Capitol Hill diners are about to get an exciting addition in a familiar location. Just weeks after the longtime, popular tapas spot Tango closed, a new Indian restaurant called Zaika is now planning to take over the space on Pike Street, and will open in early September. Owner Nitin Panchal — who also runs the Indian restaurant Chutneys in Queen Anne — told Eater Seattle that there will be some twists to classic Indian dishes, which may include kale chaat as an appetizer, lobster masala, and vegetable plates that incorporate Brussels sprouts. There will also be a separate vegan menu, as well as an extensive list of cocktails, with Indian flavors going into gin and tonics, and what Panchal hopes will be a strong happy hour. Capitol Hill Blog first reported the news.
Chutneys will close down permanently as preparations for the new spot ramp up, but the workers there are moving to Zaika and involved with the planning. There’s a website already up for the new restaurant, with three dishes listed: barwhan paneer tikka with homemade tamarind chutney, murgh adrak tikka (chicken flavored with ginger yogurt), and hariyali chicken kebab baked in a clay oven. Those items have appeared on the menu for Chutneys, so longtime fans of the Queen Anne spot can find some overlap (Panchal says that the Zaika takeout menu will be similar to Chutneys). But Zaika also plans to forge a separate identity from its roots, with some thalis on the dine-in menu and a more modern, industrial interior.
Zaika will have some competition in the area, once it’s ready to roll. Though the city in general isn’t really known for a prevalence of Indian cuisine, there’s Daawat Indian Grill and Bar a few blocks away on Pike near the Convention Center, as well as Moti Mahal and Annapurna Cafe (which blends Indian, Tibetan, and Nepalese food) within walking distance. And after building a strong following with its roving food operation, Spice Waala recently joined the fray in Capitol Hill with its first permanent outpost on 15th Avenue East. But the more Indian food, the merrier — especially when it comes to happy hour.