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river restaurant

The River Restaurant: An Innovative global restaurant to try in Goa

Cyrus Todiwala, Goan with a modern, international flair

He is the only Indian-born chef on this list, and The River Restaurant serves as a homecoming for Cyrus Todiwala, about 25 years after he left to become a global bigwig. Goa seemed to be a fitting place for the London-based Parsi to set up shop in India, since its flavours quite perceptibly inspire both his restaurant in Waterloo called Assado and his television show, The Spice Men. The BBC Food Personality of the Year explains, “I spent the best part of my grooming years here and developed a deep bond with the people and the state. Also, being Goa’s first ever honorary wildlife and game warden means that the attachment is far more than just superficial.”

True to its name, the restaurant sits inside the luxurious Acron Waterfront Resort and is situated at the confluence of the Baga River and the Arabian Sea, which offers guests remarkable views. Over and above the easy atmosphere and warm service, the menu is very accommodating of the preferences and wishes of diners. If you sit outside in the al-fresco section, you will find fishing rods perched at intervals along the wall that overlooks the river. If you’re not satisfied by observing local fisherfolk work their magic, you can catch your own fish, have it cooked according to your liking and then savour it!

I didn’t really work too hard for my lunch, though, as I tucked into a succulent kingfish niçoise, prawn balchao and home-made potato gnocchi, before being completely blown away by what is now one of my favourite dishes in Goa — the dukkah-dusted prawns with melon. Truly indescribable in its flavour and texture, the plate features locally sourced lagoon tiger prawns seasoned with an Egyptian spice blend and served with a watermelon, fresh mint, red onion and feta salad. If you only order one thing at this restaurant, it should be this…even though that may prove to be utterly impossible to do.

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