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Goa Eats

For us travel is synonymous with food. We love to try out the local cuisine and a lot of planning goes into what to eat and where to eat :D. Food just adds another dimension to the travel experience. We still fondly remember the good and the bad long after we are back from a trip. Goa being a sea food haven and a non-vegetarians paradise, we were skeptical of finding good vegetarian (eggetarian to be precise :P) food but we found some amazing places where not only was the food amazing but the ambiance with the generous dose of Goan culture added to the whole package.

1.       Hotel Venite


Amazing interiors at Venite 
(don't miss the light fixtures made of wine bottles on top right photo)

Lets dig in! :)

Shells encrusted doorway

Venite which means “come” in Latin is a quaint vintage restaurant in the Fontainhas area of Panjim (yeah the same area I have been raving about in my last two posts :P). It was first started in 1955 as a small inn with two rooms and a bar to cater to the Portuguese sailors. Housed in a 200 year old building with the wooden flooring from a Portuguese ship wreck, this place encompasses a slice of Goan history within its walls. I am sure my description of the place is going to turn into an essay of sorts, but I cannot help it, it really struck a chord with us. We were enchanted the minute we stepped through the shell encrusted entryway. The cute tiny verandahs jutting out to hold a table for two, wine labels from over the years stuck to the bar counter, vintage posters adorning the walls, there was so much vintage stuff there that it was like Disneyland for me! The highlight of the place is the graffiti on the walls, even the ceiling (when the partition of the inn rooms was taken apart, it went on the ceiling to preserve the graffiti) by the hippies during the 70s.  The travesty of their lives spelt out in the form of art give us a glimpse of their thinking and lifestyle.
                                 Of course I can go on and on about the ambiance and the beauty of the place but coming back to the main thing in any restaurant, food! Let me just say that it was beyond what we expected. The ice tea was one the best I had ever had and the starter of stir fried vegetables with a little dash Goan masala was the perfect way to start the meal. For the main course the host suggested a vegetarian palate which was perfect for us as we got to try Xacuti, Vindaloo and Portuguese style curry all in one palate. It was accompanied by garlic bread which had quite a generous dose of garlic (heaven! :P). They do not take credit/debit cards, so make sure you have cash on you otherwise you will be chaperoned to the nearest ATM by the friendly owner J.
Note – Payment by cash only.

2.       Fisherman’s Cove


Bar at Fisherman's Cove (next day during breakfast)

We passed this place for two nights consecutively and the live music and cheerful atmosphere finally lured us in on our last night in Goa.  There was a huge queue for getting the table when we walked in at 9.15 PM.  A cute local guy was at the helm of the affair dishing out all popular numbers from Honey Singh to Enrique. He was clearly the life of the place and everyone was having a such a good time listening to music, singing along, some even shaking a leg or two that no one was showing any signs of getting up. When we eventually got a table, we were pleasantly surprised to see quite a lot on offer for vegetarians on the menu.  The food was yummy and quite affordable (we ordered a paneer curry and rotis and some starter). We had expected the place to be expensive with a predominantly seafood menu and it totally proved to us to never judge a book by its cover. Yummy food, wallet still intact and foot tapping live music, it was a perfect ending to our last night in Goa J
Note – Go early, at least by 8.30 PM to secure a table and avoid waiting
          Good place to take your girl for a dinner ;)

3.       The Verandah Restaurant at Panjim Inn


 The quaint interiors of Panjim Inn

Another Fontainhas gem with so much history attached to it that you are transported to the halcyon days of yore the moment you step in into the sun kissed garden with the alfresco restaurant. The restaurant is part of a heritage hotel called Panjim Inn which is a restored colonial mansion belonging to the same family for over five generations. The original façade and the old world charm of the place have been retained through diligent restoration.  It also has two sister hotels called Panjim Pousada (one of the few hindu homes in Fontainhas) and the Panjim Peoples (originally a high school).  The restaurant is located on the first floor balcony of the Panjim Inn overlooking the garden and the Gitanjali Art Gallery beyond it. You can almost imagine handsome young fidalgos on the street below the balcaos, serenading comely damsels or almost hear the haunting lament of a Portuguese Fado emerge from the shadows of the evening (as beautifully said here). It is the perfect place to experience the warm Goan hospitality and soak up the vibe of ethnic Goa.
Note – Egg Curry is oh soooo good!
          English breakfast is served in the banquet hall of Panjim inn
Photos of Verandah Restaurant from here and here (my camera battery died :( )

4.       Baba’s Wood Café


That pizza was absolutely yumm :)

This cute café in the Fontainhas area (yeah I know!) of Panjim is the perfect place to have a nice meal after sweating it out exploring the vintage area. Situated in a quaint by-lane opposite Maruti Temple, this restaurant carries forward the unique Goan amalgamation of cultures by serving authentic Italian food amidst paintings and art by local artists.  We ordered a ravioli and a pizza and both were delicious. The subtle and creamy ravioli and the light and crispy pizza revived us, making us look forward to other meals in Goa (this was our first meal in Goa J). The restaurant is attached to a boutique which has interesting baroque style furniture and chandeliers along with home décor items, clothes, jewellery and other assorted things. All of it was very pretty but awfully expensive but what’s the harm in window shopping!

5.       Guanaja Chocolate Café


Mouthwatering display at Guanaja

Our fist pit stop on the Goa culinary journey, Guanaja continued to be that; a pit stop; for the rest of our trip. It was conveniently located just opposite our homestay and we kept dropping in for odd time hunger pangs. In fact we found our home stay thanks to Santosh who mans Guanaja single-handedly most of the time. After a spontaneous decision to head to Goa over a long weekend, we found ourselves on a non-descript by-lane in Candolim trying to find some decent stay. We decided to have breakfast at the café to take time to contemplate when Santosh nonchalantly mentioned that the house opposite accepts paying guests. We were quick to act and scored the best accommodation we could have asked for (two minutes from the beach, not exaggerating!). Anyway coming back to Guanaja, it is a cozy café made entirely out of wood with cute lounge chairs in cane and comfy indoor and outdoor seating. It serves sandwiches (definitely try the multi grain sandwich), chocolates, pastries and other baked goods as well as coffee and juices. Nice place to chill out after frolicking in the beach.
Photos of Guanaja from here (we were always rushing in and out of this place, it never struck me to click a pic here)

6.       Curlies


 View from mezzanine floor at Curlies


We are quite proud of the fact that we did not touch a drop of alcohol during our entire Goa trip. Goa is synonymous with cheap booze and people usually get tempted to give it a try at least. We did not have to as we were hooked to a class of beverages we usually make faces at, fruit juices! The fruit juices in Curlies were heavenly and we lost count of the number of glasses we kept on ordering sitting at the mezzanine floor with low seating overlooking Anjuna Beach. The mango season was in full swing and the tall cold glass of mango juice was aamasutra for sure! The food was nothing to go gaga about although the mushroom cheese omelet was quite good. But if you are anywhere near Anjuna beach, I would recommend a swig of the mango juice or pomegranate juice. You could get a foot/back massage while lounging there or try your hand at canoeing or paragliding. And the best part of the place is a small shopping haven right inside Curlies called Happinez, a small boutique having a collection of beachwear and cute t shirts with interesting graphics. Go loaded with cash here as you will regret not picking up more stuff later!
Note – Curlies takes payment by card but Happinez takes cash only and the nearest ATM is a 10 min drive, so have some cash on for shopping!


Check out the couple's beachwear

Quick recommendation on where to stay in Goa – Boa Vista Homestay
A cute two floor independent house in which the family stays in the ground floor and rents out four rooms on the first floor. Three of them are AC and one is non-AC. They are spacious, airy with plenty of natural light through huge French windows. They are immaculately maintained with daily cleaning by the staff. The rooms are accessible through a staircase adjoining the house, so you can come and go as you please without disturbing the family. And the best part of the place is that it soooo close to Candolim beach (just 100 mts). Moreover Stanley and his wife are warm and friendly people who will suggest places of interest, help you out with itineraries and make your stay comfortable. We felt that homestays are the best way to explore Goa as you will gain a different perspective by interacting with the locals and save loads of bucks by avoiding staying in the commercial resorts. And if it is so close to the beach then why not!
For enquiries email Stanley at stanley_fer@yahoo.com

6 comments :

  1. I am hungry looking at the food pics... :P Ive stay at the Vista homestay during a college trip to goa! Very homely and budget safe too!
    www.dndb.in

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  2. Thats so great! I am glad we chanced upon it :)

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  3. so yummy and great
    http://leavepillow.blogspot.in

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  4. Ah..I discovered your post little late.. Was in Goa this weekend.. This would have really helped me..Passed by Fisherman Cove, but had no time to chk it out.. next time then :)

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  5. Ya there is always a next time and that too when its Goa! ;) Let me know how you liked when you try :)

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