Hotel Santana Beach in Mahabalipuram is a budget hotel and situated right on the edge of the beach ! You just can’t get any closer to the beach . The restaurant in the ground floor was being renovated and they had a restaurant on the second floor that was open! 🙂
We were there for a weekend and settled down at around 05:30PM on Saturday and only a couple of tables were occupied at that time. There is nothing much to mention about the interiors of the restaurant, it was basic, but decent. The biggest plus is that they serve beer and you are allowed to carry your own liquor without having to pay corkage. I’m not sure how licenses and rules work in Mahabalipuram, but this practice has been in place for many years now and I suppose everyone knows about it !
We got a table for four right on the side of the beach! Amazing view and wonderful sea breeze, we couldn’t wait to start off with our drinks ! Slowly more people started to come in and a few more tables were taken. Felt lucky to get the table right on the side with a nice view of the beach. Coming to the food, they did have a lot of varieties of seafood and the place was very famous for that! The rates were a bit on the higher side, and that is understandable considering the number of foreigners who visit the place, the consumption of liquor being allowed and so on. The vegetarian stuff was basic, and we ordered Chilly Paneer and Onion Pakoda. Chilly Paneer came with a lot of oil and a dangerously red appearance 🙂 We went very slow with it. Onion Pakoda was the saviour, we ordered more than 2-3 plates and it was good. Friends tasted Chilly Prawns, Fish Fry, and they said it was good. Egg Burji, Egg Omelette were all fine. Overall, the service was pretty decent and no complaints on that front too. They also had a live Lobster Tank and Fresh Catch of fish was displayed on the table. You could choose what you want and ask that to be prepared, pretty good option for seafood lovers!
As it got dark, the lights were switched on and I would say the place looked much better at night. The light on each table was a big seashell and it added a nice touch to the decor.
We were continuously ordering Coke and Water bottles along with all these dishes and the final bill was around 2K (I think), pretty reasonable for an evening ! We decided to take a short break and settle down in another place for the next session 🙂 There were quite a few places like this and in a way, it reminded me of beach shacks in Goa. I’ve been to resorts in ECR so many times, but this was a very different experience and if you should get the real feel of Mahabalipuram, you should visit a couple of shacks in this part of the town.
Like any place which permits liquor, there can be instances where you’re not very comfortable with a gang of people drinking and smoking on the next table. So you might want to exercise caution when you’re with family or your girlfriend. We were there for at least 3-4 hours and did not see any instance of misbehaviour from anyone, although most of them were drinking. So the owners pretty much have things in control I suppose ! This is a wonderful option to get local and experience the real face of Mahabalipuram, rather than stay at star-category resorts far away and pretend to have seen Mahabalipuram. 😉