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I HAVE A CONFESSION TO MAKE. I have not eaten Goan in Mumbai or the balmy home state of Goa or anywhere else in the world for that matter. Shameless, but in the parts of the world I currently live, Goan food isn't that big. However, I hereby HAVE A PROMISE TO MAKE: I will make my introductions with this fiery cuisine as soon as possible, perhaps even later this year when I am in Singapore en route to some hot loving in Vietnam. I don't know if I will ever get to Goa, but it will probably happen someday. They say it is a unique part of India, and that uniqueness is reflected in its food. Unlike most of British India, Goa was colonized by the Portuguese for a vast stretch of centuries, and many Goans converted to Christianity. The Portuguese influence is everywhere in Goa, especially in the food, and it has led to the introduction of some distinctly non-Indian ingredients such as pork and quality liquor. Some Goan favorites which can be secured in Mumbai (and the Goan home state to the sultry south) include tangy pork vindaloo, spicy sorpotel and the ever popular Goan fish curry with rice. Goa's luscious coconut and fish based dishes also draw in people from all over the world. Imagine spending a beautiful balmy evening in Mumbai (perhaps somewhere with an ocean view), listening to hypnotic Hindi pop and dining on Goan prawns, lobster and jumbo pomfrets. Remember that Goans often accompany their meal with one of their innumerable local wines or the local liqueur called Feni, and you should too, if you want to dine at a Goan establishment in Mumbai.
For those with a sweet tooth, Goan cuisine offers the famous bebinca. The extract of coconut milk is added to flour, sugar, and other delectable ingredients are used to make this delicacy. Each scrumptious layer has to be baked before the next one is added, though not many people nowadays have the time to make the traditional 16 layers. Even so, a good bebinca is a mouth-melting dream. Other sweets include a soft jaggery flavored fudge called dodol made from finger-licking palm-sap jaggery (suagr), rice flour and coconut; the crispy delicate rose-a-coque that are flower-like waffles and can be eaten alone or drenched with cream or honey; the curled and sugared kulkuls spiraled around the tines of forks and deep-fried as Christmas goodies and Easter eggs known as ovos da pascoa. Similarly, during the Hindu festival of Ganesh Chaturthi, cone-shaped dumplings called modaks are a favourite fare.
g o a n - r e s t a u r a n t s - i n - m u m b a i

SO, now that I have sold you on the product (and sold myself -- I will go looking for the stuff when I am in Singapore, the closest I will get to the subContinent in the next few years at least), you will want to know -- where can I find good Goan food in Mumbai? Let me tell you!
Goa Portuguesa Culture Curry House: Mahim.
The Goa Portuguesa Culture Curry House comes with a
recommendation, and it boasts what it is called on the menu "the best soup in the world". It has also won international recognition by the New York Times, the "Best Indian Restaurant Award" from H&FS and Tourism Department Government of India and the "The Outstanding Gourmet Restaurant Award" in India by the International Tourism Council. Said one reviewer: "Goa Portuguesa is designed as a small Goan cottage with stained glass and arched windows, the music system replete with sweet Goan melodies, all traces of this place formerly being a clinic gone! Says (owner) Deepa, "Our cuisine consists of both Goan and Portuguese food, the difference being that the latter is less spicy, lighter and uses a lot of olive oil. This food is mainly from Goan Catholics, whereas the Goan cuisine is from the Hindu Goans"."
Though Goa Portuguesa serves such delicious Goan staples as spicy vindaloos and xacuttis, its tour-de-force are the starters like stuffed crabs and papad wrapped prawns. Roving guitarists serenade the restaurant as you eat. There is a wide choice of exotic cocktails and Indian wines for you to become drunk upon.
Highway Gomantak .......... 640 9693.
Photo courtesy Mahek's Kitchen
This review comes from Mahek's Kitchen: "Last week we went to a quaint little restaurant for our afternoon lunch. The restaurant is called HIGHWAY GOMANTAK its at Bandra and just along the highway.
"GOMANTAKI food is the food which is from the coastal region and which uses coconut as its base for gravies. I love going to this restaurant because of its simplicity and the ambience which is really quite different from the other restaurants in Mumbai. It has a simple food which is like home cooked food and served in a way that makes you feel as though you are at home..."
Malvani Touch: First floor food court in Galleria, Hiranandani.
Writes Solzaire: "Malvani Touch is a surprisingly decent Malvani food joint in Galleria. The other joints there are the usual chinese, paratha, udipi, juice joints, but this one is quite good for the place. You get the usual Chicken/Mutton/Fish thalis, fish fry, bhakris, solkadhi. The thalis are about 70 each. The good thing is that the gravies with all the fish are actually different. Don't expect anything in terms of ambience and cleanliness - the food court in general is slightly off colour in this aspect..."
Mani's: Matunga.
Unbeatable value -- the bottomless South Indian thali comes at a measley Rs 45.
New Martin's House: Colaba.
Goan food can be also be found at New Martin's House in Colaba -- super-cheap non-veg dishes can be had -- to get there turn left after the Churchill's petrol pump, then take the first right.
Saybini Gomantak: Katrada Mansion, Gokhale Road, Near Shivsena Bhavan, Dadar (W).
Phone: 24328065, 24385429.
Says Crowkaka: "best option for Malvani food in mumbai.
try every dish in list.
but don't miss Solkadhi..."
Some other Goan eateries you can check out whilst in Mumbai, courtesy of MumbaiYellowPages.com:
Bageecha ......... 883 2671.
City Kitchen .......... 261 0002.
Gomantak .......... 430 5631.
Hotel Matruchhaya .......... 422 0878.
Matruchaya in Worli.
Saayba .......... 643 6620.
Snowflakes .......... 220 14252.
Thalasso .......... 822 1495.
Vandana Lunch .......... 446 8819.

g o a n - r e s t a u r a n t s - o u t s i d e - m u m b a i

Gomantak: Deccan Gymkhana, Near Deccan Bus Depot.
Reviewer Deepakpat was disappointed with this establishment: "I am new to Pune and really missing the fresh sea food (mostly fishes) over here, and that too reasonably priced. One day I decided to try Gomantak inspite of one of my Puneri friend telling not to visit it.
"After trying various Malvani Restaurants in Thane and Mumbai, I immensely disappointed by the food served by Gomantak. Situated in Deccan Gymkhana area near Deccan bus depot, Gomantak's decor is not the posh one, it is just like old city's bhojanalayas. But unlike Nevarekar's or Gurugrupa's, their food is not upto the mark.
"Fried fish was ok. Rice bhakari was not available. Wada's were very thin, unlike I tested elsewhere. It was almost like Puri. Solkadhi too was not the fresh one, you can immediately gauge it by the spolit coconut in it. Now I am planning to visit Malvani Gajali Restaurant (Near Aundh) and Ruchira Cottage Restaurant (Hadapasar).
"Personally I would not like to recommend this Restaurant..."
Want to recommend a good place for Goan food in Mumbai or Goa or elsewhere in India?

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Contact the author Rob Sullivan at coderot@gmail.com. Anticopyright February 2008.