People are CA-RAZY about the Indian food at Vij's in Vancouver, BC. Now the owners have signed a lease on a space at Republican and Terry in South Lake Union to open a sister restaurant called Shanik in November. (Shanik is the name of the daughter of Vij's cofounders Meeru Dhalwal, who cofounded Vij's with her husband, and Vikram Vij.)

Fnarf says, "OMG! OMG! The best restaurant in the universe is coming to Seattle!"

Press release with more details after the jump.

Shanik Restaurant to Open in South Lake Union
Award-winning Indian restaurant will be first in United States

SEATTLE, Wash. – May 10, 2012 – Diners in Vancouver BC have been hooked on Vij’s distinctive take on Indian cuisine since the restaurant opened in 1994. Now, instead of crossing the border for Meeru Dhawala’s and Vikram Vij’s great Indian food, Seattleites can enjoy the celebrated cuisine right here in South Lake Union at Shanik, a new restaurant that is set to open in November at 500 Terry Avenue (at the NE corner of Republican and Terry). Shanik will be open for lunch and dinner, Monday to Saturday.

Vij’s co-owners Meeru Dhalwala and Vikram Vij have been running their Vancouver restaurant since September 1994. “Our food philosophy has always been to keep our spices and cooking techniques Indian—from all regions of India—while using meats, seafood and produce that are locally available,” said Meeru Dhalwala. “To this end, I change our menu seasonally.”

Dhalwala was born in India and moved to Washington, DC at a young age. She has been managing the kitchen and creating virtually all recipes at Vij’s since 1995. Dhalwala works closely with her all-female kitchen staff—all of whom hail from villages in the Punjab, India—to experiment with various cooking techniques and spice to ingredients combinations.

Dhalwala and Oguz Istif, who is C.O.O. of Vij’s companies in Vancouver, will work together to bring Shanik to South Lake Union. Istif was born and raised in Turkey and began working for Vij’s in 2005. He later earned his MBA and Wine and Spirit Education Trust certificate. “Oguz and I share the same intense background for food and family, and we’ll work together to ensure that Shanik welcomes diners with emotional generosity and warmth of food and community,” said Dhalwala. “At the same time, Oguz’s expertise managing the front side of Shanik will allow me to focus on my art, which is cooking.”

The restaurant will also feature a separate market facility and will serve local beer and original cocktails under the direction of Mike Bernardo, Vij’s wine director. “Bernardo is a star cocktail creator and an expert in pairing wines with Indian meals,” said Dhalwala.

“We’re very excited to welcome such wonderful international flavor to South Lake Union,” said Ada M. Healey, vice president of real estate at Vulcan, Inc. “Anyone who has enjoyed Vij’s in British Columbia will be delighted to encounter their world-class food right in the heart of Seattle.”

In 2007, Dhalwala published “Vij’s: Elegant and Inspired Indian Cuisine.” The cookbook tells the story of the restaurant’s origins and includes many of Vij’s original recipes. The book won the 2007 Cuisine Canada Gold Award for Cookbook of the Year. It also won the Cordon D’Or Gold Ribbon for International Cookbook. In September 2010, Dhalwala penned a second cookbook, titled “Vij’s at Home: Relax, Honey” about their family’s food culture and Indian meals at home. “Relax, Honey” won Silver at the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards in Paris for best Indian cookbook. It was also featured as a top cookbook of the year in the New York Times.