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Primal Eats Vancouver: Akbar’s Own Cuisine of India

July 4, 2012

Akbar's-Mixed-Grill

I’m always on the hunt for tasty Indian food to expand my repertoire of favorites (Vij’s and Maurya currently ranking at the top). Good Indian food is incredibly flavorful, and had lots of paleo and gluten-free options, as flour isn’t a typical ingredient in curry. So,
I was looking forward to using my Groupon for Akbar’s Own ($25 for $50 with of food).

Akbar’s Own serves traditional North Indian cuisine specializing in traditional Kashmiri and Mughlai dishes:

Recognized as one of the best Indian restaurants in the Vancouver area since 1992, we use the finest blend of herbs & spices together with top quality fresh local ingredients to create original as well as traditional Indian Cuisine.

I confirmed with the server that their curries and meats are gluten-free, and thus had pretty much the entire meat menu to choose from, which obviously makes me happy. Prices are reasonable, with most menu items $13 and under (for non-seafood dishes). So, the Groupon was more than sufficient to sample the menu.

Akbar's-Mixed-Grill-2

My friend and I shared Akbar’s Mixed Grill (tandoori chicken and prawns and lamb and fish tikka), which was a nice sampler of their tandoori sizzler offerings. Everything was quite tasty and well-seasoned. And the platter arrives actually sizzling which is always a nice touch.

Akbar's-Own-Butter-Chicken
Akbar's-Own-Lamb-Methi

As enjoyable as the tandoori meats were, it quickly became clear that I’m all about the curry. The server recommended the butter chicken and lamb methi – both were great. The butter chicken was perfect comfort food – rich and creamy with tender chicken. But it was the lamb methi that really stood out. I scraped out every last bit of that fenugreek goodness, realizing that I have a special fondness for fenugreek – it’s the main component of my favourite curries at Maurya and Vij’s as well. My friend also tried the calamari and really liked it. And we split a serving of rice. The only thing I kind of forgot to order is their mango lassi, which I’ve heard is yummy.

Akbar's-Own-Rice Akbar's-Own-Calamari

The food was really good. It’s a little sad that the ambiance and decor were not at the food’s level. It was slightly disheartening to be enjoying such great curry in such drab surroundings. I must admit that when I walked in, my first thought was “Crap, did I make a mistake buying this Groupon?” The restaurant is very dated, and has about as much ambiance as a office building, with lighting to match. The service, while courteous, also wasn’t overly welcoming or uplifting. Akbar’s Own has so much potential. It wouldn’t take much to turn this place around (e.g replace the lighting, add some bigger brighter candles, mix up the sleepy music, add some color with decorations/accents, cover the tables with some nice linen). Just about any change to brighten things up would be positive.

If the ambiance was on par with the food, I would be more likely to recommend Akbar’s Own. Otherwise, I’d suggest just sticking with take-out or delivery (they’re on Grub Canada – disclaimer: I have never used this service before).

Akbar's Own on Urbanspoon

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