Indian food is soooo good that it seems like you can never eat it often enough. The lucky folk in Vancouver have a plethora to choose from, and some of them are consistently at the top of every “best of” list.

Vij’s

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This is possibly the best Indian restaurant in the province. Rather than serve what can typically be found in Indian cooking, owners Vikram and Meeru decided to use the spices and techniques from their home country and apply them to local produce, meat and seafood. The result is a spectacular combination of flavours that is unique.

Everything is prepared fresh that day using whole foods - not pre-prepared products. Despite the labour involved, Vij’s understand that quality has to be the top priority for a restaurant, and starting fresh is the way to achieve that.

Choosing a dish to recommend is difficult – partly because everything is so good, and partly because the menu changes. Try something regional like the BC ruby trout, or something original such as the coconut kale.

Sula Indian

At the north end of Commercial Drive sits a tucked-away little restaurant that shouldn’t be passed by. The owners combine standard favourites with regional creations to present a menu that really does have something for everyone.

Adding a modern twist to their traditional restaurant, Sula has a blog and they use it to share recipes. They don’t leak out all their secrets, but there are tips for making good sauces and descriptions of many of the dishes. Just reading some of the posts will entice you to head to the restaurant and try a few for yourself.

It’s hard to say if the selection of curries is the best thing on the menu or the fresh naan baked in-house. If you’re open to trying many dishes, lunch on Thursday and Friday is a buffet and Thali dishes.

Mirchi

Although they’ve been around since the 80s, this small, family-owned restaurant has only been on Granville for the last few years. The cuisine is kind of an Indian/Pakistani blend, with elements of both cultures present. Because the staff is small and the food prepared to order, the service can be a bit slow. Have some patience and remember that your dinner is being created, not thawed and re-heated. Ask for a serving of freshly-baked naan to keep you busy and settle in for an aroma-filled wait while you listen to them preparing your meal.

All of the curries are delicious, but the goat curry is a unique and flavourful dish that will keep you coming back.

Salam Bombay

Owner Jose Madapilly spent time travelling through India and Europe before permanently settling in Vancouver with a goal of delivering the best: the best food, the best ambience and the best service. He’s so proud of his establishment that he will even take you on a tour of his kitchen if you ask.

The menu is traditional and with a mix of vegetarian, lamb, chicken and seafood dishes, as well as a daily lunch buffet, you won’t ever have to worry about narrowing down your menu selection to just one thing.

Maurya Indian Cuisine

The charcoal fired oven may not be the only reason why Maurya is so popular, but it’s certainly one of the top ones. By using a traditional method of cooking, the Tandoori dishes are given rich, smoky undertones that contribute to their authentic flavours.

In addition to the perfectly seasoned meats and breads, the restaurant prides itself on its delicious sauces - each one light and unique. Once you’ve dined there you’ll realize that they do live up to their goal to prepare every dish as if it were for a Maharaja.

Start your dinner with the award-winning Karawari Prawns and a side of the cashew-stuffed naan before tucking into the delicious Tandoori-fired meals.

House of Dosas

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This is south Indian food at its finest. Most people associate Indian cuisine with Tandoori and butter chicken, so sitting down to a dosa the first time can be a bit intimidating. It’s worth making the effort to overcome that at this family-owned restaurant that serves the most authentic south Indian food in the city.

A dosa is a crepe made from fermented rice batter and served with a selection of fillings. The exterior looks huge, but it is actually light and crispy, leaving plenty of room for the mix of highly spiced meat and vegetables inside. To eat your dosa you break off bits of the shell and dip it into the fillings.

These can be quite spicy, but they are incredibly delicious – and they are popular enough for the restaurant to stay open 24 hours to accommodate all of its customers.

Agra Tandoori

On the edge of Vancouver near Burnaby, this restaurant brings a level of sophistication to Indian cuisine by combining classical and contemporary flavours. Everything from the pakoras to the vindaloo is served sizzling hot and perfectly seasoned. The vegetarian selections are quite good, especially the spinach naan, which is delicious.

Definitely get the Falooda Kulfi dessert when you come. It’s spaghetti and ice cream drizzled with rose syrup and a sprinkling of pistachio – and you won’t find anything like it anywhere else in Vancouver.

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