Saturday, February 2, 2013

Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea

We all love Goa. Its truly a tourist's delight! No wonder then I couldn't help but fall in love with this lively beach destination when I visited it in November.
Goa is also a destination for which there is no dearth of information. But I wish somebody would have told me about the hyped ones and the genuinely great ones. So here is a list of places that might be quite popular but can easily be skipped on a goa trip and others that are not to be missed!


Republic of Noodles Restaurant---Lemon Tree Hotel
We stayed in this charming hotel and loved our experience. even though we were regular at the breakfast table at their all day dining restaurant Citrus and even had couple of drinks at the poolside bar, somehow didn't have a meal the in-house (open for walk-ins too) restaurant Republic of Noodles. It was only on the last day of our trip just before checking ou of our flight we had a lunch at this restaurant. And oh man, what delectable sea-food. The Pan Asian cuisine especially the Sril Lankan fish curry and phad thai noodles are a perfect treat. though you good sea-food in every nook and corner of the city, this place is different and a must visit. We got so engrossed in the food that were about to miss our flight. even if we would have, I wouldn't have regretted it.

Club Cabana 

Located on a hilltop, this club has a picturesque setting. The ambience, relaxed seating, free flowing drinks and cool breeze makes it a perfect nigh out spot. The options galore. Take a dip in the pool, just lie on of the many king-size beds or hit the dance floor....choose how you wanna spend the night. All this for Rs 1500 couple charge which includes unlimited drinks. Isn't that a steal? This club in the sky is utterly romantic and just out of this world.


Oh this shack restaurant  on Anjuna beach is a perfect shack to spend an evening. Fork into some prawns or just be a part of the tourist revelry. This shack is a symbol of the Goan spirit. You can even get a fish spa done. The psychedelic restaurant has different levels and if you sit on the first floor you can soak in the sea-view. Oh the drinking of course is quite cheap here. That's why we love Goa, don't we.

Casino Royale

Considering the fact that India doesn't have a casino culture and not many good casinos to boast of, how can you go to Goa and not go to Casino Royale! This floating casino can give any international casino a run for its money. Besides gaming, this casino is a complete entertainment hub. The dinner is good if not great and there is even a small dance floor. A tip: Visit on a Tuesday when you can get free chips to play. Even though the charge is hefty on most days, it includes unlimited food and drinks. So you can pretty much make up for it. And well if you win, that's a bonus!

Beach House, Taj Holiday Village

Must have dinner at this restaurant that serves Goan cuisine and has Master Chef Rego's touch. It has a perfcet setting close to the Beach. And you know when Taj does something, they do it with a dash of panache. This place with its food and ambience is sure to impress you.


Mums Kitchen

When a manager at the Taj Hotel himself told me that I must try the authentic Goan cuisine at the Mums Kitchen located in Panjim, there was no chance that I would give it a miss. After a long drive (from North Goa) and battling with traffic jams we finally reached this over-hyped standalone restaurant just in time. apparently it stops serving lunch post 3:30. The food was good, no doubt, but then 'authentic' Goan food is easily available at lot of restaurants in Goa. What was so special about Mums Kitchen then? I don't know. And the cheque..well it was as hefty as any hotel restaurant in goa. To be precise for a meal for two it was about Rs 2,000. It was an afternoon wasted, we could have easily spent the afternoon relaxing at a beach shack, gorging on some cheap prawns.

Cafe Mambo (Nightclub)

Another one we got misguided about. This nightclub is owned by the same person who runs Tito's, and somebody told me 'Mambos is the new Titos. So we paid the cover charge of Rs 1500 and got in. The cover charge included two lame drinks, thats about it. The crowd was the flashy honeymooners, middle aged backpackers and some pot belly men. Seriously not the kind of people you would want to dance with. The look and feel of the place is also very dull and boring. Don't waste your night at Mambos I say. If Baga beach is where you are scouting for a night out, go to Hype instead.

Fort Chapora

Fort Chapora at Vagator Beach is the place where Dil Chahta Hai movie was shot. The place looked quite serene and scenic in the movie with sea on two sides. But its not worth the uphill drive, especially considering the fact that Goa weather is hot and humid. If you love photography, this place will give you some good shots. But don't expect too much from this fort.