Eating out in Goa can be a science. There is so much choice! As established here, you can indulge yourself in various delicacies all over the state. Now we will shed a bit more light on where you can find those tasty dishes.
North Goa alone is a vast area and you can spend hours and hours driving around and trying new restaurants every day. The variety is stunning, as are the quality of the dishes, its presentation and freshness.
No place is perfect though, there is always some shadow, even with plenty of light. Here are 5 great choices, for eating on a budget, but not compromising on quality and quantity:
5. O’Manuel’O Beach Shack
I usually wouldn’t recommend a beach shack restaurant anywhere in Goa. They mainly lack hygiene, running water and are basically an unpleasant experience. Also forget (in)famous Curlie’s or ‘Shiva Valley’ right next door (near the spot where Scarlett Keeling was murdered 1 year ago). Curlie’s is smelly, with lots of stray dogs, flies, sub-par noisy trance music, below average food, as well as drunken and stoned retired hippies or obnoxious Mumbai tourists. ‘Shiva Valley’ staff will rip you off any chance they get. Manuel’s is different. It’s very small (just 5-6 tables), but you will notice right away that things work here differently.
Location: South Anjuna, just right next to Curlie’s
Must try why: The awesome views (the waves are just meters away)! Also best value for money food in legendary South Anjuna. They offer a selection of 4-5 newspapers to read through (a rarity in Goa restaurants), delicious coffee shake (what Curlie’s was famous for) and affordable Indian cuisine, as well as standard western fare all with great quality and consistency.
Signature Dish(es): Shahi Paneer for Rs 60 (in my view the best Shahi Paneer I tried in Goa), big chunks of fresh cottage cheese in a smooth creamy white sauce with cashew nuts and cream, add Roti; or Fruit Salad with Curd for Rs 40 (fresh strawberries, among grape, pineapple, apple, papaya and else with fresh curd and honey)
To improve: Alcohol prices aren’t in the menu, ask before you order anything
4. Fisherman’s Cove
There are plenty of restaurants in Candolim, but most of them cater to the more wealthy crowd. That means that standard Indian dishes cost already double than anywhere else, yet the quality is just average, or you will sit with lots of package tourists. Overall, I would avoid Candolim for having a good meal any time of day, compared to Anjuna. Fisherman’s Cove is not the place you’d go for its nice atmosphere, after all it’s located directly at the busy main road. It doesn’t make too many things different here, although the staff is extraordinarily friendly and you pay a decent price for a usually good quality and quantity.
Location: Candolim, Main Road
Must try why: Best Bread from Tandoori Oven, eating the Roti or Naan alone will make your mouth watery
Signature Dish(es): Shabnam Chicken – fresh mushrooms and chicken cubes in a white, mild, creamy sauce. Add some Rotis and you will be in foodie heaven. Shalimar Chicken – tender chicken in a spicy, red sauce with onion rings and cashew nuts. Prices around Rs 110-130.
To improve: Breakfast and Lunch, as the whole place is running on a quarter of the staff. You will wait forever for your meal and it’s only half as good.
3. Angara Candolim
I wonder, how this restaurant can sustain it’s very affordable price level. They put a lot of effort in making the patrons feel special and the restaurant appear high-class in a garden-like atmosphere. Yet the prices are below average of other restaurants in Candolim (which is generally a high-price region). It’s located in one of the busiest tourist streets in Candolim, has sublime lounge music in the background and specializes in tandoori- and seafood dishes.
Location: Candolim, Beach Road
Must try why: High-class atmosphere – lampoons hanging in the trees, very attentive staff in red robes, open kitchen with staff in chief’s attire, candle lights and red roses handed out for your female dinner companion
Signature Dish(es): Murgh Tikka Masala, the perfect blend of spices and cream, Chicken and Beef Shashliks for something different
To improve: Limited menu, after just a few times you have tried it all
2. Oasis Restaurant and Bakery
There are plenty of good-value restaurant in and around Anjuna, although most of them lack in my view consistency. That means, their food tastes great today, okay tomorrow and whatever on any other given day; either depending on the weather, the mood of the staff or the color of your T-Shirt. Some of them also open only for a few hours after sunset (e.g. ‘Sublime’). That’s not how it should be. ‘Oasis’ is a very low profile restaurant, that will blow you away only on a second thought. They offer great food for the best value in Anjuna, an attached bakery (with fresh bread, cookies, some cake and pastries). In the evenings, this place bursts of people, they have their own Tandoori oven (for Chicken/Seafood Tikka, Roti, Naan) and it’s centrally located.
Location: Anjuna, near Starco Junction
Must try why: Best overall menu in Goa. Whatever you try, it tastes great and costs next to nothing. The quality is way above average and you can eat until you drop without breaking the bank. Usually low profile background music of the 70’s-90’s.
Signature Dish(es): Israeli Breakfast for Rs 90, various Toast dishes made of fresh bread, cheap Lassies, Milk Coffees, Chai and fresh Fruit Juices,
To improve: Friendliness of staff, they only greet or smile at you, after you visited over several weeks
This 2-storey restaurant is the indisputable #1 in North Goa. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It stands out like a beacon of light for various reasons: Best value for money, consistent great quality, lively and friendly ambiente – everything is there. You can come day or night, rain or shine, the food is simply delicious and the place is almost always brimming with patrons, although it’s not necessary to make advance reservations.
Location: Calangute, near the round-about at the market, left-side on the road to Baga
Must try why: Friendly staff (a rarity in Goa), live music almost every day for dinner, best and consistent quality in town, various daily Specials (like 6 beer for 100 Rs, or 1 for 1 Glass of Wine), attached Pastry Shop
Signature Dish(es): filled Beef Rolado (a Goan Dish), all Chicken/Poultry Dishes, Veal Escallops, gigantic Seafood or Non-Veg Platters
To improve: the Pizza – it’s okay, but nothing to seriously write home about compared to the rest of dishes
What do you think? Did you try any of the above eateries? What are your favorite budget restaurants in North Goa?
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