We recently had our first takeout dinner of the new year at Tadka, as we’re still not eating inside what (with the newest version of our dear old friend, Covid-19). What we do have to be thankful for, dear neighbors, are the new restaurants that continue to pop up, and even flourish, during these difficult times.
Tadka only opened last year as far as I can tell, but it still took us far too long to try it. It’s family-owned, helmed by Dhillon and wife Shevy. And, yes, it’s yet another Indian restaurant in the Mission, but with a twist: Indian pizza! My first encounter with Indian pizza was Zante’s in Bernal and, while that continues to be the gold standard for me, Tadka’s did not disappoint.
We ordered the Chicken Tikka Masala pizza, palak paneer (mild), vegetable biryani (medium) and chicken vindaloo (extra spicy). A side of raita, too, and a couple of chutneys came with. They also threw in kheer for dessert, a nice touch.
The pizza was quite good: Thin-crusted and crispy, though maybe a tad less assertively flavored than I’d expected, and it could have been a little saucier. Easy enough to doctor up with their fresh and pungent cilantro chutney.
Palak paneer is probably my favorite Indian dish, and Tadka’s fit the bill nicely: Well-spiced, warming, with just enough chunks of paneer. I loved their chicken vindaloo: Very tender chicken with a zippy, slightly vinegary tang, gingery and cuminy (and if you’re of the faint of heart, not to worry: Extra spicy here really just means runny-nose spicy.) They gave us a TON of biryani — seriously, enough to feed a family of six rabidly hungry farmhands — and it was wonderfully redolent of cardamom and chock-full of veggies. Plenty of leftovers of everything, so a good deal, too.
Oh, and that rice pudding: I’d go back just for that; a swoony dream of a dessert! Creamy, not too sweet, with a lush blend of ginger, cinnamon and cardamom, it was like a comforting Indian hug. I suspect they give it out as a freebie to let you know just how good it is, and it sure worked on me.
I’d love to go back and try their myriad lamb and seafood dishes, the various naans, tandoori, and several other biryanis. They also have a couple of non-Indian pizzas, if you must. Tadka serves beer (bottles and on tap) and has a little selection of Indian wine and bubbly (bottles or by the glass) that I’ll definitely try next time.
I could see that business wasn’t booming as far as indoor dining, and understandably so, but Indian food is a cuisine that does very well for takeout, so let’s continue to support our small businesses through this year and beyond.
Tadka Indian Restaurant, Pizza & Sports Bar (website)
3066 24th St.