Us Goans, like the Italians, are infamous for our care-free attitude to life. We are known to have mastered the art of being “Susegad” or “Dolce Far Niente” – they both embody the sweetness of doing nothing – Delicious Idleness! A very important part of the susegad way of life is the food ( and the Kingfisher beer too). Fresh fish – made into a curry or fried or cooked any way is the centre of every meal. Its something we cook at home, and are just as happy to go out to a restaurant and eat all over again!
I have grown up in Panjim (capital city of Goa, state in India) and I have favorite food-memories strewn across the city! One of the firsts on my every trip back home is a lunch at Ritz Classic. The lunch-time office crowd brings a chaos into this place – there’s a queue to get in, what practically all tables order is pretty standard, and there’s times when people are breathing down your neck eat up quick and leave, no lingering! And that none of this deters people from going back over and over again is a testament to their food.
They do a pretty darn good Seafood Platter perfect for sharing – an assortment of fish like kingfish, pomfret, prawns etc made in different Goan ways – rawa fried, masala fried, batter fried, butter garlic, and even tandoor.
Like that isn’t drool worthy, they have this Shark (Mori) rechaido masala fry – a chilli-vinegar based marinade, succulent and spicy! Yes, the french fries matter, for mopping up the leftover masala from the plate. They also do a mean Chicken Cafreal, well worth a try if you’re craving something meatier.
Another of our family favorites is the Crab Xec Xec – the sweetness of the crab meat is the perfect contrast to the spiciness of the sauce they are tossed in. Messy fingers, guaranteed!
The hero dish is the traditional Goan Fish Thali – a bountiful plate of the Rice, Prawn Cury with Radish, Prawn Kismoor (a dried prawn and coconut side), Clams or Crab Suke (another side), steamed greens or a vegetable curry and a perfectly fried piece of Kingfish. Each element of this thali complements each other well. The biggest plus is the consistency – I have eaten here for almost a decade now, and the taste of the food, freshness of the fish, has been exceptional, every single time. As many Goans choose to eat here as there are tourists that flock in, the food is homey and the portions are good for a big appetite.
To have the complete classic experience, I insist, all of this deliciously lip-smacking food be washed down with either a Kingfisher Beer/Bacardi Breezer(alcoholic) or a Fresh Lime Soda (if non-alcoholic). And make a trip here at lunch, its a lot quieter over dinner and they don’t do the thali then. But all the ala carte options are still available.
The food at Ritz Classic, is my version of a Happy Meal – you don’t go there for luxury, or spectacular service or any fancy views – you keep going back because it satiates your hunger, like no other! After a few trips here, the clink-clank of the steel thalis as they emerge from the kitchen onto the table, will feel like music to your ears ( or probably drowned out by that 3rd beer)!
Address: Ritz Classic, Wagle Vision, 18th June Road, Panaji, Goa, India