Once a Portuguese territory, Goa is India’s smallest state. It boasts a regional cuisine famous for its mixture of Portuguese and Indian flavors, including seafood, coconut milk and rice. From laid-back street-food sellers and cozy seaside shacks to candlelit high-end restaurants, Goa has a truly vibrant dining scene. Following our previous guide, here are 10 more cultural restaurants in Goa.
Situated in the heart of Goa’s capital city, opposite the beautiful Garcia de Orta Gardens, the elegant and sophisticated restaurant Upper House specialises in traditional Goan cuisine. Spread over three hall, Upper House consists of a casual cafeteria overlooking the busy streets, a traditional British pub and a high-end restaurant, featuring well-known Goan dishes often retaining the Portuguese influence, such as the cafreal, a lightly spiced chicken in a green masala gravy that originated from Portuguese merchants from the colonies. The menu highlights include balchao, asalt-mango pickle, crab xec-xec, crab cooked in a thick, roasted coconut sauce and vindaloo, a curry dish made with meat, palm vinegar and Kashmiri chilies.
Upper House, Opp Municpal Garden,Panaji, Goa, India, +91 983 2242 6475
A legendary restaurant and a well-known staple of Goa’s restaurant scene since 1955, the charming and laid-back Hotel Venite features traditional Goan cuisine. It serves delicious vegetable vindaloo with rice and spicy Portuguese inspired chouricos, (spiced sausages) or mouth-watering masala prawns. The little balconies lit up with dim lights, slightly rickety tables, coconut-skin lamps, walls covered in old and new graffiti and Goan artworks add to its quirky and off-kilter charm. This restaurant is a great place to sit back, relax and take in Panjim, Goa’s capital city, whilst watching the world go by.
Hotel Venite, 31st January Rd, Panjim, Goa, India, +91 98 5046 7008
When looking for a break from heavy, coconut-rich South Indian cuisine, the cozy and romantic Tuscany Gardens restaurant is a perfect choice. Open since 2007, the restaurant prides itself on serving simple yet delicious Italian food, including its specialty – thin crust pizzas and homemade pastas. However, the seafood and fish dishes do reflect Goan tastes, with plenty of emphasis on prawns, tuna and calamari. Dishes are reasonably priced and the owners make every effort to pair food with locally produced Indian wines.
Tuscany Gardens, Fort Aguada Road, Candolim, Goa, India, +91 83264 5402
Tucked away from the main beach side roads in the narrow lanes of Nerul village, this family owned restaurant offers an authentic taste of Goan homemade food. Bhatti Village has no menu and its dishes change according to the season. Best-known for its gaboi, a fish roe, the restaurant also offers such culinary delicacies as samarachi kodi, dried prawn curry, pickled mackerels, kidney beans and baby corn curry. The lack of air-conditioning is easily forgotten when exploring the curious collection of artifacts and antiques owned by the family. Treasures include huge casks previously used to store a locally brewed liquor known as fenny, and a giant whale rib which has been converted into a glass rack.
Bhatti Village, Nerul village, Near Candolim, Goa, India, +91 98 2218 4103
Started by Goan couple Ronny and Suzzete Martins, who wished to preserve the traditional flavors of home-cooking, this restaurant is the place to go for a taste of rare dishes from different corners of Goa. After extensive research over the years, the owners have created a spectacular and unusual menu, reflecting both Goan and Portuguese ways of cooking. Menu options include the Mum’s Kitchen special, bimbli udamehti, a vegetable dish made with roasted coconut and spices, which is a favorite in Hindu households. The spacious and air-conditioned dining area, with ceramic tiled tables, antique artifacts and garden view, ensures an intimate and relaxed atmosphere.
Alex Beach Shack
Alex Beach Shack offers a casual and relaxed atmosphere combined with mouth-watering traditional Goan cuisine. A great choice for a laid-back and fuss-free day at the beach, Alex Beach Shack features a large selection of quick bites, fresh salads and different Goan meat. There are seafood and fish dishes, ranging from kheesama masala, a spicy Goan curry with minced meat, tomatoes, ginger and garlic, to simply grilled fish and prawns. Accompany your main with an ice cold Indian beer or freshly squeezed fruit juice.
For a light European meal and an escape from the heat of the beach, Cafe Chocolatti is a great choice. Snuggled in the green and lush outdoor garden, this lovely tearoom serves not only great English tea and strong coffee, but also a large variety of quick bites, nibbles and light lunch options, including crispy panini, light quiches, sweet crepes and fresh salad. As the name suggests, the restaurant’s specialty is everything to do with chocolate, from hot chocolate to chocolate desserts and cakes. The restaurant is also known for its English cream tea, offering freshly baked scones with homemade strawberry jam.
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