A cup of tea and Café Tato’s history

The extensive, scrumptious menu will leave you hungry for more
Café Tato, run by Pradeep Govind Dhuri, has been a foodie favourite for over a century.
Café Tato, run by Pradeep Govind Dhuri, has been a foodie favourite for over a century.Pic courtesy: Katia Goes

Undoubtedly, every Goan Catholic will relate to the phrase “Chao marya mare?” (“Let’s grab a cup of tea?”) after Sunday Mass or anytime the susegad Goan needs to take a break (which is virtually at any point of the day). But for people in Panjim in particular, the phrase changes, somewhere along the lines of “Tatyager chao marya” (“Let’s go have a cup of tea at Tato’s”).

Within the proximity of the famous tourist attraction of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Church, is a restaurant that has been standing sturdily, withstanding the vagaries of time. The memorable taste of their famous puri bhaji lingers on years after it has been relished.

The cosy ambience reminds one of the ease and comfort of home.
The cosy ambience reminds one of the ease and comfort of home.Pic courtesy: Katia Goes

Café Tato, which began business in 1913, is now almost 109 years old! The family-run business has been passed down almost four generations and is currently being run by Pradeep Govind Dhuri. Informing us of the origin of the eatery’s catchy name, he told us, “Tato’s got its name after my grandfather's pet name. Everybody used to lovingly address him as ‘Tatya’.”

Although they initially started small, serving only tea, bhajiya, and bhaji with bread, they have expanded in recent years. “The location of the restaurant has been the same since the start. I believe that it is this place that gives the food its flavour,” Pradeep added. The premises have a well-lit, ground plus one area with a lot of seating. The ambience is cosy enough to remind one of home, with the restaurant’s hygiene being top-notch. 

Café Tato, run by Pradeep Govind Dhuri, has been a foodie favourite for over a century.
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‘Tato’s’, as it is commonly known today, has a wide range of vegetarian cuisine. Their speciality is their mouth-watering puri bhaji, which has a range of options to choose from. Right from sukhi bhaji (potato), chana bhaji (chickpeas), salaad bhaji (onions) and mix bhaji (a mix of all the bhajis together). Their wide menu also includes other bestsellers such as vegetarian thalis, buns, sheerasamosas and batata vadas.

 “It is like a chain,” said Pradeep, as he reminisced about how generations of people have been loyal customers to his restaurant. Right from having their morning cup of tea to grabbing a quick bite while they run their errands with their children, Café Tato makes it into their to-do-list effortlessly.

Café Tato, run by Pradeep Govind Dhuri, has been a foodie favourite for over a century.
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 WHERE: Café Tato, Souza Towers, No. G3, Dr RS Rd, Near Municipal Garden, Panaji, Goa 403001

 TIME: 7:00 am to 8:30 pm

 PRICE RANGE: ₹50 - ₹250

 MUST TRY: Sukhi bhaji, samosas and sheera

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