Vij's offers a menu of Indian inspired fusion cuisine.
My partner and I went to Vij's this past weekend after hearing many (mixed, mostly good) reviews. We knew to expect a wait (although we deliberately went a little later to avoid the beginning-of-dinner rush). First impressions: the room in general could do with a little touching up. For a supposedly 'higher-end' Indian place, the decor seemed a tad amateurish. This is Vancouver, after all. First impressions do matter. This impression was carried through to the rather desolate back bar. Emphasized by near emptiness, the space was poorly done-up indeed.
We had a drink each while waiting and before we were done with them, we were informed that our table was ready. Wait time was definitely reasonable, and the much-heralded 'complimentary' appetizers tasted great. I was definitely prepared to forgive the mediocre decor if dinner tasted as great as their little amuse-bouches. We ordered the punjabi heart attacks and samosas to start, and their famous lamb popsicles plus the halibut and BC Spot Prawns for mains.
Punjabi heart attacks were... interesting. While tasty, they were really nothing to write home about. The quinoa 'palate cleanser' was the star of that dish. Similar for the samosas. Technically well prepared, but nowhere close to amazing; the tomato chutney stole that show.
Our theme was emerging here. For the mains, the sauces easily outperformed the proteins. So much flavour and nuance. However, my partner's halibut was tough. To overcook a piece of fish, and to completely dry out the BC Spot Prawns, is frankly, a rookie mistake at this level of restaurant. The lamb, too, could have used a few less minutes of grilling. In talking with other foodie friends, one came up with an interesting theory - could the cooks who prepared the food be vegetarian? All the vege components were, to be fair, incredible. But there appeared to be no testing for the done-ness of the meat/fish before it was brought out to the table.
The constant attention by the waitresses (refilling of drinks, checking on how we were) was great; service was impeccable. There's no mistaking that this food has all the makings of a truly elevated dining experience. We will probably be back, in the hopes that our meat was prepared on an off night. I'm hoping to be able to write a more favourable review then.
I ate at Vij's restaurant this evening with my boyfriend who works full time as a chef. We had recieved a gift certificate for Christmas for this restaurant and had heard it was incredible. We are both huge fans of Indian Cuisine, so we thought this place better be good! I honestly, was amazed...I have celiac disease and find it incredibly difficult to go to a restaurant and have people who actually care about your allergy and will do just about anything to make you comfortable. Vij's did it all! My boyfriend had naan bread and they brought me some wheat free naan bread, which was absolutely delicious! I've been to tons of restaurants and this is the first one I have ever had the need to write about how great it was. The people are great, the service was great, and the food is unbelieveable! I know sometimes there is a bit of a wait, but you know when there is a wait, you are at the right place! Anyways if you haven't tried this place, please try it!
Went with 4 friends. All got different dishes and shared. I loved the "ragistan? goat curry" --one of the best I have eaten, and I grew up in S. Asia. The curry had a fantastic collection of spices that blended so well with the meat, which must take hours to cook since its goat. The lamb popsiscles were good, so was the pork. The sablefish was very tender and well cooked, but my wife and i did not care for the sauce. Service was good, except it took quite a while to take our drinks order.
While standing in a lineup with the girlfriend Saturday night, waiting for Vij’s doors to open, the guy queued behind us asked what the big deal was with the restaurant. He said he passed by often, and was curious why there was always a crowd waiting to get in, what type of food was served, etc. I was a little surprised by his questions, as I’ve always considered Vikram Vij and his namesake restaurant to be relatively famous Vancouver entities. Nonetheless, I was happy to advise him that he could expect really good (albeit not entirely authentic, at least according to a South Asian friend who refuses to eat there – it’s her loss) Indian food. I’ve been to Vij’s a number of times over the years, and this most recent visit was probably the best yet.
After being shown to one of the last tables in the house (much to our relief – the people a few spots behind us were advised they’d have to wait 45 minutes to an hour), and a small debate over the menu, we decided to get things started with an order of samosas. Without exaggerating, they were some of the best samosas I’ve ever eaten. Crunchy/flaky pastry on the outside, savoury meat on the inside, and a sweet sauce with a dab of coconut as accompaniment … absolutely delicious. Both the girlfriend and I agreed that we would’ve been perfectly happy if dinner consisted of nothing but a dozen more. But we moved on. For her main, the girlfriend chose a dish of halibut and spot prawns in curry, while I went with grilled sablefish and zucchini in a mango reduction. The halibut and prawns were excellent – the fish held up well to the moderately spicy sauce. And as for the sablefish, simply put, it was out of this world. I’ve eaten a lot of sablefish dishes recently, and Vij’s, by far, has been my favourite preparation. The girlfriend tried a little and agreed that it was outstanding. To finish, we shared an bowl of … some sort of frozen pistachio dessert. The girlfriend called it ice cream, while I thought it resembled granita. Whatever it was, it was very good, and a refreshing way to end dinner.
Despite the fact that there’s a bit of a revolving door approach, service was top notch. There was never any confusion or delay with the orders, and every server who approached our table was polite and professional. Vikram Vij – the consummate showman and host that he is – greeted guests personally at the door upon opening, and was a perpetual man in motion during dinner. He even spooned curry sauce onto my girlfriend’s rice. Awesome! Ambiance-wise, the small, dark room is cozy and intimate, yet the atmosphere within is lively. The ‘no reservations’ policy actually adds to the restaurant’s charm – it's a guilty pleasure to sit inside and eat wonderful food, while the lineup of hungry patrons grows outside on the patio. Finally, in terms of value, considering the quality of food served, the charming ambiance and the spot-on service, Vij’s is definitely worth extra. It remains among my top picks.
I think Vij's is one of the best indian restaurants I have been too. The food is indian without the spice but more of the flavour. The lamb popsicles were fab with a great sauce. The goat curry was excellent (hearty and falvourful). Perfect serving of rice and naan. Although I think the naan's could have been better. I found thema bit plain but I think that's the intent!
Overall great food and experience!
Over the past few years I have eaten at Viji's many times, and have enjoyed every meal experienced there. Vij is a gracious host, and (like Bishop's, where he has worked before) visits each table to greet customers with a warm welcome.
No reservations are taken, but you are guaranteed a table if you go early. If you do have to wait, the backroom is pretty fun. As you're waiting, they have a constant stream of small bites to tide you over until a table becomes available.
The food is fantastic, with sauces made from scratch, and fresh BC ingredients. This isn't authentic Indian food, but more like the fresh/seasonal bounty of BC with Indian inspirations.
To the previous poster that complained about the restaurant being inflexible: Kosher, no dairy, no meat, no grains -- perhaps it would have been much easier to stay at home a homecooked meal.
Items like curries are made from scratch, but not on the day of (welcome to flavour country after flavours have had time to mingle). It is unreasonable to ask for all those changes. Not only because it's not an easy thing to do, but items may taste a bit strange with the various requested substitutions (not the way the chef intended). You may have fared better at other restaurants (West comes to mind), they could have planned a custom tasting menu for you.
I have to wonder if people who rave about Vij's have been to other indian resturants?! Don't get me wrong, I like Vij's very much but you over pay for small portions. It is as if you can say, "this is high end, you should pay more," when in reality it is not high end. Small portions does not make this high end. I also find it over spiced in some cases.
This site needs a rating for value. I would give it a 2 for value but 4/5 for others. If you don't care what you get for your money this is great.
This was a good place to dine. Service was nice, Food was great. Flavours were strong and spicy. It was a little dark though and the wait for a table was a little rough. Next time we will try to eat early!
I've been to Vij's a couple of times and keep thinking about it. I like Indian food way more than my husband, so I'm having trouble getting him to go with me, but I know it would convert him. This place is amazing. I love the bar where you wait while they serve you complimentary appetizers. I love the lamb popsicles. I love it that Vij stops by to see how you're doing. I loved the duck medallions. I keep thinking about this food. Wow!
I came to Vij's after being recommended by a friend at work. The food was very bland and didn't really offer much in the taste department. Some of the dishes were very unique however. Service was decent as well, but nothing special. The restaurants decor was quite pleasant and had a nice feel to it. I certainly wont pay as much as I did for another meal here. My friend at work will definetly be hearing from me.
I thought the food and the wine list is very pricy, the kichen was noisy and their serves was poor. My Gf ask for her food to go but we never get it .
Over $20 for chicken dish is a little too much even taste wasn't bad wasn't any special ether. Sorry Vij.
I was craving some east indian spices so my wife and I decided we dread the wait. The line was super crazy, but definately a must to have such a fine caliber of cooking. I would suggest go as early as you can esp if you're thinking a busy Friday night. Anyhow, the food was exceptional and the service just as comparable. Take it from me and all the other reviewers, it's worth the wait.
after reading reviews by a couple of people i felt the need to divulge some pertinent infromation to pepole confused about the "fusion" of this fabulous restaurant! vij is trained is classic french cuisine. add his indian culture and palette influences and you have vij's. do not dine here if you are expecting spicy indian dishes that all kind of resemble each other. this is fusion at it's best! i love it!
What an excellent experience. So yummy. Because I regularly read this site (just started adding to it) I knew to go early.
So we went on a Monday night at 5:30 and were sat right away -so I think that's the trick!
It was really good food and really good service. mmmm, just thinking about it makes me smile.
I didn't find it typical indian fare (and I love indian food) but that isn't why I went there- most high end places you don't get leftovers, so I was expecting something a little small but really good and that's what I got.
The server and owner were gracious -perfect.
I think this is a place that everyone should try -at least once.
I won't be a regular as it's a little pricey and by 6 o'clock there was an hour long wait -on a monday -(we ran into some friends that were going to wait once they took a look at our food).
Overall a great place!
Seeing all the amazing reviews for here, I expected more. The food is very good, though quite over priced. The quality is definitely better than most Indian restaurants.
The wait in line was ridiculous, I didnt want to wait but my date insisted, so we stood in line for near half an hour. When we could have walked right in to some other restaurants in the area.
Service was ok, but not super friendly or personable, as I was led to expect. They do make the comment of the food is meant for sharing, but you need to order several plates for 1 couple.
So, while the food is quite good, the line up to get in, and the price of it suggests that I will not be back any time soon.
I think calling Vij's average is a little bit irresponsible. You cannot have an ethnic experience like this anywhere else in Vancouver. He is truly one of our stars. You might find a more authentic version of Indian elsewhere but not more unique one.
First of all - we had no problem with waiting the 1 1/2 hours for a table, because we knew this was likely. We were, however a little surprised to find the area we were supposed to spend the time waiting was really very small! So we decamped to West ( Granville and 14th ) and consumed very nice cocktails while we waited.
Food - starters were very tasty, though not a huge portion given cost. Mains - beef shortribs delicious! Lamb popsicles way to rich - cream sauce not a good mix. Restaurant very noisy - something to be said for flock wallpaper!! Overall, not an experience we would repeat. Not being able to reserve a table is a pain in the a****. Not sure who the system is supposed to suit. The cynic in me would say the owners, because then they never have to worry about no shows! Service was patchy - I appreciate it was busy, but still.
After reading all the hype about this restaurant I expected to be in for a real treat. We arrived 30 minutes before opening to join the lineup and was seated quickly. The service was very attentive and a couple of free appetizers were brought around the tables before we ordered. That was the best part of the evening. My starter of paneer and peas consisted of 3 small slices and a dozen peas for $11, the naan bread served with it was very hot and tasty though. My dining companions kabab tasted bland. Not a good start. The main course did not fare any better. I had the spice encrusted lamb which was an average piece of lamb covered in semi cooked spices served with cauliflower and a thin, watery and weakly spiced coconut milk sauce. The other main course of chicken was swimming in ghee and had a poor aftertaste.
Do not go here if you like Indian food and do not go here if you like good food, there any many better choices in Vancouver. I can not recommend this to anybody.
As a European that has travelled much of the world, it is hard to understand what the fuss is about with the waiting. It is normally a joy to wait in a pleasant lounge with free appetizers for a meal that is delicious, innovative and beautifully presented. Meals should be an experience and, particularly if you are with great company, should take hours, and not the fast in-and-out experience North Americans seem to value.
Vij's food is fabulour and Vikram Vij is a charming man who loves what he does, making the experience that much more outstanding due to the love that clearly goes into the food.
IF one needs to eat in a rush, or for lunch, Rangoli is a superb substitute.
There are few restaurants that offer what Vij's does.
i must say that the food there is absolutely fabulous - very refined indian cusine. the service was very friendly too. and its definitely a good place for a romantic dinner for two.
however, i do have some complains to make. on the website, it says that there is a lounge at the back for the waiting patrons. but the "lounge" was no bigger than a living room. given the furnitue around and the mini bar there, when people start to come in, it is quite uncomfortable. two, there is no front reception, which adds extra stress on the staff to keep the customers happy. three, there was a pregnant waitress working the night i was there. that made me a little concerned.
i think all my complains are based on one fact, that the restaurant is WAY too small for the number of customers it wishes to have. secondly, the fact that it does not take reservation only amplifies the first problem.
i would go back there again, but not in another a couple of years.
|1.||Cambie Village (1.6 km)|