When you hear the word Goa, it flares up images of serene beaches & crazy parties. But if you take those sunglasses off and look around, you will see an insane number of food options that will blow your mind. The first time I visited this tiny little state on the western Indian Coast, was way back in 2009 during my MBA with a bunch of my college friends. And guess what? Once I completed my MBA, the company I got a job with, told me to go to Goa and work. Crazy.. I know.. 🙂
Eat. Sleep. Party. Repeat
First 3 months got blurred by crazy partying and only after staying in Goa beyond the 3rd month I realized that there is so much to explore apart from the regular touristy stuff (eating joints & places to visit). A lot my friends kept coming down to Goa one weekend or the other and would spend 3-4 days there. And all throughout, I became their designated guide to the best places to eat and party. With that in mind, I would continuously look out for new eateries around North Goa to help out my friends. The itinerary below became my go-to list every time friends would ask me “Neil, where can we go to eat some good food?”
“THERE IS NO SINCERER LOVE THAN THE LOVE OF FOOD”
Some of the restaurants I’ve mentioned are pretty well-known while others I stumbled upon. So in case you are planning to go to North Goa for a 3-day trip, here is what you can do in-between parties, water sports & casual chilling.
Food Trail Day 1 – Let the games begin..!!
Breakfast: Infantaria, Calangute
Most buses and trains to Goa arrive early in the morning and one usually takes a cab or a mini bus to reach Calangute. The moment you get down at Calangute circle, in one small corner you will see this cozy restaurant called Infantaria. Over the years, this place has grown ever so popular for their breakfast options. What sealed the deal for me is that they have an in-house bakery that serves some of the amazing burgers, croissants, sandwiches early in the morning. Be there at around 8 AM and you are in for a treat. Their English breakfast combined with some fresh watermelon juice is the perfect way to start the 3-day grilling your stomach is gonna experience.
Once you’ve had a sumptuous breakfast, you can go back to your room/resort, change, hit the beach, do watersports, swim, play football/volleyball at the beach only to get hungry for the next meal 🙂
Lunch: O’ Coqueiro, Panjim Highway
By now, the sun is right above you, sunglasses are out, the wind in your hair & sand at your feet, but hunger pangs are kicking in. You must, and I say, MUST, go to O’ Coqueiro for lunch right about now. From Infantaria, It’s a 20-minute scenic drive to this place, more famous for its history than its food. The Infamous Serial Killer, Charles Shobhraj was nabbed at this restaurant. He used to frequent this place for their Chicken Caferal. Once you are here, don’t forget to order the Prawn Balchao & the Prawn Kismur. Trust me you won’t regret driving down 10 km for this meal.
Dinner: Thalassa, Vagator
After such amazing first 2 meals, you must be wondering “Dude, where’s the party?”. Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered for tonight. From Infantaria, It is another 20-minute drive in the opposite direction towards the hills. Head to Thalassa for some chilled out parties and lip-smacking Greek style food. The ambiance is arguably one of the best in Goa. This is a perfect place for a romantic sunset meal (and party thereafter). Some of the dishes that you must try here are Tzatziki, Spicy Prawn Saganaki, Mini Pies, Stuffed Grilled Whole Squid & Gyros.
Food Trail Day 2 – Recovery & Reload..!!
Breakfast: Britto’s, Baga Beach
While you struggle to wake up after a long night’s party at Thalassa, some of the kitchens have already started gearing up to cure your hangover. I would say a chilled beer is the best medicine for a hangover, but let’s not go down that path, else I’ll have to start listing down bars below instead of restaurants. 😉 From local experience I would suggest, head to Britto’s, meet Pascal, the ever smiling manager there, and ask him for a nice banana lassi or chilled watermelon juice. That will help kick-start your engine. Some of my favorite memories here were accompanied by Fish Tikka & Cheese Garlic Naan. Absolutely lip-smacking. 🙂
Today would be a good day to travel to Old Goa and see the Basilica of Bom Jesus. The drive is amazing and you feel teleported back to 1940s. The Old architecture of the houses makes for amazing photo backgrounds. Look around, soak it in & head for lunch.
Lunch: Viva Panjim
One place you can’t miss during this trip is Viva Panjim. This restaurant beams heritage right from the entrance. Located next to the Panjim church, it is a 150-year-old ancestral home that has been converted into a restaurant & serves amazing homestyle Goan dishes. It is run by a very sweet lady called Linda who greets you with her infectious smile. We ordered their Rava fry fish (prawn/pomfret), fish curry & prawn biriyani but you can order whatever you want here as every dish is simply mindblowing. Don’t miss out on the Caramel custard at the end, though 🙂
Dinner: Fat Fish, Arpora
While you travel back from your trip to Old Goa & Panjim, reminisce on the experiences. Plan your evening in such a way that you are around Fat Fish. This cute little restaurant is very close to the Saturday Night Market at Arpora. They have been getting some great reviews from travelers all across. Some of the must try dishes here are their Recheado Masala Prawns & the Sea Food Thali. Just wow.
Food Trail Day 3 – Time to Chill and Relax..!!
Breakfast: Mango Tree, Vagator
So your Goa trip is nearing its end and although you have partied enough and had some awesome food during this sojourn, you may have missed one of the most quintessential photo spots in Goa. I’m talking about every Bollywood fan’s dream photo sequence at the Chapora Fort (Also known as ‘Dil Chahta Hai Fort’ to some). Head towards Chapora fort and you will see a buzzing little joint called Mango Tree. This place serves up some really nice fruit salad, custard, English breakfast et al. This is a perfect place to load up on energy you will need while you hike to the fort under the sun. Nice place to meet new travelers. Feel free to grab a beer or 2 if you may.
Lunch: Souza Lobo, Calangute
Now that your “looking-out-to-the-sea” pose at Chapora fort under the hot sun is done, feeling a little hungry and thirsty? Head to Souza Lobo at Calangute. This one is an old timer and has been a tourists’ favorite since forever. Their prawns are one of the best available around this area. Do visit if you are craving for some Xacuti or Vindaloo curries with steaming hot rice & some seafood starters on the side.
Dinner: Fisherman’s Cove or Lloyd’s Steak Grill, Candolim
Your last meal in Goa before you head back to your base needs to be a quiet one so that you can soak in some memories of the past few days – The Good, The Great & The Amazing. Fisherman’s cove located near Candolim beach fits right in for this meal. This restaurant is a no-fuss restaurant serving you run-of-the-mill but good food. If you are not too hungry for a full meal, may I suggest, Lloyd’s Steak Grill? This one is a small little joint serving up some awesome grilled meat. Their Pork Chops are smokey & juicy & steaks are very succulent too. There is something for everyone.