GOA DIARIES: Padaria Prazeres

Friday morning was all about exploring Fontainhas, the old Latin Quarter in Panjim followed by a mini reunion with two school friends. The question was where we would go to eat! For me that was easy – I had to visit Padaria Prazeres which is a café situated in the quiet lanes of Caranzalem. Why?

I had asked for recommendation from an ex-colleague who is from Goa on where I should dine, and pat came the reply – Padaria Prazeres. I think the recommendation came for two very good reasons: because of the close relationship with the owners of the café, Chef Ralph Prazeres and wife Stacy Gracias (they schooled together) or maybe just like many others who have eaten here she genuinely knew I would enjoy the food.  Whatever be the reason, I had to try it for myself.

Stacy Gracias and me

The interiors of Padaria Prazeres (the word Padaria means bakery in Portuguese) have been tastefully yet simply designed and has an outdoor seating space for anyone who would like to sit out and enjoy their coffee and tart while watching the world go by.

But what hits you before you walk in is the aroma of freshly baked brioche buns, baguettes, butter garlic knots – it’s a baker’s haven.

It was a sweltering day, and with my Fontainhas exploration just over, I needed to get out of the sun and have a nice cold refreshing ‘something’. As soon as I heard they had a cold chocolate drink, I knew it was something that I needed to have.

I followed that with two savouries: the Salmon cream cheese bagel and the roast chicken sandwich. Both were delicious although, if forced to choose, I would choose the chicken one. (I should have spent time in taking the photo with the right light to do justice to the food, but the stomach grumbling won!)

What I absolutely fell in love with was the garlic knots. Absolutely fresh, and every bite had a hint of the garlicky goodness, enough for me to order a second one.

But the main cause for the buzz, at Padaria Prazeres are the freshly baked pastéis de nata. When we walked in and asked for them (even before we were seated), we were told they were sold out, but a fresh batch was baking in the oven. Oh, the sigh of relief! We knew were going to be there for a while (you know how it is when school friends meet after many years, the yapping never ceases), so I immediately reserved three for us and also asked for 8 more to be kept aside to take back for my cousin to try.

Pastéis de nata are deeply addictive egg-and-custard tarts which find their origins in Lisbon, and which are now lovingly made and shared at the café. The combination of the crunchy, flaky tart and hot gooey custard is absolutely perfect. For a minute there was silence, a moment of appreciation and then the spoon went back in for seconds. I dusted half mine with cinnamon powder and the other with icing sugar. Every bite was a treat. 

Sat in the middle of this café I wondered why Bombay does not have such a place – simple, fuss free food which is delicious, a limited menu and a nice relaxed unhurried vibe. I really think Bombay could well do with a café like this.

Location: Padaria Prazeres Celeste Plaza, Ground floor, opposite Models Celebrity, Caranzalem, Panaji, Goa 403002 Telephone: +91 93228 06130 Open from 10 AM – 6,30 PM (Closed on Monday)

NOTE: I ate at PADARIA PRAZERES on my OWN time and money. The views and opinions expressed on this blog are truly my OWN.