As you head to the state that never fails to mesmerise, check out the restaurants that are quickly redefining Goa’s dining experience. By Naina Atri
Despite a series of lockdowns causing old favourites to shut down, new restaurants have been flooding the state — each more innovative with eclectic menus that introduce bold new flavours. Though Goa has always been a beloved holiday destination, the pandemic blues have spurred domestic travel to the state. So, as you revisit the places you love, here are seven eateries you must discover.
New restaurants in Goa that are on track to becoming iconic landmarks
Co-founded by the couple-duo Stacy Gracias and Ralph Prazeres (trained at the Le Cordon Bleu), the Padaria Prazeres is a European café and confectionery. Opened in April 2021, the café features artisanal bread, doughnuts, and handcrafted pastries. Head over to the self-professed neighbourhood cafe for a slice of Europe.
Courtesy of padaria_prazeres/Instagram
Maka Zai, which translates to ‘I want’ in English, is a fun yellow coloured new spot in Anjuna that serves Chinese-Goan delicacies. Set up in the old home of the ‘Bobby Bar’, the fun ambience perfectly suits their cool cocktails. In the words of Maka Zai, the restaurant ‘redefines Food, Feni & Fun’.
Courtesy of makazai_anjuna/Instagram
The pandemic evidently did not hold the Goan restaurant scene back. Launched in November of 2020, the state’s first izakaya and ramen house, located in Sol De Goa, a heritage property in Nerul. It’s Beef Tataki, tantanmen, and the Shoyu Tonkotsu Ramen have quickly become crowd favourites.
Courtesy of robotogoa/Instagram
Despite the burgeoning breakfast-restaurant scene, breakfast is still an underrated meal when it comes to dining out. This little café, with books and vibrantly coloured walls, serves breakfast options all day. Founded by Chef Nisha Almeida. The menu features gluten-free banana bread, eight kinds of omelettes, delicious coffee and smoothie bowls. There’s something for everyone, cheat day or not.
Courtesy of dakte.goa/Instagram
Now a year old, this fast-food café serves authentic Goan and Portuguese influenced dishes. Family recipes served in a rustic setting keep luring visitors back in. Don’t miss out on their Kingfish Balchao and chicken cafreal.
Courtesy of santaritaffandcafe/Instagram
This new ‘whimsical garden restaurant’ has added to Assagoa’s already experimental dining space. Suzie’s celebrates local produce through a variety of cooking styles. The eclectic five-course menu tends to change a few times throughout the year. The unassuming restaurant set up in an open-air garden is incredibly popular but the effort to get a reservation is definitely worth it.
Courtesy of suziesgoa/Instagram
Music, chill vibes, and an innovative food-drinks menu — what else does a quintessential Goan dining experience require? An ideal Idā evening consists of friends, dancing, and their signature cocktails. Sanskrit for ‘in this moment’, their dishes are detail-oriented, from the recipe to the plating.
Courtesy of idagoa/Instagram
Raeeth means rejuvenation, which is what this place offers. “Raeeth is a unique concept of highlighting three aspects symptomatic of the Goan lifestyle – eat, relax and be entertained,” says Anuj Chugh, partner at the restaurant. Indulge in delicious cuisine that is bold, fun and experimental, combining local and global flavours.