If you love the sun, sea, sand, and well – seafood, Goa is definitely on your to-go list. Here’s a list of gourmet heavens you can’t miss the next time you’re in the state!
New drinking game. Every time you come across someone on social media who is in Goa, heading there, or simply having ‘Goa fever’, take a shot.
Or you know, plan a(nother) trip to Goa yourself!
With an exception of the last two years, every October to January is unofficially that time of the year where everyone you know is in Goa. From pictures of ‘hidden gems’ to unending tired sunkissed and tanned captions, there’s a template Goa vacation everyone aspires to crack.
Beaches and beers aside, Goa is also a dream haven for foodies. From tangy vindaloos to spicy sorpotel, there’s a lot to enjoy. A seafood lover’s paradise, there’s shrimp and squid everywhere you go. For the sugar rush cravings, there’s always some bebinca and serra durra to indulge in as well. Nothing like a great dessert to round up a good meal.
While the classic culinary recommendations continue to live up to the hype, it could definitely use a break. So for those looking to conquer the off-beaten path when it comes to Goan food, here’s some uber-cool joints you might want to check out!
Pousada By The Beach, Calangute
Located on the quiet and less frequented strip between Calangute and Baga, Pousada By The Beach is serenity itself. It earned its spot as one of the best restaurants in Goa not for its food, but for Chai and Biscuit – the restaurant’s cutest labradors.
However, the food is in a league of its own, which coupled with the stunning views is an experience you can’t miss. Highlights of the menu include their Fish in Banana Leaf, Crusty Prawns, Konkan-flavoured rice, and Prawn Balchao as well. The place is also known to be frequented by the likes of Priyanka and Nick Jonas, Kaartik Aryan, and more. So if you’re looking for a little glam touch to the vacay, this is the spot to be at!
Suggest read: Butter garlic black pepper prawns by Chef Tarun Sibal
The Rice Mill, Morjim
An old rice mill dating back to 1955 birthed a cafe with legendary Jazz Saturdays and comfort food. The Rice Mill is a cozy, yellow-walled, vibrant cafe with the best coffee and workation menu in Goa. Tucked away in the rural area of the Morjim, it’s the earthy, minimalist vibe of the cafe that attracts most tourists and locals alike.
Unlike restaurant type large plates, the cafe is focused on food that keeps the conversation (and/or work!) going. Staples like pasta, sandwiches, quiches, are all across the menu. For the health conscious, there’s an array of breakfast bowls, smoothies, and cookies to choose from. Of course, you can count on a rather diligently put-together tea and coffee menu as well.
Waterfalls Cafe, Benaulim
With its home at The Zuri White Sands, Goa, Waterfalls Cafe is the perfect spot for an elusive romantic dinner date. With an indoor as well as outdoor patio seating, the waterfront cafe is the perfect setting for a relaxed evening.
The multi-cuisine restaurant offers an offbeat experience to gastronomes. Discover live cooking stations that serve anything between street food classics like vada pav, or refined Italian fare like pastas.
Once touted as Goa’s best kept secret, Gunpowder exploded on Assagao’s food scene. Housed within the compound of a Portuguese style heritage house, the restaurant shares the space with People Tree, a design collective. Everything is decidedly artistic and quirky, much like the vast spread of vegetarian and non-vegetarian menus.
The food is a South Indian take on local coastal cuisine, which is basically a flavour bomb times two! While there are classics like Andhra-style prawns, pandi curry, and the Kerala beef fry, there are also delicate confections like panna cotta to indulge in. Definitely a must-visit.
Adding to Assagao’s food scene, Suzie’s came in and also did something different. This is another spot that could serve as the perfect setting for date night. The chef curated menu changes every six weeks, owing to the availability of seasonal ingredients.
The garden-cafe setting presents a five-course meal, each as delectable as the next. Remember to make a reservation though, they don’t accept walk-ins.
Prana Cafe, Ashwem
If you’re suffering from a Goa level hangover, Prana Cafe at Vaayu Waterman’s Village in Ashwem is the place for you. The white sands and clear blue waters are great while you chase the previous night away. Sip on a smoothie, juice, or coffee as you take in the serenity of the place. There’s also an in-house art gallery that supports local artists, board games, and all the elements needed for a fun, relaxed day out.
Their salads, locally sourced pasta, and sandwiches are a classic combination of healthy and deliciously satisfying. You can check out the quinoa avocado stack, homemade lemonade, and couscous hummus salad among other offerings on the vast menu.
Amber Cocktail Bar, Ashwem
In collaboration with Change Your Mind, Amber Cocktail Bar is located at the center of Ashwem beach. It’s a cozy outdoor space with a serene atmosphere perfect for travellers, couples, friends on a vacation, and just about anyone.
The curated drinks menu is a delight in every sip. What sets Amber apart is their use of only locally sourced fresh fruits and homemade syrups. Coupled with a great view especially at sunset, the cocktails are an unmissable part of any Goa trip.
Roboto in Goa is the perfect place for anyone looking to indulge in some Japanese cuisine and decor. The aesthetics of the place and even the menu are heavily inspired by Japanese kawaii art. The tables are dotted with adorable objects, like their podgy chopstick holders, which are handcrafted in ceramic.
While sushi lovers might not find much store in Roboto, there’s enough to keep everyone satiated. The tonkotsu ramen is definitely the star of the show, however, the other items are worth a shot too.
Saz On The Beach, Morjim
Overlooking Morjim beach, Saz On The Beach is another place with great food and a gorgeous view of the sunset to boot. A canopy hanging over the sofa and lounge seating make it a perfect setting for a pleasant meal.
The menu is peppered with interesting options like the Braised Beef Tongue Tacos, Saz Cubano, Black Pepper Crusted Chicken, and a Pan Sear Barramundi. The beverages have fun and inviting names, like the Sun Saz & Feni for instance. Another must-visit!
Suggested read: The Indian Classic: Butter Chicken
Tamil Table, Assagao
If the pork vindaloos and English breakfasts saturate you a bit too much, Tamil Table’s tightly curated South Indian menu is a welcome break. The place launched months before the world went into lockdown, but it’s specialised Tamil cuisine is already making big waves. This cute little restaurant in Goa has a charm of its own with almost life-sized terracotta bommai dolls surrounding the place.
Choose between feasts like the Slow-cooked mutton, Coromandel king prawns, and Mackerel vadai to the table. To pair with the bold flavours, there’s some regional inspired house cocktails that go a long way in enhancing the meal.
Suggested read: Indian classic: Malnad pork
It’s the perfect Indian fine-dining setting at Sukkha, located in the recently exploding culinary scene at Assagao.
From traditional creamy Dal Makhnis to Murg Handis and some assorted bread selection straight from the tandoor, there’s definitely a family friendly vibe to the place. On the beverage front, there’s interesting Sukkha specials like Paagal Mary, Thanda Cucumber and Gulabo Sour. If you’re looking for some family friendly respite from the bustling nightlife and beaches of Goa, Sukkha is your salvation.
Earth Mama Smoothie Bar & Kitchen, Anjuna
Founded by Malavika Manay, Earth Mama is a vegan delivery and take-away kitchen designed to enable people to connect more deeply with their food.
The vegan, gluten free, and refined sugar-free smoothies and bowls are individually designed to reflect the elements of the earth and the human body itself. Attention to detail is at its highest here, starting with the logo. It recreates a complete smoothie bowl, combining illustrations of specific elements that actually go into the recipes – edible flowers like pansies and sage, and blueberries – with a crescent shaped shadow representing the inside edge of a bowl or glass. It’s a refreshing start to a day after a true blue Goa night!
With a new restaurant and bar around every corner, O’Aido is no exception to the great food fare in Goa. The self-touted friendly, neighborhood bar and restaurant serve Portuguese, Goan & Mediterranean cuisine.
The laidback outdoor courtyard and upper floor seating lend a wonderful aesthetic to the relaxed vibe. Translated from patio in Portugese, the menu pays homage to Goan food with every dish. Indulge in a touch of tongue roast wrapped in pasta served with a beef steak, or a creamy caldin risotto with some pickled cauliflower to cut through the creaminess. You can’t go wrong.
Neighbours At Maravilha, Assagao
It’s a New York loft meets Paris alfresco dining vibe with this cafe located in Assagao, Goa. Ginny Kohli and Chef Abhishek Halder have created a menu heavily inspired by their travels, and it definitely caters to a global palate.
With coffee beans “mindfully” sourced and roasted in honey-processed microlots from estates like Ratnagiri and passion fruit Berliners, the idea is to create a place where real “neighbourly” connections can be made.
Uno Mas Tapas Bar Kitchen, Vagator
Literally meaning “one more”, this popular Mumbai-based Spanish gastro-bar is now ready to take The Living Room, Vagator by storm. Based on the idea to have one more sangria, one more tapa, some more paella, a little more flamenco, it’s one of the exciting new openings one can look forward to this December. Their No Siesta Come Fiesta Sunday Brunch & Flamenco Fridays are definitely to watch out for!
The true Spanish interiors and an exciting new menu is definitely generating a buzz, and we can’t wait.
Suggested read: Best Italian restaurants in India
Ida Boutique Bar and Kitchen, Vagator
This beautiful restaurant and bar is a family fueled effort, evident in the boat by boat construction. As you walk in, you can’t miss the beautiful old wooden boat, now repurposed as the bar counter.
The food is simple and elegant, and uses local ingredients and fresh produce to give a distinct spin on dishes. Whether it’s the Fishcakes or the Tropical Salad, or even the Masala fried prawns, there’s a lot to savour on the menu. The Caramel Custard is divine to say the least, and definitely makes this a memorable dining experience.
The Den, Navelim
The Den Bar & Lounge is based out of an obscure shopping complex in South Goa. However, the all-new slick cocktail and cigar lounge is a far cry from the regular shacks or even fine-dining you’ve experienced in Goa. Beyond the wood and brass door is a world laden with soft suede couches, premium bar bites, and carefully curated cocktails.
The menu includes gin, scotch, tequila, and bourbon cocktails as well as a section dedicated to Old Fashioneds, made with tequila, cognac, rye, and whiskey. The food is in a league of its own with highlights like the grilled prawn taco with pickled cabbage, sour cream, and chipotle chili salsa among others.
Suggested read: 5 scotch cocktail recipes for Scotch Day
House of Chapora, Anjuna
Underground yet popular, a towering, trippy peacock in UV colours adorns the wall as you enter. The eclectic space was designed after rigorous days of beach clean-ups and junk-hunting by the three founders and friends. Kapur Dabholkar says the idea was to buy nothing new but create something beautiful. A dazzling chandelier (made from an uprooted tree) lights up the open bar, while illuminating the space are the trees wrapped in fairy lights.
A short five-minute rocky trek in Baga leads to the self-proclaimed “most Instagrammable beach bar in Goa.” The usual Goa sun and sand views make it an Instagrammer’s paradise.
For Baga, it’s also unusually secluded, making sunsets here a lot more desirable. Tulum brings the laid-back shack experience alive with an assorted menu of seafood staples alongside crepes and churros. Be sure to make your bookings in advance though!
Antonio at 31, Panjim
Chef Pablo Miranda’s rainbow-shuttered eatery on Panjim’s 31st January Road is aimed at providing locals some comfort with an elevated twist.
A comforting menu of rissois (truffle mushroom at that!), crispy chicharrones, recheado bhendi and beef fry, alongside other Goan dishes, complements the memorable cocktails and vibrant music of this tapas bar. The Bimbli Gin Sour is a redefined version of the popular drink, and definitely a highlight on the menu.
Suggested read: 13 whisky cocktail recipes
Hailing all the way from Mumbai, Yazu plans to indulge the foodies and culinary enthusiasts in Goa in an out-of-the-ordinary gastronomical experience. Traditionally Asian at heart but globally experimentative in spirit, the Yazu menu seeks to amaze and delight your palate.