Featured Restaurants in Goa

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The Mandovi River derived from a Persian word meaning 'Custom House'), was changed from Gomati, by Adil Shah, the Sultan of Bijapur...so rich were the revenues it earned for its sovereign. History engulfs you in this very hotel named after the majestic river, in which Adil Shah had crocodiles that were so huge that they could upset a big boat or swallow a big bull, to keep intruders at bay...fascinating. And so is the restaurant Rio Rico, a tradition and legacy of the past. And with the spread it serves one can imagine what the crocodiles felt.... ravenous. The restaurant is designed in the Art Deco concept, the baby grand piano on the stage still a legacy since the hotels inception. The kitchens of this hotel has been catering to celebrities galore. It is rumoured that some of the legendary cooks still exist perhaps as old as the hotel itself. The waiter walks softly across the wooden floor...the marble around it originated from Italy. Old favourites - Chicken Cafreal, Prawn Curry Rice with kishmur, Pork Vindaloo. Your mind drifts back in time to the diners who would vend their way up the red carpeted staircase, hand over their hats and cloaks to the hat check room on the landing, straighten their ties in front of the large ornate mirror before entering the restaurant. There used to be a strict dress code in those days, and from 1952 to 1961, the guests at a princely sum of Rs. 600/- a month could have all the meals in the house absolutely free, and were free to invite their guests to tea. Coming back to the food — with the ambience of the days gone by, it is a treat for those who would like to seep in the history of the state. Even as the performer who is belting out local Goan melodies brings back nostalgic memories. The dance floor filled with laughing couples...even in 1954, when there was an economic blockade imposed by the Government of India, the steaks were got from South Africa and Argentina, Oranges from Israel, Potatoes from Holland and apples from Japan. From 1952, the restaurant has stood as a beacon for every boat entering the river with tourists galore, and its legacy in terms of Goan atmosphere, grandeur, ambience, food, tradition and culture will linger on for many more years to come.

Updated this week

  • Food
  • 60% Complete (success)
  • Service
  • 60% Complete (success)
  • Decor
  • 70% Complete (success)

It's cool, comfy; it's classical Italian and its Baba Café. Far away from the madding crowd, in the corner of the Latin corner (Fontainhas), is an eatery of Maria Grazia ably assisted by the vivacious Linda Chong. Now what have these two ladies managed to create? Wood specialties…and therein lies the secret. Maria believes in — of wood…on wood...by wood. Walk through the store, rough and authentic, the laterite walls scraped to showcase its original form. Then you are in the lounge — the Baba Wood Café Lounge. The seating here too amidst green plants under the open canopy of the stars has the same comfort style quotient. Perch on high stools by the bar, or flop on these comfortable sofas, and see the flickering fire of the wood-fired oven as the chef dexterously pushes in his creative preparation. The interesting aspect of this place is that Maria plans her menu daily with the chef depending on the market purchase. The well designed menu has the 'Tonight's Special' tucked in on a slip of paper. Some of her specialities are Anatra all'Arancia (duck with orange and brandy), Filetto Rossini (beef fillet with pate, mushrooms and red wine), and the pastas. The pastas change everyday freshly made by the chef (macroni, spaghetti, penne, ravioli). But before discussing the food, a peek into the concept of Baba Wood Café. The lounge — now this is one area that is the most popular part of the restaurant. From 6pm to 8pm every evening Maria offers complementary snacks with every drink. From the open wood-fired oven come the pizzas three vegetarian and three non vegetarian. Try the Salami Picante…with mozzarella and pepperoni. No heavy toppings or sauces, its classical nuances register with the first bite. On the weekends once a week there are grills for the asking….Pork Ribs, Vegetable Skewers to name a few. And then there is the gelato. A must order. Try the Coppe Mangia a Bebi (hazelnut), or coffee lovers go for the Affogato al Café (icecream drowned in coffee). Baba Wood Café is a place for Italian cuisine with a classical twist.

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