Atithi in Vancouver
Greetings Vancouver Chowhounders! Since moving here from Toronto just under 2 years ago, I've been religiously savouring all the wonderful restaurant recs from you - and now it's time I gave back!
In the past month, I've been to Atithi twice after reading a recommendation from DipTrip in the "Hippest place to eat in Vancouver" post last month. On the first visit, my husband and I shared jackfruit pakora, palak paneer and aloo gobi. On my second trip, I had the jackfruit and potato curry.
Both times, I thought the food was tasty, particular from a value standpoint. The portions were good compared to other Indian restaurants, and as DipTrip mentioned, included chapati and rice. The first visit we were offered free chai, but were charged for it the second time - not a big deal, but confusing nonetheless.
Mostly, I appreciated the fact that there were many vegetarian options on the menu, and we received genuine mom n' pop service. Although I certainly wouldn't classify it as one of the "hippest places" in the city, it's a good place for a quick fix of Indian food when you don't feel like breaking the bank or getting dressed up.
atithi indian cuisine
2445 Burrard St, Vancouver, BC V6J, CA
So we decided to try Atithi on the spur of the moment at the end of Feb on a Thursday night. The space looks quite similar to when it was Orchid Delight but with a few Indian details. There was just one other table when we arrived around 7:30. Service was attentive and the modern Indian-type music was to my taste. So how about the food? We had the chili gobi to start (deep fried cauliflower in soya garlic sauce $3.95). I wanted to try the house specialty "Frankie" as this used to be my favourite dish at the Indian resto that preceded O Thai on Broadway but the SO loves him some monkey brains so we went with the cauliflower. It was oddly garnished with slices of strawberry but since I forgot to take a picture you'll have to imagine it :-). The cauliflower was lightly battered and quite well cooked though I might have preferred it a bit more al dente. The copious sauce was added directly to the dish which in both our views was a tactical error, as it made the batter soggy too quickly. We suggested they might want to serve it on the side. The sauce was also a bit too ketchupy and thick with no sign of soya but we ate it all so that tells you it was tasty.
For entrees, we had the South Indian chicken marinated in Chettinad paste ($11.95) and coconut milk and the mutter paneer in a light tomato cream sauce ($9.95). Both came with sides of rice and salad and some paratha. I remembered to snap shots of them. The garnish situation did not improve as the chicken came with underripe tomatoe slices and the paneer with large rings on raw red onion. I would have preferred no garnish. As for the flavours, they were quite good although not particularly memorable. I preferred the paneer and SO the chicken so that worked out well. The sides were also somewhat pedestrian, and neither of us were taken with the bread, which is often a highlight of Indian meals for us. So overall, not a rave but not a pan. I'm looking forward to going back for the $7.95 buffet available at lunch as I work nearby and colleagues have given it a thumbs up.
I was there this week and tried the special: lamb with pomegranate sauce and cumin potatoes. My friend is vegan and was delighted to find a good selection of items she could choose from. Both of our dishes were delicious - my only complaint would be that we didn't get quite enough rice, but it was easy to order more and it came quickly. I will definitely be going back!