For the love of good food….
While I had been to Goa twice, those were mostly childhood trips. The first of the Goa trips that still remains fresh in my mind is the 3-girlfriend trip that we did about 3 months before my wedding. The research that we did for the trip was crazy though predictably we ended up going to only 30% of the places that we really researched on – be it food, markets or beaches.
One of the names that came up from most of the Goa frequenters was Infantaria. We were told time and again that their breakfast is a not-to-be missed experience. The place still remains a part of the Goa legendary eating list and the recent trip was no exception for me. I was happy to introduce this gem of a place to my husband.
When you see the place from a distance, its’ cheery blue, white and yellow interiors with the prominent signage close to the Calangute circle cannot be missed. This 60-year old icon born in the pre-Independence Goan era was simply a bakery for the first half of its’ life doling out fresh bread and some of the best confectionery. Today, the restaurant serves Goan, Indian, Chinese and Continental food with the taste being equally good across the cuisines. For breakfast though, this is one of the best places for a choice of English or Continental breakfast to keep you full through out your beach-hopping expeditions.
The fact that the place survived and kept building on its’ reputation despite the huge clamour of new and new-age restaurants in Goa is by itself a testimony to its’ great food. We were lucky to have gone a little early on a Saturday evening, else we have seen people waiting for up to an hour for breakfast! As admitted by the server, even for dinner there are enough people waiting to eat at this iconic place on weekends.
Moving on to the food, we decided to go for a mix of Continental and Goan to get a feel of their repertoire in both cuisines. So, we ordered the Manchow Soup, French Fries with mayonnaise, Veg. Pasta Alla Infantaria, Chicken Xacuti (served with steamed rice) and the all-time favourite Russian Choc. Cheese Cake. The soup and the fries were regular fare with little to remember past the meal. What did make the meal even better though was the chilled crisp King’s beer!
The Veg. Pasta Alla Infantaria, as the name suggests is the proclaimed Continental specialty on their menu. It came in a white wide-mouthed ceramic bowl, wafting with the delicious smell of rich cheese sauce evidenced in the thick sludge-like consistency of the dish. Personally, I am mostly a proponent of having my pasta in the red sauce. But this pasta had me converted. The butterfly pasta (my choice from the 3 available types) was well entrenched in the well cooked buttery cheesy sauce with an enticing flavour of spinach. The hero of the dish most definitely was the captivating flavor of the warm sauce with each bite.
The Chicken Xacuti and the steamed rice were served in the typical metal pots found in most restaurants serving North Indian food. The Xacuti had thick visible pieces of chicken, swimming in a nice aromatic brown gravy. The gravy had a perfect medley of spices giving it the special character along with the typical texture that it left on your tongue of the shredded coconut. It was definitely one of the better quality of Goan food that my husband tasted on the trip.
It was time for my favourite part of the meal – dessert! Having started as a bakery, the place still has a show case boasting a variety of fine looking and tasting desserts. We ordered for the Russian choc cheesecake which is not only a popular dessert but also my personal favourite from prior experience. It looks like a vertical marble cake with a base of chocolate cake with the cream cheese set up on top. With every vertically cut piece, you can bit into the chunkiness of the chocolate cake and savour the sweet tanginess of the soft cool cream cheese.
While my husband made a point by grumbling about the higher-than-Goa prices, I think it is still a place you must go to when in Goa. Go for the breakfast, the desserts, the frequent deals on drinks or just to soak in the atmosphere while you people watch in the busy streets of North Goa!
Specialties: Continental breakfast, desserts
Address: 5/181, Calangute Baga Junction, Calangute, Goa
Ratings: Variety: 4/5
Veg/Non Veg: Both
Value for Money: 3/5
Food quality: 3.5/5
Overall rating: 3.5/5