Five restaurants? I mean, seriously? You really expected me to stop at five restaurants when I could give you at least another five for world-class international food?
Goa is probably the only place in India where there are as many expat foreigners as Indians and naming just five restaurants would be unfair to those other restaurants that break the fish-curry-rice routine of most Indian food. So here’s my list of five more restaurants that you cannot miss on your trip to Goa.
- Horse Shoe in Panaji (Portuguese)
You can’t be in Goa and not eat Portuguese food. Rather than the Indianised Goan-Portuguese food, try the authentic Portuguese fare at Horse Shoe. Owned by Vasco Silviera, this place serves interesting and tasty dishes which are popular with the fading Portuguese community in Panjim and among those in the know.
Popular dishes are stockfish, ox tongue and clams. I would highly recommend the Mousse de Galinha and Chouricos Frito’s for starters. For the main meal, savour the Peixe Molho de Alhose Manteiga, Fish Balchao, Feijoada and Galinha Peri Peri.
Do call in advance and book a table because the place is often closed (depends on the owner’s whim actually, whether he’s going to open at all). When you get there, order some Portuguese wine while you wait for the food.
Sure there are some Goan favourites and fusion food but the Portuguese influence is hard to miss, and that makes this place a standout.
$$$: A typical dinner for two usually costs about Rs. 1000 (16.54 USD)
Address: E-245, Rua de Ourem, Fontainhas, Panjim, Goa; +91 832 5644044
- Pan Asian Bowl in Panjim (Asian)
For good Asian food, drive down to the Pan Asian Bowl in Panjim.
The reason I really recommend the place is, you make your dinner here. No wait, it isn’t as putting off as it sounds! What you do, is pick your ingredients (from a really long table of ingredients) – meat, vegetables, rice, noodles – pick what you want, and choose the sauces you want these cooked in. Hand over your bowl to the cooks on the other side of a glass panel, and they will stir-fry your chosen ingredients in a matter of minutes.
Don’t like what you chose? Go back for a different bowl this time. You can go back any number of times you want for the bowl, so the wise thing to do is try a little bit of everything. The permutation and combination of the ingredients at hand are endless, and so eating here is always a unique experience.
They also have standard Malaysian, Thai and Chinese food, although it is not exactly as Pan Asian as they would have us believe (no Burmese, no Japanese, no Korean!).
$$$: Dinner for two would be Rs. 1200 (19.88 USD) even with all those bowls!
Address: Bella Goa Annexe, Miramar, Goa; +91 832 6455549
- Heidi’s Beer Garden Anjuna (German)
Twenty different types of beer. That got your attention yet? No? Wait for this – five different types of sausages – weiswurst, bratwurst, currywurst and what not! Heidi’s Beer Garden offers probably the largest selection of beer in Goa. If you ask nicely, they may even set up a beer bong for you!
The food is definitely German, though they do have some burgers and other American fare. In my opinion, this is the perfect place to rest your tired feet after shopping at the flea market in Anjuna and have a pint of beer, while you chat with the very congenial owner who walks around the place, making sure the patrons have all they need, and that includes a detailed explanation of some German dishes.
Try their ‘German thali’ if you want a sampling of everything Bavarian on a plate.
$$$: Dinner for two, minus all those beers, would cost you Rs. 800 (13.26 USD). Value for money? You bet!
Address: Flea Market Road, Anjuna, Goa; 9766641886
- Bora Bora in Morgim (Russian)
It’s a party place, it’s a restaurant, it’s a 24-hour coffee place – it’s difficult to put one tag on Bora Bora, Morgim’s most happening destination. Owned by a Russian couple (and both of them are called Dima), the place serves some authentic Russian food alongside some popular Thai and Italian fare.
The reason I really like it is, the food is as authentic as it gets – with or without the vodka, and there is always a party at the place – fire-eaters, good EDM and Progressive trance (the owner is a DJ, and his stage name is DJ Dupont).
Combine any of their meat dishes with the staple potato dishes, and wash it down with their vodka-based cocktails for a good Russian meal. Their lobsters are also really good and cooked in a variety of ways, making this one of their most popular items.
Their Beetroot Borscht is definitely my favourite – it’s a beetroot soup served hot or cold with shredded beef, a boiled egg and fresh cream. The cream, as well as their famous cottage cheese and peanut cream all come from the milk of their own farmed buffaloes, which, Dima says, do not eat plastic and paper.
$$$: Prices are on the higher side, so a dinner date would cost you Rs. 2200 (36.46 USD).
Address: Vithaldas Waddo, Morgim, Goa; 9657210443; boraboralife.ru
- Shimon’s Falafel in Arambol (Israeli)
Hugely popular with the Israeli backpackers of Goa, Shimon breaks the monotony of steaks and Indian thalis served elsewhere in the area.
Easy to spot if you know Mosh Ben Ari (whose poster hangs prominently outside the restaurant), this restaurant is owned by Shimon – an Israeli who came to India after a stint in their army to find “shanti” – peace and narcotic haze that still attracts his countrymen and women to India.
Falafels are by far their most loved item, followed closely by other Israeli favourites such as sabich and jachnun. I personally prefer their thali – it has a little bit of everything on the menu, and a brilliant bet if you are not sure of what you are ordering. They do serve alcohol, but the more popular drink of choice here is their Turkish coffee.
$$$: Dinner for two, minus alcohol comes to Rs. 800 (13.26 USD)
Address: Off Glastonbury Street, Arambol, Goa