Goa’s Restaurant Scene Hits the Right Notes (North Goa)
Food in Goa is innovative, individualistic and responsive to the state’s culture. We visited Goa in May and got a chance to revisit favourite restaurants and try out some new ones.
Goa offers a smorgasbord of food from Hindu and Portuguese-style local cuisine, abundant seafood and a lot of international foods due to the large numbers of foreigners who love to call Goa “home.” This makes the restaurant scene vibrant with a wide assortment of cafes and restaurants offering an array of food.
We ate the famed Goan fish thali at two renowned local institutions both in Panjim. Casa Bhonsle and Ritz Classic. Go there for lunch and be prepared to wait. The thali serves a large slice of fried surmai, kismur, crab, veggies, rice, a bowl of gravy and sol kadi/kokum. Beer is available and you can order a la carte, The rawa fried mussels, calamari and shrimp here is delicious. In these traditional fish thali restaurants, it’s all about the food!
Many of the restaurants in Goa apply a higher-level restaurant ethos to a casual experience. The food and alcohol menu in many places is on par with fine dine, but the ambience is relaxed and approachable which is ideal in Goa. It is this vibe and the gastronomical offerings which attracts Indian visitors to Goa year on year.
|Hogging at Gunpowder|
Fairly new on the scene is Gunpowder, Assagao. It was worth the drive to experience the fabulous food of South India, in a glorious garden shaded by trees and a multitude of colourful umbrellas; accompanied by interesting desi-inspired cocktails and mocktails. Think jamun daiquiris and basil-ginger infused cocktails and watermelon-tender coconut based mocktails.
Try the delicious pork ribs, in a tamarind chilli marinade with a sweet note; awesome mutton pepper fry, beef chili fry, pandi curry, fried calamari and have it with Malabar parotha and dosai.
|Crispy pork salad at Bomra's|
|Mussels at Bomra's|
Ruling the roost of fine dining in Goa is Bomra’s, Candolim which is named after the eponymous Bomra, the Burmese chef who owns it. This is a must visit alfresco restaurant on the main Candolim road, offering contemporary Burmese cuisine in an al fresco setting. The food here is flavourful with delicate hints of herbs and spices. This is our #Top favourite in Goa, no visit is complete without eating there. Try the crispy pork salad with pomelo as a starter - this is the signature dish here. Other favourites are: crispy vegetable tempura, mussel curry, shrimp curry, Aldona pork, smoked shark salad with mango and rocket and chicken with white fungus. Oder the coconut rice or Phad Thai noodles with your mains. Order the Bomra's special, a cocktail redolent with lime and ginger flavours and the tamarind martini. For dessert, (keep space for it) order the tender coconut panacotta with passion fruit compote, creme brûlée with lemongrass and ginger and for my son who can’t have dairy, a coconut milk based ice cream with a sticky rice pudding. Great service.
For great pizza and other bakery products, visit Baba Au Rhum, Arpora. It’s situated under some ancient trees, next to green paddy fields. Most of the dining area is covered. Good friendly and quick service. Check out their all day breakfast, pizzas, burgers, filled croissants as well as their salads. Closed on Tuesdays, this café is open from breakfast to dinner.
See the sunset from Thalassa, Vagator.. Book a table and enjoy sun downers and some good Greek food. Or if you are like us and did not get a booking, hang out at the bar till you get a table or walk down the cliff side to the beach. It’s magical!
We could not leave without partaking of the best pork chops in Goa, head to House of Lloyds, Candolim. Situated in the garden of a beautiful, yellow coloured Portuguese home off the main Candolim-Aguada road. The steak here is excellent, so is the seafood. Try their amazing cocktails, the chili flavoured Mojito hits the spot. The dining area is covered. There’s a DJ who plays requests, both Hindi and English songs.
|Ice cream selection at Cream Choc|
If you like gelato (is there someone who doesn’t?) then please check out Cream Choc, Anjuna. The most delish flavours being churned out on the site, fresh daily like Pistachio and Hazelnut, even better they have a range of sorbet. So important for my son who has a dairy intolerance.
|View from The Square, Novotel Shrem Resort|
|my indulgent breakfast at Novotel Shrem|
|Breakfast icecream at Novotel Shrem|
|Doughnuts - kids loved them, Novotel Shrem|
The best breakfast spread was at the Novotel Goa Shrem Resort in Candolim. Awesome breakfast buffet, better than even the Taj Holiday Village, in my opinion, Loved the indulgent Icecream and doughnut selections with toppings! And the waffles with maple syrup! These made my day! Of course the usual was on offer: South Indian, eggs to order, bacon, sausages, fruits, selection of breads and pastries, cereals.
|South Indian spread at Novotel Spa Resort|
|Baker selection at Novotel Spa Resort|
|Loved the tea selection at Novotel Spa Resort|
A close second, in terms of breakfast buffet spread is at Food Exchange at the Novotel Resort and Spa, Candolim. Great South Indian and a vast buffet including lovely baked items and chole bhature to pao bhaji and doughnuts, Good food and stylishly laid out with a lovely pool and paddy filed view.
|Fort Tiracol Heritage Hotel|
|View from the restaurant perched high on the Fort|
Visit the northernmost tip of the state, Fort Tiracol Heritage Hotel. Go there before sunset to feast on the view and see an amazing sunset. Check out the sundowners and stay for dinner if you can spare the
Don’t miss Friday nights at Cavala Resort, Baga. Live music and dancing. So fun. A perennial favourite. Its always packed! Great food, drinks and the place is buzzing!
For party animals, Cohiba on the Aguada Siolim road is the right place. Saturday nights here are rocking.
Please check Zomato for timings, note that some restaurants like Bomra’s and Calamari close during the rains
Can’t wait to return to my adopted state. Go Goa..ah.