Hello, Jules here, the local Goa expert for Hippie In Heels. I have been living in Goa for nearly 6 years now and have spent a lot of time exploring all there is to see and do. If you haven’t had the chance to visit Assagao, below are all the reasons why that needs to change!
I would compare the sleepy village of Assagao to the famous towns of London and New York. Partly because of the soaring house prices, both rental and purchases but mainly because of the vibe. Assagao is probably one of the coolest areas in Goa. With a huge abundance of beautiful restaurants and shops, it is the dream place to live and definitely the perfect place to visit.
It is not near a beach which makes it sleepy and a lot less crowded. A different type of tourist to the usual partygoer and day drinker visits Assagao and that’s why it feels so peaceful. There are two main roads that run parallel to each other dotted with lots of large and beautiful Portuguese houses. A lot of these are now home to the shops and restaurants that make Assagao as famous as it is.
Where to stay?
I would suggest staying in Assagao if you want to be away from the beach and the crowds. It is about a 20 minute drive to Anjuna Beach and 25 minutes to Vagator Beach. If you are looking for more of a town stay where you don’t want to travel so far to try different restaurants, Assagao is perfect. But if you do want more of an atmosphere, and to be able to walk to a beach then there are plenty of other places to stay.
Tamarind is a nice hotel on the main road with a cute restaurant – Cafe Cotinga – attached to it. They have a swimming pool and lots of options for rooms. See more.
Botanique is a beautiful spot down an unsuspecting gravel road that leads into the tranquil jungle. With a cool and very instagrammable pool they also have a restaurant attached serving delicious food. See more.
Isprava Villas is a group of Villas set all around Goa with a lot of them located in Assagao. These are usually standalone Villas with private pools. See more.
Where to eat?
Assagao is full of some of the best restaurants in Goa. A lot of them will require reservations for dinner especially during the high season of November – March.
This is a very well-known spot and was one of the favourite restaurants of Rachel – the original founder of Hippie In Heels. They do the most delicious South Indian food both for veg and non-veg. It is always better to dine with a bigger group so you can try as many dishes as possible! Don’t miss the Andra Prawns, Potatoe Ishtew, Prawn Mappas, Spicy Beef and the Appam and Laacha Parathas. Yum!
This place came later than Gunpowder and I would say is a bit of a rival as their cuisine is quite similar yet I think they have more North Indian options. The decor of the restaurant is very cute and they have a lot of cool cocktails on the menu. Don’t miss the Fish Moilee, Broccoli Tandoor, Choriz Pulao and Butter Garlic Prawns.
This is a very cute cafe which looks a bit like a treehouse. Located nextdoor to Jamun this is more of a lunch spot with delicious simple and more home-made style food. I love their Banana Lassi, Fish Burger, Roast Beef Poie and they have amazing milkshakes and smoothies.
This is a bit of a newcomer on the scene but a very welcome one. Serving delicious Lebanese food, which is quite hard to come by in Goa, they have a large menu perfect for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Don’t miss their Mediterranean Thali, Beetroot Falafel Salad, Mockmeat Pasta and the Muhammara is yummm!
A very fancy and exclusive restaurant that definitely needs to be reserved in advance as once you have been given a slot you will need to choose your choices from the set menu. There are different types of menus depending on your preference – Meat, Fish, Veg and potentially Vegan. The spot is small and beautiful, set down a secluded lane that gives you the feel of a real private restaurant. The cocktails are also so delicious and you can watch them being shaken up as they are made just behind you. This place is bit pricey but you definitely get what you pay for.
This restaurant is set in a beautiful Portuguese style house on the main road. A famous brand around Goa, Sublime has been around for a while in different locations but finally seems to have settled in Assagao. The menu is created by the genius that is Chris who has put together some delicious fusions of food. Don’t miss the Taco Platter, Dynamite Shrimp, Indy’s Chicken Salad, Lobster Ravioli and the Vegan Bolognaise.
Stop at Babka for a delicious and proper coffee. It is definitely getting easier to get good coffee in Goa, unlike the old days and Babka is definitely one to try. It feels like the closest thing Goa has to a European coffee shop with their cute outdoor seating area and delicious cakes and sandwiches which can be ordered alongside your coffee.
Not sure why this place is not called Barca but I assume for some copyright reasons they had to add an S. They serve delicious and very authentic Tapas with a large range of imported and very delicious wines. It is a small place and has a more intimate and cosy vibe. Perfect for lunch or dinner. Don’t miss the Gambas Al Ajillo, Patatas Bravas, Choriz con Queso and Croquetas.
One of the originals in Assagao this family run restaurant serves the very traditional and very famous Fish Thali. Vinayak is well known around Goa and is usually full at lunchtimes with everyone needing their fix of thalis and a fresh lime soda. A must try if you are looking for a more local Goan lunch.
This is one of my favourite lunch spots in Assagao and I usually end up going here a few times a week. Situated in what feels like the jungle in a big restaurant tree-house, it is a beautiful spot. Sharing the same menu with Artjuna in Anjuna, it has an Israeli owner with a lot of delicious Israeli dishes on there. Don’t miss the Humshukka, Tuna Sandwich, Avocado and Egg Croissant, Falafel Plate, Smoothie Bowl and my favourite the Coco Turmeric Smoothie.
Another newcomer on the scene this very cute restaurant is set in a Portuguese house in a side lane. The yum South Indian dishes are all served on banana leaves, encouraging you to eat with your hands. The cocktails are delicious and the lemon cheesecake may be the best I have ever tasted. Don’t miss the Daal Vadai, Papad with Chutney, Prawn 65, Aubergine Tamarind Curry and the cutest Parotas.
Where to Shop?
Head to the most beautiful shop in Goa to shop all things Homeware, Ladies Wear and Mens Wear. With products sourced from all around India plus treasures from South Africa, Bali and Australia, it is impossible to not find something you most definitely need to buy. Give yourself enough time to browse the vast collection of beautiful dresses, printed mens shirts and local ceramics.
A great shop full of clothing that is all sustainably sourced and doing it’s best for the environment. Described as Planet Positive clothing, they aim to help save the planet with each sale. Most items are made from Fairtrade organic cotton and all packaging is recyclable material.
There are also a few new shops , some just opened and some yet to open popping up on the main road – Flame Store and Gulabo by Abu Sandeep.
What to do?
Take A Walk/Trek
If you are feeling adventurous then head to The Miraculous Cross which is up a very steep and very long staircase. Along the staircase are names and statues of different saints and the story of Jesus Christ. When you reach the top, most likely out of breath, you get a really beautiful view over the green of Assagao and Vagator and all the way out to sea on a clear day. The church is a very sweet outdoor church with no roof at all and a status of Jesus that looks like he is holding an umbrella. I love this spot and have been meaning to make it up for a sunset one day soon!
Head over to Assagao early and get a good amount of shopping in before lunch at one of the delicious restaurants named above. Give yourself enough time to browse all the goodies Assagao has to offer as I can guarantee you won’t be going home empty handed.
Make sure you are looking out the windows of your car as you drive down the main roads of Assagao to see the beautiful houses lining them. Most of them are resident houses with people living in them but as mentioned above a lot are now the restaurants and shops you may visit. While eating or shopping imagine these large and beautiful spaces being homes!
Assagao Birthing Centre
The Assagao Birthing Centre is not just for people giving birth but is also a sort of community centre where they hold lots of weekly and monthly events. Mainly frequented by residents, tourists are also welcome to join their yoga classes, dance and singing workshops, women’s circles and more. Check here for details.
What Would Jules Do?
My ideal visit to Assagao would be to Babka for a coffee, then over to Rangeela to do some shopping followed by lunch at Mojigao or Tamil Table. Then after eating too much, a trip up the very many stairs to the church at the top with the beautiful view followed by a smoothie at Jackfruit.
Hope you enjoyed my view on Assagao. If you have any other must-dos please let me know in the comments.
For More on Goa
- 75 Unique Things to Do in Goa
- Goa Nightlife: the 6 Most Popular Party Places in Goa
- Should I Go to North or South Goa?
- Where to Stay in Goa
- Goa One Week Itinerary for the Beach Lovers and Foodies
More Beaches & Stays in Goa
For More tips on India
- The 30 Best Places to Visit in India
- How to Dress in India: the Ultimate Dos and Donts
- How to Get a Tourist Visa for India the Easy Way
- My Guide: the BEST Itinerary for India