A Bee-View of the Drive – Palki Restaurant (Indian)

by admin - March 23rd, 2012.
Filed under: Commercial Drive Restaurant Reviews. Tagged as: , , , , , , , , , .

As a bed and breakfast on Commercial Drive in Vancouver, we at the Bee & Thistle Guest House find it easy to recommend Palki’s to our guests because it is one of the restaurants that we frequent ourselves. Palki’s is located at 1130 Commercial Drive, very conveniently only a couple of blocks from our door, and offers a full menu of delicious Indian dishes. It also has a very substantial all-you-can-eat lunch buffet from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Monday to Friday, for only $10.50 per person. The Commercial Drive location is relatively new but the “parent” restaurant has been serving up delicious Indian cuisine in North Vancouver for years.

We have eaten dinner at Palki’s several times, including a couple of staff parties, so decided this time to try out the lunch buffet. We didn’t manage to get down to the Drive until 1:30, so were somewhat concerned that the buffet might not be as fresh at it could be. However, that was not at all the case. We were greeted quickly and warmly by the owner/manager of the restaurant and shown to a lovely window table. Considering that we arrived well past noon, the restaurant was pretty busy, with guests at several tables appearing very content as they chatted and feasted on the nice variety of dishes. The selection on the buffet apparently is changed daily, except for butter chicken which is so popular that it’s included every day. The host took our drink order (chai, of course! What better on a rainy Vancouver afternoon?!), then ushered us to the buffet where it was difficult to resist filling our plate to overflowing (caution – there is a small charge for leaving food on your plate, so better choose sparingly the first time and go back for seconds if you are still tempted). We chose from a variety of vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes, returning to our table to find piping hot naan bread  waiting  for us.  It was plain naan this time, and quite delicious, but our favorite is definitely the garlic & basil naan!

Rather than try to summarize menu items and prices, here is a link to Palki’s website menu: http://www.palkirestaurant.com/menus/.  I also as usual looked at a variety of reviews of Palki’s and one comment that particularly caught my attention was Mia Stainsby of the Vancouver Sun who suggested that “the food at Palki’s may not be as refined as Vij’s, the uber-Indian restaurant but…(full-bodied but gentle dishes)”.  We, too, have often compared Palki’s to Vij’s because many of our guests at the Bee & Thistle are foodies, drawn to Vancouver by our city’s reputation for fantastic food. They frequently have Vij’s on their “must try” list, which almost always leads to a chat about Vancouver’s best Indian restaurants.  We absolutely agree that Vij’s is very deserving of their reputation. However, we ourselves are not  willing to stand in line for an hour or two for the opportunity to experience “uber-Indian” food, and occasionally feel compelled to mention that the food at Palki’s is much more convenient and very good.  Generally, our guests who tried Palki’s have been very satisfied, with the only negative feedback being that some guests unfortunately experienced slow service (something that we have not encountered). On the other hand, most who tried Vij’s thought it was well worth the wait, so we would definitely not suggest anyone to take Vij’s off their list if they have the time to dedicate to the experience!  However, back to Palki’s reviews – Yelpers give Palki’s Commercial Drive location 3 1/2 stars (as did Mia Stainsby in her Vancouver Sun article, but hers was in reference to the North Vancouver location).  The reviews on UrbanSpoon were much more positive, with 88% of reviewers liking Palki’s Commercial Drive location and giving it a star rating of 4 1/2.  Dine Here Vancouver had an overall rating of 3 1/2 stars but most of the recent ones are very positive. One comment that surprised us was that the decor was not very nice. Hmmmm! We actually thought the decor very tasteful and well done, so there is definitely something to be said for personal preference.

In summary, it really looks like this nice local restaurant is on the way up after perhaps a few hiccups in service, which we hope are well in the past! We ourselves would really love to see it succeed and be part of the Commercial Drive neighborhood for many years to come.