Top Table: Hospedaria Venite, Goa

The best place for feasting in the east


Location

Location

The Hospedaria Venite is in the Hotel Venite, on 31 January Road, Panaji, Goa, India (0091 832 425 537). It is in the centre of Goa's capital, Panaji, just back from the Mandovi river, on a street which leads down to Fontainhas, the old part of town.

Ambience and view

The tiny wooden balconies of this first-floor restaurant overlook pretty, multi-coloured buildings. Over their red-tiled roofs peek a couple of lanky palm trees and below, you can watch the flip-floppings of the evening's passers-by.

Décor

Through a narrow doorway and up a wooden staircase is a room full of Old World Portuguese style. The floorboards were salvaged from ancient shipwrecks. Wicker lightshades give a calming glow.

Clientele

The night I was there it was full of foreign tourists - of all ages and dress codes.

Service

Not speedy (this is South India), but friendly in a restrained sort of way.

Menu

International dishes (fried fish and spicy, home-cooked chips among them), with a strong Goan-Portuguese twist. Mains included Fish Balchao (fish in coconut and feni, the local brew) and Chicken Xaculti (chicken with roasted spices).

Price

Expensive for Panaji but a bargain for the tourists. Mains cost between R65-85 (not much more than a pound), starters just R25.

Wine List

Even if you spend R275 (£4), you would be wasting your money on a bottle of dodgy Vin Ballet. Spend R35 (50p) instead on an enormous bottle of Kingfisher beer.

Oh yeah, and the food

The freshness of the food explains, in part, the service. The clash of two coastal cuisines works well. The simple fried fish is amazing.

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