5 Must Visit Goa Restaurants for Goan Food
Recently I made my 6th trip to Goa, thanks to Goa Tourism for this time! Goa, the little green state of India has charmed tourists for years for its exotic beaches. The culture and heritage of this Portuguese ruled state is unique. Add to that their gourmet meals, I find them equally alluring. I have highlighted the 5 must visit Goa restaurants from different pockets of the state for their authentic goan food spread. If you are sight seeing anywhere in these towns of Goa do visit them to get a taste of authentic goan spread.
5 Must Visit Goa Restaurants
1. Ritz Classic Panaji, Goa
This is located in the heart of Panaji city of Goa. Ritz Classic Goa can be defined as a ‘restaurant for sea food lovers’! Seeing their menu I had full mind to avoid roti (Indian bread) and rice and hog on just the fish. Later when the King Fish in thick Goan curry arrived I changed my mind. Goan flavor can be relished completely only when the gravy mixes well with soft boiled rice, the juice seeped well in each grain and kind of marinates it. Even a well cooked biryani will fail in terms of taste to this. Yes, that is a bong’s (Bangali’s) verdict! The waiter to our table was very helpful guiding us correctly about the amount we need to order. The fish platter he showed left us a bit dizzy about which preparation to order. We were there as a team. Even though we were free to order whatever we wished we were clueless how to go about it. The waiter suggested the gravy dishes and the Goan fish masala fries.
If you want to enjoy your meal here, the trick is to get to the place a little early and you get the undivided attention of the waiters. The place tends to get filled up fast.
Address: 234 Ground Floor, Gera Imperium II, Patto Plaza, Panaji, Goa.
Phone:0832 242 6417
Wallet Factor: Rs. 700 for two (approx.)
2. Earthen Pots Garden, Valpoi, Goa
We halted here at Earthen Pot Garden to refuel and boost our energy for the white water rafting planned later in the day. I will mention this as one of the must visit Goa restaurants if you have any plans to be around Valpoi for rafting activities. This is one of the best around the place. What charmed me most was the warm rustic ambience. Some antique stuff was on display there, the owner does have a taste for interior decoration I figured. Cane table chairs lined up neatly. Table covers were of eye-catching color in check pattern which reminded me of childhood days when similar checks were in fashion. Food was served on earthen plates and bowls… so that is how the name I concluded. They too present a dish of catch of the day to make a choice of fish dishes. I went in for a non veg platter which had tiger prawn rava masala fry and prawns in gravy. The rice disappeared in no time and I preferred to have the veggies just by themselves all washed down with a yummm drink made of cocum juice.
Address: Valpoi, Goa.
Wallet Factor: Rs. 500 approx.
3. Spice Plantation, Ponda, Goa
Ideal place to halt for food if you are anywhere in Ponda sight seeing. The memorable part was the scenic drive we had to this place. There is a cute little bridge up to the restaurant. The seating area is huge under a tin shed which is under a canopy of trees. It was like having food in a jungle, so different from the concrete restaurants or seaside shacks of Goa. There seemed to be separate enclosures for group tourists, one can easily have a mini party there. Looks like a good private place. We were welcomed with strings of jasmine garlands, a glass of cocum juice and platter of cashew nuts. The buffet spread for lunch was local konkani (goan) home style in clay pots. The food was warm and they kept refilling the urns with freshly cooked food from he kitchen closeby. That day’s menu had goan chicken curry which was extremely flavorful. They use the spices grown in their plantation I was told. Very friendly and helpful staff around and you get the feel of being personally looked after.
The specialty of this place is that the charges include a 15mins tour of their spice plantation. It is a good learning experience.
Address: H. No. A-14, Arla Bazar Keri, Ponda, Ponda, Goa 403401.
Wallet factor: Rs. 450 per person inclusive of spice plantation tour.
4. Casa Bhonsle, Panaji, Goa
We went to the restaurant for dinner which is above the Casa Bhonsle café. Seeing the trip advisor ratings my expectations for a good meal soared. The actual experience was way beyond a mere good. It doesn’t have a very luxurious kind of atmosphere yet felt quite comfortable. The waiters had a friendly attitude with helpful tips to choose the best they had on their menu. The service was quick and yet no loss of taste… some of the reasons why I included it in list of must visit Goa restaurants whether for lunch or for tea/breakfast. I had my favorite butter garlic squid fry here. It was so well made… just thinking of it while writing this makes my mouth water. One more special dish I had here was of dry shrimp fry, Galmyachi Kismoor. Authentic Goan style dried baby prawns stir fry, such crisp and crunchy preparation. This was a wonderful side dish with rice and fish curry. If you love Goa for food then this is the place. The Café below has terrific breakfast menu I was told, that is to be experienced in another visit to Goa.
Address: Cunha Rivara Road, Above Cafe Bhonsle, Near National Theater, Panjim, Goa 403521
Phone:0832 222 2260
Wallet factor: Rs. 600 for 2 approx.
5. O’Coqueiro, Porvorim, Goa
For a long time O’Coqueiro was the only restaurant in Porvorim, Goa. They claim that the first chicken Cafreal in Goa was served at O’Coqueiro. In 1970s chef Gines Viegas returned from East Africa with a bellyful of catering experience. He made O’Coqueiro famous for authentic Goan Portuguese food and hospitality. O’Coqueiro means coconut tree in Portuguese! O’Coqueiro is famous for the sensational arrest of Charles Sobhraj who was having food in disguise in the restaurant. Inspector Madhukar Zende of the Mumbai police apprehended him in O’Coqueiro Restaurant in Goa in 1986.
After having food at all kinds of restaurants we experienced this too… lunch in a monument linked to sensational arrest of a criminal! One of the reasons why I included it in the list of must visit Goa restaurants.
The restaurant is huge with 3 separate seating arrangements. The place is clean and good courteous staff. O’Coqueiro Restaurant is better known for its non-veg preparations particularly the Chicken Cafreal. For a change I had vegetarian dishes here. And the Goan Peas Kaju curry I had here is something I can die for again and again! I wondered why I didn’t try it out earlier in other restaurants! The veg pulao was perfect, non greasy, flavorful and not hot spicy. We had Solkadi (the kokum drink) here. They served it in coconut milk. It was tangy and tasty. O’coqueiro goa menu card has a good list of non veg dishes. I plan to visit again just to have their crab soup and chicken Xacuti. Definitely worth including in must visit Goa restaurants list.
Address: H. 17, Alto Porvorim, Bardez, Penha de França, Goa 403001 Phone:0832 241 7806
Wallet Factor: Rs. 1200 for two approx.