Food: Where to head for a midnight snack in Goa

Of the 20-something food stalls at Saturday Night Market in Goa, we’ve taste-tested it down to a list of the top nine

Paella studded with clams, crabs and prawns; industrial-size baking trays glowing ruby red with strawberry cake; lemonade by the litre and a slow-roasted sumac-dusted chicken with a side of pickled slaw. If you’re going to Goa, you are probably going to end up at the Ingo’s Saturday Night Market (SNM). Until recently, the Saturday scene for most holiday-makers was set in stone.

Pics/Vijaya Pais

 STEP 1  Butter garlic prawns for lunch on the beach.
 STEP 2  Shopping at the SNM.
 STEP 3  A rushed dinner (to make the last order).
 STEP 4  Dancing.

But, over the past few years, both, locals and tourists have cut out STEP 3, and are now tucking into assorted vegetable pâté or pkhali from the kitchen of India’s first Georgian restaurant, vegan wraps packed with homemade tofu, monster beef burritos the size of a forearm and som tam salad made with a traditional Thai mortar and pestle. So, what will you try?


Sixty three-year-old Adriano Ticozzelli is quite possibly the most famous and still, unheard of Italian in India. You may not recognise his name but you’ve definitely heard of his all-veg Italian restaurant chain, Little Italy.

Adriano Ticozzelli
Adriano Ticozzelli

These days, the wood fire kin-maker and consulting chef lives in Goa. "I left Poona and my first Italian restaurant in Hotel Srimaan after Osho passed away," Ticozzelli says. He manages the Market’s first corner food stall, a pizzeria called Il Fungo Magico, which he named after the ovens’ mushroom shape. Here, you can expect an almost Italian mama-made pie with a firm crust, subtle tomato sauce and generous toppings. Some of the crowd favourites include the classic Margherita, Oilva (black olives), Greca (green olives) and a cheese-free Marinara finished with garlic, olive oil and oregano.   

Run by: Adriano Ticozzelli
Serving at the SNM since: 12 seasons
Starting at: Rs 270


India’s first Georgian restaurant opened for service in Vagator five years ago, but it wasn’t until three years later that the owner, Rati Kerkadze decided to serve a selection of seven authentic preparations to homesick Russians and Georgian crowds at the SNM.

Two years later, there are countless, curious takers from around the globe who line-up to sample sulguni and machadi, a smoked goat cheese with corn bread; tolma (dolma in Turkey and Armenia), grape vine leaves stuffed with tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, zucchini and even apples; olivia veg, their take on a Russian salad; Khachapuri, a traditional Georgian leavened  bread which is stuffed with either just sulguni cheese (round) or egg and cheese (canoe-shaped); and assorted pkhali, a group of veggie pâtes made with seasonal vegetables — ours being spinach, beetroot, red bean and eggplant. Now, if only we had a bottle of that elusive Georgian orange wine.

Run by: Rati Kerkadze
Serving at the SNM since: 2 seasons
Starting at: Rs 100 


One of first stalls to set up shop at SNM, Roast Chicken is run by a colourful character who goes by the name Marco, "But everyone calls me Chickenwalla," he says. The French-German chef decided to call Goa his home over a decade ago and for that we’re thankful because he brought with him, via Spain, a medieval method of slow-spit roasting a whole chicken, what chefs now call the horizontal rotisserie. Maybe you’ve seen the mile-long line for, "Simply the best (roast chicken) in Goa?"

They and we, usually line-up to order the only thing on offer: quarter, half or whole — crispy on the outside but moist on the inside, thanks to spits’ constant rotation — chicken, that Marco says packs in flavour influencers from Spain, Germany and Jerusalem. Finger-licking good stuff, this is.


Run by: Marco, the Chickenwalla
Serving at the SNM since: 12 seasons
Starting at: Rs 250


The two English chefs who man this stall, with an army of sous chefs in shorts, are known across England and Europe for feeding hungry music festival hoards consistently great Tex-Mex fare; for making mean burritos, and churning out everything fresh and from scratch including their guacamole, roasted Mexican-style chilli sauce, mint sour cream, green rice and chunky tomato salsa.

Alex Schaenbarg
Alex Schaenbarg

It’s the sort of stall where the later (in the night) you order, the longer the line will be. Of their orange braised beef, smoky chicken and caramelised aubergine burritos, tacos and quesadillas, we suggest you go with the six hour long, slow-cooked citrus-soaked beef, finished with a mountain of Monterey Jack cheese and jalapenos. Only, where’s the margarita?

Run by: Alex Schaenbarg and Graham Vincante
Serving at the SNM since: 4 seasons
Starting at: Rs 350 onwards


In the case of Goa’s longest standing raw, vegan, organic and vegetarian brand, the restaurant came 13 years before the weekly SNM stand.

Shawn Rodrigues
Shawn Rodrigues

Current owner, Shawn Rodrigues took over the boho-chic eatery from a former American owner five years ago and since then, the animal activist-turned-vegan has beefed up the vegan offerings to also include house-made tofu and non-GMO brown rice. Ask any vegetarian or vegan around and chances are they won’t stop gushing over how good Rodrigues’ assorted salad plate is. His latest venture? The Maa Café in Morjim which is best described as, "raw and vegan."

Assorted salad plate
Assorted salad plate

Run by: Shawn Rodrigues
Serving at the SNM since: 5 seasons
Starting at: Rs 150


"13, 14 READY," says a 20-something Koko Yutthasunthon loudly, after plating two chicken pad Thai noodles portions meant to be garnished and served immediately. Dressed in a leopard-print halter and denim cut-off, she quickly adds to her staff from over the stove, "You put peanut?!" This exchange is followed by a 20-second bout of incessant giggling.

If you take a whiff of the aromas near the last food stall before the upper, terraced shopping area, you’ll catch lemon grass, birds eye chilli, basil, coconut milk and galangal. So to think you’ve been transported to a Bangkok street corner for the evening would be natural, especially if you try any one of the four dishes this Thai-ladies’ run stall serves.

Koko Yutthasunthon
Koko Yutthasunthon

The choices are som tam salad, prawn tom yum soup, veg, chicken and prawn pad Thai noodles and a red curry made with chicken and pumpkin.  

Run by: Koko Yutthasunthon
Serving at the SNM since: 5 seasons
Starting at: Rs 200


While in Anjuna-Arpora, if you say, "Coffee or cake," we’ll say "Coffee Heaven." This decade-old brand is run by a German couple from Hamburg, who also run a restaurant by the same name a little up the road from the Market. This season, the eatery will remain closed except for serving their Sunday Brunch.

Diana Menz
Diana Menz

Their gorgeous lemon cheesecake, apple crumble, carrot-and-nut cake, Linzer tart, Belgium waffles, homemade fruit yoghurt and strawberry cake have been served to happy marketers for five seasons. Also on offer are homemade cold drinks like lemonade, lemon-ginger and cold coffee besides for coffees and hot chocolate, black, green and herbal teas.

The perfect order? A cappuccino with two Californian brownies, to go.  

Run by: Diana and Dirk Menz
Serving at the SNM since:
5 seasons Starting at:
Rs 100


"I’m the sort of person who eats something sweet for breakfast, lunch and dinner, every day", confesses Cassandra Braganza of Petit Paris stall and bakery. And yet, all her desserts — from the fresh strawberries and cream to French crepes stuffed with Nutella and blueberry tarts — are not cavity-inducing sweet. 

Strawberry and cream
Strawberry and cream

This student of science and business discovered her flair for baking quite recently. Braganza’s latest baby is a bakery by the same name down the road. Just don’t blame us if you go there and ask for a blueberry tart and all you see is peach and passion fruit. It seems, the self-taught pastry chef keeps sending batches of freshly baked goods to the Market, every hour on the hour, from opening to closing. So will it be the chocolate mousse or dark chocolate tart?

Blueberry tarts
Blueberry tarts

Run by: Cassandra Braganza
Serving at the SNM since: 4 seasons  
Starting at: Rs 100  


For those of you who aren’t familiar with Anjuna’s 6 Pack’s, all you need to know is they’ve been plating up all the foreigner favourites since 2002.

Veg Baguette

While the restaurant’s menu is brimming with all the British honey traps —full English breakfast, hot baguettes, traditional pies (steak and kidney, steak and ale onion, Shepherd’s, chicken and mushroom), minced mash and even fish and chips with mushy peas, owner and chef Kishore Mandrekar only serves baguettes, fat chips and few continental mains at the SNM. We recommend you skip the big plates and ask for a warm, beef or pulled pork baguette, like most of the English, Russians and French do.

(Left and centre) Kishore and Kritika Mandrekar
(Left and centre) Kishor, Kishor's sister Smita and their friend Jackie.

Run by: Kritika and Kishore Mandrekar
Serving at the SNM since: This season
Starting at: Rs 150  

Season’s closing

Saturday Night Market is slated to stay on till the last Saturday of April 2016.

One state, many markets

There’s something about markets and Goa that spell a match made in heaven. The local Konkoni folk have had a long-affair with marketeering which pre-dates Anjuna’s first hippie flea market in the ’60s and ’70s , with their weekly, Friday Mapusa Market  home to spice meats, pickled fruits and kitchen utensils. Larks can check out Anjuna’s Wednesday Flea Market (9 am to 6 pm) and owls can shop till they drop on Saturday evenings at Mackey’s near Baga at Arpora, 6 pm onwards.

>> Two German friends by the name of Mackey and Ingo started Goa’s first Saturday night market by Baga Creek nearly two decades ago. 

>> Twelve years ago, they had a fall out and each started their own SNM — Mackey’s near Baga and Ingo’s at Arpora.

>> Today, Ingo’s market (he passed away last year) is bigger and hence, the more popular of the two.

>> Both sell Indian and international clothes, jewellery and curios.

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