Make A Beeline For These Restaurants In Goa For Authentic Goan Food Experience

These restaurants in Goa are serious when it comes to food and a whole lot of fun
The crowd waltzing to the musicians' ways at The Lazy Goose
The crowd waltzing to the musicians' ways at The Lazy Goose

When Anisha Hassan&rsquos Hyderabadi father and Goan mother got married, they also wedded recipes from two rich Indian culinary traditions. This way, Anisha got the best of both worlds, as well as plenty of tales surrounding her food. And with her new restaurant, Saligao Stories, she simply presents &lsquoa collection of what is made at home&rsquo.

And what better venue to do that than her decades-old ancestral home

The mango-and-cream coloured villa, Arshekaniche Ghor (Konkani for glass house) is located in North Goa&rsquos Saligao village and has an antique-style d&eacutecor consisting of Catholic and Portuguese paraphernalia, vintage furnishings, as well as family heirlooms.

At Saligao Stories, every dish comes with its own story. Among Goan fare, the zesty &lsquopickled chicken&rsquo is right from Anisha&rsquos home kitchen. Then there&rsquos her grandma&rsquos chicken vindaloo, uniquely garnished with coconut strips. Among the Hyderabadi fare, &lsquoThe Hyderabadi Story&rsquo platter includes the light kache ghosht ki biryani, adum ka murg, a nalli gosht, a mirchi ka salan and a special &lsquomutton chutney&rsquo (which Anisha&rsquos mother created by accident). Also go for the succulent mutton stew, haleem. Among desserts, the Portuguese serradura (condensed milk with cream and Marie biscuit) is indulgent, and in cocktails, the &lsquoTranquility&rsquo interestingly combines cacha&ccedila (a spirit made from fermented sugarcane juice) with cranberry juice. 91-8554833889

Tierra y Mar translates from Spanish to &lsquoLand and Sea&rsquo. And for its chef Benpramar Laitflang, who had lived most of his life inland before moving to seafront Goa, this naming of this innovative Spanish and Latin American-inspired restaurant reflects this journey. Located at the quiet Sangolda village in North Goa, he co-runs it with former footballer Nishant Mehra. Enter its venue, known as &lsquoHouse No. 248&rsquo, to find a collective of artistic spaces&mdasha few shack-like huts house a workshop space, a lifestyle boutique store, and, of course, Tierra y Mar with its casual fairylights-lit al-fresco interior. A young crew comprising chefs Maia and Sanchit assist Ben with the restaurant operations and the ever-changing menu, while Abhik churns out some interesting cocktails.

Tierra&rsquos concept is to use fresh ingredients to make some surprisingly simple, but very delicious dishes, reflective of a cuisine quite unexploited in India. Among starters, go for tacos de la lengua (beef tongue with charred jalape&ntildeo salsa verde, pico de gallo, and sour cream), prawn and avocado ceviche (with cucumber, lime,chilli, coriander and mint) and, for mains, the ricotta and Parmesan dumplings (served with greens in a clean broth). For cocktails, the whiskey sour, and the orange cinnamon martini should be tried. 91-9819443210

What is a visit to Goa without indulging in some of its authentic fare At Soi (which in Konkani means grated coconut), that recently opened its newest branch in Panaji&rsquos Dona Paula, enjoy delicacies from both Saraswat and Catholic Goan food in a vibrant, semi-formal setting. Run by Anushka Adwalpalker, whose family operates many restaurants and nightclubs across Goa, the most striking feature of the d&eacutecor is the colourful panoramic wall mural done by artist Gaurabh Quenim. It takes up the whole wall and highlights aspects of Goan life&mdashfisherwomen, instruments such as the trumpet and the ukulele, the old buses and the traditional boats.

The rest of the d&eacutecor is similarly done in Goan flavour&mdashfind ceramic jars or the buyaon in which pickles are traditionally stored, garraf&otildees or glass containers in which feni would be matured, Portuguese ceramic plates and an old hunting gun. All these lend great character to the place.

And then, begin with the feastings. An easy start is the light and traditionally Portuguese caldo verde (soup with mashed potato and spinach). Among appetisers, the chorizo pulao (Goan chorizo sausages tossed and served with basmati rice), rawa-fried Goan pork chops (marinated with red chilli and vinegar, and served with mashed potatoes) and the stuffed squid (in recheado masala) are three very different, yet innately Goan options&mdashsuch that they display the variety a single cuisine presents. In the main course, Saraswat options such as the crab sukhem (cooked in whole spices and grated coconut), the tisreo sukhem (clams in garam masala) and the sol kadi (a drink made of kokum, coconut milk and spices) nicely sum up this food exploration. Oh, and the cocktail of choice is the &lsquofenito&rsquo, which is a mojito that combines pineapple, mango and feni to create something spectacular. 91-8308849516

As children growing up in Goa, siblings Praveena and Rohan D&rsquoSouza would frequent the idyllic Nerul river&mdashknown for its backwaters setting and lush mangroves&mdashnear North Goa&rsquos Candolim town and enjoy a meal by the erstwhile Amigos shack, which was located right below the Nerul Bridge. Years later, the duo, joined by restaurateur Hitesh Keswani, externalises their childhood memories by presenting the Goan, seafood and continental restaurant, The Lazy Goose, at the same location as Amigos.

The place, which opened up as recently as November 6, 2017, has a boating-inspired tropical-themed d&eacutecor, excellent live music and an infectious joie de vivre vibe. Vibrant colours dot its open-air casual seating, and the custom-made paddleboards hung on the walls and a real boat hung upside down from the ceiling further build on the theme.

Also, as it turns out, The Lazy Goose has retained Amigos&rsquo authentic Goan fare in its menu, as shack-owner Sabita continues to cook from her home behind the restaurant. The rest of the menu comprises offbeat, but flavourful dishes. Before anything else, try the signature mud crabs, freshly caught, available in butter chilly garlic, recheado or pepper preparations. Among starters, the clams steamed Asian style (in a broth with lemongrass, chilli and coriander) stand out and, in the main course, the cauliflower, cheddar cheese and vegetable baked cannelloni. As for the cocktails, signatures such as Boat Face (gin and passion fruit with kaffir lime) and Bikini Blast (watermelon infused with tequila and fresh pineapple) are quite refreshing. 91-7775958419

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