Vaider fish hotel / Smitha’s (near lemon tree vembanad lake, 1 hr drive from kochi, Kerala)

In a nutshell:

A tiny L shaped eatery with single row of tables and benches along the wall, where you just find a 1 ft space to land ur butt and sit and eat with strangers, fast and efficient service, serving 1 thali, 1 fish curry and a wide range of fried fresh water fish – worth the 45 km drive each side.

Address & other details: vaider

Meal for 2: ₹200 onwards

Cuisine type : some vegetarian & non vegetarian (fish only)

Disclaimer: All restaurants / eateries reviewed by YUMMRAJ were visited by YUMMRAJ himself & he has paid for the full Bill & tips also. does not have even one featured / sponsored reviews. YUMMRAJ believes in going to a restaurant in anonymity, as a normal guest, experience everything & give a honest account of the same to you.


3 of us ate as much fish as we Wud hv eaten in a week and laid ₹1350!!! No bill.


I rate all the food items & then give a final overall rating which is a simple average of the individual item ratings. What the ratings stand for: 5 = Excellent, 4 = Very Good, 3 = Good, 2 = Fair, 1 = Disaster

Short description- in case u r in a hurry

We got to know about this place from the gentleman driving us around town (he owns and himself drives a cab, is great at giving food tips and has general level of interest on everything – we could have a good conversation with him. In case u r a tourist in kochi, sharing his details for your reference – Mr. Abdul rashid +917594063114.)

He drove us around and chatted – he figured we r crazy foodies and can go anywhere to have good food. He said ‘while in most of kochi you will get sea food and sea fish, I know of one place which serves daria ka macchi (freshwater fish). It’s not a cool place but food is good’.

We r of the type who always prefer places that r ‘great food, no bull…’ and hence jumped at the idea . He was quite concerned that this place was far away and would cost us more but we decided to go.

The eatery has 2 names – verbally referred to as vaider hotel and an official printed name reads smitha’s hotel.

No signage in English. No menu card in English. If u do not know Malayalam (local language), it’s worth taking a chance to communicate in sign language.

The shop located on a corner plot has no windows but two doors – one on the two walls. They have a large kitchen behind which can b accessed from the side road. We peeped in to see …. pretty neat and clean.

Inside the restaurant dining room, there was approx 40% space allocated to a serving station. Rest 60% was sitting area. 2 benches were placed along the 2 walls. People were coming, sitting next to a stranger, eating, paying, going…. pin drop silence.

Needless to say, no AC.

The Owner of this shop, an elderly person was totally active in the shop and not only coordinating and collecting cash, but also serving and taking orders at times.

The helpers would place a set thali as soon as one sat. Then the owner would come with a huge assortment of fried fish and seafood, to choose from.

They also were serving 1 fish curry ‘of the day’.

If I am not mistaken, there is no spoons in the shop. Everyone was eating with their hand.

We rolled out of the store after massively over eating and in 10 minutes we were in deep sleep in the car ……. thankfully rashid Bhai controlled his sleep and reached us back to kochi in time…

Detailed description- in case u hv the time to njoy reading:

More (pronounced mo ray), a drink, was super pungent, fermented, strong, rustic and robust. Unmissable. U can either love it or hate it but u can’t ignore it. Rate it 4/5

For cereal, they serve – soft, short and fat grains of unpolished rice. Loved it.

I really liked the Bean and grated coconut curry. It was dry , had perfect seasoning, beans retained their texture and were crunchy, coconut and coconut oil lent their flavour. Rate it 4.5/5

Vegetable curry was very good. Tangy, hot n spicy. Good to be mixed in small quantity with a lot of rice. Rate it 4/5

Sambhar was home like, no spices in the face, simple, veggies retained their individual texture …. loved it. Rate it 4.5/5

They also served us a Chutney

Meen curry was so good that we licked off the gravy to the last drop. The fish was excellent as well. Rate it 4.95/5

Jumbo prawns were fresh and very good. Deep fry did not help keep it soft and disturbed the texture. Flavours and taste was too good. Rate it 3.75/5.

Karimeen was as good and fresh as it cud get. Crisp fried with almost no spices. Wow. Rate it 4.75/5

Deep fried prawns were chewy and hard but super juicy (as u keep chewing) and super yumm. Rate it 4.25/5. One portion is good for 2 as jaws start paining after eating half a plate.

Mini fish fry was excellent – pudi meen. Super crisp and full of flavour. Rate it 4.5/5

Varal was a narrow and long fish. Rashid Bhai said this fish is given to patients who are recovering from wounds / post operation, for quick healing. We loved it. Rate it 4.5/5

We also had some other fishes that were all good. I am sorry but I could not remember the names. Overall rating would be 4.5/5 for those fishes

Overall rating of good here averages out to 4.4/5

Wud love to revisit.

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