A few restaurants in both North and South Goa are known for specialising in Goan food.
Goan cuisine is the result of both foreign and native influences. While the state is thronged with tourists who are drawn to the beaches, nightlife and shacks serving fast food, it would be a sin to miss out on eating traditional Goan food when you’re in Goa. A few restaurants in both North and South Goa are known for specialising in Goan food. We recommend five of the best ones.
The five best places for traditional Goan food in Goa:
Located in a remote lane in the sleepy village of Raia in South Goa, Fernando’s Nostalgia is a brightly coloured, tastefully decorated restaurant that specialises in traditional Goan and Portuguese fare. Choose from pomfret cooked with recheado masala, mutton xacuti, chicken cafreal, pork sorpotel or chicken vindaloo. Mop up the Goan curries with sannas or Goan rice cakes. Fernando’s Nostalgia is also one of the very few places in Goa that serve bolo sans rival, a traditional Goan cashew cake that’s rare to find these days.
Location: House No. 608, near Our Lady Of Snow Church, Raia, Goa.
Timings: Tuesday-Sunday, 11am-3pm; 7-11pm.
Cost for two: ₹1,200
Set in an old Indo-Portuguese home, Viva Panjim describes itself as a “family restaurant in a heritage home”. Vintage Portuguese furniture makes up the place, which has both indoor and outdoor seating. The menu includes Goan as well as Chinese food, but we recommend visiting for the former, which includes classics like seafood with recheado masala, prawn curry, chicken cafreal, xacuti, vindaloo, prawn balchao and pork sorpotel. Find bolo sans rival and bebinca on the dessert menu.
Location: House No. 178, Rua 31 de Janeiro, behind Mary Immaculate High School, Fontainhas (quarter), Altinho, Panaji, Goa.
Timings: Daily, noon-4pm; 7-11pm.
Cost for two: ₹1,000
Mum’s Kitchen is aptly named because eating here is like eating a home-cooked meal. The restaurant is passionate about preserving traditional Goan recipes and this is reflected in the food. It has also won many important food awards. Goan and Portuguese specialties like chorizo pao, rissois de camarao (prawn rissois), sopa de camarao (Goan prawn soup), ansache sukhem (a pineapple dish prepared during Hindu festivals), fried chonak (local fish), pamphlet kodi (pomfret curry), chicken xacuti and beef vindaloo make an appearance on the menu.
Location: 854, Martins Building, D. B. Street, Miramar Road, Panaji, Goa.
Timings: Daily, noon-10pm.
Cost for two: ₹2,000
Fat Fish in Arpora is known for bringing together Goan-Portuguese and Hindu Saraswat cuisine. Try the stuffed crab, which comes with onions, tomatoes and spices and is topped with cheese, or the prawns with butter and garlic. There’s also kingfish in recheado masala and Portuguese-style fish. However, the most popular item on the menu is the fish thali, which includes tisreo (clams), crab xacuti, tarle sukha (Goan sardines), vegetables, fish fry, curry of the day and rice.
Location: Calangute-Arpora Road, Agar Vaddo, Khobra Waddo, Arpora, Goa.
Timings: Daily, noon-midnight.
Cost for two: ₹1,100
Located in Betalbatim in South Goa, Martin’s Corner is one of Goa’s most popular shacks. The place offers North Indian, Chinese and Goan cuisine. The Goan section on the menu includes dishes like mackerel recheado, Goan pork sausages, mussels masala rava fry, kismur (dried prawns), shark ambotik, chicken xacuti, pork sorpotel, chicken cafreal and bebinca. Martin’s Corner is so popular that it’s always packed, so it’s best to arrive a little early to be able to grab a table.
Location: 69, Binwaddo, Betalbatim, Goa.
Timings: Daily, 11.30am-4pm; 6.30-11.30pm.
Cost for two: ₹1,500