The fish thali to Goa is what fish and chips are to England or the Frankfurt sausage to Germany. A cliché perhaps, but not for no good reason! They are dishes that you simply must try. Fish, curry, rice or ‘sheet kodi nustea’ as it’s locally known, is a medley of seafood dishes served upon a big, round silver plate – a thali – hence the name, fish thali. As Goa’s state capital, Panjim offers some of the best fish thali out there. With the overwhelming number of restaurants all serving the specialty, it can be difficult to know which is the best one to try, so we’ve put together a tried-and-tested list of the best fish thali in Panjim!
Panjim’s Kokni Kanteen has been dishing up deliciousness since 1972. With its rustic wooden interior and homely feel instigated by the Goan kitchen utensils hanging from its walls, this restaurant serves up quite possibly the tastiest and complete selection of traditional and contemporary Goan snacks. Locals and tourists alike pile in for their lunch thali. They are not listed on the menu, you just have to order them with your waiter. The fish thali (it costs INR 180) is a feast and comes with a choice of fish and rice and a selection of seafood dishes to accompany your main, including dry shrimp curry, crab bhaji, fish curry, mussels and sabji (veg). The pure veg thali is also a winner (at INR 160)!
Often quoted as having ‘the best seafood in all of Goa’ (by locals and online reviews), Ritz Classic is just that, a classic. Panjim’s locals rave about it, so you know it must be good. The restaurant itself is a little tricky to find as it’s located on the first floor of a building. Once inside, the ambiance is one of a fast-paced eatery that knows what its customers have come for: fish, of course!
Shree Sateri Kamakshi Restaurant is where you go to find authentic homemade cooking with a personalized touch. It’s small, intimate and the family members who run it are typical friendly locals who are happy to make food as per your requirements. Their thali menu changes every day depending on the fish available, but typically, you can choose from kingfish, prawns, mackerel and lepo fish (FYI – all delicious!). The restaurant itself is located four kilometres from the centre of Panjim and as it’s easy to miss, the nearest landmark is the Municipal Garden.
The Goan Room is a quirky and modern restaurant serving up authentic Goan cuisine and little else. It has funky decor featuring full-length street art murals on the walls and TV monitors, all adding to its young, laid-back vibe. It has an almost sports-bar feel to it. Lucky for them, it’s not a case of ‘all style but no substance’ because the fish thali is one of the best around. Even locals recommend it! A standard fish thali costs INR 150 and the ‘special Goan thali’ costs INR 250.
Loved for its open and modern setting, Peep Kitchen doesn’t just appease the taste buds. The menu offers up all of the traditional Goan classics, as well as standard Indian and Chinese additions. The variety of dishes in the fish thali is always impressive here.
If you’re a budget backpacker, don’t let this restaurant’s name put you off – it’s fine dining without the price tag! Due to its location surrounded by office buildings, it’s an everyday lunch hit with the locals. Along with their tasty fish thali (INR 150), Tato also serves up a good range of North Indian and Chinese dishes.
Hog Worth is located in the welcoming neighbourhood of La Campala Colony in Miramar. The restaurant is run by local Goan, Oswin Pinto, who quit his job in aviation to open up the eatery. Passionate about food, Oswin and his team serve up traditional Goan food with a twist. Hog Worth offers a ‘Meal Deal’ service, an eclectic mix of a thali and buffet system, which is reasonably priced. The dishes come with the staple rice, curry and salad pickles and diners are able to customize the rest to suit their tastes. Hog Worth runs a takeaway service for those staying in the area as well.