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3.5
  • Food3.5
  • Service4
  • Value2.5
  • Ambiance3
  • Reviews12

Spice Islands Indonesian Restaurant

3592 West 41st Ave
Vancouver, BC V6N3E6
Tel: (604) 266-7355
Neighbourhood: Dunbar
  • Cuisine: Asian, Indonesian, Seafood
  • Price: $$ ($15 - $30)
  • Reservations: Accepted
  • Hours: Mon - Sat: 4:30PM - 10PM, Sun: Closed
  • Spice Islands serves authentic Indonesian cuisine in a fine dining setting.

Reviews

Displaying 1 - 12 of 12 Reviews FoundSort: Useful | Helpful | Reviews | Date
Probably the best indonesian restaurant in town
By jennko of Vancouver (86 Reviews)
Submitted Friday, April 17, 2009 - 10:47pm [Dine in]

I've been here twice before a couple of months ago. This restaurant to me is not too authentic as it caters more to canadian taste, it's not as strong flavored and not as spicy. The ambiance is definitely better than any other indonesian restaurant in town, at least it's clean and more of a fine dining feel. The service is excellent, the man who served us was very polite and attentive to our food and drinks. I would definitely come back here in the future and definitely bring some friends as well.

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The best Indonesian restaurant in town
By pkwok of Shaughnessy, Vancouver (123 Reviews)
Submitted Sunday, March 9, 2008 - 3:47pm [Dine in]

This is a little gem that very few of my friends know about. It is hidden away in a rather inconspicuous small commercial space near Dunbar & 41st. The decor is upscale and rather westernized, the best among the Indonesian or Southeast Asian restaurants I have been to. Though not particularly outstanding, it does create a relaxing atmosphere, conducive to the enjoyment of food and conversation. Service is top notch, with the waiter extremely courteous, attentive, and patient in explaining the dishes to us in a soothing tone. Every dish is delicious, with no disappointments at all. Prices are reasonable for what you get. Highly recommended.

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This Place is a Gem!
By King_of_Kitsilano of My Beautiful Kitsilano (47 Reviews)
Submitted Wednesday, April 2, 2008 - 10:20am [Dine in]

I've long loved Indonesian food and am thrilled that this wonderful little place is operating on the West Side of the city.

Note-the entrance is *very* understated so it's easy to miss.

The Roti was flaky and delicious a bit of a darker flavour to the Roti and a delicious dipping sauce with prominent coconut flavour balancing the curry.

Mango Salad was the highlight the dressing with it's lashings of fish sauce was quite unlike anything I've ever had the Chef has a touch and imagination quite sublime.

The Green Bean dish managed to bring out the freshness in the beans and the delicious Trasi flavoured them perfectly, Coconut rice is a wonderful accompaniment.

Was happy to see a good crowd with a number of walk ups on a Tuesday evening-locals know a good thing.

Service was just as I like it, friendly, erudite and low key.

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Update
By wilbc of East Van (22 Reviews)
Submitted Wednesday, September 24, 2008 - 7:51pm [Dine in]

When this excellent Indonesian restaurant opened up a few years ago in an obscure location almost as far west as you can go on the west side I privately questioned how long they would be in business. Well it appears that if you have great food and great service you can make it anywhere because this restaurant continues to thrive and is still an absolute favorite of mine.

I definitely have my favorite dishes but when I try new things I've never been disappointed. In addition this restaurant may have the best waiter in Vancouver, his service is understated, professional, attentive and very friendly. Top marks for the service.

If you would like to try something a bit different in the Vancouver restaurant universe give Spice Islands a chance.

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Best food in the city
By mccoy of Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows (2 Reviews)
Submitted Sunday, July 11, 2010 - 9:39pm [Dine in]

My family and I have eaten here on several occasions. Each meal and experience has been outstanding. The menu is continually changing as the chef only prepares food that is in season and fresh. The beef rendang is to die for as is the noodle dish (don't remember what it is called. I would eat there more often but it is a bit pricey so we only go for special occasions. Parking is a bit difficult. Some reviews didn't like the ambiance, but I find it clean and classy.

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Twas good experience
By Lys of Burnaby (4 Reviews)
Submitted Monday, April 21, 2008 - 11:08pm [Dine in]

We were just driving looking for someplace to eat when I caught the sign saying Indonesian restaurant. I thought why not - I haven't had Indo food in years anyways. Went in, ambiance was pretty disappointing. I was hoping to see something more Indo culture-ish. It looked very.. standard-white-table-cloth restaurant. Service was great - very attentive, friendly. Food was yummy! Although still can't compare it to home, the taste was close enough. Spice level was spot on too. I loved the sambal terasi. We tried the gado-gado, nasi kuning with sayur lodeh, and pisang goreng for dessert. Everything was nice. Price was a bit high.. but understandable for that area. Overall it was a pleasant dinner :) Will definitely go back for special occasions.

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A hidden gem
By EandE of Richmond (9 Reviews)
Submitted Sunday, October 1, 2006 - 6:00pm [Dine in]

A well hidden restaurant in Kerrisdale. We decided to go after listening to a review on the radio. Food is very good, we had a spicy beef and a variety curry chicken (menu said that one can only taste that in Indonesia...not sure about whether this is true but the taste is quite rich and unique). We had a tropical fruit shaved ice, it's original, very refreshing after a spicy meal. The only drwback is that the dessert does not have much fruit.

There's also a dude doing solo guitar and beatles song (quite a strange combination with indonesia but it's enjoyable).

Overall, the restaurant is a gem and the dishes are extremely well prepared. For those who enjoy the south asian spices, this is an excellen choice.

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Great Food
By twcjen of Vancouver (15 Reviews)
Submitted Tuesday, April 29, 2008 - 9:20am [Dine in]

Great food, their roti is awesome, their rice is cooked with coconut milk so its very filling but tasty. Small restaurant, so thier maybe a wait and difficult to find parking spaces. The ambience is great, the service is great and the food is great. I would recommend this restaurant. Authentic food

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Top Quality Indonesian
By thill01 of North Vancouver (18 Reviews)
Submitted Monday, March 31, 2008 - 9:34am [Dine in]

I agree that this is a hidden gem. It has almost no street presence but once inside it has a pleasant and understated atmosphere. We had the Beef Rendang which was amazing, tender and great depth of flavour with a good "kick" to it. Also had the Gulai Udang prawns which were cooked perfectly and served in a very light curry sauce that did not overpower them. The Nasi Goring was also excelent. The service was efficient but never pushy. My only complaint is that it seemed that they forgot to turn the heat on, so it was a bit on the cold side. All in all though, a pleasant experience with top notch food. I will definitely be back.

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indonesian?
By robertus of vancouver (2 Reviews)
Submitted Tuesday, April 3, 2012 - 2:31pm [Dine in]

I understand that a relatively new taste needs some adjustment in north America, but unfortunately Spice Island has taken this idea a few steps too far.

The "rijsttafel" has absolutely no resemblance to the Javanese origin which is a table laden with a special variety of dishes. The tastes are not bad, but not Indonesian. The gado gado was not a gado gado at all. The rendang was good, but why so stingy?

The spiced rice should have been the neutral white rice that would support the tastes of the side dishes.

Luckily the sate was grilled, but the sauce had just a weak resemblance to the taste it should be. Always an indication for the rest to come.

I am familiar with the pretenses of Vancouver restaurants and always very suspicious of all the nice words and recommendations, and again, rightfully so.

The service was actually quite excellent. Very high marks there Thomas! That one doesn't get in Holland, unfortunately, but for its cooking this island would not survive in Indonesia nor in Holland.

No doubt the chef knows how it should be. I don't understand the hesitation to give it your all.

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Order in...from Jakarta
By adept of North Vancouver, BC (2 Reviews)
Submitted Saturday, November 6, 2010 - 2:51pm [Dine in]

You would expect that in the 20+ years since Josh folded the Ruma Bali we'd have seen at least one or two newcomers fill the void with excellent Indonesian cuisine. Spice Islands, you say? Sorry, but in truth it serves up among the least interesting and well-made food of any sort I have ever overpaid for. Perhaps the other reviewers have never experienced the utter pleasure great Indonesian dishes. Spice Islands' rijstaffel in particularly is a sorry affair, an inexcusable lapse in style, variety and execution in Indonesia's 'national dish.' Imported lettuce lathered with a sickly sweet peanut dressing, two skewers of pork satay (I knew it was pork because the server told me), and three tapas-size dishes of meat: beef in what tasted like Bull's Eye BBQ sauce, chicken bits drowned in tepid fenugreek-laden milk, and sambal prawns with the texture of octopus. For $35. Krupuk extra. I have never paid more for less in over 50 years of searching out worthy Indonesian food. And I should mention...small, crowded and drafty, '70's rumpus room ambiance, and service bordering on obsequious. Given their location in the city I expect they'll do well.

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So so
By jkho of Kerrisdale (1 Review)
Submitted Sunday, June 24, 2007 - 9:14pm [Dine in]

We had heard about this restaurant from a few friends who said it was good and decided to try it today. I must say it is nothing special. The satay was quite good but the peanut sauce was nothing special, I suspect it was made from peanut butter(which is not the authentic way of making satay sauce). We had the Bali Bali fish and I have a feeling the fish was from a frozen pack you can get from stores due to the distinct taste of frozen breadcrumbs....I was very dissapointed. The chicken curry was not too bad and the sambal beans was OK, nothing special though. Good service and nice ambience. A bit overpriced for the quality of dishes. The Chendol is not authentic at all and the clumps of coconut milk gives away the fact that it came straight from the can.

If you have not tasted much Malaysian/Indonesian food, you will probably enjoy it here. If you are from these countries or have been there and have tasted what authentic dishes should taste like, then I think you will likely be dissapointed. Would I go there again? Probably not...but then maybe I'm fussy when it comes to food.

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