Not everyone believes in being a Roman in Rome, especially when it comes to choosing gastronomic delights. However, most would agree that it is a great idea to try the local fare when traveling – to experience its authenticity and savour its tastes. And Goa has no dearth of great places to try local food.
But because it has such a mix of tourists, the restaurants have also mastered the art of many national and international cuisines – these are also definitely worth sampling. Let’s look at the restaurants in Goa, both North and South, which have earned the highest ratings from their many customers.
Places to Eat in Goa (North)
1. Pousada by the Beach, Calangute
This casual waterside destination is highly rated for its traditional Goan recipes using fresh fish and authentic ingredients and painstaking traditional methods of preparation. Expect exceptional seafood in a kid-friendly environment. Goan food doesn’t get better than this on the beach.
- Fare: Goan, Seafood
2. Thalassa, Little Vagator
Food is served outdoors amongst the palm trees, with spectacular views of Vagator Beach and extremely romantic sunsets. Thalassa doesn’t stop there as its owner Mariketty Grana and her team work hard to serve truly authentic Greek food using fresh produce and amazing techniques. Rated very high by all visitors here, with good reason.
- Fare: Greek cuisine
3. Tony’s Shack, Candolim
Great food, great prices and friendly atmosphere are all the epithets chosen by customers to describe this seafood restaurant near Taj Fort Aguada. They go on to praise the portion sizes which easily feed two when the order is for one, a rare bonus for a joint that makes every morsel as tasty as possible. Do you need gluten-free? Just let Tony know.
- Fare: Seafood, Goan, Continental
4. Gunpowder, Assagaon
Head here for a scrumptious meal, served both indoors and out. This place is especially good if you crave South Indian food. This reasonably-priced restaurant is close to the Astoria and can accommodate quite a crowd and satisfy all your yearning for delectable food.
- Fare: Regional and South Indian
5. A Reverie, Calangute
This popular restaurant serves continental fare and Japanese. It is highly rated for the quality of its service and its food. Prices may prove a bit high, but the food is completely exceptional, with a lot of fusion elements and local recipes.
- Fare: Continental, Japanese and Goan
6. Nick’s Place, Arpora
This restaurant is famous for its excellent food and convenient location in Baga. Known for its quality food and hygiene, Nick’s Place is also reasonably priced and has a multi-cuisine fare which is served at any time of the day. Sundays are special here and the service makes one feel very welcome. Most patrons are repeat customers.
- Fare: Goan, North Indian, Chinese and Continental
7. Goa’s Ark Restaurant, Anjuna
The food here is exceptional and varied, and every meal is prepared with great care and precise spicing. Service and hospitality are highly responsive and the ambience is clean and friendly, appreciated greatly by all customers. Try the authentic hummus and falafel, and if you want gluten-free, just say so and you shall have it.
- Fare: Mediterranean
8. Jardin d’Ulysse, Morjim
Another highly-appreciated restaurant with excellent service and delicious food which brings every customer back for more. It is especially famous for its romantic ambiance and candlelight dinners, set in the middle of a tropical garden. You may miss it if you go during the rains when it is usually closed.
- Fare: Italian, Indian, European, Asian, Seafood
9. Wok & Roll, Bardez
Visit here for awesome Asian food, with great service and extremely reasonable prices. You may need a taxi to get here if walking is not your thing. With a view of the water, the ambience is also just wonderful, and very refreshing.
- Fare: Pan-Asian (Chinese/Malaysian/Indonesian/Thai/Cambodian)
10. Venite Bar & Restaurant, Panaji
Located in a nearly 100-year-old building with cute little balconies, Venite offers you timeless charm and amazing Goan food with Portuguese flavors. Its heritage ambience and the total experience are what people really fall for.
- Fare: Portuguese/Goan, Seafood
11. Sublime Bistro, Morjim
From salad to dessert, every course will prove interesting if not delectable at this quiet bistro with its romantic ambience. Service is quick and friendly, and most customers are local regulars. Make sure you have a reservation.
- Fare: European, International, Fusion
12. Bomra’s, Candolim
The restaurant has a reputation for serving excellent Burmese food, and offering great quality with service. Considered a bit pricey by some, the food takes you on a culinary adventure into papaya salad, suckling pig or tempura and sardines, all of which are a treat to the tastebuds.
- Fare: Seafood, Asian, Burmese, International, Contemporary, Fusion, Vegetarian Friendly
13. Souza Lobo, Calangute
The first restaurant on Calangute Beach, it’s been around for generations. And with reason. The food is always great, with fresh seafood, wonderful cuts of meat and good cocktails and desserts, too. You’ll also often see famous faces at this landmark.
- Fare: Goan, Tandoor, Continental
14. Palm and Sands, Candolim
To be found right on the beach, this place is neat and the food is delicious with friendly service. The views of the sea are magnificent and you can hear the waves crashing as you sit and enjoy your delicious biryani at night.
- Fare: North Indian, Chinese, Goan, Continental
15. Bay View Shack, Candolim
This shack serves delicious food and offers great service along with free WiFi at high speeds. Though on a beach, the restroom is extremely clean and a testimonial to the standards maintained here. Watch the sunset while gorging on the amazing pakoras here. Don’t miss the manicures and pedicures offered nearby on the beach.
Fare: Goan, Continental, North Indian, Chinese
16. Il Camino, Bardez
If you are looking for the authentic taste of Italian food, look no further than Il Camino at the Taj Fort Aguada. The staff knows their Italian food, and the wood-fire oven pizzas couldn’t get any better. Think poolside tables with live music and the picture is complete.
- Fare: Italian
17. Alex’s Beach Shack, Candolim
This raised shack has a hard standing and offers an excellent view of the sea and the sunset. The food and service are noteworthy and the cleanliness of the place, including the restrooms, leaves nothing to be desired. All in all, a great effort by a great team to provide good food to the visitors. They offer halal, vegan and gluten-free options, if needed.
- Fare: Chinese, Asian, Indian, British
18. Earthen Oven, Candolim
The food here is highly-rated along with the ambience and service. The tastefully-decorated restaurant has many fans who love to try the delightful Indian cuisine offered, be it dal makhni (lentils with butter), lamb or just garlic naan (Indian flatbread). The music is of the traditional Indian variety and a delight to the diners.
- Fare: Indian, Asian, Vegetarian-friendly
Top Restaurants in Goa (South)
19. Little World, Canacona
Cosy seating, cute decor, and excellent food characterize Little World. The standards of cooking are high and the food served is impeccably prepared and tasty, using fresh and locally sourced ingredients. On request, they do vegan and gluten-free options too.
- Fare: Local, Cafe, International
20. Ourem 88, Canacona
You need a reservation to eat at this amazing place with fantastic food and great ambience. The British couple who run this take bookings and serve only 20 guests in an evening. This highly popular place has limited seating and ends up turning people away so do make your reservations in good time to avoid disappointment.
- Fare: European, British, Veg-friendly
21. The Fisherman’s Wharf, Cavelossim
Extremely beautiful location, waterside seating, live music band and scrumptious seafood makes the Fisherman’s Wharf an excellent place to dine at. Reserve the waterside tables in advance to avoid disappointment. Highly rated for the quality of food served and the hospitality, this place accommodates gluten-free and vegan fare too.
- Fare: Indian, Asian, Seafood
22. The River Restaurant, Baga
If you are particular about food, The River Restaurant was started by some top chefs and is a must visit for the quality of food served. The ambience is an absolutely top-notch, taking the whole culinary experience to another level. They serve Parsi cuisine too.
- Fare: Asian, Indian, Parsi and Chinese
23. Nautica at the Mayfair Spa, Salcette
A part of the Mayfair Hideaway Spa, this restaurant is a cosy place, rated high on the quality of its décor and the tasty food. The ambience of the eatery is enhanced by a view of the pool. Access to the restaurant is not a problem as it is located in a prominent part of town.
- Fare: Thai, North Indian, Continental
24. Betty’s Place, Cavelossim
Quality consciousness and attention to detail are the marks of the food at Betty’s Place, which is appreciated by everyone who visits. Most of them come back for the friendly ambience, superb service and excellent food, not to forget the free taxi drop to your hotel. Definitely conducive to repeat visits, year after year.
- Fare: Indian, Continental
25. Martin’s Corner, Margaon
Martin’s is where the whole of Goa wants to eat on the weekend. A massive location, with great food, you’ll find celebrities, businessmen mingling with the locals here. Nonetheless, the prices are reasonable and the ambience authentically Goan.
- Fare: Goan, Continental
For a tourist haven like Goa, which attracts people from all over the world, it is hard to prepare food that meets everyone’s expectations. But, amazingly, many of these restaurants have kept their customers happy by offering great food customised to the palates of different cultures, supported by attentive service – that’s why these are the best restaurants in Goa. Do write and tell us about your favourite places to eat in Goa.