It always seems I go to the same handful of restaurants over and over because they are convenient and comfortable. But I keep meeting new people who tell me: “this place got a new chef, you have to try it again”, “this place is now the “cool” place to hang” and “this place is owned by someone new, they changed everything!”, which is the way Goa is each season. I went out and tried 5 updated or new restaurants in North Goa to see what the fuss was about, so here we go…
1. L’atelier | Ashwem
The first place to try is in a famous spot, what used to be Yoga Gypsys and I’ve passed it many times wondering what was down the path to Anahata Retreat. The chef is a familiar French man known for great food from his place last year. They keep a small menu with delicate, fresh, sort of Indian-French food, For example fancy chicken breast with gulab jamon.
An open kitchen concept, they have no storage space; they buy what they need fresh each morning. The resort is gorgeous with teepees and huts dotted along the property, each with a view of the beach. We ordered a surprisingly original veg pakora, a warm chicken and pineapple salad, the kingfish with veg, and tuna with rice and pesto. It was a really lovely meal with great views and one I’ll be coming back to!
Overall thoughts: awesome place to stay on the beach, healthy fresh food, and a cool vibe with really nice staff & a patio on stilts over looking the sea was great.
2. Bellissima | Anjuna
I was drawn to check this out for a couple reasons: one they got a new chef from an Italian restaurant, and two because it’s in Laguna Anjuna, a hotspot for backpackers to stay & I tend to mention it as a popular hotel that I haven’t actually seen when readers email me, so was curious to check out the rooms, which by the way were wonderful and fairly priced.
The menu is new in the last two weeks and absolutely delicious. I was happy to hear they plan on staying open through monsoon. I recommend the mushroom soup, caprese salad, and a multitude of starters including the lamb with horseradish and cranberry, and the amazing prawns in butter garlic cream sauce. Seriously tasty prawns! For a main dish they have pizzas, pastas (I tried the cream sauce with ham), risottos, and lamb and beef main dishes. Definitely go for the tiramisu for dessert if you have room. This is a great lunch spot and cool place to hang by the pool, but also has a couple events like Reggae nights and 4-course Italian Sunday brunches priced a 1199 rs- which includes unlimited cocktails.
Overall thoughts: great for backpackers to stay, cool place to hang for lunch, love the reggae nights, and overly impressed with the food- will be eating here a lot in monsoon!
3. Koi | Calangute
Koi is located right behind Snips so is very easy to find but I wouldn’t try to park there as it’s a bit hard to get turned back around in the space. The place hasn’t been open more than a month! I tried a little bit of everything from a mixed platter of dumplings (prawn, pork, chicken, lamb) and a salom/kingfish patty cooked in a leaf that is called “seafood hormok” that was to die for!
You MUST try the prawn tempura, wow! The thai curry was fabulous and they even have a teppanyaki table to cook in front of you (which needs booked two hours in advance). The decoration is beautiful and quite fancy- I think I would consider this place “fine dining” and would be great for date nights.
Overall thoughts: So stoked this place has opened! Everything we tried was tasty but there is so much authentic food on the menu we need to go back and try more.
4. Cotinga | Anjuna
This is located in the popular Tamarind Hotel. Not new by any means, but updated with new desserts and a cool nightlife vibe! Rather than being just known as a hotel, this is becoming the new hotspot in Goa, maybe something to do with the charismatic owner. Every Wednesday they are having a performer come, and this week it was a rapper from Punjab- so cool!
They serve everything from pasta to pizza and curries, but are most known for their North Indian food and mouthwatering desserts. My all time favorites are the chicken tikka and chicken malai tikka in the tandoor, and the cheese garlic naan. The butter garlic prawns are great as well. I tried the mutton seekh kebab and could not believe how good it was or that I’d never had that in India before. My Delhi friends say the butter chicken is the best in Goa is is like home-cooking. For dessert you can’t really go wrong with the 10+ cakes they always have. I LOVE the Oreo cake and the new Red velvet. It’s tough taking food photos with a flash, so I hope you can see clearly enough what was ordered- it looked even better in person!
Overall thoughts: Cool spot to hang at night, and probably the best north Indian food I’ve had in Goa. Great location, they deliver, and have a sweet coffee machine to stop by in the morning before the beach.
5. Eviva | Calangute
This spot just re-opened up in the Azzure hotel. They’d made up a new menu, changed the style to a cool lounge, and have an awesome funk night on Thursday and show movies on Sunday inside the bar on a huge TV. They are actually partners with Waters, which you may know as one of the coolest lounges in Goa.
We ate by a pool overlooking paddy fields which was amazing. The food is priced low, which is rare in Goa, especially this popular area. We went for all chicken for some reason. Chicken strips as a starter with such good BBQ sauce, Ben took some home, and Eviva chicken special main course, as well as a chicken burger. Everything was delicious and even better, affordable. For dessert we each got bebinca with ice cream which is an Indian dessert- very sweet with coconut. Again, this was dinnertime and these were taken with a flash which doesn’t do the food justice!
Overall thoughts: Great, affordable place for families and couples staying in the Calangute areas. You’ll have good food, a pool, and it’s in a nice area. Staff goes above and beyond here.
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