Goa, India, Offbeat, Vegetarian Food
Comments 45

7 Authentic Goan Restaurants in North Goa.

My three weeks in Goa (Read: Wake Me Up When September Ends) have busted two myths – that Goa is only about the beaches and crowds, and that Goan food has nothing to delight vegetarians. I’ve been indulging my taste buds in local delights, from home-baked Goan breads called Poi and Pao, to seasonal vegetable curries cooked in Goan style, to home-cooked vegetarian appetizers, to Goan sweets and desserts that I had never heard of before.

Goan breads, Goan cuisine, food of Goa, Goa food blogs

Fresh, home-baked Goan breads.

Here are seven Goan restaurants that delighted me, culinarily and otherwise. And for you seafood and meat lovers out there, my friend vouches for these even with carnivorous taste buds!

1. VENITE, PANJIM

The first thing you notice about Venite is its charming decor. Little balconies lit up with dim lights overlook the street, each with a table for two. Lamps made from coconut skin adorn the rest of the restaurant, while a private group seating area has walls decked with old bottles, and rather creative paint and crayon graffiti. The mushroom pepper fry accompanied by finely cut french fries certainly whet my appetite. For main course, I indulged in a delicately spiced veggie vindaloo curry served with rice, while dessert was a sinful banana-caramel-ice cream combination.

The best part? This Goan join has been around since 1955, and many Goans (including my hosts) have been here as kids!

Venite restaurant goa, Goa best restaurants, Goan food in Goa, Goan restaurants,

Graffiti at Venite.

2. BHATTI VILLAGE, NERUL

Hidden away in the narrow by-lanes of Nerul village, near Panjim, Bhatti Village is a cosy joint run by a Goan family. Patrick overseas the customers, his wife cooks, and their children (old enough) wait tables. There are no menus; Patrick personally discusses food preferences with you and makes recommendations. We started our meal with a portion of mushroom rawa fry, followed by kidney beans curry and baby corn curry for main course, cooked with Goan spices and a hint of coconut, served with poi; a heavy but satisfying meal!

Bhatti village Goa, Bhatti village Nerul, Goan restaurants Goa, Goan vegetarian food

Kidney beans curry with poi, at Bhatti Village. (too bad I didn’t take a picture of the restaurant itself)

3. LA FAYETTE, CHORAO

This find was a complete fluke! We landed at Chorao Island late one afternoon, terribly hungry. Most small villages in the hinterlands of Goa shut shop from 1 pm to 4 pm for an afternoon siesta of sorts, and Chorao was sleepier (albeit beautiful) than any village we had seen before. La Fayette seemed to be the only restaurant on the island, and chances of it being open seemed dismal. We walked into a house with a few chairs in the verandah, a big beer barrel, and no one in sight, and hesitantly knocked at the door. A woman, who we clearly woke up, peeped out, opened the door, and invited us in. A sumptuous meal of egg curry cooked in Goan style, beer, and conversation followed; she assured us that she never closes her home restaurant, because people feel bad if they come and don’t get food!

La fayette, Chorao island, Goa where to eat, Goan cuisine

A typical neighborhood home-joint, La Fayette.

4. A’TONA, NERUL-PANJIM ROAD

We first saw A’tona from the Deltin Royale Casino ship on the waters of the Mandovi River in Panjim. A signboard and small lights glistened on the shore of the river, and we knew we had to check it out. The owner welcomed us with a warm smile, and though it was closed that night for a private party, let us sit awhile by the shore for a drink. Too bad we didn’t get to try the food, but I can’t recommend it enough for the ambiance alone; think the calm waters of the Mandovi, the stars above your head, and the shimmering lights of Panjim and the casinos in the distance.

A tona goa, romantic restaurants goa, goan best restaurants, Panjim goan restaurants

Wine by the riverside, at A’tona.

5. ANDRON, NACHINOLA

Run by an eccentric ex-navy guy, Andron is the neighborhood Goan eatery you just have to try! The first time we went, Anthony said he couldn’t offer anything vegetarian other than fried rice and french fries, but told me to call ahead the next time. I did, on several occasions in fact, and his chef offered me everything from mushroom xacuti (a thick curry with a coconut base) and vegetable caldeen (a relatively spicy curry with a non-coconut base), both typical Goan dishes, to cauliflower curry and daal curry. The food was delicious each time, but what I liked even more was the ambiance – a few tables huddled together, with dome shaped yellow walls painted with scenes of village life.

Androns Goa, Androns Nachinola, Goan restaurants Goa, Goa best restaurants

Mushroom xacuti and a cheerful vibe at Andron.

6. MUM’S KITCHEN, PANJIM

On another late afternoon when most restaurants in Panjim were closed, Mum’s Kitchen gave our grumbling tummies some much needed respite. An earthy ambiance, complete with a koi pond and a rustic bar, Mum’s Kitchen is the local haunt for fine dining. Set up by a Goan couple with traditional recipes collected from various Goan households, the vegetarian options on the menu are extensive; I tried the  ambotik curry (a sour seasonal vegetable, cooked in a thick sourish curry) and the tamre bhaji (wild red spinach cooked with onions and tomatoes), and loved both!

Mum's kitchen panjim, Goa best restaurants, food of goa, goan cuisine, goa food blogs

Ambotik curry with rice and pao at Mum’s Kitchen.

7. THE VERANDAH RESTAURANT, PANJIM

Located in the charming Fontainhas area aka the Latin Quarters of Panjim, The Verandah Restaurant is located at Panjim Inn, a heritage home refurbished into a quaint boutique hotel. The alfresco seating offers a glimpse of old tiled roof houses in the by-lanes below, transporting you into another era. While the menu has a limited vegetarian selection, the chef offered to prepare cabbage fugat (a dry Goan dish cooked with a hint of coconut; beans fugat is its other variant), a Goan mixed vegetable curry and daal, served with hot rotis – all of which were finger-licking good!

verandah restaurant panjim, best goan restaurants, goan cuisine, goan vegetarian food

Cabbage fugat and goan curry at Panjim Inn.

Which of these would you most like to try? What would you add to the list?

Join The Shooting Star on  FacebookTwitter and Instagram for more travel stories and photos from around the world.

Planning your trip? Check out my alternative travel guide to Goa.

Want to go offbeat? Seek out these mind-blowing experiences in Goa!

45 Comments

  1. ah splendid, so you did take me on my word 🙂 Will it be too much to ask, if i asked for a similar series from southern Goa. Palnem and Patnem have some jiving food joints you might enjoy.

    Like

  2. I went to Goa about 4 years back and loved the non-vegetarian fare. But after reading this post, I want to eat just vegetarian food there the next time I visit.

    Like

  3. also you must try eating the bhaji pao + mirchi from the local restaurants. some of my favourites… patal bhaji from samrat, salegao. mushroom xacuti/salad bhaji/mushroom samosa from tato’s panjim, the veg thali from bhonsle, panjim, mushroom samosa from cafe central, panjim,also love the kanda bhajis from aaram in panjim. opp venite in panjim is anand ashram, known for its fish thalis but i do like its veg thali a little more. from the touristy perspective try the vegan only : ‘bean me up’ in vagator (open only in season time).

    Like

  4. Hi Shivya, This was a great read. Thanks for identifying all these quaint vegetarian places for us. Will have to check back this page when we go to Goa next. delighted to see you persue your passion in travel writing. Venkat, SMU, Singapore.

    Like

  5. Colleen Brynn says

    This was one food post too many that I’ve read this morning! Now it’s time for a snack!

    Like

  6. Nice info Shivya ….u always come up with unusual places and info which cannot be easily found in google…thanks for sharing some amazing places through your blog 🙂

    Like

  7. I always had short weekend trips to Goa. I love the fish thalis served at Ritz classic, Panjim.
    On my next visit will tryout the ones you listed.

    Like

  8. Pingback: VIDEO: The “Other Side” of Goa! | The Shooting Star

  9. You should eat at the Ritz in Panjim, also Souza lobo which is in calangute,
    anyway, if you do come down to the South next time give me a shout ! 🙂

    Like

  10. Anil sethi says

    At least one non- vegetarian person should have accompanied you to Goa. Its like going to Lahore and looking for Masala Dosa joints! what you ate is simply some veggies thrown in originally sea food and pork curries.

    Like

  11. Yes, Goan vegetarian food is a delight… there are a lot more traditional dishes that you might want to try next time… Ros (a type of dal), Khatkhatem (a medley of vegetables very similar to Avial from Kerala), Dhonas (Jackfruit cake), Tavsalli (Cucumber cake), Mangane (Coconut and Dal kheer) etc.

    I read a few comments on this post and realized how people consider Goa to only be a haven for seafood…but what Mr. Sethi says above is true, a few of the things you tried like the Vindaloo and the Caldinh, these were veggies thrown into seafood/pork curries and not really vegetarian dishes from Goa.

    Since I can see a lot of effort going into your research, If I may suggest, do try and look up the hindu cuisine (part of which I mentioned above) next time you go there.. Try places like Star restaurant or Annapurna on the way to Old Goa or even Cafe Tato, Cafe Real or Cafe Bhonsle for the traditional breakfast and goan veg thali. Most people think that Goa is only about Catholic Culture and Cuisine when almost 75% of the population is Hindu.. you might want to throw light on that part of Goa as well.

    Like

  12. Pingback: Offbeat Goa: 12 Mind-Blowing Experiences. | The Shooting Star

  13. Superb.. Its been a few years since I went to Goa.. But now, Surely sooon. Looking forward to discover a couple of these places my way.. Thanks

    Like

  14. Cynthia Lopes says

    Good read, tried few of the restuarants mentioned here like the Mum’s kitchen and Ritz classic. Truely loved it..Thanks a lot for your advice.

    Like

  15. Damodar prabhu says

    Shivya , Please do visit Zambolim next time when you are in GOA , nearest Railhead being Sanvordem . Shri Lakshmi Damodar temple located here with river at backyard is nothing short of resort and worth visiting . in fact your restaurant list could be stretched further with names like Ashoka , China garden & Mathsya sagar in and around Madgaon !

    Like

  16. Pingback: Explore North Goa Intimately - eccetraveccetrav

  17. KulaSekhar says

    Wow ! That is Nice List of Restaurants that You have listed out… Thanks .
    Amazing to see You Living Your Dream… You are so Young… Awesome…
    Enjoy Your Travels and Keep Posting such Lovely Interesting Posts …
    Cheers !!!
    Sekhar.

    Like

  18. subrat Das says

    Hi Shivya
    You are inspiring. thats exactly the kind of life I would fantasize. Is it possible to contact you, talk to you and get some information about the kind of places you have mentioned in Goa.

    Like

  19. john obrien says

    thank you for your informative research.never been to any of those places.the food sounds wonderful.

    Like

  20. Was searching “veg goan food in south goa” and landed here. Great post and thanks for sharing this. Will definitely try one or two of these while we would be in Panjim next week.

    Like

  21. Pingback: Offbeat Goa: 12 Mind-Blowing Experiences! | Welcome back, Kavitha

  22. Aviraj Guha says

    Hi Shivya,

    I am visiting Goa from Sept 30th till Oct 7th. I am a non-vegetarian and will try out places like Brittos, Ritz Classic, Amigos and so on. Cant wait to be there.

    Regards,

    Aviraj Guha

    Like

  23. Suchit says

    I visited 5 out of 7 restaurants in my last trip to Goa. Really amazing food and ambience at all these places. Thanks for suggesting these places. Have you been to ‘Sri Bar and Restaurant’ near Mini Vagator? Really a superb place and we may add to the league of these 7 places.

    Like

  24. Pingback: Diwali 2016: My solo trip to Goa – Shan Pillai

I'd love to hear your thoughts and feedback.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s