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Prince Harry and Meghan enjoy meal, visit kitchen staff at renowned Vancouver restaurant

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Working at one of Vancouver's most renowned restaurants, staff at Vij's are no strangers to celebrity guests – but the Royals who unexpectedly arrived this week left them starstruck.

Owner Vikram Vij said the surprise visit by Prince Harry and Meghan on Thursday evening had the restaurant buzzing, beginning the moment the famous couple entered through a back door that leads directly into the kitchen.

"The dishwasher was going and both of them walked through," Vij said. "My kitchen staff was so happy and so excited – they were just standing there and here comes Harry and Meghan."

While the couple's arrival was unexpected, it did require a few last-minute preparations.

Vij said he received a mysterious request Thursday afternoon asking if the security detail for some high-profile guests could visit the restaurant in advance to scope out the space.

"I was like, 'OK, can you tell me who they are?'" Vij said.

The answer was no.

But the inspection went smoothly, and not long after Prince Harry and Meghan arrived to enjoy a meal that included naan, paneer, curries and Vij's signature lamb popsicles.

The couple appeared to have different tolerance levels for spice, Vij said.

"I think for him, the food was a little spicier," the owner told CTV News. "He actually himself said, 'Do you know I'm a ginger? Which means when I eat spicy food, I get red?'"

Meghan, on the other hand, asked the restaurant to turn up the heat. Vij said he personally delivered some green chilies to add to her meal.

"And she had the goat meat, which is the spiciest dish on the menu," he added. "She loved it."

(Credit: Vij's)

Michael Buble and his wife Luisana Lopilato were also dining at Vij's that evening, and all four of the celebrity guests greeted kitchen staff in the back to thank them for their meals.

"They were so friendly, so loving, so nice," Vij said. "Our kitchen ladies were just in awe … no words came out of them."

The owner said he, too, was honoured that the Royals chose his restaurant – which was among the first local establishments to earn a Bib Gourmand in the Michelin Guide – during their stay in Vancouver.

"There's so many great chefs in this city, so many great restaurants in this city," Vij said. "For them to have chosen us to come and enjoy our food was absolutely amazing."

Prince Harry and Meghan have been taking part in training camps this week to promote next year's Invictus Games, which are being hosted in B.C. 

With files from CTV News Vancouver's Gabriela Panza-Beltrandi

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