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Restaurant review: India Bistro (Davie Street, West End) May 13, 2008

Posted by Raul in Davie Street, dining out, Downtown, friends, Vancouver, West End.

india bistro

Photo credit: youngdoo on Flickr.

The only thing I really absolutely enjoyed about India Bistro was the people I went with. After an evening of Delhi2Dublin, JH, HZ and myself met up with BS for a drink and dinner. One of the reasons why I feel so incredibly blessed is that my friends (and particularly this set of friends) are always very conscious of my dietary restrictions. We rarely eat pizza, Chinese food or sushi. That being said, we all enjoy Indian food and thus we figured India Bistro would be the best place, as it is near by to BS’s place.

While the menu is broad, and it’s not really all that expensive, I was pretty taken aback by the fact that we had to order (and pay for) naan/roti and rice. Given that I eat out a lot, and that Indian food is close to my favorite food, I know A LOT of places and this is the first one where I’ve had to deal with this issue. The food is great, don’t get me wrong. But my dish wasn’t particularly tasty. Maybe I just chose wrong.

If confronted with the question of where to go for Indian food (dinner) on Davie Street I wouldn’t place my first bet on India Bistro. Not a bad restaurant, it’s tasty, but not very abundant and definitely I would go for Swagaat Tandoori before I went to IB. I’d say maybe 2.5 or 3 stars out of 5. This should not discourage potential customers, though. I just may have been there on an off day.

India Bistro on Urbanspoon



1. Keira-Anne - May 13, 2008

I held my breath as I clicked onto your restaurant review, but let out a sigh of relief after reading it. I have only had one experience with India Bistro – I had it to go. I found the food to be highly overpriced for what I actually got, and I too was taken aback that I had to pay for rice and roti separately. The roti I can get over, but paying an extra $4 for enough rice to feed at least two people was ridiculous.

My two easy favourites in the downtown area are Taste of India at Robson and Jervis or Sitar in Gastown. You can almost never go wrong with either of those.

2. Raul - May 14, 2008

I am glad we agree. The truth is, I wish my experience hadn’t been bad. I’ve heard that Sitar is awesome. Dinner there sometime? 😉

3. Matt - May 16, 2008

Oana and I ate at India Bistro once as well.

We were a little taken aback by the guy in full 19th century colonial Indian regalia at the front door (what is this place, Epcot Center?), but the rest of the restaurant seemed nice enough.

But then we got our food, and it tasted like it had come out of a plastic carton. Utterly flavourless. I shudder to think what it would have tasted like if we’d ordered “mild” rather than “medium” spiciness, as the total absence of any spices couldn’t have been made any less spicy. Oh, that, and the Malai Kofta included western style green beans which looked like they’d come from a can. Ugh. This was truly Indian food by non-Indians.

I don’t remember separate pricing for rice and bread, but then again, our favourite carryout place does that. The other thing (which perhaps I learned having parents in the restaurant business) is there’s no such thing as “free” — you pay for all that stuff one way or another, either because they charge you individually for it, or because the entrees are $2 higher, or both. If enough people complained, they might make their rice and naan “free,” but the rest of the prices would go up to compensate.

Anyway, like Keira-Anne, when I saw the title of the post, I was nervouse, thinking, “Oh please let my buddy Raul have the discretion not to have liked that place.” Your taste hasn’t let me down yet. 🙂

4. Raul - May 17, 2008

@ Matt – I did not like India Bistro, as mentioned in my review. But there are other places that we can totally check out 🙂

5. dreamoo - November 24, 2008

I have never been to an Indian restaurant that evoked more of a meh out of me than India Bistro. I was torn on whether I should even write about it or not.

If I could give it thumbs, it would be one thumb pointing left and one thumb pointing right, which would essentially mean nothing.

And yeah, you’re right, I didn’t even think of that until later – they made me pay for rice! The gall.

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