In the tranquils slow- paced village of Raia, nestled among the lush greenery, is an old Goan theme restaurant known as Fernando’s Nostalgia.
The garden setting makes for lovely relaxed atmosphere. It is an extension of a beautifully preserved old Goan House.
Down memory lane is not just a phrase but an actual trip to one of Goa’s best kept food secrets. The legendary late Chef Fernando Costa, known affectionately as Ferdie, was instrumental in making this eatery an institution, and I am proud of anything truly Goan.
In the tranquil slow-paced village of Raia, nestled amongst the lush greenery, is an old Goan theme restaurant known as Fernando’s Nostalgia. The garden setting makes for a lovely relaxed atmosphere. It is an extension of a beautifully preserved old Goan house, which is now the residence of Margarida Tavora e Costa … what an elegant gracious lady.
A large personal collection of artefacts in the form of musical instruments, glass jars, wooden carvings and age-old culinary vessels adorn the restaurant creating a Goan museum ambience in the true Goan spirit.
The inimitable bar has a wide range of liqueurs, wines to go with the Catholic Goan and Hindu Goan vegetarian cuisine. For starters, one must definitely try the Rissois de Camarao, which is crunchy on the outside and soft inside. it literally melts in your mouth. Another mouth watering dish is the crumb fried mussels that will put you in the mood for some hearty eating. Besides these appetisers there is also dry Bombay duck masala fried and salted ox tongue, which set your taste buds in overdrive.
The restaurant known for being the destination for Goa’s indigenous flavours, has a distinctly selected Goan and Portuguese menu for its esteemed guests with the likes of prawn almondegas, chicken cafreal, stuffed crabs, cataplana de marisco and a variety of seafood carefully prepared to suit your palate. Also hugely popular is the recheiado … be it prawn, fish squids or crabs.
Nostalgia is the only restaurant serving steaming hot sannas (rice cakes cooked with fresh toddy) as an accompaniment to Goa’s iconic sorpotel, -feijoada, prawn balchao, roast suckling pig cabidela and pork vindalho. For special occasions and festive nights Margarida also serves bacalhau – the Portuguese salted cod fish delicacy that one has to acquire a taste for. The signature dish served here is the thick prawn curry with Goan parboiled rice … to die for. The coconut extract and Goan herbs are subtly spiced and soured with kokum.
For the vegans, there is a wide selection of Goan preparations which include vegetables caldinho, chouli ros (black eyed beans cooked in coconut extract and freshly ground spices), alsande tondak (local kidney beans cooked in roasted coconut and spice paste), moongacheo ganteo (sprouted whole moong cooked in coconut paste flavoured with curry patta, mustard seeds and hing).
Desserts include ‘bolo sans rival’, which you will rarely find on any restaurant menu, alle belle and the famous bebinca.
If the upkeep of traditions is your forte, a meal experience here will revive nostalgic memories of Goan cuisine from the days your Shapai (grandpa) used to fancy your Shamai (grandma).
Hats off to lady Margarida and her loyal staff sorry extended family. Keep rocking and Goa will rock with you always.
Fernando’s Nostalgia, 608 Margarida’s Haunt, No
Bairo Ozro, Raia, Salcette Goa 403720
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