Tra­di­tional restau­rants in this coastal state

This coastal state's pop­u­lar restau­rants are known for serv­ing au­then­tic flavours

Business Traveller (India) - - CONTENTS - WORDS NETRA VENKATESHWARAN

It is a tiny coastal state, smaller than some In­dian me­trop­o­lises even, whose beaches are al­most al­ways crowded year-round (ex­cept dur­ing mon­soons). Goa has a lot more to it though than just its ex­ten­sive sandy shores. Its food – from the clas­sic tiger prawns with Indo-Por­tuguese xa­cuti sauce to pork vin­daloo – is the next best of­fer­ing here. Since its in­de­pen­dence from the Por­tuguese in 1961 af­ter they in­vaded Goa in 1510, there has been a heavy Por­tuguese in­flu­ence on its dishes.

Here is a list of five ca­sual eater­ies that have been adored by the lo­cals and reg­u­lar tourists since years.

MARTIN’S COR­NER

Cara­fina Pereira started this place three decades ago with just four ta­bles and not much re­galia. Word of her de­li­cious food spread and the vis­it­ing crowd be­came larger. To­day, with more than a dozen ta­bles, the am­bi­ence is al­ways buzzing with buoy­ancy, thanks to the live mu­sic per­for­mances by lo­cal artists. Its Goan charm isn’t lim­ited to just food, but also shows through car­i­ca­tures de­pict­ing lo­cal cul­ture that cover the walls.

Amongst the starters here, crunchy prawns and cala­mari sautéed in but­ter and spices are must-try sim­ple Goan treats. The pork or beef as­sad is equally rec­om­mended for the ten­der­ness of its spiced meat. Martin’s most favoured dishes amongst the mains is the spicy pork vin­daloo – cooked in vine­gar and chilli paste. Fin­ish your Goan meal by in­dulging in be­binca – a seven-lay­ered, co­conut flavoured, sticky Indo-Por­tuguese cake.

Open daily 11am-3:30pm,

6:30pm-11:30pm; +91 0832 2880061; mar­tin­scorner­goa.com.

The best way to sam­ple more of its dishes is by or­der­ing the thali or set meal with small por­tions

MUM’S KITCHEN

The tra­di­tional Goan eatery is a trib­ute to “mothers from far flung cor­ners of Goa for hav­ing con­trib­uted in com­pil­ing ex­clu­sive tra­di­tional recipes”. It has a homely feel that em­anates from its decor and re­flects in its food. A nar­row path­way that leads to the door from its gate is flanked by green­ery on both sides. A man-made pond adds to the aes­thetic. Inside, pickle jars, flower vases, old-styled uten­sils, and ar­ti­fi­cial fruits and veg­eta­bles in bas­kets add to its vin­tage ap­peal.

From the ap­pe­tis­ers listed, I would rec­om­mend the fresh pineap­ple salad, and for some­thing spicy, try komb­dechem sukhem – shal­low-fried chicken mar­i­nated in spices. A typ­i­cal Goan meal here would be the chourico chilli fry – pork sausages in chilli oil – rel­ished with a bowl of rice to bal­ance out the flavours. Even spicier would be the lob­ster stuffed with fiery red Goan masala. Fi­nally, douse the fire from spices with Mum’s Kitchen’s sig­na­ture pan­cake stuffed with co­conut and jag­gery and topped with ice cream and choco­late sauce.

Open daily 11am-11pm;

+91 982217 5559; mum­skitchen­goa.com.

SOUZA LOBO

It is lo­cated in one of the most crowded spots of Goa – Calangute beach. In the day, fans cool you down from the sun­light pour­ing in through its large win­dows, and in the evenings, cool sea breeze brushes past you. Post sun­set, Souza Lobo spreads out onto the beach by adding ta­bles and chairs on the sand.

The list of starters are noth­ing spe­cial re­ally, and so skip to the mains that are large enough to be shared. Start with the fried masala mus­sels cov­ered with a bat­ter of spiced semolina. The pom­fret raechade or stuffed pom­fret shouldn’t be missed, nei­ther should the sausage pu­lao that is the restau­rant’s own cre­ation.

Open daily 11:30am-11:30pm;

+91 0832 2276463; souza­lobo.com.

SPICE GOA

It is lo­cated in a qui­eter part of Goa, in Ma­pusa. The in­te­ri­ors are min­i­mal­is­tic. Un­like colour­ful Goan homes or spa­ces on a whole, it is pretty much bare, apart from the few pic­ture frames, and the one odd

dull green wall and match­ing pil­lar. What it misses in am­bi­ence, it makes up in its food. Run by a hus­band-wife duo, it prom­ises fresh seafood and spices ground in-house.

Feast on what Spice Goa is fa­mous for – its seafood spe­cial­i­ties. The best way to sam­ple more of its dishes is by or­der­ing the thali or set meal with small por­tions. The Goan Fish thali, for ex­am­ple, comes with seven dishes that in­clude one large piece of fried fish, Goan-styled sautéed veg­eta­bles, salad, fish curry and a shell fish curry. One can even pick the dishes you would want to see on your thali. End the course with sera dura (means saw­dust in Por­tuguese), which is a hum­ble dessert made with noth­ing more but sweet­ened cream and bis­cuit crumbs.

Open daily noon-3pm, 7pm-11pm;

+91 0832 2257148; spice­goa.com

THE FISH­ER­MAN’S WHARF

The al fresco restau­rant is sim­ple, but beau­ti­fully laid out with mood light­ing, fairy lights, wooden in­te­ri­ors, tiled roof and brick walls. It is lo­cated on the bank of River Sal, and glows from a pret­tier am­bi­ence af­ter sun­set.

The suc­cu­lent prawn balchao is an ab­so­lute must-try. Belchao is when seafood or meat is cooked in a tangy tomato-chilli sauce, which tastes bet­ter if eaten a day af­ter its prepa­ra­tion. Chicken caf­real (fried and sea­soned with caf­real pow­der), brought in by the Por­tuguese ex­udes just the right flavours here. For a spicy twist or­der the fiery prawns served with Goan pao – a type of bread.

Open daily noon-11:00pm;

+91 90110 18866; the­fish­er­man­swharf.in

PRE­VI­OUS PAGE: a beach in Goa CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Mum’s Kitchen; Spice Goa; shell fish curry at Spice Goa; Fish­er­man’s Wharf; chicken caf­real at Fish­er­man’s Wharf; and komb­dechem sukhem at Mum's Kitchen

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