10 Best Thalis in Goa by Atul Sikand

Gourmand and travel buff Atul Sikand lists his favourite  thali places in Goa. Read on to turn your next Goan vacation into a gourmet trek by following this binge bucket list...


While we talk of fabled thalis of India, we seem to mention every state but almost always ignore Goa. The state is talked of for its parties, beaches and cafes set up by settlers but never for its thalis. Food expert Atul Sikand though suggests any traveller's Goan experience will be incomplete without trying Goan  thalis at one of the many local restaurants. Rather than sending us on a blind thali trail, Atul, a regular to Goa, pens a list of his personal picks. Here are his 10 favourite thali joints that he insists you must try. 
Anand Bar & Restaurant
It is excellent. They have real good food - Rava fried squid, prawns or king fish with beer as we wait for our thali which is one of the best in Goa.
 

Here are some amazing thalis to be tried in Goa. Photo Courtesy: Sikandalous Cuisine

 

Bhatti Village – Nerul

I love Bhatti Village for many delicious reasons - Pork roast, melt in the mouth squid or fried whitebait and the pork amsol/bindisol to name a few. Oh yes, the clams are a must order too. This family restaurant in Nerul serves you home cooked Catholic Goan food. The restaurant itself is quite a visual experience - you will love it! Do go by Patrick, the owner’s suggestions - he is always bang on and rightly so as his wife does most of the cooking! Open at dinner only

Balgo Bar & Restaurant, Mapusa
In a narrow alley, off of Mapusa market is a two-storey (AC upstairs) hole-in-the-wall restaurant that inarguably serves the best Goan Hindu rice plate. Don't be fooled by what the restaurant looks like - the food here is one of the best I have eaten in Goa.
Photo Courtesy: Atul Sikan's Instagram @atul_sikand
A limited menu - just a thali with expertly fried catch of the day is all you get here. The fish curry in the thali is soured with bimbli and tirphal - it is just as hot as some of its fiery red counterparts, but with a flavorful, tingly, slowly enveloping warmth from the spices used rather than a grab your throat, tongue on fire experience

Kismoor Restaurant, Dona Paula
Named after the ubiquitous side served with a Goan meal, this cheerful restaurant in Dona Paula offers a thali which is generous as it is sumptuous and is the only place where the thali goes beyond fish but also includes a dessert - serradura. I love their oyster rava fry, squid butter garlic and fried fish in Recheado Masala.

Sharda Restaurant
It is our belief (may even be common lore) that folks in the area started going to the church across the street regularly ever since Sharda set up shop. We visited around noon on a Sunday and had the restaurant pretty much to ourselves but within minutes of ordering our food, the restaurant was suddenly abuzz with people (not a single empty table). Apparently, service had ended at the church next door and the churchgoers were now paying their respects at their real temple of worship! From the ubiquitous rice plate to all kinds of fish dishes, it's all here and it is as spicy as they come! Even the dal has a kick to it!

Mum's Kitchen, Panjim
Named so as a tribute to mothers who have shared authentic Goan recipes from all parts of Goa. Here I always order prawn hooman - A different prawn curry from a Hindu Goan kitchen, Sannas with pork sorpotel. Priced on the higher side, but you pay for a great ambience, a super clean restaurant, good service, air conditioning and yes the food is delicious too. 

Vinayak Family Restaurant, Assagao
Great setting with an unobstructed view of palms and paddy fields, Vinayak comes with mixed reviews. While I have always eaten a better than average thali here some friends don't like the place. 

Florentine, Saligao
Chicken Cafreal and nothing else! But that's a good reason alone to head here. This is the best chicken Cafreal in Goa.

Ritz Classic, Panjim
Value for money thalis in a comfortable but crowded setting. You will have to wait a couple of minutes and in all probability, will share a table too during lunch hours. And it’s all worth it really. This is standard better than good food. It has a vast menu to choose from if you don’t want to eat a thali. Yes the Punju from Delhi gets his butter chicken here too!

Souza Lobo, Calangute
If you've not eaten Souza Lobo's crab curry served in an earthenware handi with a handmade coconut shell ladle, you haven't lived yet. For me that's where it ends as I find it a bit of a tourist trap though my friends do rave about the mackerel recheado and boiled Goan sausages. All made better gazing out at the sea just a few meters from your feet. So much so that even the nightly band that sings the 60s, 70s, and 80s out of tune then seems appropriate!


About the Author


Atul Sikand is a founding member of  Delhi Gourmet Club, Director, Asian Hawkers Market Pvt. Ltd. #asianhawkersmarket , Administrator and Owner of SikandalousCuisine  #sikandalouscuisine and runs an amazing blog Sikandalous Cuisine. He shared his Goan grub with Nausheen Tareen 


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