Very Good Upscale Indian Dinner at Zaika (NYC)

Mango lassis and buddha print on the wall
Bar area
Tawaa scallops - Seared scallops, saffron chili, red pepper ajwain, spiced chutney.
Chili crab - Warm crab chunks, watercress, edamame guacamole, mint chutney

While there are a number of fine dining Indian restaurants in Manhattan, Zaika is a pretty darn strong contender. Located several blocks away from Grand Central Station, this restaurant is lovely as it has a lounge area with a water feature near the bar and hostess stand. The dining room is quite spacious and the decor is modern and there’s different prints on the walls of the Buddha and nature scenes inspired by India. When it comes to the food, the seafood dishes were stellar but everything else we had were delicious as well. The flavors are on-point and the food is cooked perfectly. Service was friendly and our waitress was very knowledgeable of the menu and was patient to explain the menu when I had a few questions about the desserts.

My family and I shared appetizers of Tawaa scallops and chili crab. The seared scallops were huge and very fresh. The swathes of red pepper ajwain and spiced chutney added just enough flavors to enhance the sweet scallops without dominating it. The chili crab is a wonderful crab cake to describe this in the least technical way. The large flakes of sweet crab meat tossed in a seasoned mildly spicy chili mixture then packed into a triangular mold and topped with sweet baby tomatoes and lines of refreshing mint chutney.

Tandoori King Prawns - Roasted jumbo prawns served with chili tikki, beet chips and mint ajwain chutney
Tandoori Sea Bass - Clay-oven baked sea bass with roasted Brussels sprouts, baby carrots, purple potatoes, sweet mixed peppers in reduced masala chardonnay.
Lamb chop tandoor - Lamb chop, Shata pepper, marble potatoes, spicy plum sauce
Buttter chicken

As for the main courses, the tandoori seafood dishes were excellent. The tandoori chili king prawns and sea bass were cooked perfectly that they maintained its moisture yet cooked through and the depth of flavors for its respective marinades were good. The sea bass was coated in a Chardonnay wine sauce that made the dish had crunchy vegetables of Brussels sprouts, baby carrots, purple potatoes to keep it light.

The tandoor lamb chops were succulent and it’s easy to slice with a standard knife. It’s not too spicy with chili but has good depth of flavors. The spicy plum sauce on the side really added a lovely sweet-acidity to the earthy dish.

For something not from the tandoor, we had the butter chicken. My goodness, this was a dish I cannot get enough of. The sauce was incredible that I would spoon that on basmati rice or dip naan (or any carbohydrate really) and be a very happy person to have that for dinner. The meaty chunks chicken were very good too.

Garlic naan

The garlic naans were made to order and arrived to our table piping hot. It’s chewy, great garlic flavor and addictive to eat with everything on the table.

House made chai tea served in silver teaware from India
Kesar Rasamalai
Rose Almond Kheer

Though we were full, we must end the evening with dessert. We shared cups of their delicious housemade chai served with their gorgeous silver teaware brought in from India. The chai is arguably the best I’ve had in New York City.

As for the sweets, we had the Kesar Rasamalai and Rose Almond Kheer. Both desserts were not too sweet but just enough. The rose almond kheer is a type of rice pudding that’s on the looser end than what you’d normally get in the U.S. and it’s delicately flavored with rosewater and almond. The Kesar Rasamalai are cornflour/semolina balls that’s simmered in lightly sweetened and spiced milk but served chilled.

To view more photos of this meal, please view the gallery below or CLICK HERE for the photo set:

[alpine-phototile-for-flickr src=”set” uid=”26389565@N00″ sid=”72157690578914362″ imgl=”flickr” shuffle=”1″ style=”gallery” row=”4″ grwidth=”1200″ grheight=”800″ size=”640″ num=”30″ shadow=”1″ border=”1″ align=”center” max=”100″]


230 E 44th Street
New York, NY 10017
Phone: (212) 697-9797


I shoot, eat, and drink. My full time job is a hospital administrator. Moonlighting as a freelance photographer and food and travel writer.