Just beyond the hotbed of popular restaurants located at Fraser and Kingsway in Vancouver, there’s a couple of spots that get much less attention than their much-buzzed-about neighbours such as Savio Volpe, Sal Y Limon, and Bells and Whistles.
One of those places is Kilimanjaro Snack House, which is tucked in between a car specialist and a motor repair spot on Kingsway – not exactly where you expect to find a killer destination for East African and Indian grub – but alas, that’s the beauty of a hidden gem, right?
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This family-owned and operated business opened six years ago and with no budget for big advertising, its been successfully cruising along thanks to its good food and loyal regulars in the neighbourhood.
The major charm-factor at this place lies with the quality of the eats and the corresponding prices.
Small but mighty, Kilimanjaro has just 25 seats in its small and modest dining room, which is steeped in the pleasant aromas of saffron, coconut, and masala as soon as you step in.
Just like the space itself, the menu is no-fuss and straight to business. No elaborate descriptions or in-depth ingredients listed. This spot makes everything from scratch, including hot sauce and chutney, all with family recipes that have been used for decades.
If you want to do this right, we don’t recommend coming in to grab a light bite. Come hungry and dig in, as that’s how this food was meant to be eaten.
The eclectic variety of East African and Indian cuisine here includes hearty snacks like samosas (chicken, beef, and veggie), addicting two-bite Daal Bhajia served with house coconut chutney, a variety of pakoras, and African classic mogo – fried cassava served with tamarind chutney.
There’s always a rotating special here, which you can call ahead daily to ask about, but there are staple eats such as the crispy and fried potato chop filled with seasoned ground beef and mashed potatoes which are always up for order that will undoubtedly satiate your hunger.
There are not too many places in the area to get fresh mandazi like these (especially for $1.25) and these delicious African doughnuts made with coconuts milk, cardamom, and nutmeg take two days to make and sell out daily.
If we’re talking about bang for your buck when it comes to food, this place is hard to beat. Kilimanjaro offers a weekday to-go lunch deal for $5.95, and bottomless chai for patrons who choose to dine-in.
Everything on the menu here is under $10, save for the mixed platter which arrives with two samosas, three kebabs, and the diner’s choice of fried mogo or nylon bhajia.
For those that feel that Kingsway is too far a cry from their comfortable one-block food-grabbing radius, know that the eatery offers delivery during their operating hours from 11 am to 7 pm, Wednesday to Monday.
Address: 789 Kingsway, Vancouver