The India Gate restaurant has been at its location on 616 Robson Street for over 30 years, long before the street became famous. The restaurant has seen its surroundings changed greatly in those 30+ years. However, the restaurant hasn’t changed much. It’s still among the best India restaurants in the city. Let’s face it, you can’t stick around for this long if your food is no good.
Our reservation at India Gate was for 7:30 but we showed up about 10 minutes late because of parking. Michael Kwan and his girlfriend, along with Teipal from 1234Pens.com were already there. It is best to dine with a large group at an Indian restaurant so you can sample more dishes than if you dine with just two people.
If you never dined at an Indian restaurant before then the “don’t ask, just eat” rule apply. The owner of the restaurant, Gurmeet, asked me how spicy I like my food. I told him to make as hot as he wants. However, Michael is a wimp when it comes to spicy food so we ordered everything mild. That was OK because I got a better taste of the food instead of just a burning mouth. Here’s a sampling of what we had.
The vegetable pakora is made from spinach and onion dipped in a mild spiced batter and fried to a nice crisp. It’s served with mint chutney. It tastes a bit like onion rings without the greasy side effects.
Take some minced beef, wrap it in a patty and then fried it to a golden crisp and you’ll have meat samosa. I like this dish very much. Even though it was deep-fried, it wasn’t greasy at all and the dip gave it a nice sweet taste.
Mango Lassi (Yogurt Shake)
Nan with garlic baked in Tandoor. This was one of the better Nan I’ve tasted. However, it didn’t match up to the Nan I had at Maurya, which is in a class by itself when it comes to Nan.
Rice cooked with mixed vegetables, spices and vegetable sauce. I’m not much of a vegetarian but this dish works well when combined with the other meat dishes.
Tandoori Mixed Grill
When I saw this sizzling hot dish land on our table, images of Kam Do popped into my head. The India Gate mixed grill looks like the India version of Kam Do American mixed grill. This is a meat lover’s delight. It’s a good thing we had five people or we’ll never be able to finish it.
Boneless lamb cooked with ground coconut and almonds in creamy sauce. This was one of the better lamb dishes I’ve tasted. The lamb didn’t have any aftertaste and the sauce added quite a kick to it. The reason the dish is drenched in sauce is so you can dip the Nan into it.
This was the best butter chicken dish I have ever had. The chicken was super tender and practicably melted in your mouth. Again, the dish is drenched in sauce so you can use it as a Nan dip. We liked this dish so much we ordered extra plate.
This was the first of our two desserts. Kheer is made with rice, cooked with milk and served cold with almonds. This is the first I’ve seen rice used as a dessert. Sarah liked it a lot because it wasn’t that sweet.
The second dessert was Milk balls in sugar syrup. I preferred it to the Kheer because it was sweeter. If you ever wonder where Tim Horton’s got their Tim Bit idea from, this is it.
Dinner lasted nearly three hours from start to finish. The India Gate is an extremely reasonably priced for a Robson Street restaurant. India Gate’s owner, Gurmeet, was a fantastic host and we look forward to dining there again.
Who Wants Some $20 India Gate Gift Certificates?
Before we left, Gurmeet gave me four $20 India Gate gift certificates. This was very unexpected and I thank him for it. If you live in Vancouver (or planning to visit Vancouver in the next week or two) and would like to try out India Gate, send me an email with your address and I’ll send a gift certificate. Tell them John Chow sent you and they’ll give you 10% off your bill as well (that goes for anyone who wants to dine at India Gate).