Zaika Restaurant Blues
I am writing to warn all of you about Zaika Indian Restaurant on Shattuck Avenue in the "gourmet ghetto" in Berkeley. This upscale version by the owners of Breads of India was a very dissapointing experience. Being that my husband & I live in the neighborhood and there would always be a mob of people waiting outside to be seated, we decided to try it.
But we were quite annoyed by the experience. The restaurant focused on decor and presentation instead of on the food. There are murals on the walls, big menus with extensive descriptions of the food, elaborate light fixtures, many waiters, nice tablecloths and the waiter would wipe the plates with a cloth napkin before placing them on the table. But the entrees were tiny (placed in silver bowls)as my husband's $15 chicken tikka masala consisted of five pieces of chicken and a piece of egg drowning in a mediocre sauce. My vegetarian entree recommeded by the waiter was mostly potatoes and carrots in a simple curry sauce. Also, the entrees came only with rice (unlike other Indian restaurants) and there were no sauces available to put on the food.
So watch out and be wary of the hype.
I haven't been there yet, but that's exactly what I would have expected from Zaika (and that explains why I haven't been there...) It's mostly geared at non-indians. It's probably not that bad a bad restaurant, but it is definitely a poor value. If I'm looking to spend a little more on indian, I would go to Gaylord's in Ghirardeli. I also heard that some of the best local indian food is served in the south bay at places like Amber India in Mountain View.
Try the Chaat cafe on University and MLK, or Cafe Raj on Solano near Stannage in Albany for good sit-down indian experiences around Berkeley. Of course, there's always Vik's and the divier Kabbana (University).