Zaika: You Had Us At Never-Ending Naan

Martha’s Pick:

Zaika Indian Cuisine
Fare: Indian
Cost: $16 each for buffet
Reservations: Not needed

Greetings, Eaters and Readers!

Did October even happen? Sheesh. In complete honesty, our Octobers were a busy blur and time got away from us. We’ll make it up to you somehow! Let’s start with a scrumptious November discovery: an Indian food buffet at West Omaha’s Zaika.

This place recently caught our eye after someone mentioned it in the Omaha Food Lovers group on Facebook. While looking into it, we noticed Zaika had moved in to the location of one of our previous foodventures – Sushi Japan. Tucked in on the backside, ground floor of a busy business building (Old Chicago, CKO Kickboxing, Palm Beach Tan and more) on 144th and W. Center – we paid Zaika a visit on a recent Tuesday.

With what limited research we did ahead of time, we knew that we would have our choice of the buffet, menu ordering/a la cart and table hibachi, where we could grill our own meats and veggies at our table. We remember Sushi Japan offering the same experience, and while we didn’t check that option out on this visit, we’re intrigued and hope to try it sometime. We told the hostess we were here for the buffet and we were seated immediately – with essentially front row buffet seats.

Without knowing most of what we were piling on our plates, save a few familiar dishes, we just wanted to try it all. We don’t remember everything we ate (and were too embarrassed to do a drive by photo-op.) But to the best of our knowledge, we tried:

Chicken Tikka Masala (tender chicken cooked in house special masala, onions, tomatoes and ginger in a creamy sauce)
Goat Curry (goat meat mixed with onion, ginger, garlic and Indian spices)
Chicken Briyani (spiced aromatic rice cooked with chicken, spices and herbs and fresh mint)
Idli (savory rice cake)
Vegetable Korma (garden vegetables cooked with onions and cashews)
Sambar (lentil-based vegetable soup, cooked with pigeon pea and tamarind broth)
Butter Chicken (tender chicken cooked with creamy tomato sauce)
Punugulu (deep fried rice snack)
Shrimp and noodles
Naan (think Olive Garden bottomless breadsticks – but with hot, steamy naan. *chef’s kiss*)
Bread pudding
Galab Jumun (round drown color mix cake dipped in sugar syrup)

One of our favorite things about our visit was the hot and fresh naan the staff brought to our table multiple times. Is there anything better than dipping fresh naan in your favorite sauce? Or loading it up with a spoonful of your favorite dish?

We both enjoyed the majority of what we put in our mouths. Our favorites were the Chicken Tikka Masala and Butter Chicken – they were both familiar to our palates. I’d never had goat before, and if you hadn’t told me the curry had goat meat – I would have been none the wiser.

Jaclyn noted that most everything we ate was quite spicy (which her stomach paid for dearly the next day). But everything was aromatic and popping with flavor.

Final Bites

In the end, we both agreed on a few things: the buffet price is great and worth the visit. For only $16, you get a great chance to dive into all sorts of dishes and you’ll surely find something you love OR, better yet, find something new you didn’t know you liked. Everything on the buffet was incredibly fresh and flavorful. We also agreed that our next trip back will probably be spent ordering off the menu – so we know what we’re eating and if we like it. For instance, the one thing we both missed on the buffet was a good, classic yellow curry chicken or a chicken korma. But they are on the menu AND at the top of my list when we return.

The staff/owners were super attentive, checking on our experience, refilling water multiple times, and answering questions. They open at 5:30pm for dinner during the week and though it was quiet when we first arrived around 5:45, it was busier when we left. Open since summer 2019, and undoubtedly affected by the pandemic, we hope Omaha shows up to enjoy Zaika – it’s a two forks up experience and we think you’ll like it!

The Good Bite Gals

forks up

Feature image credit: Zaika Indian Cusisine
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