On the search for the best Goan food in North Goa? These are my best finds over several foodie monsoons in Goa, updated for 2022!
My time in Goa has busted two myths – that Goa is only about the beaches and crowds, and that Goan food has nothing to delight vegans or vegetarians. I’ve been indulging my taste buds in local delights. Home-baked Goan breads called Poi and Pao, seasonal vegetable curries cooked with Goan spices, homemade appetizers, and Goan sweets / desserts I had never heard of before.
Here are ten 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: A glimpse of Goan cuisine
- 2. Bhatti Village, Nerul: A family run Goa eatery
- 3. La Fayette, Chorao: truly offbeat spot for authentic Goan food in Goa
- 4. Konkani Canteen: For a hearty Goan thali
- 5. Nostalgia by Chef Fernando, Salcete (best restaurants in Goa for Goan food)
- 6. Andron, Nachinola: A taste of local food in Goa
- 7. Ankita’s Classic:
- 8. Mum’s Kitchen, Panjim: One of my must visit restaurants in Goa
- 9. Viva Panjim, Panjim: Among the famous restaurants in Goa worth trying!
- 10. Royal Fantacy, Ponda: A hole in the wall find for Goan food
- Where’ve you tried the best Goan food in Goa?
1. Venite, Panjim: A glimpse of Goan cuisine
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!
Facebook: Venite Restaurant
2. Bhatti Village, Nerul: A family run Goa eatery
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!
Instagram: Bhatti Village Restaurant
3. La Fayette, Chorao: truly offbeat spot for authentic Goan food in 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!
4. Konkani Canteen: For a hearty Goan thali
I’m always on the lookout for a satisfying Goan thali in Goa, and Konkani Canteen never disappoints. Lunch queues at this Panjim resto are worth putting up with, because the veg thali (which can easily be veganized without the curd and dessert), could keep me going for the rest of the day! It comes with a range of seasonal curries, lentils and veggies, rice, papad and kokum – and is a visual treat even to look at.
Website: Konkani Canteen
5. Nostalgia by Chef Fernando, Salcete (best restaurants in Goa for Goan food)
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: A taste of local food in Goa
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.
Website: Andron Restaurant & Bar
7. Ankita’s Classic:
While many of my favorite thali joints in Goa have shut down or become too gentrified, Ankita’s Classic in Pernem remains a classic. It is packed with locals, and offers a hearty veg thali (ask for it without curd or the dessert to make it vegan), and comes with a spread of Goan-style veggies, curries, rice and kokum. I’m hungry just thinking about it!
Website: Ankita’s Classic
8. Mum’s Kitchen, Panjim: One of my must visit restaurants 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!
Website: Mum’s kitchen
9. Viva Panjim, Panjim: Among the famous restaurants in Goa worth trying!
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.
Website: Viva Panjim
10. Royal Fantacy, Ponda: A hole in the wall find for Goan food
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 Goa?
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Welcome to my blog, The Shooting Star. I’ve been called a storyteller, writer, photographer, digital nomad, instagrammer, social entrepreneur, solo traveller, vegan, sustainable tourism consultant and environmentalist. But in my heart, I’m just a girl who believes in the transformative power of travel.