WHERE WE ATE:
1) Piccola Roma: This much famed Italian Pizzeria and Cafetaria close to Vagator was recommended by many blogs and thus we chose this spot to dine in for our first night. They have a nondescript seating area with dim lights and simple furniture. The walls are adorned end-to-end with a beautiful painting that reminded me of the Garden in Eden. They also have huge wood fired oven at one end and an attractive bar counter at the other. Although their forte is wood-fired pizzas, none of us was in a mood for pizzas and we ordered a fettuccine pasta in pesto sauce. The pasta was well made and had distinct flavors of basil and garlic. However, it was quite oily and if that does not suit one’s taste, it is better to avoid it. The next entrant on our table was their Tiramisu that had us blown away right from the first bite. It had layers of cream cheese and a rich taste of cocoa and coffee. Each bite was a tiny journey through a culinary paradise that left us reaching out for more.
2) Purple Martini near Anjuna Beach: Perched on a cliff overlooking the Arabian Sea, this bar in Anjuna was a pure gem. The view this place offers is arguably one of the best I have ever witnessed. Imagine sipping on your favorite cocktail as you see the mighty waves approach and recede. Another perk of visiting Goa off-season was that we easily scored the outdoor seats that are usually the ones most sought-after. We stuck to simple noodles and quesadillas here and have no complaints at all. The quesadillas were served with a side of freshly prepared guacamole that made each bite even more savory. Although the prices were slightly on the higher side, the humble service, delicious food, and breathtaking view made the entire experience worth it.
3) Artjuna Café: Although we had heard all things good about this place, it turned out be an utter disappointment. The place looked so promising and beautiful with a tiny library and art gallery of sorts, but the food was absolutely disheartening. We ordered a Shashluka (that is supposedly their specialty) and Sandwich and both the dishes seemed to hastily prepared with little to no attention. It was shocking to have such a bad experience at a famous place. It either wasn’t their day or ours.
4) Royal Enfield Garage Café: On our way back from Baga we stopped at this place that was nothing short of paradise for motorcycle enthusiasts. With a lovely laid-back ambience and a tiny museum area, this became the perfect spot for an evening coffee for us. They also rent out motorcycles and curate city tours!
5) Kokni Canteen: This much famed restaurant is home to good old Goan charm and was one of our favorites during this trip owing to its exceptionally polite staff, vibrant yet homely vibes, and authentic Goan food. We ordered Veg Pulav and Veg Uradmethi and were fairly satisfied with both the dishes. Their Vodka based cocktail, Traffic Jaam also fared well with us. However, the star of the evening had to be their stellar dessert, Ceradura. Their menu proclaims it as Goa’s best Ceradura but I am pretty positive that its territory spreads far beyond Goa. This melt-in-mouth pudding is made of heavy cream and vanilla extract and finished off with crushed Marie cookies. The word ‘serradurra’ means Sawdust in Portuguese and hence the dessert derived this name as crushed cookies resemble sawdust.
6) Caravela Café: A warm and cozy place where the host greets you with a warm smile and is enthusiastic about the place and its amazing in-house coffee. He even insisted us to take a mini tour to their coffee roasting machine. We came here for a late brunch and were thoroughly amazed with the quality of food and attention to detail. Their menu has an elaborate segregation of different variants of coffee based on the grading of coffee beans. Their burgers were served with a side of fries and salad and were succulent and filling whereas the pasta could have had more elements to it. The last dish to satiate our palate in Goa was their Nutella and Banana pancakes and what a way was it to end our culinary journey. I could not even wait for a moment to click a decent picture before digging into the tempting stack of those delicious pancakes coated generously with Nutella and topped with aesthetically placed sliced bananas and whipped cream.