Move over Martins corner….

Move over Martins corner….

Betalbatim and Martin’s Corner are synonymous but four years ago another home maker decided to take her culinary expertise in order to feed the Goans. Cota Cozinha opened just before the pandemic but within a month of its opening it saw customers arriving in droves. This family run restaurant by Sherif and Queeny Cota comes with a secret weapon in the kitchen, their mother/mother-in-law whose hands churns out some moth watering Goan dishes.

Cota Cozinha was recommended by a friend. I mentioned that I was on my way to Martin’s Corner and he said to me, “have you tired Cota Cozinha?” I am a Martin’s Corner fan but sadly the last time round the food and service was very disappointing. Simple courtesies that could be offered to a guest were made to sound like they had to move a mountain and the squid I was told will be rubbery because ‘that’s the way we make it.” Imagine being told our steaks are always burnt and our chicken is always undercooked but hey! that’s the way we make it. I have no beef with Martins corner, their rechad masala still makes my mouth salivate but perhaps when you get that big you don’t care a damn.

So, I decided to listen to the recommendations of my friend and took an afternoon trip to Cota Cozinha. I like arriving at restaurants at noon or by seven. You don’t have to stand in line for your table and even more, you can choose where you want to sit. We walked in on a weekday, they had just two tables occupied but in time the cars kept rolling in the parking lot

Menu cards in most tourist bound areas of Goa could just be a cut copy paste job. You have the really long list of booze offered and then the usual Indian Chinese slash Indian version of South East Asian food. This is generally followed by some North Indian favourites and the usual Goan fare and for good measure, just in case the white man may pop in, some ‘Indian continental’ food. Notice how all food gets ‘Indianized’. Curiously I have come to observe with some accuracy a local Goan from a visiting Goan in any restaurant in Goa. The local Goan orders Chinese while the visiting Goan must have the prawn curry rice with a whole host of other Goan dishes.

I have learnt better and stick to the Goan fare and while it still is the run of the mill it is comfort food for me. We ordered the pork chilly fry (Rs 280) and the salted tongue (also priced the same). Right away, I thought to myself, the portions were more than generous. The tongue was the most obvious choice to make contact with my tongue and it was delicious. That joy ended when I ate the pork chilly; it was chewy and undercooked. The flavours were all there but then again you don’t want to be cuding away for the next hour.

The Salted Tongue

At this point of time the owner, Queeny Cota stepped in. I politely explained that the mass of chewed meat on my plate was the result of my teeth struggling to do what it ought it. How a restaurant handles criticism is the make-or-break moment for me in such moments. Queeny was grace under fire! She suggested she replace the dish for her mother in law’s pork amsol and then suggested we eat the house favourite, squids stuffed with sausages in a thick rechad gravy. This was the game changer. The next two dishes followed by the coconut panna cotta was excellent.

Pork Amsol

But the food aside, Queeny is one restauranter in Goa who has not let her success go to her head. She is clearly a hardworking and proud restauranter. She visits every table and makes sure the guests are taken care of. Sadly, and this I say for most restaurants in Goa, those who take the orders have never eaten the food nor are they able to make recommendations. If only those who took the orders were trained better…..WHEN you visit Cota Cozinha, NOT IF you visit it, ask first for Queeny. Let her guide you to make the right choices for your meal. Even more, ask her to send out the dishes that are cooked by her mother-in-law in the house next door.

I walked out of Cota Cozinha a happy customer and one that was thoroughly spoilt. The restaurant is situated at Chaul, Betalbatim, Salcette, Goa. They are opened for lunch from 11 to 3 pm and for dinner from 7 pm to 11 am. Cota Cozinha has ample parking and are closed on Tuesdays. Call them for a reservation on 0832-2880031

Warner D’Souza

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3 thoughts on “Move over Martins corner….”


  • Dev boreim Korun Padigar.
    Cota Couzinha is the destination on my next visit. Please keep it coming. Take care.

  • Thank you Fr.Warner for this recommendation. Will surely try it out on my next visit to goa.

    We too had the same experience with Martin’s Croner and their squid dish is an absolutely NO NO. So rubbery.


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