I’m back from Goa and reflecting on all of the amazing food experiences I had while I was there. I’m incredibly thankful I stayed with family – it allowed me to get a completely non-tourist perspective on everything from what restaurants locals really go to, typical foods that are cooked at home, and even what the best markets are for food shopping. I packed in a serious culinary schedule over the last two weeks (and have the extra lbs to show for it…).
Ritz Classic was just one of these restaurants located in Panjim and I went there for lunch during the first few days of my trip. Now, don’t let the décor fool you. The yellow crown molding, palm trees painted on the walls, waiters in bow ties – it’s all part of the charm. And, besides me of course, I did not see a single tourist in there. The food there is a trifecta – authentic, delicious, and cheap.
Since this was one of my first few days, I went all-in and ordered the pork vindaloo. For those that don’t know, vindaloo is one of the hottest curries in India and is actually a Portuguese tradition – tangy, serious heat, and a touch of sweetness. The waiter brought out some sort of rookie vindaloo, which I didn’t find hot at all, and I had to level with him. I told him I can take the heat, and he should give me what he serves the locals. So he came with the thunder and brought out the real vindaloo. I seriously sweated through the rest of the meal – it was, if I’m being honest, almost too hot for me, but I couldn’t fold after all the fuss I had made.
My aunt goes there for their crab, which she claims is the best in Goa, and given my crab obsession, I had to try it. I made the HUGE mistake of going into this feast wearing silk. Why? The flimsy little paper napkins were no match for the flying, masala-coated crab, and I finished the meal satisfied though grease-stained.
Shrimp-stuffed papads were first out and were flavorful and perfectly crisp. Fried, “rawa” fish, a Goan specialty using semolina in lieu of breadcrumbs, was ridiculously fresh with the perfect amount of crunch. Of course, the pork vindaloo was rich and spicy and painful…and the crab was perfect. Particularly since I’ve never eaten that much crab for something that converts to around $3!
In fact, the whole meal for the four of us came out to something like $14. It was insane. This is definitely a first stop for anyone visiting to get a true taste of Goa…