Yes, you read it right. In Goa, there is a pretty distinct divide between North & South Goa. Enough and more has been written about both but my attempt is to illuminate three lovely places one must visit in South Goa. I mean your trip would be incomplete without a visit to these three, similar in many ways and yet quite distinct, restaurants.
- MARTIN’S CORNER: One of the most popular and sought-after places in South Goa close to Utorda, Martin’s Corner has been my haunt in all my six visits to Goa. From the food, drinks to the live music and karaoke nights Martin’s Corner is a place that exudes the true Goan spirit. The moment you sit under the covered roof and side open restaurant your eyes can’t help but notice the live catch of the day. What a sight! Lobsters, crabs, prawn & fish are integral to the menu and believe me they taste delicious because the raw material is of the finest and freshest quality. Somehow their pricing seems so accurate, inexpensive for items which are meant to be (read fresh lime soda, aerated water and bottled water) and well-priced for the lovely sea food preparations. So, while we were there we indulged in Lobster thermidor their signature dish, cheese bruschetta’s, French fries and Manchurian fish. Draught beer and breezers flowed liberally and to top it all there was live music filled with classics by Clapton, Bon Jovi and Elton John. Perfect setting for a pleasant evening. I must add there is plenty of variety in their menu and a good spread of North Indian kebabs if that is your calling. A Live dessert counter adds to the fun and the service is friendly and familiar. We were lucky that the weather was good with mild rain and cool sea breeze and a large screen for live sport.
Location- 69, Binwaddo, Betalbatim, Salcette, Goa
- FISHERMAN’S WHARF: My next haunt that is on my must recommend list is Fisherman’s Wharf close to the Leela Hotel. A short drive way leads you to the place with ample parking. The restaurant has a mix of open air and under the roof sitting. If you want to sit facing the sea you better reserve your table or go early. Else make do with seating in the inside portion of the restaurant which too is nice nevertheless. The interiors are done up very tastefully with lovely vintage chairs, modern bar stools (around a huge bar in the center) and drums which are filled with live catch and a price tag. Once you settle down the menu will amaze you with its spread. We gorged on the butter garlic prawns, chilli prawns, spring rolls, honey chilli chicken and hakka noodles. Blue curacao cocktail and vodka was the order of the day to wash it down, our waiter served with a perpetual smile. At the end of the meal we asked for a tiramisu and I can officially state it was one of the finest ones I have ever had after the one I had in Bali. Attractively served and melting in your mouth I almost ordered another one. And then of course was the live music by a band of boys belting out classic soft rock numbers almost like the original. We were compelled to dance after a bit and the momentum didn’t recede. Singing with such ease they effortlessly switched genres between rock and blues with country roads, mambo no. 5, wonderful tonight, sultans of swing, careless whisper and black magic women amongst many of the tracks they pelted. Oh, what a super night it made.
Location- Before The Leela, Mobor, Cavelossim, Goa
- RAJ’S PENTAGON: Now this is a surprise entrant. Opened only a few summers back and owned by an ex-chef Raj, this place is very popular amongst the locals. Walking distance from the Majorda beach, Pentagon does what it does brilliantly. Live catch is brought to every table to purchase (crabs, prawns and fish) and the crooner is a fellow with a keen interest in reggae music. So, you know he played almost some calypso tunes and did it to perfection. We were a bit early and began with a pint of Bira and Pina Colada and followed that up with fish fingers, calamari, noodles and to my most wonderful surprise chicken gold coins. It reminded me of the good old Calcutta club days where gold coins were a hit. The music soon took over and the place filled up with inhabitants which were all looking familiar with the place and the food. It offers both indoor and outdoor seating and they do a pretty neat job of disinfecting the place for mosquitos. Well priced, Raj is present there in person and does shyly interact with the patrons and enquires if all is smooth. Time moves fast here and food grips you pretty hard. Considering the place has a valet parking, rather rare in Goa, the place is full and ensures you have a feast.\
Location- Majorda Beach Road, Opp. Majorda Beach Resort, Salcete, Goa