While the beaches of Goa are the main attraction for travellers seeking out this small state for vacationing in, the food it has to offer comes in a very close second. I do not understand those who do not revel in a wonderful mouthful of food; and I don’t want to. As Nigella once said, to take pleasure in food is the core of the human experience. I speak the truth when I say that the food culture of a place is most often what attracts me to it rather than other amenities.
We all know Goa has its share of awesome, average and plain food-poisoning inducing joints. I trawled through frequent visitors’ must eat lists before I went this time but I regret to inform you that I couldn’t make it to all of them. I have sworn that the next time, I will hire a self-driven car on the very first day there and with determination and precision hit all the spots that are on my list.
Now I’ll tell you about the best meals I had this time, breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Breakfast: The Baker’s Studio, Tito’s Lane, Baga.
Getting here: An easy to miss place if you’re driving down Tito’s lane towards the beach but it is on the right with the beach in front of you. It had outdoor deck seating as well as air-conditioned seating indoors. It also has free Wi-Fi.
What we had here: plain croissant, chocolate croissant, almond and cinnamon Danish roll, and a tomato and mozzarella panini along with cappuccinos and café latte.
Verdict: No complaints with anything here at all. The chocolate croissant and panini were especially awesome. I think this place is perfect for a quick cuppa or a lazy brunch. Next time I go, I’ll try and have most of my breakfasts/brunches here as their menu has a lot of exploration potential, not to mention freshly baked breads.
Lunch: La Plage, Ashvem Beach
Getting here: Super easy to miss, as this is nowhere near the road. I would suggest you use any mobile navigation tools at your disposal if you don’t want to wander up and down for hours looking for the place. That being said, I had trouble finding the place with Google Maps too! A dirt roads leads off a narrow tarred road and the only landmark is a little grocery store opposite the turning.
What we had here: Now this is a little difficult as their items are in French and the names are long. I know a bit of French myself but I couldn’t retain the names. I’ll give you the skinny though. We had two starters; one was a tuna dip served with focaccia and the other a thinly sliced chicken breast salad of rocket, pomegranate, pine nuts and really good olive oil. For mains we had the spare ribs with sweet potato fries and a barbeque chicken leg with jacket potatoes. For dessert we had strawberry sorbet and the baby chocolate fondant with vanilla sauce. For drinks we had pina colada, mojito, strawberry and mint lassi and maragarita.
Verdict: Beyond Amazing! Nothing more needs to be said. Every single item was finger licking and finger biting good. I want to eat here over and over and over again. Many tout this place as overpriced but I found it to be rates similar to Delhi and Bangalore, but for far superior quality. There is not a single complaint I had at this place other than the wish that I had a larger appetite. Much larger.
Dinner: OltreMarino, Ozran beach, Vagator
Getting here: Enter Thalassa in Google maps and you’re here. Well, not exactly. Thalassa is at the top and Oltre Marino is halfway down the steep cliff. The path that leads to the beach adjacent to the Ocean Bliss resort will take you down to this place. It has accommodation as well and looked pretty neat from the outside. Might be worth a stay here sometime, though I wasn’t too enchanted by Ozran beach.
What we had here: We started with the Chef’s special salad which consisted of beets, creamy goat’s cheese, ham, mozzarella, crusty bread, gherkins and rocket. We then had the gnocchi and the chef’s recommendation; grilled prawns. For dessert we had the chocolate cake and the chef’s complimentary coconut sponge with whipped cream. We drank strawberry daiquiri, red wine and a very tart mojito.
Verdict: Even though this was the dinner I best enjoyed, there were some dishes that I wish I hadn’t ordered. The prawns were not grilled to my liking. They tasted just prawn-y and nothing else, which my family and I did not enjoy. The desserts weren’t the best either. But the standout dish here was the salad and the gnocchi. Both were really tasty. I’m craving that salad as I write this. Mmm mm!
So these were the star meals. I will do another post which tells you of my other food and accommodation experiences in Goa. It won’t be in this much detail of course but it will have lots of useful info, especially about some places you should give a miss to unless you want to come away with complaints. Stick around, and happy travels!