:19pm [Dine in]

Jolly's is quite popular with Kitsilano residents many of whom walk there.
It's a bit chaotic at times/a small operation that sometimes runs out out of various items but the food is very well done the staff friendly and efficient.
I quite disagree with the description of Jolly's as 'having a European flair'-its an Indian restaurant run by a talented and charming Indian-100% Indian flavours/experience.

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Pretty good Indian food in Kits
By jcont of Kitsilano, Vancouver (26 Reviews)
Submitted Thursday, August 18, 2011 - 2:33pm [Dine in]

I've been to Jolly's a number of times and the food is consistently good. Note that the portion size is relatively small, so you might need to order an appetizer or dessert if you're used to eating Milestone's-sized portions. The lassi's are small but tasty. However, stay away from the $5 "natural fruit smoothie". For $5 you will get a small glass of blended frozen fruit and juice with large chunks of ice - hardly worth the price.

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YUM!
By nomvula of Kitsilano (10 Reviews)
Submitted Sunday, January 10, 2010 - 10:35am [Dine in]

Have been going to Jolly's for years now! Food is delicious - my favourite is the butter chicken. Their naan bread is also to die for! Have tried lots of other menu items and have never been disappointed. Lots of vegetarian options too. A while ago they moved into a newer location just a block down in Kits and prices went up a bit, but they are not astronomical. Prices are generally what you would get at a similar restaurant - best value is their daily special which includes beer.

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New Location, Great Food
By maelstrom of West End (10 Reviews)
Submitted Saturday, September 5, 2009 - 6:45pm [Dine in]

I had noticed that Jolly’s Bistro had recently moved to a new, bigger location and as I had never checked out the previous location, I figured that the fact that had moved to bigger space had to be a good sign and so I dropped by for dinner last Thursday. I have to say that this was one the best Indian meals I had ever had. My wife and I tried three dishes and all were very enjoyable and deftly spiced. The butter chicken featured nice size pieces of chicken and the sauce, while thick, wasn’t too heavy and had a slight tomato base that gave the dish a hint of tanginess. A zucchini dish (I can’t recall the specific name) was quite inventive and marked a nice gourmet treatment of the ingredients. I suspect you’d be hard pressed to find it elsewhere. Our bryani was amazing and featured a number of unique, complimentary flavours (mint, cardamom, nuts) not typically found in most versions of the dish. A tasty mango lassi concluded a meal and was neither salty nor sweet, as one or the other is typically the case, but rather the lush flavour of the fresh mango was allowed to stand on its own. Great food here. This isn’t your typical Indian restaurant. We found the service to be decent and the space is decorated to give a warm, inviting feel.

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A Kits gem!
By monimoni of Vancouver (1 Review)
Submitted Sunday, June 24, 2012 - 8:13am [Dine in]

Jolly's is one of my favorite spots in Kits. There are some real tummy pleasers on the appetizer menu, including the pakoras (served on a bed of chanah masala) and stuffed naan (served with a perfectly spiced dhal)! The menu is a great for sharing -- pick your favorites and pass them around the table, or try the Thali platter, which is big enough for two.

The bistro is small, so keep that in mind. If you don't want to wait, show up early (6pm) or later (8pm). OR, if there's a wait, ask to put your name on the menu, give them your cell number, then grab a drink at the Pub down the street :) Problem solved!

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Gotta love that Rogenjosh.
By pokki of Kitsilano, Vacouver (1 Review)
Submitted Wednesday, November 17, 2010 - 8:52pm [Dine in]

Visited Jolly's for the first time with a friend last Wednesday. We were greeted&seated promptly. There were two servers on, both of whom working together for the whole restaurant. I thought this might make things confusing, but everything went smoothly. Both girls were super cheerful and eager to answer our questions. Water glasses never dry. A definite A for the service.

Now on to what's really important here, the food. We both ordered and shared lamb dishes, one being a Rogenjosh that came highly recommended and the other a kabob (minus the stick!). Both were delightful, but my real motivation for writing up a review was to gush over how much I enjoyed that Rogenjosh. It was spiced to perfection, especially for an Indian-cuisine newbie like myself. The Naan, absolutely beautiful.

We both left extremely satisfied. I'll certainly be making a return visit.

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Still good but not quite what it used to be
By blaisfam of Kitsilano (4 Reviews)
Submitted Friday, May 21, 2010 - 6:03pm [Dine in]

We have been ordering from Jolly's for years. Still pretty good but since moving to their new location, portions have become less reliable for take out. Also, there is quite a bit of variability in the same entree from time to time; this didn't use to bother us but the last time we ordered, our favorites just weren't good enough for the price that we now pay since the prices were raised. We will give it another shot but have been dissappointed that last few visits.

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Balanced & Tasty
By knowsbbq of Vancouver (3 Reviews)
Submitted Sunday, September 6, 2009 - 2:08pm [Dine in]

My wife and I visited Jolly's for dinner two Saturdays in a row and liked it well each time. The Indian crepe tapas, tandoori, butter chicken and zucchini-paneer selections all came together nicely and surprised us with subtle spices and rich textures. You will find consistent use of a light mango sauce and fresh salad sides.

The naan is lighter than it looks and the garlic shreds make for a sharp flavour. The chai tea pot is another simple but satisfying winner, we went through two pots of this rich blend the first time with free refills.

The service was fine but I can see how things can slow down when full. Our waitress had to leave the premise to get change for a $20, we weren't sure why she left and came back until she explained. Jolly prepped our table and also delivered our tandorri plate to explain that he substituted sliced breast for the legs and added the mango salad mix as a bed.

Overall a good alternate to Rangoli's and recommend to go early as there are not a lot of tables for the space.

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Great Value
By MsDiva of Victoria BC Canada (6 Reviews)
Submitted Tuesday, November 4, 2008 - 2:18pm [Dine in]

The prices here are really decent and I think the butter chicken is delicious. I discovered Jolly's when he was starting out and his success has been overwhelming, hence the lineups. I heard he might be moving to a larger place, and hiring more staff. That would be great, because I think his cooking is terrific.

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Great value for thali (sp?)
By indianlover of Vancouver (8 Reviews)
Submitted Saturday, March 22, 2008 - 7:52pm [Dine in]

Large portions, starter, full thali with mutlple curries, drink all for an affordable price. Anywhere else would order dishes and share but always go for the thali here. Nothing special food wise but solid and tasty. Recommended for value.

How can 3's make a 4 rating? There is no value rating (which is stupid, dinehere should add this because there is a difference when you pay 5x as much you expect more so having value would really help. Hopefully someone from this review site will add this).

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