The Best Restaurants In And Around Punjabi Market, Vancouver

Indian food
Indian food | Photo by Lior Shapira on Unsplash
Rachelle Menn

Despite the name, Punjabi Market is not an actual market, but a neighborhood in Vancouver, one of Canada’s most ethically diverse cities. The hub of Vancouver’s Indian-Canadian community, Punjabi Market has some of the best Indian food. Here are the best places to eat.

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All India Sweets & Restaurant

An Indian and Pakistani restaurant, All India Sweets & Restaurant is one of Punjabi Market’s most frequented restaurants. There are a variety of different dining options including a standard menu, take out, and a vegetarian buffet which features six dishes, naan, rice, papadums, four desserts and salads. The buffet serves as a great option for those new to Indian food and wanting to try a variety of different things. One of the biggest draws of all India Sweets & Restaurant, however, is the selection of sweets. The collection is vast and on prominent display, and visible immediately upon entering. You’ll definitely feel like dessert before dinner in the sweet and spicy delight of a restaurant.

Himalaya Restaurant

Himalaya restaurant offers a wide variety of Indian dishes, including some actual Punjabi, as well as Nepalese food. Like many Indian places, there is a lunch buffet as well as a separate menu. One of the best dishes is the always great butter chicken and the paneer.

Original Tandoori Kitchen

Original Tandoori Kitchen is different to any of the Indian restaurants in the Punjabi Market area in that is it grandly decorated. This adds to the ambiance of the restaurant and ups its game as the perfect spot for a special occasion. Unsurprisingly, it is one of the more popular places and a reservation is generally a must. The portions are large, plentiful, fresh, and perfectly spiced. The Keema naan (essentially lamb-stuffed naan) is one of the more unusual and delicious options on the menu. And, good news for those with gluten allergies, many of the dishes are available gluten-free.

Chaise Lounge

Situated right on the outskirts of Punjabi Market is Chaise Lounge. With an industrial retro vibe, the restaurant offers both outdoor and indoor seating, but the patio option is generally a favorite. The staff is friendly and welcoming and the space is comfortable and creates an easy atmosphere to lose track of time. There is a full bar as well as a small wine bar, providing a variety of drink options depending on the mood. The food is fresh, drifting slightly from traditional pub grub. A visit to Chaise Lounge is not complete without trying the ceviche or the wings which rival some of the best wings in town. It’s perfect for a quick lunch, dinner before a game, or a relaxed meal.

East is East

Run by two brothers, East is East serves not just Indian food, but incorporates food from all of Asia. As they put it, it is a chance to “journey the silk road”. The restaurant has soft lighting and ethnic carpets, furniture, and decorations strewn about. There is also live music and dancers circulating the restaurant. While there is an entire menu to try from, the best deal is the Chai Feast which is an all-you-can-eat tasting menu. It is an opportunity to give nearly everything a try. It comes with soup, salad, boulani, kefir naan, garlic pickles, Afghan and basmati rice, and a choice of two dishes. Best to come hungry.

Shameful Tiki Room

The Shameful Tiki Room is an eclectic fusion of a vintage tiki bar with Polynesian flair. The place is decorated authentically with low lighting and tropical vibes. Hula girls and live music entertain throughout the evening. This place is famous for its extensive and inventive drinking menu. Two of the most popular drinks are the mystery bowl and the painkiller. The food is equally delectable; most notable are the tacos as well as the tiki nachos. The visit is an experience, and perfect for a night out with friends.

Swasdee Thai Restaurant

Thai food

Swasdee Thai Restaurant is a large restaurant with authentic Thai decoration. However, the food is the main attraction and is by far some of the best Thai food in Vancouver. With many traditional Thai dishes, including favorites like pad thai, Swasdee also offers dishes that aren’t as common including a duck curry. All of the food is fresh and plentiful. It leans towards the spicy side so be careful when ordering. If you’re looking for some Thai food, Swasdee is a great place to dine in or take out.

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