Vij’s is a restaurant by Vikram Vij, an immigrant entrepreneur from India. You may have seen his pre-packaged Indian food in Wholefood or other grocery stores. Trust me, nothing beats the freshly made experience at his store. Sometimes, Vikram even comes out of the kitchen to shake hands with his customers. Vij’s is located on Cambie Street, near 16th Avenue, Vancouver
Strength: Complex, flavourful Indian cuisine
Weakness: Service can be slow at times
Other Fine Dining Restaurants
Vij’s Indian Restaurant on Cambie
When Vij’s first moved to their Cambie St. location, the whole building looked like a factory with concrete, brick, and pink mesh screening covering the entire building. For the longest time, I had no idea what was going. Today, I get a full appreciation of this bold genius move when I sit at one of the window seats. The mesh created 1″ square holes, about 3′ away from us. At a higher vantage point, I get to enjoy a full view of the street but they cannot see me or peer close to see what’s going on inside. It’s like I am in an entirely different world when I dine at Vij’s. What a remarkable experience.
The experience starts at the entrance
If you pay close attention to the patterns on the wall or floor. You will see a lot of India elements. Take the entrance ramp as an example, you can see the tiny elephant next to the upstand seating. More obviously, there is the diamond shape with dots along the ramp going up.
The fine details are well taken care of
Vij’s definitely got their fine detail down. As a person who pays attention to the finer detail, I really appreciate how things are done in this restaurant. If you are wondering what is on the ceiling, they are teacups. It’s an interesting way to play with India elements.
The bar is visually appealing
There are two seating areas. The upper area has a better view, but you can sit at lower level if you do not want to wait. If you do have to wait for seating, this bar is the perfect place to get the night started with a glass of cocktail. The bar looks somewhat modern. It has a bold color and design decisions. This bar provides the perfect place to get the night started.
Once you sit down, everyone at the table gets a potato pakoras and a lentil chip. The pakoras have lots of flavour mixed in. The lentil chips were crispy with a little bit of acidity.
Appetizers came first
Before the food arrives, the staff first bring us the plates. He used a napkin to hold the plate when putting it in front of you, so you know he is not touching the plate. The top left dish is the Garam Masala Portobello mushroom in Porcini cream curry. I really enjoyed the complex flavour. The mushroom seems to have been marinated with something spicy. The thick portobello has wonderful texture similar to steak.
Pork Tenderloin in Tangy Creamy Curry
The pork tenderloin is soaked in this tangy curry. I think it is quite sour from the cayenne. The texture of the pork is crunchy to the bite but also breaks easily. It was very easy on the teeth.
I remember the last time I came to Vij’s, the naan was bottomless. For $3 per additional order at a fine dining restaurant like Vij’s, they are really asking for petty change. Regardless, the naan tastes very good. It has good structure and cooked perfectly. It is chewy but not enough to hurt your jaw. Naan are best enjoyed while it’s hot.
Intermission feels too long
We were done with our naan for the appetizers. The server came to take our dirty plates away and cleaned the table. There were still a lot of curries left from the appetizer, but we could not enjoy it. If it was before, the server would have brought us more naan to finish the appetizer with. Our server did not bring us the naan that came with our main course ahead of time. We were practically staring at our leftover appetizers curry sauce for about 10 minutes. Vij’s need to improve on that
Lamb popsicles for $11 each
Lamb popsicles are sold per rib. I know you can buy a rack of lamb for $20 at Costco. No complains here because we are paying for creativity and the experience here. This is one of the most popular items you can get at Vij’s. The lamb is very well cooked. Keep in mind that the curry is a little bit on the sour side.
The chicken is sauteed in tumeric and ginger before putting in za’atar spice lentil curry. This is a tomato-based curry. We ordered this so the creamy base curry don’t become too rich. It is actually quite refreshing. The taste is a little neutral, but still very complex. I think the chicken is a little dry.
Goat in Punjabi Style curry.
This is also a tomato-based curry. The goat meat was very tough. It hurt my jaw a little. I think it has an interesting flavour.
The mango lassi is made of real mango. This has become one of my favorite drink. You can taste the particles of real mango in this. The yogurt gives this drink some mouth-watering acidity so this blended beverage doesn’t taste too rich. The mango lassi is very refreshing.
604 Food Critic Assessment
Vij’s has been around for a couple of years. In the beginning, there was always line up outside the door. They allowed reservation a year after. I just show up at the door on my visit. It was 6:00 pm and there was no line-up. Obviously, this is not your typical Indian restaurant, Vikram has put a spin on all his dishes. The food tastes pretty good, but I do question some of the business decisions they have made. Overall, the curry at Vij’s has a lot more complex flavour profiles compared to your normal Indian buffet places. It does cost about $45 per person, and the tips on the credit card machine are set to 18% as a minimum. This pretty much triples any other Indian restaurants. It’s a good place for special occasion, but not recommended for daily visits.
The handwritten menu is a nice touch.
How to get in touch
- Phone: (604) 736-6664
- Address: 3106 Cambie St, Vancouver
- Hours: 5:30 pm – 10:00 pm, Friday and Saturday 5:30 pm – 10:30 pm