Owner Vikram Vij often seems to be everywhere—judging on TV cooking shows, speaking at symposia, cooking at food festivals—so, clearly, the word is out about Vancouver’s best Indian restaurant. Vij’s isn’t your typical curry-in-a-curry place. The food is exciting and ever-changing, featuring local ingredients like the sturgeon farmed on the Sunshine Coast as well as all the exotic flavors and aromas of South Asia. That’s why there’s always a huge lineup to get in (Vij’s doesn’t take reservations); in fact, standing in line can become a party all on its own. Once you finally get inside, you’ll discover a perfect little jewel box of a restaurant with soft lighting from the punched-out metal lanterns (those are actually elephants dancing on the walls) and lush patterns throughout. Must-tries include the lamb “popsicles” (rib chops) in fenugreek curry, as well as the crispy samosas, and whatever is fresh and exciting. Plus there are lots of choices for vegetarians. And, unlike most Asian restaurants, this one has an exceptional wine list—Vij himself is a sommelier, and his wine director, Mike Bernardo, was named sommelier of the year at the 2014 Vancouver International Wine Festival. This is one of Vancouver’s quintessential dining experiences. In addition, Vij has a more casual offshoot at Vij's Rangoli (1488 W. 11th Ave.; tel. 604/736-5711; www.vijsrangoli.ca).