With Goa’s coveted perch on the cusp of the Arabian Sea, seafood is, of course, the star of its menus. Layer these coastal flavours with local spices and four centuries of Portuguese influence (hello, chillies), and here is a cuisine that’s entirely unique in India. Alongside its classics, Goa has mastered international favourites, too—the result of a constant stream of visitors from around the world hankering for a taste of home. Combining its most delicious flavours, here are the best restaurants in Goa.
First on any list of the best restaurants in Goa, Gunpowder’s stunning cocktail list, delicious food and romantic setting beneath the trees has won this pretty corner of Assagao numerous awards. Those lucky enough to secure a table should go straight for the tangy tamarind fish curry teamed with a steaming pile of appams—utterly sublime.
This friendly diner is perfect for families in Goa with children. The menu is an easily navigable blend of Goan and Portuguese classics, with croquettes and chourico rolls to tempt the fussiest of eaters and the peri-peri prawns drawing a consistent flock of loyal supporters.
Simran Kaur’s labour of love, Amrapali Café is a sophisticated little enclave at the edge of a tranquil lake. As well as having an eye for interior design, a knack for running her beautiful boutique hotel Amrapali – House of Grace, and curating a dazzling lunch menu, she is also a pastry chef extraordinaire. Her cloud-soft, strawberry-studded Fraisier is a triumph.
Duck off Calangute’s main strip to discover Amavi by Sumera, named for the woman cooking up a Cordon Bleu storm within. Veering indulgently from a tender Beef Wellington to duck with pickled shitake, an accolade of ‘best restaurant in Goa’ is well-deserved here. Time your visit for a live music night and enjoy the party.
Calling all yogis: Mojigao, near Swan Yoga (one of our 50 best yoga retreats in India), is where to refuel with a fresh smoothie or hearty bowl of granola. This sweet little garden, hidden beneath the dappled shade of the surrounding trees, is the picture of health. For those still hankering after seafood, the tuna sandwich is the tastiest in Goa.
A holiday in Goa is an invitation to immerse in ‘susegad’—the lazy ease that permeates this beautiful state. For a direct experience of the Goan philosophy, eat at Sublime. It lives up to its name, with fantastic food and a relaxed setting in a gorgeous old Goan house: the perfect place to kick back with a long, laidback lunch.
A hipster haven, Black Sheep Bistro excels at casual dining in the capital. It has mastered the art of a relaxed ambiance, with ingenious cocktails and excellent food adding to the good vibes. The menu combines global classics as well as Goan favourites: the Creole Chicken and crispy Prawn Tempura are consistent crowd-pleasers.
In the balmy shade of a leafy courtyard, Villa Blanch Bistro is easily one of the best restaurants in Goa. Everything about this creative little al-fresco haven inspires, from its generous brunches and showstopping gateaux to its light-hearted décor.
Feature images © Amrapali House of Grace; VioletaStoimenova/iStock; Mum’s Kitchen; Amavi by Sumera; Mojigao; Lisovskaya/iStock; LeoPatrizi/iStock; vm2002/iStock