December in the sunshine state is known for its bustling events and throngs of eager-eyed tourists. This year around, however, it’s also brimming with eclectic flavours – Japanese to Spanish. Not to mention, traditional Portuguese. Here’s looking at the sea of new restaurants that have cropped up in Goa.
Apart from its pristine waters and billowing palm trees – the allure of Goa lies in its versatility. Between historical monuments, vibrant shopping markets, and glitzy nightclubs – the tropical destination caters to most every kind of traveller. And this holds true for its cuisine as well. Although a typical meal is a medley of rice, coconut, fish, amaranth, and kokum amongst other ingredients – eateries across the state span a diverse range of flavours and ingredients.
In fact, over the years, chefs have taken advantage of the region’s experimentative palate, crafting the most unique experiences. In fact, while there – you could go from savouring a five-course Italian meal in a rustic farm to knocking back feni cocktails in a vintage bar – all in a single day. In line with this, the past few days have seen a flurry of new restaurants in Goa. Each has its own unique ambience and style – with menus featuring everything from local delicacies to Asian classics. Pop by each and you’d have a taste of the world. If you’re headed to the country’s sunshine state, here’s a ready reckoner of spots to dine at.
New restaurants in Goa that are worth their salt
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A picturesque, old-school bungalow in Assagao is now home to Greater Kailash’s popular Fig & Maple. With a menu that champions sustainability, chef Radhika Khandelwal has true to her ethos of creating a meal that’s zero-waste and made with locally-sourced produce. The Dosa Rose Cookies with Chorizo and Avocado, Sebastian At Fig with crab cakes and roe pickle, A Dip Into The Sea with prawns and cream cheese, and Konkan Ceviche (with fish and kokum) come highly recommended. The brunches here are quite the delicious affair as well.
Giving Assagao a taste for authentic Burmese food, Sopo – Konkani for ‘lazy bench’ – has a welcoming ambiance. The spirit of Susegado fused with soul-satisfying food – a meal here promises to be memorable. The menu offers options like Thayat Thee Thoke with raw mango and shrimp flakes, Mahrut Thoke with bamboo shoot and garlic chilli oil, Kachin Ngakin with seabass and oyster sauce, and Ameltar Akin with tenderloin beef and sweet potato mash, amongst others. The Burmese Khow Suey, Burmese Fried Chicken, and Seafood Feni Lemon Chilli are a must-try as well. Round out a meal here with mellow cocktails featuring refreshing ingredients and the Coconut and Lime Tres Leches.
Adding to our lineup of bustling spaces in Assagao – Mystras has an eclectic menu featuring wood-fired pizzas, pan-Asian specialties, Continental classics, comfort fast-food grub, Spanish tapas, and more. The Charred Watermelon with honey siracha vinegarette, Mezze Board with trio flavoured hummus, Crispy Calamari with spicy kewpie mayo, Prawn Tortellini with gremolata and seafood mousse, Crusted Sea Bass with creamy shrimp bisque, and Malaysian Butter Prawns with egg flakes come highly recommended. We’re eyeing their house-special pizza with guacamole, yellow cheddar, salsa verde, and basil oil. Peruse their retail section featuring India’s leading designers as you wait for your food. Or sip their refreshing cocktails while taking in their breezy outdoor space.
This charming cafe – decked in vibrant reds, blues, and yellows – has the most comforting baked goodies on offer. We’re talking chocolate chip cookies, sourdough loaves (whole wheat and multigrain), croissants, and more! Guests rave about their coffees, and we’ve got our eyes on the Cappucino – sprinkled with artisanal, organically-growth South Indian cacao. We recommend pairing this with their almond biscottis, perfectly sweetened and indulgent. That aside, there are sandwiches, hearty bowls, and desserts on offer. Don’t miss out.
Housed within Taj Resort & Convention Centre – this eatery spotlights the best of all things coastal from around the world. We’re eyeing the P rawns Coriander – a medley of tiger prawns, cashewnuts, and coconut as well as the Pomelo Salad with chilli tamaring dressing, Mushroom Xacuti with coconut and aromatic spices, Peppered Crab, and Mutton Roast with flaky malabar parothas. Round out a meal here with refreshing cocktails featuring Goan ingredients (feni anyone?) and desserts like Vanilla Creme Brulee and Grilled Pineapple. All while taking in the stunning sights of the Vainguinim beach.
An ode to all things Spanish and Portugese – this tapas bar has the most comforting, flavourful fare on offer. The menu spotlights small plates (tapas) in options like Patata Bravas (thrice-cooked potatoes), Calamares Fritos (crispy calamari with sea salt), and Isabella’s Alitas De Pollo (chicken wings with a house-special salsa verde). Other popular choices are Chicken and Chorizo Paella, Grilled Mackerel with sherry vinegar roasted peppers, Verdura Rellenas (Spanish lasagna), and Fabada (Portugese stew with pork belly). Round this out with their sangria or range of wines – especially the in-house vermouth.
Designed by celebrity interior designer Sussanne Khan – this new spot in Assagao is reminiscent of a chic home in the streets of South East Asia. In line with this, the space is vibrant and elegant – with white walls featuring quirky oars, zebra-print upholstery, soft bamboo details, and verdant green cover. The menu spotlights scrumptious authentic fare – with a flag next to each menu feature to indicate exactly where the inspiration for the meal comes from. You could choose from the Thai Marinated Prawn And Salmon Salad, Vietnamese Chicken Salad, Singaporean Salted Egg And Garlic Crab, South Korean Army Stew, and more! Those with sweet teeth can pick between the house-special Tofu And Chocolate Mousse or Boozy Smore.
Serving up modern, authentic Japanese fare in Vagator – Kasa ‘N Koox is an elegant space with clean lines, minimalist decor, and plenty of green cover. Of the extensive menu here, we’re eyeing the sweet and savoury Black Cod Miso – which involves the fish being marinated for a few days before being baked to buttery perfection. The sushis, gyozas, lobster, tatakis, and carpaccios look just as delicious. Pair any of them with their creative cocktails – of which the Cognac Old Fashioned with orange bitters and citrus oil as well as mulled wine come highly recommended.
This breezy shack – decked in textures of wood – spotligts Goan, Sri Lankan, and Mangalorean cuisines. Of their extensive menu, the Amshi Tikshi with whitecheek shark and coconut milk comes highly recommended. That aside, their Mit Mirsang Fish Cake, Chorizo Scotch Egg, Cashew Curry With Mint Sambol, Jaffna Crab, and Therese’s Black Pork come highly recommended. Don’t forget to try the Pol Roti, Pataleo, and Kunefe. There’s plenty of innovative cocktails on offer as well.
Pan-Pacific bites and vibrant tiki cocktails underline the exprience of dining at this new space in Vagator. Istaka’s menu is as tropical as it comes, with options like Poee Pockets (Goan bread with mushrooms in oyster sauce), Thai Fish Cakes (with kafir lime), Seafood Agio Olio (with burnt garlic and sundried tomatoes), and Massaman Curry Bowl (with lemongrass fried rice). The bar menu is extensive, featuring ingredients like coconut, lime, pineapple, passionfruit, cucumber, lemongrass, and more. Round the meal out with their Passion Panacotta or house-special banana sundae.
Where are you headed this weekend?
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Check out our list of best hotels in Goa here
This story first appeared on Lifestyle Asia India
Related: TL Tastings: HOSA Goa — Where Experiential Dining Goes Up By A Few Notches!