When Susanne and I went to a chocolate tasting session at XOXOLAT earlier this month, we were offered a special promo to have dinner at Atithi down the street too. Since we were in the neighborhood and we needed to eat dinner, we figured it was worth a shot. Now, I try my best not to judge a book by its cover, but it seemed pretty obvious that Atithi was catering more toward a North American-minded clientele and these suspicions were generally confirmed by how the food was presented.
That’s not necessarily a bad thing, as some people may feel put off or intimidated by a place like India Gate, but it does mean that you will have to approach Atithi with a slightly different kind of perspective. Perhaps the Kitsilano location had something to do with that.
If it were not for the actual items listed, the two-page menu would look like it belonged in any number of the “west coast” restaurants that we have in and around Vancouver. While there is a dash of class having a menu like this (rather than being filled with pictures of the food and funky text), the pricing appeared to be more than reasonable.
Banana Blossom & Chicken Naan: Served with mango and curry leaves chutney ($8)
We started our meal with this appetizer. I found the naan to be too undercooked for my tastes and there really wasn’t much stuffing for this almost quesadilla-like dish. The chutney was nice, though.
Railway Station Curry: New Zealand lamb cooked with tomatoes and fresh cilantro ($15)
This was my main course. The tomato-based curry was simple, but it had pretty good flavour. As a “railway station” curry, it wasn’t spicy at all, but that was what I was expecting. While I was happy to see that they didn’t really skimp on the amount of lamb, it was disappointing that the meat was generally on the dry side.
Jumbo Tiger Prawns in Black Pepper Curry ($16)
And this was Susanne’s main course. The black pepper curry was certainly something different from what we normally have, but the “jumbo” prawns weren’t exactly all that jumbo. The presentation also made us feel that the plate felt very empty. If they served the same six prawns on a long rectangular plate, it would instantly look more appealing.
Each of our mains was accompanied by the same sides: some (even more) undercooked naan, rice, and a basic green salad.
And finally, Susanne and I shared this for dessert. I don’t recall exactly what it was (we didn’t get to choose), but I think it was a mango-based pudding or mousse. It was almost like eating some mango-flavored yogurt. I wouldn’t go so far as to say it was bad, but it was rather forgettable.
We didn’t go in with the highest of expectations and, in that regard, Atithi Indian Cuisine wasn’t exactly disappointing. The food was just decent and given that we were given the “special” price of $15 per person (one appetizer to share, two mains, and one dessert to share), I suppose we received a decent value.
I don’t think that I’d return to pay regular price, because there is far better Indian food to be had in the Metro Vancouver area. That said, if you have a hankering and you’re out in Kits, you could do worse than Atithi.