Goa, India, Offbeat, Vegetarian Food
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10 Local Restaurants for Authentic Goan Food in North Goa.

On the search for the best Goan food in North Goa? These are my best finds over several foodie monsoons in Goa, updated for 2020!

My three weeks in Goa have busted two myths – that Goa is only about the beaches and crowds, and that Goan food has nothing to delight vegans / vegetarians. I’ve been indulging my taste buds in local delights. Home-baked Goan breads called Poi and Pao, seasonal vegetable curries cooked in Goan style, home-cooked appetizers and Goan sweets / desserts I had never heard of before.

Also read: Wake Me Up When September Ends

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Best Goan food in North Goa | 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 panjim
Authentic Goan food in North Goa | 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!

3. La Fayette, Chorao (a truly offbeat spot for authentic Goan food in North Goa)

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
Authentic Goan food in North Goa | A typical neighborhood home-joint, La Fayette.

4. A’tona, Nerul-Panjim Road

UPDATE 2020: CLOSED PERMANENTLY 🙁

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.

atona panjim
Best Goan food in North Goa | Wine by the riverside, at A’tona.

5. Nostalgia by Chef Fernando, Salcete (great for bigger groups seeking the best Goan food in Goa)

I have incredibly fond memories of Nostalgia by Chef Fernando, despite the long drive out to Salcette / Ponda for a meal. The extraordinary Goan chef Fernando dug out some of Goa’s oldest recipes and secrets for his kitchen. Unfortunately, he passed away but his legacy lives on in this old Portuguese house frequented by locals. The huge vegan / vegetarian Goan selection reassured me that traditional Goan food wasn’t all about seafood or meat. Their seasonal Goan curries are a delight to be savored with sana – a small round, rarely found Goan bread). If you’re there close to monsoon, opt for the local brew urrak (cashew-based but lighter and more delightful than feni), best mixed with Limca.

6. 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.

Andron Goa, Andron Nachinola, Goan restaurants Goa, Goa best restaurants, best goan food in north goa
Authentic Goan food in North Goa | Mushroom xacuti and a cheerful vibe at Andron.

7. Voltaire, Bardez

Voltaire is an obscure yet absolutely delightful eatery in Bardez. During the day, its balcony offers splendid views on the Mandovi River across the road. By night, you can still feel the presence of the river in the gentle breeze. Voltaire’s menu is unique in that it serves up authentic Goan dishes typically found in Hindu kitchens – as opposed to dishes like xacuti which has influences from the Christian community. At Voltaire, udamethi, a flavorful curry made with ambotik or mango, is my all-time favorite. You could also opt for a tonak, with a side of une, a local bread similar to pao.

8. Mum’s Kitchen, Panjim (one of the most reliable spots for the best Goan food in Goa)

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, authentic goan food in north goa
Best Goan food in North Goa | Ambotik curry with rice and pao at Mum’s Kitchen.

9. Viva Panjim, Panjim

This hole-in-the-wall joint Viva Panjim is my go-to spot for late dinners in Panjim. It is tucked away in a small by-lane, with cramped indoor seating and some chairs outdoors. They do a mean vegan / vegetarian caldeen as well as xacuti, though perhaps not as delightful as others in this list of the best Goan food in North Goa.

10. Royal Fantacy, Ponda (an unbelievable find for the best Goan food in North Goa)

Royal Fantacy (yes, with a c!) was pur serendipity! Enroute to a spice plantation, hungry and desperate for lunch, we ended up stopping at this decrepit ‘family restaurant’ to make peace with whatever they served. I couldn’t believe the first bite (and every bite since) of the slow-cooked mushroom xacuti, spiced with aromatic, freshly ground spices, presumably from the surrounding spice plantations. Hands down, the best food I’ve had in Goa yet. This slow-cooked meal is totally worth the long drive and wait.

Where’ve you tried the best Goan food in North Goa?

Planning your trip to Goa? Check out:

 My alternative travel guide to Goa

A Visual Journey Through Goa in the Monsoon

Offbeat Goa: 12 mind-blowing experiences

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Shivya Nath

I quit my full-time job in 2011 with a dream of travelling the world. Two years later, I gave up my home, sold most of my possessions and embraced a nomadic life. I'm passionate about going off the beaten path, solo travel, sustainable travel and veganism. Let's connect!

46 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.

    • How could I not? 😉 My last day in Goa today, but I hope to come back and explore South Goa next time!

  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.

  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).

  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.

    • Great to see you here, Venkat! Hope your next Goa trip will have more culinary adventures 🙂

  5. Colleen Brynn says

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

  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 🙂

  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.

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  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 ! 🙂

  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.

  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.

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  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

  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.

  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 !

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  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.

  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.

  19. john obrien says

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

  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.

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  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

  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.

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