Fontainhas is Panjim’s heritage district, and India’s only Latin Quarter. Up above its atmospheric streets is Avanti, a bastion of classic Goan home-style cooking that has remained tranquil and unhurried even at the height of tourist season for more than two decades. The dining space is homely, with little tables dressed up in cheerful checked tablecloths. And, unless you have an indulgent Goan granny, you can’t get any closer to the real deal than Avanti’s brilliantly piquant Shark Ambotik curry, made red with kokum, densely flavoured vindaloos and xacuttis, and a peerless smorgasbord of perfectly prepared local seafood that always includes oysters, mussels, squid, fresh-water prawns, red rock crabs, plump mullets and ladyfish, pomfrets and kingfish. The owners, husband-and-wife duo Michael and Ovita D’Souza, have never been able to figure out why foreign tourists pass their restaurant by, but they’re not complaining one bit every local knows that Avanti offers perhaps the best value for money in Goa.

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