On Land Ruins That Date Back To 250 Years Lies A ‘Sanctuary’ Tucked Inside A Restored 150-YO Villa

In Goa, lies a restaurant on the ruins of a 250-year-old land parcel that once housed a Portuguese villa. I went to The Sanctuary Bar And Kitchen Goa, and it was...

by Rachna Srivastava
On Land Ruins That Date Back To 250 Years Lies A ‘Sanctuary’ Tucked Inside A Restored 150-YO Villa

Goa – sunshine, beaches, towering trees, quaint villages, gourmet food promising culinary expeditions, and new restaurants opening inside restored old Goan homes; sounds unremitting? Sure is! But what you may not have heard of is a restaurant that is located on the ruins of a 250-year-old land parcel that once housed a Portuguese villa. That’s Sanctuary Bar and Kitchen in Vagator, Goa. 

The name Sanctuary means a lot of things. But here, the restaurant lends its name from an already existing Sanctuary at Hyderabad AKA Sanctuary Bar and Kitchen at Jubilee Hills. After making waves there, the founders — Gokul Krishna, Rohan Gutta, Trilok Potluri and Mithun Yalamarthi — thought of bringing the brand to the sunshine state ( as the first stop on their expansion plan). 

Chef Sarah Todd
Chef Sarah Todd
Image Courtesy: Supplied

Sanctuary Goa has Celebrity Chef Sarah Todd as its Culinary Executive and Brand Ambassador. Chef Sarah’s undying love for Goa started 10 years ago. She already has Antares Restaurant and Beach Club, her first-ever restaurant, which is known for its sunsets and beachy vibes. With Sanctuary, the “fusion of global comfort food” takes centre stage and Sarah also has Hot Toddy-infused dishes on the menu. Hot Toddy is Sarah’s brand of a range of hot sauces. 

Sanctuary: 250-Year-Old Ruins That Make A Mesmeric Backdrop For Your ‘Gram

Sanctuary Bar and Kitchen
Image Courtesy: Rachna Srivastava

If you are an aesthete, then you will be in awe of the place the moment you walk through the doors. The restaurant is located on almost an acre of land remnant ruins of a 250-year-old Portuguese home that the founders wanted to preserve. It is designed by Gokul Krishna, who is also the CEO of W Design Studio. From being absolutely stunning during the day, come nightfall the vibe changes and the ruins look eerie and cheery. 

The actual restaurant is flanked by the ruins of the larger villa that stands tall (only in places) to serve as a gateway to the 150-year-old villa that houses the 350-seater newest addition to Goa’s dining scene. The inner villa has been restored with a modern touch. Walk in and you will be greeted by multitudinous artwork on the walls, a restored piano with original ivory keys, a vinyl player that still works, and a home-converted-to-a-restaurant vibe. 

150 year old smaller villa
150 year old smaller villa Image Courtesy: Supplied

The artwork in each room is different, the colours are warm and inviting, the wallpaper whispers tales of motifs, the seating is plush and the vibe is, well, vibing. With three different seating styles in three different rooms, there is also an area where you can leave your kids for their playtime, while you have grown-up playtime at the bars (yes, plural). Walk out to the garden area and you will be greeted by verdant greenery, a handful of the 8000 trees and plants they have planted and some also nurtured back to life from the ruins. 

Also Read: 8 New Restaurants In Goa You Need To Try In The Sunshine State This Month

Along With Indoor Seating, The Outdoor Seating And Bar Are The Talk Of The Town

Outdoor Seating area
Outdoor Seating area Image Courtesy: Supplied

Tread along the pathway to your right and you will walk up to a gazebo-style seating area with a clear roof to let the biophilic elements surround you. Walk ahead further and you will be greeted by the ruins of the old villa and right behind it is the “Ruin Bar”. Yes, they are definitely staying true to ‘its’ surroundings. Made out of bamboo and natural materials, this bar is their trump card. 

The Ruin Bar at the Sanctuary
The Ruin Bar at the Sanctuary
Image Courtesy: Supplied

Right next to the Ruin Bar, I found a cosy nook with two steps and a landing, which by the way is a fly backdrop for ‘gram-worthy photos. It has the ruins, the old trees, the eerie charm I was earlier talking about, and a nook to escape from the crowd and have a quiet moment to yourself. 

Circle back to the main walkway and you can either head to the restaurant inside or sit outside in the gazebo. 

What About The Food & Drinks At The Sanctuary? 

Well, the menu does promise global comfort food with the culinary flair of Hyderabad and Sarah’s fusion techniques. What I tasted:

We started at the grazing table that had an assortment of Local Cheese, Fruits, Nuts, Bread, Cured Meats, and Pickles. These were really good. Especially the cheese!

Prok Vindaloo and Cauliflower steak
Prok Vindaloo and Cauliflower steak
Image Courtesy: Rachna Srivastava

Small Plates:

  • Pork Vindaloo Rillette, Rice Crackers, Pickles —  not bad, can order, I did get some uncooked crisps, but the Pork was good.
  • Prawn Stack, Sushi Rice, Avocado, Sesame, Mango Salsa  — Mango salsa was a good touch
  • Charred Broccoli, Soba Noodles —  not for me, the noodles were very bitter for my liking, and the broccoli was not charred.
Prawns Stack and Charred Broccoli
Prawns Stack and Charred Broccoli with Soba Noodles
Image Courtesy: Rachna Srivastava


  • Chicken Roulade with Aji Verde and Fondant Potatoes —  the dry chicken aside, the dish was average. Fondant potatoes were good.
  • Cauliflower Steak, Caldeen —  the presentation was okay and so was the taste
  • Caesar Reimagined — this was, actually, the best thing on the menu, we asked them to add chicken to the mix and that elevated the taste further.

Drinks Menu:

Okay, they promise exotic cocktails and I’ll be honest here, the drinks at Sanctuary Goa are really good. Some infusions clearly elevate the drinking experience. I drank like a fish and had: 

  • Tease Me
  • Make It Feni
  • Seasonal Sballagto
  • Bloody Nori

I missed Clear Picante; heard that one was a clear crowd-fave!

So, Should You Go Or Not? 

Well, if you are looking for an experience in North Goa away from the usual setting and amid a biophilic setting, then head to Sanctuary. The ‘gram-worthiness of the place is unmatched. Food-wise I had more expectations, but given I was part of a media event with many heads to count and serve, the rush at the kitchen might have taken away some part of the meticulousness. Some dishes by the middle of the lunch were unavailable, and some were missing some ingredients. Overall the menu sat okay on the palate. I am hopeful that the quality is better when you are dining as a regular.  Cocktails didn’t disappoint at all. And I hear they are going to have curated experiences and the place is also available to host big events. If you are a large group looking for a diverse menu, then trying it once to tick it off the bucket list is a doable part. As for the setting and the charm, you must certainly go for it!

Where: House No 1615, Grand Chiwar, near, Panchayat Road, off Anjuna, next to Amani Hotel, Vagator, Goa 403509
When: 12 pm to 12 am
Cost: Rs 2,500 for two without alcohol

For reservations call on 06293 334444

The editor was invited for an experience by Team Sanctuary Goa

Cover Image Courtesy: Rachna Srivastava and Supplied

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