Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Three Most Popular Places to Dine in Goa

While nothing beats my Mama’s cooking, if you are looking for places to dine, these are my top three favourites. 

Martin’s Corner, Betalbatim
I must confess. As a Goan, this was only the second time I’ve been here. The first time was years back when I was in college and now. I was down from Mumbai and we planned a family outing to the South of Goa. Betalbatim was our destination and the evening was spent at, obviously, Martin’s Corner.
Well even as locals we had some difficulty finding the place but you can just ask anyone for directions. Very important, if you intend getting a table here, do call for reservations. The place is perpetually full.   
The food at Martin’s is simply amazing. A little on the expensive side, but delicious. We dug into Calamari, Stuffed Lobster, Chicken Cafreal and Steak.  While the place offers, others cuisines too, my advice is to stick to Goan food. The Goan cuisine here is at its best, you can also do savour dishes such as the Goan Fish Curry, Prawn Balchao, Xec Xec (a goan crab preparation), Vindaloo, etc.
Martin’s Corner has beautiful ambience. Subdued lighting with a live band give the place a cozy almost at home feel.  This place is extremely popular, so don’t be surprised to see a celebrity here. They say it’s Sachin Tendulkar’s favourite dining place in Goa.
For more details visit the website.
Martin's Corner
Binwaddo, Betalbatim
Salcete - Goa
For reservations call:
(0832) 2880061, 2880413, 6481518

Britto’s, Baga
For a dining experience in North Goa, you should visit Britto’s.  By Baga beach, it’s a place you must eat at, be it breakfast, lunch or dinner.
Britto’s serves almost all types of cuisine – Goan, Indian, Continental. The service is excellent and the pricing of food is reasonable. Make sure you get a table on the beach or overlooking the beach to complete your experience.
The reason I like this place is because of the variety in cuisines and the huge portions of food. Do visit Britto’s at night. They keep a single burning candle on your table, giving the entire a place a dreamy feel.
Santa Vaddo, Baga
For reservations call:
(0832) 2276291, 2277331
Souza Lobo, Calangute
Souza Lobo  is a nice place by the sea. Situated on the sands of Calangute beach, it offers a magical evening to those looking to unwind at the beach as well as munch on Goan delicacies.

The place is rather airy and has a rustic charm to it. At Souza Lobo’s we dug into fish fingers, Masala Fried Calimaris and Crab Xec Xec. The crab I must say was to die for!
Like all well know Goan restaurants, this place too has a live band, though on this particular night it was just too loud.  The rest of the evening was lost in staring at the black sea and enjoying the breeze with the sumptuous food.
Do check their website
For reservations call:
(0832) 2281234 / 2276463

Monday, August 16, 2010

Doing Nothing at Poovar Island Resort

Poovar is ideal for getting away from civilization and simply unwinding with the waves as they lap the cottage front.

Well there isn’t much to do here anyway. One day was spent at the beach, another day at the Ayurveda Centre and the next on board a romantic boat ride in the backwaters. Most of the evenings we hit the pool, followed by dinner at the restaurant.

The Ayurveda Centre is a must go visit. Here you can rejuvenate your body and mind with the various massages in store. Reasonably priced, we came out feeling wonderful with our beings.

I would give this place 5/5 on location, hospitality and food. And it’s where we decided we will celebrate our 10th anniversary. Oh, did I mention this trip was our honeymoon, and a wonderful one it was.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Poovar Island Resort. Heaven on Earth!

Poovar Island Resort, so it says on their site, is truly out-of-the-world. I was the first time ever I was going to Kerela and was super excited about it. But I was even more excited about staying on these floating cottages. Like all my trips, the Internet becomes my best friend – checking reviews, viewing pictures of the place and finding info on how to get there. Sadly at that time the resort had a very sad looking website. Some of the reviews were not good, but following my heart we decided to go there. The we this time was my husband and I.

From Poovar Floating Cottages

A long train journey, then a rickshaw ride brought us to the entrance of Resort. We see water, but where are the floating cottages. Then we realize we have to go around the island to reach there. We wait for a boat to take us there.

From Poovar Floating Cottages

Our ride arrives and it takes about 10 minutes to reach the waterfront. From a distance we can see them. I simply cannot control my excitement. They look exotic! Luxurious! Sinful!

We get off at the small dock and the porters take our bags to our cottage. The formalities follow at the lobby, and I love everything about this place. The traditional welcome drink, a huge pot with flowers in the lobby and the swimming pool with a bar. This place has everything!

Couldn’t wait to get to our cottage we hurried away to Cottage 301. My jaw drops. A beautiful room on water, with one side of the wall overlooking the beach. Well you can close the blinds, but right now its open to admire the view. With the waves floating by, you can feel the cottages sway.

From Poovar Floating Cottages

From Poovar Floating Cottages

The floating cottages are all air-conditioned with plasma TVs, a mini bar, a tea/coffee maker, telephones and an attached see-through shower cubicle. What’s amazing is a sit-out balcony overlooking the backwaters.

Poovar Island Resort also offers you Deluxe Floating Cottages and Land Cottages. In my opinion it would be idiotic to stay in a land cottage when you come here. The floating cottages are an experience of their own.

The place also boasts of a lovely restaurant, an Ayurveda Centre and a recreational area and seight-seeing trips.

I am so glad we stuck to this place. I can see the next few days going to be the best ones ever!

To see how to get to Poovar Island Resort, check this link.

For more information on this awesome place, do check the website And if you are thinking of going, I’d say don’t think, just GO!

You can also discover more about the fascinating great backwaters by following this link -

Monday, August 9, 2010

Lonavala. Khandala #fail!

The weekend was supposed to provide the perfect break from the hustle and bustle a metropolitan city like Mumbai can engulf you in. My brother was in town and so we decided to drive down to Lonavala and chill out there for the next two days. Unfortunately for us, the rest of Mumbai also thought about the same.

So here we are in Lonavala, caught in a terrible traffic jam. If I wanted a traffic jam, I would have spent the day in Mumbai! That’s the  #fail moment no.1.

#Fail no 2 follows soon.  The places of interest – lake, Kava caves, some monkey feeding point and views of the valley below are all such big letdowns. I went with low expectations and came back with even lower opinions of these places.

#Fail no 3. Accommodation in these places suck. Hotels were crappy that we packed our bags and made our way back by evening. Even a 3 star was freaking expensive. I wasn’t going to pay 5K for a night and that too for a room that wasn’t well maintained.

Lonavala was crappy and so was Khandala. By mid afternoon my brother’s friend joined us from Pune. The lunch was sumptuous – Chicken Tandoori, Butter Chicken and Rotis. We checked out a couple of other places to stay, not worth a mention, and then decided to head back.

The only thing that was worth this trip was the drive out of the city and being able to put some much needed miles on my new car. On my drive back, I couldn’t help but think about the Lonavala years back when we had come here on our school summer break… so beautiful and untouched. Now it’s simply commercialized!