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Souza Lobo

Diehard fans might argue that the closest one can get to eating home-style Goan food in a restaurant would be eating out at Souza Lobo, recipe the iconic and probably the oldest restaurant in Calangute. Started around 80 years ago, it is also probably the only Goan food restaurant based in Goa to have a branch outside the state, in New Delhi. You cannot go wrong with the Goan food here. When you enter the spacious beach-side restaurant, set in the verandah of a sprawling old Goan house, the delicious aromas will start to make your mouth water.

Find a seat facing the sea so you can enjoy the awesome sight and sound of the huge waves crashing on Calangute beach and get a drink. They have an extensive bar menu with a never-ending list of wine, whiskey, champagne and everything in between including decent caju feni. But make sure you check the prices before ordering if you don’t want a nasty surprise later.

Order a ‘Prawn Peri Peri’ to go with the drinks. You get the taste of old-style Goan seafood with just that right blend of pungency and saltiness. The portions here are generous and the prices quite affordable. It’s true Souza Lobo has its good days and its not-so-good days. But when it’s good, you’ll be praising the lord that he guided you to Souza Lobo.

You might want to try the ‘Prawn Curry Rice’ with a side serving of ‘Mackeral Recheado’, both done the traditional Goan way. You get three mackerels with some salad on the side, the right amount of the red masala stuffed inside and the fish coated with the perfect amount of ‘rawa’. Just the way they do it in decent Goan homes. Other noteworthy dishes include the ‘Crab Curry’, ‘Crab Xacuti’ and the ‘Kingfish Masala Fried’.

Goan crab curry

If you’re not in the mood for seafood, try their traditional Goan pork dishes like ‘Sorpotel’ and ‘Pork Vindalho’. You’ll be hard-pressed to decide which one is better, but we would say the Sorpotel is better; a nice, rich, sweetly-pungent gravy which is best had with sannas, though even the regular bread would do.

Souza Lobo also offers pastas and some Chinese dishes like ‘Golden Fried Prawns’ which, however, could leave you a bit disappointed when compared with the exquisite taste of their fish recheados. But I do like pairing the Goan-style fish dishes with a ‘Veg Fried Rice’, for example, when I’m not in the mood for the Fish Curry Rice.

If Chinese is there, can tandoori be far behind? The tandoori chicken here is a big hit with the foreign tourists. They also serve quite decent tandoori seafood like kingfish, crabs, and lobsters, but who goes to eat tandoori food in a Goan restaurant? Their continental servings like pastas and steaks are also quite good, while the management is proud of their ‘Lobster Thermidor’, the all-time classic lobster dish, the recipe of which has been given a slight Goan twist here. Very flavourful.

If you’re in a grand mood then we suggest you go for the ‘Mixed Seafood Platter’ which comes heaped with crabs, squid, oysters, king prawns and fillet of red snapper or chonak as it is locally known.

The verandah view at Souza Lobo

To round off your meal I recommend the ‘Bebinca’, the layered Goan-style cake-pudding made with coconut milk and beaten egg, which is done to perfection here. But they also have their signature ‘Crepe Souza Lobo’ which combines ice-cream and grated coconut wrapped in a milky crepe. Makes for an unusual dessert.

The best part of dining out at Souza Lobo or just going there for the drinks, besides the great view of the beach, is the warm, friendly service, with the stewards always sporting genuine wide smiles, the service the epitome of old-style graciousness.

 Entrance of Souza Lobo restaurent

The Food: As Goan as it gets

The Ambience: On the sea. ‘Nuff said

The Service: Gracious

The cost: Doesn’t break the bank

Where: Souza Lobo, Calangute beach, Calangute.

Tel: 2281234, 2276463, 9822120516.