India

Ten favourite Thali places in Goa

Beaches, sun, beer and seafood. Pretty much every tourists opinion of what ‘Goa’ is. But ask any Goan what they think and you are likely to get a very different answer. If you ask me, born and brought up, Goan through and through, it’s all about the delicious Goan cuisine.

Food has always been the major factor that sets my mood, and good food always makes me happy. Growing up in Goa, and like for many of my fellow Goans, our afternoon favourite, Fish-Curry-and-Rice is very dear and close to my heart. Goans enjoy their fish curry rice and I can safely say that most of them cannot live without it.

Each home has its own preparation of curry, but the core ingredients remain the same – coconut, red chillies, coriander seeds, cumin, ginger, garlic, haldi, green chillies, onion and fish. In olden times, the fish freshly available on the day would decide the menu. Today, a variety of fish are available on any given day and therefore we have a larger variety in our menus.

The curry is served with either plain boiled white rice or brown rice. In Konkani, the white polished rice is called Suroi Xitt (pronounced Sheeth) and the par-boiled brown rice is called Ukde Xitt. There is always a portion of rawa fried fish on the side, served along with a portion of the dreaded vegetable of the day. A roasted papad and some pickle completes the meal.

The new generation Goan travels further to study and work, and getting home in time for his scrumptious lunch is not always possible. How then does the travelling Goan survive the day without his favourite fish curry rice lunch? 

The answer to this….. (drum roll) is the famous Goan Fish Thali. 

An all-in-one meal made available only during lunch across hundreds of eateries in Goa. Served in a big round steel thali meant for one person, here’s what you can expect to find – boiled rice, a wati of fish curry, a piece of rawa fried fish, vegetable of the day, salad, pickle and soul curry. Each restaurant has its own distinct curry preparation, but you can be sure the delicious taste comes from the use of prawns or heads of bigger fish. You have the choice to order fried fish ranging from Mackeral, Prawns, Modso, Chonak, Pomfret, Lepo, Muddoshi, Xinnaneo, Kingfish and many more as per the availability in the restaurant. Some restaurants even offer a “Rechead (ray-she-yad) Masala Fish” instead of the rawa fried. The price of the thali differs largely on the choice of fish. The vegetable is usually what is prepared for the day. Many restaurants choose to also include something called Kismoor which is a dry fried mixture of coconut, dried prawns, onions and spices. Some more elaborate thalis offer additional watis of Ambot-tik curry or Crab Xakuti and still others offer portions of dessert and fruit too. For those with a bigger appetite, additional portion of rice is always an option. And what more is that most places give you a small piece of fried fish and some more curry.

My favourite lunch is and always will be the humble Goan Thali. And over the years, I have had the chance to sample thali’s from more restaurants than I can count. Till date, not a single place has served me a thali I didn’t like. It was quite tough to curate a list of my favourite places from so many, but I managed to narrow down the list to my favourite 10 spots. At some point in the future, I hope to write about list 2.0, updating you on new thali picks and more of my extended favourites of all time. I hope this list helps you pick and enjoy some of the most decadent, local and authentic thali experiences when in Goa.

Enjoy!

P.S. – Eating fish thali for lunch will make you sleepy.

Copperleaf – Porvorim

When it comes to a restaurant at the top of my list, it has to be Copperleaf. This thali is big on everything – taste, size and satisfaction. The long queue outside during lunch service is evidence of this. The thali includes Rice, Fish Curry, Kismoor, Vegetable, Pickle, Salad and a wati of clams too. The soul curry stands out as truly unique from other restaurants. I also love the fact that they serve a dessert and fruit along with the thali. At the end of your meal, an extra thoughtful gesture of presenting a rose to any lady at the table makes your experience here even more special.

Address:  Chogm Road, Alto Porvorim, Bardez, Goa.

Phone no. 0832-2416484

Closed on: OPEN EVERYDAY

Café Ritz– Panaji

Café Ritz is one of the oldest Thali joints of the city as well as one of the most economical and tastiest. This being the first outlet, the thali still remains true to it’s roots, serving a very simple yet scrumptious thali. With it’s growing popularity, Ritz has opened several other outlets around Panjim and Porvorim which have more modern ambiance and elaborate thalis but this one still remains an old time favourite.

Address:  Duarte Pacheco Road Near Garcia D’Orta Garden, Opp. Municipal Garden, Panaji, Goa 403001.

Phone no. 0832-2227325

Closed on: OPEN EVERYDAY

Anand Seafood Bar and Restaurant – Siolim

Over the years, having visited this place often, I have seen this restaurant grow from a tiny local restaurant to a bustling joint five times its size. Like any other popular restaurant, there is waiting time if you show up late. But it is truly worth the wait. I love the fact that the place is open and feels as though you are sitting in the Veranda of a home with so much fresh air and the aroma of fried fish. This place offers various options of fish that you can choose to be a part of your thali.

Address:   MDR 10, Bouta Waddo, Vagator, Goa 403507,

Phone no. 098905 58363

Closed on: MONDAY

Le Jardin – Mapusa

A quiet little place in the heart of Mapusa situated on the first floor makes a nice change in environment from the chaos of the market close by. Overlooking the garden, the enclosed restaurant is one of the few places that offer a proper Thali in the city. The curry never lets you down and the fried fish will make it tough for you to forget this place.

The Fish Thali at Le Jardin Mapusa

Address:  Near Municipal Garden, Mapusa, Goa, 403507

Phone 090677 69988

Closed on: THURSDAY

Spice Goa – Karaswada

Offering a choice of “fish of the day” in thali, Spice Goa keeps it’s thali simple. Just the right quantity of curry, fried fish and rice to satisfy your midday hunger. The curry is usually a little spicier than most places for those who like more spice, living true to it’s name. 

Address:  No. 3, Satt Adhar Complex, Mumbai – Goa Hwy, Junction, near carrasco waddo, Mapusa, Goa 403526

Phone No: 080876 21222

Closed on: OPEN EVERYDAY

Peep Kitchen – Taleigao

If you ask anyone who has visited Peep Kitchen, they will tell you that the signature dish is the Chicken Cafreal. It would be years of visiting here before I would try their thali one afternoon for a quick lunch. Like most of the other food here, it is delicious and definitely a must try when sampling thalis of Goa. 

Address:  Risara Luxury , Ground Floor , Taliegao Market Road , Taliegao, Amaral Vaddo, Panaji, Goa 403001

Phone No. 088061 70123

Closed on: MONDAY

Anantashram – Vasco

One of the oldest restaurants in Vasco city, Anantashram has evolved over the last few decades. I remember as a child, this restaurant being a big tent. This place holds special memories for me. Nowadays the restaurant has transformed to a more modern avatar but the taste of the thali is still the same.

Address:  Father Jose Vaz Road, opposite UCO Bank, near Childrens Park, Vaddem, New Vaddem, Vasco da Gama, Goa 403802

Phone no 077448 18888

Closed on: SUNDAY

Kokni Kanteen – Panaji

Opened (or reopened) just a few years ago, a step into the restaurant takes you back into the past. A nice cozy setup in the busy streets of Panjim and the tasty thali has gained this restaurant so much popularity. A must have thali experience in Panjim.

If you have the chance, try to make it here on a Sunday for a very special thali experience.

Address: Dr .Dada Vaidya Rd, Near Mahalaxmi Temple, Altinho, Panaji, Goa 403001

Phone No  0832 242 1972

Closed on: OPEN EVERYDAY

Antique Mardol – Ponda

If you ever find yourself in the city of Ponda, there awaits a thali treat that is sure to make an impression on your favourite thali list. Antique Mardol serves its scrumptious lunch thali in a very unique leaf shaped plate with a banana leaf lining. Traditionally, thali was eaten out of a banana leaf since they were available in abundance. The Thali is quite elaborate and consists of a number of small portions. You also get a small serving of a slightly spicy ambot tik curry usually made using shark fish. To complete the meal, they serve a small portion of dessert. The soul curry also deserves a mention since its made using coconut milk and tastes delicious as well.

Antique Mardol also has another outlet at Verna which serves an equally great thali similar in appearance, taste and quality.

Address:   Hotel Kinara, Shanti Nagar, Ponda, Goa 403401

Phone no. –

Closed on: OPEN EVERYDAY

Konkani Coastal Food Delicacy – Margao

A very basic thali place in the heart of chaotic Margao city, this places completely surprised me with the flavors. A very unique and different tasting curry, spicy rawa fried fish and a generous quantity of rice, means you leave with a very content belly.

Address:  Jigisha Building, Opposite Cafe Tato, Varde Valaulikar Road, Margao, Pajifond, Goa, 403601

Phone No. 097638 22983

Closed on: OPEN EVERYDAY

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