When cooking at home I make use of South Asian cuisines more than any other. And yet I continue to be disappointed by the low quality of Vancouver South Asian restaurants. Most tend to offer a grim mix of spices out of packets, tiny portions, reheated frozen offerings and sour service. Al Watan is a ray of light in comparison.
The restaurant itself is small and simple, (but very clean). At the same time the owner and his staff are friendly, helpful and accommodating. Their Pakistani/Muslim Indian fare is unusually well prepared: in contrast to the grungy mix of spices so often encountered, the individual spices stand out clearly and in balance. Portion size is at least 50% larger than typical, and the cost per dish at least 25% less. As a case in point, last night three of us had a chicken biryani, lamb saag, dal, two plain and one onion naan, raita (complementary) and four chais and this ample meal cost us $32 before tip.
The restaurant is halal, too.
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