Cota Cozinha (Goa, January 2023)

I’d said I’d post my next Goa food report on Saturday and here it is instead on Sunday. Such is life. This lunch takes us back to Betalbatim, but not to Martin’s Corner. The friends who’d recommended Pentagon had also recommended Cota Cozinha as superior to the current incarnation of Martin’s Corner. Now, you may recall from my review of Pentagon that weren’t so very impressed by our meal there (though we did like it); and so, I had my expectations a bit lowered for this meal. I am happy to say, however, that it handily surpassed them. Indeed, it was a very good meal.

We had not heard of Cota Cozinha on our visit in 2020 (I think they may have only just opened around that time—but don’t quote me). Even now, unlike Martin’s Corner, it doesn’t have a large local reputation: it was the first trip there for even our redoubtable driver. It’s easy enough to map the route but it’s also easy to miss it when you get there if you’re not paying attention, as it looks quite unassuming on the side of a narrow road. You can park in the big dirt lot alongside and then make your way in through the large courtyard. In the manner of many restaurants in Goa, the restaurant is covered but not walled in. Lots of air and light and a nice, open feel. It was quite empty when we got there, a little after 1; but by the time we left, a little after 2.30, it was heaving and the parking lot was full.

The menu is in the general multi-cuisine vein but in a more edited vein. There isn’t quite as much of the non-Goan stuff and the Goan selections are not as cookie-cutter as at most places of its ilk. What did we eat? At the boys’ request, we got an order of the golden fried prawns to start. They ate most of these but we enjoyed the piece each we got as well. Then a few things we hadn’t eaten anywhere else on this trip: beef assado (roast beef, more or less); pork amsol in a dry style (this is a sour preparation of fatty pork cooked with kokum and very few spices); and prawn balchao. All were very tasty and we particularly loved the balchao. And we were very happy to see that they had poee in the house to mop things up with. Oh yes, also at the boys’ request, an order of french fries on the side—these actually went really well with the beef.

A mocktail called the Mickey Mouse rounded out our order (I can’t remember what it entails). Somewhat unusually for our family of gluttons, we didn’t have room for dessert. Perhaps because we’d also eaten a big meal at Joe’s River Cove the previous night.

For a look at the restaurant and everything we ate, click on a pic below to launch a larger slideshow. Scroll down to see how much it all cost etc.

Service was very friendly, if increasingly harried as the place filled up. Most of the people there—as far as I could make out anyway—seemed to be Goan. Perhaps for that reason, they don’t have the big catch of the day selection that you can count on at places with more tourist action (keeping in mind that “tourist” here means as much North Indian as non-Indian, if not more so).It may also explain the presence of non-cookie cutter Goan items on the menu and the general high quality of the cooking. It almost certainly explains the presence of poee.

Cost? Rs. 1700 before tip and just over Rs. 2000 with it. Or less than $30. Very good value in Goa and anywhere else for what we ate. I wouldn’t say that it’s worth a drive from parts north where there are for more restaurant options, but if in the general vicinity (or 30 minutes south, as we were), it’s definitely worth a look.

Alright, coming up next on the food front: a Twin Cities report. That’ll be of dinner at Alma a couple of weeks ago. Later next week, I’ll have more Seoul and Goa food action. And as yet undetermined whisky reviews as well.



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