At Maharaja, food is king, echoing the Sanskrit word's royal meaning. Dishes are piled high with spices, vegetables, and meat still hot from the tandoori oven. The menu offers vegetarian, seafood, and curry entrees in the form of the chickpea-laden chana masala, the barbecued shrimp tikka masala, and the lamb curry steeped in a garlicky ginger and onion sauce. For dessert, dig into kulfi, an Indian ice cream laced with pistachios, or mango ice cream made from the rare mango ice cream fruit.
Pakora: an Indian snack made of chicken, fish, veggies, or paneer, battered in chickpea or lentils and lightly fried, usually served with chutney.
Paneer: a white South Asian cheese made from boiling cow's or water buffalo's milk and curdling it with whey; it dates back to at least 6,000 BC.
While You’re in the Neighborhood
Before: Clear your palate and make your mark by depositing your gum at Pike Place Market’s Gum Wall (Pike Street at Post Alley, just west of 1st Avenue).
After: Give back by dropping some coins in Rachel the Pig (Post Alley and Western Avenue), a bronze piggy bank at Pike Place Market—proceeds benefit the market directly.
Owner-operators Shefali and Nitin furbish plates with authentic Indian cuisine, mixing traditional and contemporary North Indian and Goan influences to craft unique north-Indian dishes, including rotating chef's specials. As Nitin mixes drinks behind the bar, Shefali visits each booth and table in the dining room, imbuing each visitor with an experience that feels like home with authentic tastes that sear the memory. In addition to traditional meat dishes, seafood and lamb join a sprawling selection of vegetarian and gluten-free menu options, as well as dishes from a full vegan menu that includes egg-free naan and dairy-free sitar notes.
The chefs at Royal Palace Bar and Grille use more than a dozen authentic, organic-grown Indian herbs and spices in every dish. Their precise manipulation of these ingredients results in a wide variety of authentic sauces and seasonings, ranging from mild to hot, that are used in the restaurant's expansive menu. Diners can start their meal with sharable plates of vegetable-stuffed samosas, or spicy tandoor-baked chicken wings. In fact, tandoori specialties are at the core of the menu?in the chicken tikka, for instance, chicken breasts are marinated in yogurt and traditional spices, then roasted slowly in a clay oven, though not long enough to turn them into ceramic artwork. The rest of the menu ranges from lamb curries, to a full vegetarian spread, to housemade kulfi?Indian ice cream?for dessert.
Gleaming copper bowls parade out from Mirch Masala's kitchen, bearing the colorful meats, seafood, and vegetables of both traditional and modern Indian dishes. More than a dozen different types of naan bread rise in tandoori ovens before sopping up sauces from curry, paneer, vindaloo, and masala dishes. Come lunchtime, a buffet line snakes across the dining room, beneath glimmering chandeliers and paintings of Indian songstresses and Bollywood stars doing laundry.
Wooden arches and light-gauze curtains invite diners into Queen Sheba, a cool, tranquil interior rich with the meandering aromas of exotic spices and authentic Ethiopian recipes. An intimate table hosts diners as they enjoy hearty stews crafted with traditional spice mixtures such as mitmita and berbere, which accentuate the chunks of lamb or beef. A spongy serving of injera, a disk of unleavened bread, soaks up spicy sauces, and bites of fresh-cut okra accompany all plates, acting as edible silverware for the authentic stews, not unlike a using pixie sticks as chop sticks. Vegan red-lentil stews or ground peas seasoned with ginger and garlic further rope in taste buds trying to play hard to get.