Vij's offers a menu of Indian inspired fusion cuisine.
My other review on Vij's Rangoli voiced a level of hope yet incompleteness about the restaurant. And it turned out the hope was fulfilled and completeness came to fruition at Vij's. Expectations were low as most fancy well known restaurants usually leaves me hungry or broke after the experience. Not Vij's! Wow, no one told me about the complementary appys, they were so good and frequent that I didn't pay attention to their names.
I am not one for service, as I find most fine dining ventures to be uptight and pushy. I think Vij's gets around that by not having just only one server throughout the night, Vij's servers work together as a team creating a dynamic community. As a result, I never felt pushed to order more, yet always felt warmness from the staff. The special aura one feels as a result of the appys and the new approach to service, my wife and I really felt special and part of a new brand of dining experience.
Ok, the real deal, food. Many of my South Asian friends have told me the food is only average and overpriced. For those less informed, like myself, I thought the spices were well balanced and prepared with care. I believe the reason Non - South Asians love Vij's is that the competition out there is quite weak. Most Indian restaurants do themselves disservice by making their curry too liquidy. I have tried Indian food at my friend's house once and it was amazing. The main reason is that it was NOT mushy (i.e. slopped with cream or yogurt), so the veggies, spices, and meat really stood out. Curry is actually a blend of spices (which are in solid form, not liquid) and not what we think of as a mainly liquid texture. Imagine a good home cooked chicken soup full of flavor from the chicken, veggies, and other textures vs. a cafeteria chick soup where there is only 2 pieces of chicken and 3 pieces of frozen peas inside. My goat dish and my wife's veggie curry dish were solid.
Coming, coming, coming back!!
After 3.5 years of living here and hearing about this famous restaurant, I finally managed to get to Vij's. We got there at 5:35pm...and considering they opened at 5:00pm we thought we'd be okay on a Thursday night. We were wrong...we were told there'd be a wait of about 1.5 hours!! We decided not to try Rangoli (the casual version next door), but wait for the big Vij's experience. And am I glad we did!!
We got to sit in their bar area, which is really great...very intimate with tasteful decor. The outstanding service started here...and didn't stop all night (more on that later). With the free sample tasters that come around (the chickpea flour and potato fritters were one of the best...but so was the whole wheat wafer cracker with chutney and mung beans!!), it's easy to get distracted from reading the menu. The wine list is pretty good, but we went straight for the cocktails. I had the Dark Army (rum with ginger and garam masala) and my friend had the Indian Mojito (basically like a mojito but with star anise). Both were so tasty that you savoured the drinks and nursed them for a little longer than you would normally.
After about 30 minutes, we were told our table was ready (so we didn't have to wait that long anyway!!), and we were seated at a larger table at the front right near the windows. It gave us a chance to look around at our beautifully decorated surroundings while watching all the food fly past. The free sample taster trays were still being circulated around the restaurant as well - it wasn't just a cheap trick to get you to order something (as some other restaurants do), but rather a fantastic opportunity to showcase the culinary talents of the kitchen (none of the items were on the menu!!). Obviously it works perfectly for those waiting - we looked outside at about 6:30pm and the chairs were full and there were people standing with drinks anticipating when their name would be called for a table. You could see their jealous faces almost pressed up against the glass as those of us lucky to be inside dined in a very comfortable setting. At no point did we feel rushed or pressured to eat and get out (again, as most other "busy" restaurants do)...all of the servers, and the manager, were so pleasant and attentive.
The menu was overwhelming to the senses...every tastebud stood on end, anxious to try every single plate. The aromas from the nearby tables drove me wild, and I felt like my head was spinning...I was like a kid in a candy store - my attention span was seriously compromised!! My friend and I decided to share an appetizer and two mains.
The appetizer was the Eggplant with rapini in a thick garlic-yoghurt curry. Both of use agreed that this was one of the best dishes we'd tried, and that it would be a great main. The eggplant was so smooth and rich with a nice subtle smoky flavour, and the curry was truly incredible...a nice spice kick to it, without being overwhelming. All of the flavours pounced out at you, and every mouthful left you equally satisfied and yet wanting more. The plate was literally wiped clean with the nice fresh naan that came with it, and as the plate was taken away, we were both eager to see our mains, but also feeling a little sad that the amazing eggplant dish was over!! But, before we had a chance tog et too despondent, our mains made their appearance...
We shared two mains - the first being the famous wine marinated lamb popsicles served with a fenugreek cream curry and spinach and potatoes. The lamb was really tasty, but the highlight of this dish is by far the sauce...creamy without being too thick, with good heat and flavour that makes your eyes close as you let your tastebuds dance. The other main was the Beef shortribs braised in yoghurt tomato curry. Oh my God...the meat was almost shivering when we touched it with the spoon and it just fell apart. It was so tender, so juicy, and so delicious - the cause was really good, but in this dish, the meat was definitely the highlight. Both the dishes came with a small side of rice and some of their really lovely naan. We couldn't finish it all, and they were more than happy to pack it all up for us to take home (so the Vij's experience can last longer!!) You can tell that the food is all designed with love and care, and that the menu has been carefully tended to to ensure there is a good balance...not just for your palate, but also for the cultural experience.
But, please let me end with a note on the service. Since coming to Vancouver, I have been frustrated by the service in most places. The territorial "I'm sorry I can't help you, this isn't my section" attitude drives me nuts, and the "I expect a 15% tip for dumping your food on your table and getting your order right" is now a mandatory. Vij's service blows all of that out of the water and reminds us what dining is all about. Every staff member was casual, warm and friendly. Whenever food was presented (be it the free tasters, or one of our incredible dishes), they gave us a full introduction of what we were eating. They offered suggestions where we were stuck (especially with the drinks) and they were happy to substitute where needed. Any of the servers were happy to take our plates, or wipe our table, or take our order, or talk to us about our experience. And, I know I mentioned it before, but I loved the welcoming feeling...the fact that we were never pushed out or pressured to hurry up, despite the hoards of people outside. I appreciate the understated service - there was no pretentiousness...everyone was gracious, professional, and super friendly. They obviously coordinated perfectly with great communication, as we were never repeatedly asked the same questions - it was seamless service and I can't compliment them enough on this.
So, all in all, as you can tell, I had such a fantastic experience and I will DEFINITELY be back. In a city inundated with chain restaurants with poor service and generic dishes, Vij's is an oasis for all lovers of good food and great dining experiences.
Do yourself a favour and go!! Make sure you get there early and you are with people you can share dishes with - you absolutely MUST taste as much as you can!!
Hearing all the hype about this place, we had to give it a try. Went on a weeknight as a party of six, were lucky to get in and get a table. There was a lineup before it opened and I felt bad for those who didn't make it in because they were in for a long wait. First impressions - cramped seating, dark lighting, and very, very loud. The free appies and chai are a nice touch, since it takes a while for the food to arrive. I could hardly see the person I was talking to the lighting was so dim, and we had to yell to be heard.
We ordered dishes to share since two of our party have not had Indian food before and we wanted them to taste different things. We had the mutton kabobs and portobello mushrooms to start. Both were tasty. For mains we had lamb popsicles, beef shortribs, trout & lobster, saag paneer. It was all very tasty, although the paneer was a little disappointingly bland. The problem was between the six of us, we each literally only got one bite of each dish. I realize that these entrees may not necessarily be made for family style dining, but it would be nice if they had been just a little more substantial. The service was decent, our water was filled regularly and we did not feel rushed by the staff despite the line up of patrons waiting to get in.
The word 'pretentious' did pop up in describing this place. The food is tasty, but the long waits and uncomfortable atmosphere really did nothing to make me want to return.
Never got around to trying Vij until this past Sat.. We were in line @4:50 thinking it opened its doors at 5/5:30. Well, it was the latter, but we weren't the first ones there... By the time it came closer to opening, the line grew to the point where a few parties had an approx. 1.5hr wait.
Vikram Vij, the host, was amazingly w/o airs. I had expected by now, his popularity would have spoiled the man like those who run lesser/newer spots, but that wasn't the case at all! That alone just about made it a new favourite, but of course, it's w/ the help of the lamb popsicles that helped grab the spot! I almost never have lamb b/c I absolutely HATE the gameyness of it, but wow, there was just a bare hint while remaining juicy--literally, finger-licking good! Wanted to suck up all the yellow curry sauce it was served in. The grilled duck dish was less impressive. The meat itself was tender & made well, however, the flavours were lacking. The curry for the duck seemed quite watered down to the point of being non-descript. The house naan is good for sopping up all the sauces of your apps/mains. The rice that came for us to share was preferable over the rice that was soaked under my duck since I never care for oversauced rice/bread. The 2 of us couldn't finish that bowl of fragranted rice as we had to make room for dessert!
I quite enjoyed the jackfruit appetizer. That went really well w/ the bread. I didn't much care for the mutton skewers--too gamey but wanted to taste it just 'cause it's there.
Loved the subtle clean flavour of the rice pudding w/ the fresh almonds adding a nice contrast in texture to it. The mango "ice cream" was more of a sorbet--lots of mango-goodness.
The room is definitely less crowded than it used to be when I walked in one late night to purchase a gift certificate about 2 yrs ago. The tables seem better spaced & prepped for parties of 4/5 rather than mostly just for 2's.
It's the daunting lineup that kept me from trying for so long!
I haved dined at Vij's for many years and it is always great. You go to Vij's for only one thing; the Food. The food is incredible. The service is the best I have experienced. The staff seem to anticipate everything. If you do not like waiting or must have a reservation then this is not for you. My only complaint is that one of my favorite dishes (Sablefish in a mango reduction) is no longer on the menu. Hopefully it will return.
Vij's food is definitely good, but I wouldn't rave about it like some people do. The little appetizers that get passed around are amazingly flavourful and the full appetizers and main dishes are very tasty. We got a table right away so we were fine, but I don't think I would have thought it worth a 1.5 hour wait.
Ok, I'm born here and I've never heard of Vij's before. Am I nuts? Last month when I was in LA airport, a tourist (whose Amercian) was telling me how great Vij's is in Vancouver. He said we'll thank him once we tried it. So...last week we went to try it out. Hm...I think he hyped it a little bit too much for us. I must admit, the service was incredible. Once we sat down, we got our water and menu and then a lady approached us w/ some complimentary fries. Few minutes after that, we were offered fried potatoes. A moment later, we were offered some chai tea which I've never tried before. It was actually pretty good! Other reviewers were right; we were constantly getting our water refilled. I thought that was pretty cool. As for our orders, we ordered 2 spoons of dungess crab to start. I couldn't explain the taste but it was good and had some Indian spice(s) in it. As for entres, we ordered beef tenderloin & chicken breast. The chicken was flavorful, you could tell it was marinated for a long period of time. As for the beef, I only had a bite and I wasn't impressed. My bf thought it was good but we wouldn't go back to Vij's again. The bill + tips came up to $65. I'll stick w/ butter & tandoori chicken next time. Ok ok, I know Vij's is totally different from traditional Indian Restaurants BUT the flavor did not meet my taste, that's all.
Food: Had the mussels to start and our party of 4 then shared the beef tenderloin, lamb popsicle and the grilled chicken. Every dish was very good but the lamb popsicles were by far my favorite. All dishes come with rice and naan which was nice when the dishes themselves are quite saucy. Watch out for the peppers they serve in the beginning! Didn't have room for dessert but will definitely return to try their khir.
Service: Water refills were plentiful and our plates were changed after the appy. I found them quite attentive but not overbearing. The only irk I had with the service was the fact that they don't take reservations and we were told it was a 45 minute wait but it was more than an hour. There was also a single server in particular that was quite surly but we only encountered her a few times so it wasn't too bad.
Ambiance: I just love the dark interiors but was quite surprised it was so small. It's also quite odd how the waiting area is at the back of the restaurant. The little fish pond outside is really unique and quite beautiful looking at night.
Will definitely return but will try to avoid peak dining hours.
I Love the saag paneer and the spot prawns my boyfriend can never get enough of the lamb popsicles, love the service and can't get enough of their Chai - thank you so much for putting that recipe online I can't wait to try it!! Every time I come here it's consistently great food and the charm of the place is fantastic. Never change Vijs!!
From the moment you wait in line, to the second that you are greeted at the door - you will feel appreciated for your patronship. The food its to die for, the service is exquisit, and the vibes are wonderful.
This is where I like to go for any special events. And if you feel like dinning more on a dime, go to the place next door with similar recipes but less of a price tag.
You will love this place!
HINT- show up about a half hour before they open the doors for dinner. This will secure you for a table
Have been to Vij's a few times - food, service is quite simply awesome. But what's with the draft, especially if you get stuck with a seat by the door.
I do find the space a bit cramped - but to complain thusly seems a bit churlish given the food is quite amazing. I would say gorgeous but I am not sure that I can use the adjective to describe taste, etc. Anyhow, you get the point. It's money well spent and you will love the food.
The atmosphere is elegant, even waiting was elegant. This is a very crowded and noisy place so be warned. Noisy? means people are having fun. The long wait in the room at the back was made easy by the periodic free tidbits sent out from the kitchen to tide you over.
Once seated and a look at the menu and you will be impressed. This is a fusion Indian restaurant which marries various herbs and spices to create magical courses which will sooth your soul and excite your taste buds. Nothing that I have tried here has dissapointed me.
My sisters and niece were in Vancouver for a visit. We got to Vij's at 6pm and there was already a big wait. We didn't mind soaking the late afternoon sun and the service was very gracious that the wait didn't seem that terrible. They were serving us complimentary appetizers. All very good!! We would be excited every time the server came out with something different to try. When we got our table we weren't grumpy from the wait and had a very pleasant dinner. Lamb popsicle was amazing. Believe the hype :)
I came here with my friends a couple of weeks ago. I've been here before a while back and everything was excellent. The only reason I haven't been back sooner is because they don't take resos and I don't really like waiting. This time my friends waited in line and being a nice summer day they didn't mind too much. Vij was there as always greeting people and offering appys (more like an amuse bouche) to the people waiting for their tables. We shared some samosas to start which were really good. We also had the halibut and spot prawns and the goat curry, everything was amazing. Service was very professional as well. One of my favorite restaurants for sure!
We got there just before 5:30pm, and just as expected, there was already quite a line-up outside. Once the restaurant opened, we were lucky to get one of the last tables available. Service was very quick. Right away we had menu and water, plus complimentary chai (yummy!) and some other small tidbits. The lamb popsicles were just as good as I had heard- sopped up every last bit of the curry and the lamb was so tender. The duck was okay...it didn't have that duck flavour I hoped for- sort of tasted more like chicken. Both dishes had exactly the right amount of spice- hot, but not overpowering. Vikram was there greeting everyone - he wasn't quite as warm as I imagined, but pleasant. Service was great- very quick to bring more rice & naan, fill glasses, etc. Would definitely come again.
Vij's is one of Vancouver's premiere dining establishments. Everything from the moment you walk in is part of the experience. I've never gotten a table right away and would never want to. There is a lounge area at the back of the restaurant where you can sit, enjoy some wine, and try some samples being hand-delivered to you by the owner, Vikram. Prices are quite reasonable given the restaurants reputation (they could get away with charging so much more). Ask anyone who's been there about Lamb Popsicles and watch them salivate. The staff is so knowledgable and friendly and the atmosphere is unreal.
If you've never been, you're only excuse should be that you live in Nunavut.
The food is absolutely terrible and overpriced. It's cheap ingredients with pretty presentation. Kind of lame, isn't it? They keep calling this fusion indian food because these morons don't know how to cook indian food. When you say it's fusion, it basically means anything goes and no effort.
The restaurant spent a lot of time and money on PR. So you probably heard it and have seen the press somewhere. But PR is just another form of advertising, you really don't want to believe the hype. If you want to bring your out of town friends here to impress them, they probably laugh at you more than appreciate your effort. In the States, you would get very decent and more authentic indian food with at least 1/3 price lower, plus some Indian restaurants are well decorated as well over there. It's not a big deal this restaurant has great ambiance, it's not like you have never seen anything pretty or like this before. It's cute alright but doesn't wow you.
The restaurant is taking advantage of the fact that this town has no night life so people would just go to fake fine dining restaurant to feel that they did something that night. It's really not that exciting, it's still a restaurant not a fun party. Food is terrible with cheap ingredients so you can't really call it fine dining experience. it's fake fine dining.
Went to dine here with a friend tonight. I think the surest sign of quality is the quantity of people wanting to share in the experience of a restaurant. I got here at 5:00 and there were already people queing to get into the restaurant at 5:30. My only beef with Vij's is they don't take reservations. Then again, if my restaurant was so popular, that it was always full, maybe I wouldn't take reservations either.
Vij's has a great vibe. It's flowing over with humanity. Tonight CITY TV was filming inside the restaurant... not that this is important but it shows there's life here... something worth documenting. It all adds to the great ambiance.
The service is exceptional. Wait staff offering free chai, papodums, spicy fries... all this added a little extra to the experience. My friend and I asked for two beers and within a minute they magically appeared in front of us... no interminable waits.
The food... quite exceptional. Instead of the usual farmed vietnamese prawns, BC spotted prawns were served as an appetizer in a coconut curry sauce... nice touch to provide something locally. We also had the lamb popsicles in a creamy cardamom sauce. They were quite nice. The duck dish in a fruit reduction was also quite good. All the dishes were a careful combination of spiciness, flavour and texture - all in balance without one overpowering the other... a true gift in any type of fusion cuisine.
I now understand why this restaurant enjoys such a sterling reputation. It's something everyone (who can afford it) should experience once, at least.
I recently had the pleasure of dining at Vij's for a friends bday. First of all I had no expectations entering this restaurant and was blow away by the end of my dining experience here. First of all, the food was just the most amazing part of the night. Ordered many dishes and they were all packed with rich, delectable flavours without being overpowering. Ordered some red wine to go with the meal and it was divine! Second, service was incredible! Water glasses were never empty and wine glasses were often refilled. Service here is top notch...The ambiance was nice, dim and cozy I especially liked the laterns throughout the room. Overall a delightful experience! Loved it!
Vij's is without a doubt one of my absolute all-time favourite restaurants in Vancouver. I have been coming here on average once every two to three weeks for about the last two years and every time is perfect. Of course, they don't take reservations here but that is what adds to the experience and gives the extra added potential for fun. Arrive at whatever time you choose (there will be a line-up regardless), put your name on the list, and hang out by the bar, get to know your neighbours, and enjoy a bevvie or two as well as some exquisitely tasty appetizers, compliments of the house. The wait time varies and it's not always the case that week nights move more quickly than weekends. We have dined on Monday nights and Tuesdays as well as on Fridays and Saturdays and really haven't noticed much of a difference to be honest. The whole point of the wait for us is just to relax and enjoy ourselves while we peruse the menu and make our dinner selections. Once seated we then can order right away. The service at Vij's is excellent and unlike that of any other restaurant I have patronized. The motto among the wait staff is "we are all your servers", which to me, makes so much sense! Not only does it expedite the service to customers but it also equalizes the relations among servers by eliminating any potential competitiveness over particular tables and arguments over tips. The food is second to none, with each of the curry dishes having their own incredible and unique characteristics and flavours. I love the organic chicken curry as well as the mixed vegetables, and the halibut dish. I love that Vikram is there many nights of the week to talk with and serve customers and to make diners feel at home. Words cannot describe how much I love this place. It's no wonder that people come from all over to dine here. Vij's outstanding reputation is one that is well earned!
|1.||Cambie Village (1.6 km)|