Jude Souza Lobo, Owner of Souza Lobo
If you’re a visiting Goa, the name Souza Lobo will definitely figure prominently in your culinary itinerary. While the crowds have swelled, the shacks crammed the seafront; the restaurant continues to win the gastronomes that have set their appetites for a relaxed, delicious spread by Calangute beach.
Souza Lobo, located on the Queen of Goan beaches, has survived the ravages of time as it has stood silently braving the sea for 87 years. It started operations in 1932.
(How was it in the 1930s and how did they expand…could be added)
Today amidst the clamour and scintillating lights, the restaurant sits on an oasis of calm for those looking to enjoy a hearty meal. It’s open, airy rustic charm with and no fuss ambience where tables with red tablecloths and rattan woven benches, woven lacquered coconut matting below the Mangalore tiled exude positive vibes.
As you gaze out into the expanse, sip into a refreshing cocktail or indulge your taste buds to the aromatic smells and mouth-watering delicacy of a Goan fish curry. Other favourites include the signature dishes like pomfret masala, backed cheese stuffed crabs, tandoori baby king fish, beef steaks and other preparations. (more about the food and preparations here)
Run by the third generation restaurateur, Jude Souza Lobo, he says it’s the ambience, along with the Goan and seafood fare and the satisfaction you get for the money spent makes his family run place apart from the rest. “We are known for authentic Goan spreads and our seafood is always served fresh,” he says.
As a child Jude spent most of his time at the restaurant. This meant learning the ropes of the business hands on from his father. (what did he learn)
The brand, he’s observed relied mainly on word of mouth. He recalls that “gradually we put a few newspaper ads, but only during special events like Christmas, Carnival etc.” Today, he points out, that social media has taken marketing to a ‘whole new level.’ But they only use it to keep customers informed of their activities.
Personally, Jude has ensured quality has been maintained to the highest standards and that his staff performs to the ‘best of their ability.’ “They represent me and I have to make sure that they represent me properly,” he adds.
And great service has been the hallmark of a Souza Lobo dining experience. He proudly discloses that, “We have staff who has worked for 10 years and others 30 years. His secret? He has worked to create a family like atmosphere amongst his team and this he says has retained their loyalty. “We all grow as a team. I take everyone along and don’t leave anyone behind. This they appreciate. We support them in their personal lives as well.”
Being in this field for more than 25 years since he started, he’s observed how the business has changed. “Earlier when we wanted to buy seafood, we would get it directly from the fishing community here in Calangute. Sadly today even if you go the fisherfolk, they won’t give you any as they have already sent it for exports. We have to visit the main market in Margao. It’s better to source it from there to maintain the freshness,” he explains.
Jude feels that with the drastic change in tourism over the years, the Government must adopt a planned approach to development. “Basically Goa is known for it’s natural beauty. Most Governments are trying to do different projects, without a planned approach. The Panchayats don’t coordinate with the Town and Country Planning (TCP). Each place needs a master plan that can’t be tampered with.”
Apart from structured planning of the towns and villages, cleanliness should be a priority.
With staff always a concern for restaurants, trained bar tenders are always in short supply. “Today,” he finds, “we don’t get qualified people. Most of the brain drain is happening outside and we are left with no inexperienced staff. We have to train them from scratch. Trained bartenders are always an asset.” (could be omitted)
Souza Lobo may still continue to a culinary must stop, but Jude says that an open bar and kitchen is his dream, but unfortunately the location doesn’t permit it.
So while you dine and enjoy the experience their live music and entertainment tops off a splendid evening by the sea. Visit Souza Lobo for ‘the best experience ever’ as reviewed by thousands who have visited over the years.