Zyka!Posted on Nov 11 in Dine In, Take Outby hrcookiewomanPrint
Trying to remember the first time we came to Zyka is sort of like asking someone to recall the first time they went to Taco Bell. My family, friends and I have frequented this restaurant for over 10 years now. The first time was during a trip to Atlanta to visit my brother in college. At the time, the number of quality Indian restaurants in Atlanta was a fraction of what it is now. Somehow my dad found out about Zyka, and over the years going to this restaurant has become a tradition for our family, and many families in the Atlanta area.
Zyka is overall a self-service type of restaurant. You order and pick up your food from the front counter, generally in a decent amount of time. Even during the busiest hours, our food has been ready before hunger forces us to complain about it. They offer pick-up service, and they also have a banquet hall available for events.
Zyka’s naan is a thing of legends. It’s pillowy, has those crunchy naan-bubbles, and it comes glistening with the perfect smearing of butter. The only downside is that it’s kind of pricey at $1.49/naan. The perfect partner for the naan is of course Chicken 65, which is the most popular dish at Zyka. The first thing you notice on the plate is the bright, biohazard red color of the chicken contrasting with the sharp green of jalapenos sliced over it. Regardless of its startling color, the boneless chunks of marinated, battered chicken are fried to crispy perfection. The texture is crunchy on the outside, juicy and soft on the inside. The flavor is mild with a hint of spice, but not enough to make you drink 4 glasses of water before your second bite. The mild to medium level of spice in the chicken allows you to enjoy its full range of flavors without searing your tongue.
Along with each entree comes a helping of sweet and tangy tamarind (Imli) chutney, which I pray will one day rain down from the heavens much like meatballs did in Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs (if we could only be so blessed in real life). Each dish also comes with a yogurt-based spicier chutney. It has a kick to it, but I prefer dipping my naan in the tangy tamarind chutney instead.
The vegetable biryani is pretty disgusting. I guess this is more of a personal thing because I expect my biryani to have meat in it, or else it’s not real biryani in my eyes. Also the samosas taste a lot like the frozen, boxed type you can get at your local Indian store. Neither are worth writing home about.
Many of the gravy-based dishes seem to be getting greasier and greasier. Granted with this type of cuisine, it’s impossible to escape oil all together. But when you get your food and there’s a 1 inch layer of oil on top, something’s wrong. I want my money to go towards meat, veggies and seasoning, not oil. Also since they have become such an integral part of the Indian food world in Atlanta, Zyka has increased its prices while decreasing serving size. It’s difficult to get full off of one main dish and one naan, but their popularity allows them to get away with it.
Why it’s worth going back to:
Obviously to please the mostly Indian-food loving crowd, many dishes on the menu pack the full hot-fire spice profile that you would expect at an Indian restaurant. But the popular dishes somehow satisfy the spicy-loving and non-spicy loving alike. As a result when you walk in, you will notice a broad spectrum of customers: from East Asians to Africans, from Indian and Pakistani crowds to Caucasian crowds. There are huge families of 20+, young college couples, professionals on a lunch break and also young families. So although they only serve Indian cuisine, Zyka caters to a global clientele. Asides from the food, this is one of the main reasons I love coming here. But back to the food: even though the portion sizes are going down while prices go up, the staple dishes at Zyka are definitely worth coming back for. Nowhere in Atlanta will you get naan as perfectly buttered and Chicken 65 as crispy as you’ll get it here.
- Chicken biryani (which comes with a chunky potato/cilantro/tomato raita)
- Saag Paneer (cheesy cubes floating in creamy spinach)
- Saffron Rice
- Bihari Kabob
- Chicken Seekh Kabob
- Gobi Manchurian (fried, battered, spiced cauliflower)
- Sweet Lassi
- Food: 4.0 – I’ve had both awesome and awesomely bad food here, but the good food is worth coming back for.
- Value: 2.5 – Portion sizes are down while prices are going up
- Service: 4.0 – It’s a self-service type of place, but the staff was nice & they got the food out quick.
- Lota-Pani: 4.5 – Recently remodeled, so the bathroom is nice (they even have those incredibly strong hand-dryers that make the skin on your hands look like it’s coming off).
- Decor: 4.0 – Newly renovated, so the decor is nice. There are beautiful, traditional paintings on the wall, and they even have a fountain in the back.
1677 Scott Blvd Decatur, GA 30033