We drove to Goa from Bangalore in our Jeep, the road trip is elaborated in the post Bangalore to Goa: A picturesque road trip
Starting from Bangalore at 6:00 am, we entered the state of Goa by 5:00 pm and reached our hotel Le Meridien at Calangute by 6:00 pm.
The dinner that evening, was at a restaurant called Souza Lobo at Calangute; a popular tourist place. We chose the place as we didn’t want to travel beyond Calangute tonight after all the travelling during the day. The restaurant is located on the Calangute beach. We paid a fee of Rs 100/- ( outrageous !!) for parking near the beach and walked down to the restaurant. Reached the beach by 8:30 pm and the place was filled with people out for a night stroll. There are road side stalls for beach wear, tattoos, cashews, bags and everything miscellaneous; but not many shoppers.
We walked to Souza Lobo; they have an indoor dining area which was empty on the Wednesday evening and an outdoor area facing the beach which was almost full; we took a table outside. We could see the distant waves, but the beach was almost filled up with tables and chairs under the canopy of beach umbrellas by other enterprising dining establishments. This was October and the tables set with lighted candles on the beach were empty; waiting for the tourist season to arrive by mid November.
In addition to the beach umbrellas, vying for diners on the beach, were the make-shift beach shacks. The Goan beach shack is a prime example of the Indian juggad (hack). Alcohol is banned in public spaces in India, so the shack provides a low cost and easy way to bring the indoors on the public beaches and serve alcohol. But they are not unauthorised structures despite their temporary nature as the government gives out the shack licenses. And from the Department of Tourism website ” Validity of License: The License so issued shall be valid for three years from 2016 to 2019; however the temporary structures shall be allowed to be erected only for the period from 1st September to 31st May only. All structures permitted by the above license shall stop operation by 31st May and remove the structure by 10th June.” The Goan beaches wouldn’t be the same without the famed shacks !!
The food at Souza Lobo was average; nothing to rave about. The highlight was the courteous service and the restaurant’s proximity to the sea. The cocktails were all familiar except the Goan sunset. It arrived in a small conical flask resembling a lab titration flask; only the orange hue of this chemical concoction is worth mentioning.
The Goan sausages are a must try as per the food recommendations for Goa; so we decided to start the Goan culinary expedition with this popular dish. We tried the Sausage chilli fry and Fried rice with Goan sausages, both were spicy. I liked the Fried rice with the Goan sausages. The Goan bread was something new for us; but it would have been good with a gravy dish (we didn’t order any this time ) as the bread will taste better when soaked in a rich gravy.
In Goa, seafood is a must and so we opted for the Goan masala fried fish (kingfish, boneless), spicy.
The Caesar salad was tasty and perfect !!
Another popular place is the Fisherman’s Wharf, Calangute; but since we are frequent visitors to the Fisherman’s Wharf in Bangalore, we decided to skip the ones in Goa.
And here ends the first evening in Goa, we head back to the hotel. The itinerary for the next two days will be the next post !!