Restaurant, spices for purchase, patio seating, house-made breads
Enter the Tikka House in Kansas City’s historic City Market and you’re immediately drawn to the bins of hand-crafted colorful spices, ranging from Arabic, curry, and cayenne to meatloaf, spaghetti, and a Kansas City barbecue rub. One scoop of most spices costs $1, and any unground pepper costs $2. The spice selection is tremendous, but expected from a place run by the same family that runs Al-Habashi Middle Eastern Grocery. Don’t get swept away by all those spices Marco Polo once went looking for—the food at Tikka House deserves your full attention.
From the moment Tikka House opened in 2006, the kitchen staff has made everything in-house, including the pita and Naan breads. Homemade pita is used for the $2 pita pocket appetizers, featuring a vegetarian potato pita pocket. They make a great snack for anyone walking around the City Market or just stopping in for a quick lunch. As you might expect from a store that sells self-mixed spices, the food is expertly seasoned. The chicken tikka wrap benefits from this expertise. The juicy white chicken blends with the orange tikka mixture of coriander, ginger, garlic, garam masala and just enough dry red chilies to keep you reaching for your water. Enhance the wrap with a little tzatziki sauce spiked with the tastiest dill you’ll ever have, and you’ve got a killer lunch for $7. The wrap comes with a fresh house salad and saffron rice topped with an Arabic spice mixture made from coriander, cumin, star anise, cardamom, curry, clove and cinnamon that gives the sweet rice a fuller, savory flavor. If you’re looking for a modestly priced lunch of homemade Indian cuisine in the River Market area there’s no better spot than the Tikka House.
The garage converted space doesn’t lend itself to eating in, just two tables inside the restaurant and several tables outside for nice weather, but if you find yourself enjoying the pungent aromas and the delicious food, make sure to chat up Maggie for a revealing conversation about spices and which ones should be going home with you. It isn’t everyday you’re served by someone with food and spice knowledge passed down from a family that’s been serving the City Market for almost 50 years.