When in Goa, you must feast there like a queen! And now, with its diverse experimentative palate, the sunshine state is now a hub for lovers of food – given that north Goa sees a slew of new restaurants popping up every now and then. However, there’s a different allure in feasting in the local restaurants and cafes in North Goa and ditching the popular outposts.
In my yearly pilgrimages to the state, I had always gone around in search of places the locals prefer. My guardian angel in this food trail was my sister who had settled in Goa 10 years back. Along with her, I figured out the places the locals frequent in North Goa in my quest to have a deeper understanding of the state and its food politics.
Here is your go-to bible to eating at the best restaurants and cafes in north Goa that only the locals know:
1. BJ’s Bar & Grill
For a day, get away from the glitz and glamour of chic bar places and instead, trail to this amazing restaurant that offers food that’s better than it needs to be. It’s a place where one can sit, drink and eat the best yet actually manage to have a conversation. Remember the classic McGee’s Pub and Restaurant shown in the sitcom, How I Met Your Mother – well, BJ’s Bar & Grill gives the same feel.
What to order: You can get the best steaks here. Apart from that, tender beef skewers, spicy buffalo wings or even the simple, hummus and pita are recommended.
Where: Kudal, Siolim, Goa
When: 7 PM – 11 PM
Cost: ₹700 (for two)
2. Sai Mauli Restaurant
If you crave a home-cooked classic Goan meal as its best avatar, Sai Mauli is the place to be. Simple and wholesome, the thalis are a feast fit for a queen. However, for such a tiny place, the menu that hangs on the wall is extensive. The setting is tranquil in this little eatery spot — birds chirping, coconut palms swaying, the smell of warm home-style food and the stillness of a sunny, humid day.
What to order: It’s simple, go for the classic Goan thali and watch as your taste buds are relished. You can even try their seafood and the variety of bhajis.
Where: Nachinola Church Rd, Nachinola, Goa
When: 7 AM – 8 PM
Cost: ₹ 200 (for two)
3. Cafe Mango Shade
This is hands-down the best breakfast spot in Goa, not just in the north. Family run, this cafe has been serving since 1982. Although you may have to pass some confusing lanes to get there, it’s worth it. In my years of visits to the state, this has been that one spot where I have loved sitting on the cemented seats relishing food in its most simple-yet-scrumptious form. Moreover, it’s perfect for laidback travellers, meeting friends and just, old-school talking or maybe, reading. Why old-school? You might find connectivity issues here which means getting engaged in conversations and meeting people with the warmest smiles and greetings is best suited. But, isn’t that what the susegad way of life is all about?
What to order: Relish their fresh fruit juices and cold coffee along with their wholesome open sandwiches in so many variations – bacon, baked beans, mushrooms, tahini and many more.
Where: HPFW+FWP, Monteiro Vaddo, Anjuna, Goa
When: 8 AM – 4 PM
Cost: ₹ 300 (for two)
Also Read: North Goa Detailed Itinerary: From Beaches To Restaurants, Every Place You Can Visit
4. Amancio Classic
A little down the more northern roads of Siolim takes you to Amancio. An old-classic Goan restaurant currently run by the third generation — this family-owned place restaurant has been catering for the past 47 years. Amancio looks like a European-style eatery joint with slow jazz music playing in the background but serves food from all corners of the world. As you enter, your eyes are welcomed by a rustic, vintage bar display while the space is bursting with mirrors, chandeliers and pretty lamps. The place has all the features of a classic dive bar where the drinks are invigorating and cheap while the food is exceptional.
What to order: Go for a chicken cafreal or chicken xacuti with plain rice. Don’t forget to try the pudding dessert, serradura for a sweet ending to your dinner.
Where: Tarchi Bhatt, Siolim, Goa
When: 12 PM –3 PM; 6:30 PM–11 PM
Cost: ₹ 800 (for two)
5. Jaws Bakery
Your North Goa sojourn is incomplete without visiting the renowned, Vagator. When in here, Jaws Bakery is a must-visit spot. It still has a baroque essence, and a laid-back ambience with minimal decor and rustic wooden furniture while serving all kinds of meals — from breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks and dessert, it’s a one-stop eating destination. With a steaming cup of coffee, you can chill with your friends looking at the opposite bougainvillaea flowers and the bustling Vagator road. Easily, one of the best restaurants and cafes in north Goa!
What to order: Dosas are the best that you can devour here. The beef croquettes are their speciality as well.
Where: HPXQ+VXH, Vagator Beach Rd, Coutinho Vaddo, Vagator, Goa
When: 8 AM – 10 PM
Cost: ₹ 500 (for two)
6. Fountain View Bar & Restaurant
A resto-bar which channels a tropical vibe, Fountain View Bar & Restaurant has both indoor and alfresco seating. Perfect for lunch, this restaurant overlooks a pond and has a lively atmosphere. The menu features delicious seafood grills, and thalis while the views add to the experience. Ofcourse, the restaurant has a loyal fan following for its excellent Goan cuisine.
What to order: Go for the Goan fish thali, you may also try the mackerel fish curry.
Where: HQQ2+7FV, Gumal Vaddo, Anjuna, Goa
When: 11 AM – 12 AM
Cost: ₹ 450 (for two)
Also Read: 6 New Restaurants To Eat At If You’re Vacationing In Goa This Month
So, which of these restaurants and cafes in north Goa are you heading to?
Cover Image Credits: Facebook/Amancio Classic