The Malabar Coast traverses through four states starting from Maharashtra, past Goa, Karnataka, Kerala and all the way to Tamil Nadu. On a two-week road trip from Goa to Kerala, I took National Highway 66, aka NH66 which is a smooth, straight four-lane highway running parallel to the Western Ghats on one side and the western coast on the other. Except for some major road expansion work from Karwar (Karnataka) to the start of the Kerala border, it’s a quick and painless drive with some very interesting highway pit stops.
I usually do some amount of research before I travel but with highway pitstops I’ve learned— especially from this trip—that the best way to do it is based on two parameters: 1. How hungry you are. 2. A quick google map search of ‘restaurants near me’. Any place that has a decent rating (3.5+) and a couple of reviews usually turns up to be worth a stop.
NH66/ Panvel-Kanyakumari National Highway
Ratna Sagar Pure Veg Udupi Restaurant, Karwar
For: crisp medu vadas and fluffy idlis
A two-and-a-half drive down south from Goa on NH66 is Karwar, the bordering town and check post between Goa and Karnataka. A ten-minute drive from the border is Ratna Sagar, clearly visible from a distance, on the left of the highway. With ample parking space, fairly decent toilets and a clean dining area, Ratna Sagar serves freshly-made crisp medu vadas, fluffy idlis and a legitimate sambhar, made with real vegetables and not the sweet watery sambhar we’re served at Udipi restaurants.. Make sure to indulge in some old-school candies displayed in jars at the billing counter.
Tip: Even though you’ve entered the south Indian belt, I’d recommend chai over coffee here.
Location: 99 kms from Mapusa, Goa. R4MJ+X4W, Tariwada, Kodibag, Karwar, Karnataka 581303. Ph: 083822 25017. Timings: 7am to 11.30pm