Making your way through the Goa restaurant scene could be tricky. All the headlines point to a region that’s highly focused on seafood and spices. And, yes, we’ve picked out a spot where you can, if you wish, indulge in both those taste sensations. But, there’s a world away from the coastal catch that’s well worth exploring. From the ‘mom and pop’ style cafe where the chapatis are handmade daily to ventures by big time restauranteurs looking to feed the influx of travellers that pass through Goa, you’ll not go hungry. Here are some of your options…
This garden cafe needs to come with a vibes warning. The unadulterated zen that flows through the Artjuna Cafe needs to be bottled and sold asap. Until then, book a table for breakfast and feel your endorphin levels peak as you share a snap of your rainbow-coloured smoothie bowls to Insta. So seriously addictive, you might find yourself popping back to swap out another book from their library – and just one more hummus platter to fuel your way home. Perhaps the yoga and martial arts classes have caught your eye? Might as well grab a croissant while you’re here. Maybe a light scrabble match and a latte made from the finest Arabica beans grown in Chikmagalur? It would be rude not to, right? Though, strictly speaking, anything from the juice menu will likely keep you on your wellness goals. Pro tip – try the papaya-lemon and watermelon. It’s hard to keep away from Artjuna, and really, why would you want to?
G-Shot Coffee Roastery & Cafe
Let’s face it. A spicy bowl of Goan baji is never going to be able to compete with your thirst for a well-roasted, single origin espresso shot early doors. Maybe you like a latte first thing? However you take your coffee, you can count on the G-Shot Coffee Roastery & Cafe to make it well. Pair your caffeine hit with a sizeable slice of their raspberry-packed almond baiser cake and you might well make it ’til dinner without sidling up to a food shack. Don’t be put off by the slightly spiritual and meditational vibes coming from G-Shot. The team behind the beans might be chill about most things in life, but when it comes to coffee, their focus is about as intense as it gets.
The only time we’d recommend stealing yourself away from Agonda’s gorgeous shoreline? To take a seat at the tables of Nature Organic. Just a five minute walk from one of the best beaches in Goa, you’ll find this Goa restaurant stuffed with veggie, vegan and organic delights. Perfect for lunch – though, we’ve yet to meet a menu that isn’t – the salads and soups deliver nicely on light bites that allow you to momentarily step away from Goa’s usual spiced offerings. In the market for something a little more in-keeping with your trip? Try the homemade curries and chapatis.
Orbzii tip: Gouresh (owner of Nature Organic) runs a little taxi service on the side. If you do decide to grab a lift, don’t be surprised if he pulls into the local grocery store to stock up on supplies on route.
No, not THAT Ritz. This is Ritz Classic – a small clutch of six restaurants serving traditional Goan food. You’ll be dropping in for a classic Goan lunch, a thali. Combining a seafood ambotik, prawn curry, rice, fried fish, sukhem clams, Goan vegetable curry, crab xacuti, pickles, papad and sol kadi – it’s a lighter lunch than it sounds. Delicious – and raved about across India, Ritz Classic’s thali does two things. Yes, it gives you the chance to sample the best Goan seafood but also saves you from the dizzying dilemma the huge menu presents. If you do stray from the thali, the xacutti chicken comes highly recommended.
You wouldn’t necessarily picture yourself slurping your way through a bowl of spicy ramen in Goa, but here we are. Roboto brings a slice of Japanese quirk to Calangute that’s equal parts karaoke bar, ramen pit stop and kawaii art gallery. There’s no sushi on the menu, but that need not stop small plate fans from going all-in on Roboto’s smaller dishes. And, there’s much for foodies to foray into. The kobujime – a traditional dish of preserved fish is a bold start that’s probably best paired with gyoza if you’ve delicate palates in your party. Veggies, tuck in to the okonomiyaki – a savoury pancake that hits the umami spot every time. The real star on the menu though is the ramen, in particular, the tonkotsu. Slow-cooked broth that’s been simmering for a good 10 hours, it’s a dish you won’t want to rush.
Orbzii tip: Dishes here won’t immediately flag themselves as vegan, but if you have a chat with the folks at Roboto beforehand, they can whip up some plant-based Japanese goodies for you.
Are you the kind of diner that loves to drop into the first restaurant that catches your eye? Suzies may not be for you. The strict booking policy here doesn’t just mean you casually call up and book a table for two at 8pm. You’ve got to pick out your menu choices too. Not easy when there’s five courses to navigate. Still, props to Suzies for bigging up the no waste vibes. If you do book, you’re in for quite the treat. And while, describing their space as whimsical flies slightly in the face of the pre-booking hoops to jump through, from there on in life’s a breeze. Your alfresco dinner will be a fairy-lit journey through the Goa food seasons.
The menu changes with the crops, fusion cooking brings together the best flavours imaginable and even a dish as simple as chicken and potatoes is elevated to god-tier by some spices – and, potentially, sorcery.
Did we mention the cocktails? Gorgeously crafted drinks add a splash of colour to the tables – even the homemade lemonades come in a variety of hues. And, when you think there are no more ways to praise Suzie’s you clock that, even on a relatively small menu, there are options for vegans and veggies too. Magic.