No matter who you are or whom you know, you’ll need to wait for a table at this celebrated 60-seat Indian restaurant (where no reservations are accepted). Behind the decorative teak entrance, owner Vikram Vij does front-of-house duty greeting and seating diners and making sure they’re stocked with complimentary gourmet snacks—like mogo (tapioca) fries and lentil pakoras—while they wait for their orders. It’s Vij’s wife, Meeru, however, who captains the brilliant all-female kitchen, turning out magnificent creations like Dungeness crabmeat in a coconut-cilantro sauce (served by the spoonful) and tender “lamb popsicles” in a creamy fenugreek curry. Those planning to dine during the first seating at 5:30 p.m. will need to arrive by 5.
Insider Tip: Less-expensive and takeaway dishes are available next door at Vij’s Rangoli (011-1-604-735-5711). It’s also open for lunch.
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Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.