The food at Shanik will have a different style than Vij's, but we're still excited for its arrival.

Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen has added a lot to the Seattle landscape over the years, from the Seattle Seahawks to EMP to the renovated Cinerama. But this may be his crowning achievement, at least for those of us who love some Indian food.

An offshoot of Vij’s — the wildly popular Vancouver, B.C.-based restaurant that dishes up masterpieces of Indian cuisine — plans to set up shop in Seattle’s South Lake Union neighborhood this November. The Vancouver Sun reports that the new restaurant will be called Shanik after the daughter of Meeru Dhalwala who has overseen the kitchens at Vij’s and Rangoli restaurants for 15 years. She also happens to be married to Vikram Vij, the namesake of the well-regarded restaurant.

The menus will be completely different, and the space will have the feel of what is described as a “Himalayan guest house.” Apparently, Allen is supporting the restaurant — to be located at Terry and Republican — through Vulcan. (We have an email into Allen’s spokesman to get more details).

Centering the restaurant near’s new headquarters is a pretty savvy business move. And Dhalwala is already getting ready for it.

“I’d call it Amazonland,” she tells the Sun. “I think there are around 20,000 Amazon employees in the area. Microsoft and the University of Washington are there, too. Lunch is going to be pretty strong but I’m focussing on dinner for all of Seattle.”

Just how good is Vij’s? Well, The New York Times once called it “easily among the finest Indian restaurants in the world.”

When I went to Vij’s several years ago, the place was packed  (as is always the case). But we eventually got seated (after some great appetizers) and had an amazing meal.

UPDATE: Allen spokesman David Postman said that they are not investing in the restaurant directly, but they are supporting it.

“We are providing them a tenant improvement allowance as we’ve done with other restaurants in South Lake Union,” he said. “We pursued them with great enthusiasm because they are a world class restaurant and will be a great fit for South Lake Union and Seattle.”


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  • Ken Hunt

    Speaking of MS, some of the best Indian food on our continent can be had in the MS employee cafeterias. They actually have at least one genuine tandor oven on campus.

  • Guest

    Congrats to Vij’s and Paul Allen on tapping into a fertile market!

  • brett

    I love Vij’s – it’s a great place. As you mention, even if you have to wait for a while – it’s a very pleasant experience – with drinks and the free appetizers they bring around while you wait makes it a lot of fun. I hope they bring that unique element to the Seattle spin off also. 

    • johnhcook

      That’s one of the things I loved about Vij’s on my visit. Even when they told us it was going to be 45 minutes, it turned into a fun experience because of the appetizers and atmosphere. 

  • hsiaoching

    Shanik will literally be across the street from my office. I’ve wanted Vij’s food in Seattle for more than a decade. Can’t wait for November!

    • johnhcook

      Lucky you. Did you ever review or do any stories on Vij’s when you were the P-I food writer? Share the links here if so. I’d love to see them. 

  • @CascadeRam

    John, you missed out one of the most important details :)

    What is the opening date for Shanik ?

    • johnhcook

      Don’t know the exact date. Reports I’ve seen, as I noted above, says November. Can’t wait, can you? :)

  • DualCitizen

    One can only hope they include a “mini-Vij’s” next door, the way they do in Vancouver; it has most of their meals frozen or for quick take-away.  No lines and buy your own wine…we’d go there 10x compared to waiting for the main restaurant (especially during tourist season)…

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