Food has always been an essential part of every travel. And even though, it was not the highlight of my recent trip to Panjim, I must confess it only added value to my holiday.
Here are my top six places you must absolutely try in your next visit to Panjim.
If you want some mouth-watering Goan cuisine, there is no better place than Viva Panjim. It is probably the most famous restaurant in the vicinity and it is frequented by the locals alike. The spices are home-made and the dishes are authentic. The Pomfret Recheado is a fine example of both, great home-made spices and absolutely delicious fish! The other dishes to try are Prawn Curry Rice, Kingfish Balchao and Chicken Cafreal.
It is a modest Goan restaurant, so please ensure that you get there well in time to get a table (either inside or a sit out). It is most likely to be crowded even for an early dinner. It is a good place to meet some food lovers. I couldn’t resist meeting Linda, the lady who runs the place, before I left to thank her for one of my best meals in the month.
Cost: 690 INR
P.S> It is not a vegetarian haven. And the desserts aren’t great, except the bebinca
Get the place: It is little tough to find the place. Look out for a 3-feet signboard on the right side of the lane while you’re heading towards Afonso Guest House/Panjim Inn from Tea Cafe/Panjim Church, on 31st January Road.
Hotel Venite felt like home. It is cosy, comfortable, quiet and romantic. It is the kind of a place where you can unwind with a book or ease with company. I like the place so much that I visited it twice! And I’m still in love with it. The little balconies are a special attraction, though the quirky decor complemented them. The food doesn’t disappoint either.
The first day I tried the Kingfish in chilli garlic. Honestly, it wasn’t spicy enough for me but be rest assured that it is quite a meal in itself. It had a great taste of chilli with subtle garlic. It was steamed and served with veggies on the side. On my second visit, I tried the Calamari with veggies on the side. I wasn’t up for a heavy meal on this night and Alex promptly suggested the calamari, which perfectly suited my appetite. This place is known for it’s Chicken Xacuti, so you may want to keep that on your list too.
What I ate: Day 1- Kingfish in chilli garlic and a beer. Day 2- Calamari and 3 beers (hic!)
Cost: Day 1- 540 INR. Day 2- 520 INR
P.S> Once you have given your preferences, trust the staff with their suggestions. They’re extremely warm and friendly, as the owner.
Get the place: Hotel Venite is on a No Entry zone so you will have to take a left from MG Road into 31st January Road, just before you hit the Hindustan fuel station. Once in the lane, it is on the first floor on your left.
It is the uptown bar placed in the heart of the city. I absolutely loved the wooden decor with well-placed televisions and the bar with some of the finest liquor on display. Mojo has a different theme every night so you might want to plan accordingly. I went on the country-rock night and absolutely loved the music.
I didn’t quite eat here except the Nachos which complemented the beers quite well. Their cocktails are quite nice and do try them if you’re up for a long night.
What I ate: Nachos with 3 beers
Cost: 350 INR
P.S> Mojo has something called the Mojo Card which enables you to put in money and swipe it whenever you make a purchase. Since I was there only for a few days, it didn’t make sense for me to get it. However, you may want to use it if you’re there for longer.
Get the place: Too many ways to reach. If you’re heading from 18th June road, get on Swami Vivekananda and take the first right to see Cafe Mojo on the right.
Aunty Maria Bakery, Hotel Fidalgo
This place needs absolutely no introduction. Aunty maria is known for her home baked desserts, cakes and breads. It is also open 24 hours, so you can walk in post a late night outing.
My favourite? The Tiramisu. Mango Cheesecake was brilliant and so was the Blackforest pastry. The desserts are highly recommended over the quick bites. Choose anything and you will not be disappointed!
What I ate: Goan Vegetable Chop and fresh Sweet Lime juice (in my most recent trip)
Cost: 215 INR
P.S> Keep their seasonal dessert on your priority list
Get the place: Ask anyone for Hotel Fidalgo or Aunty Maria!
Cafe Al Fresco, Sunaparanta Goa Centre of the Arts
The idea of having a cafe within at arts centre is great. What makes this place ideal is that fact that is quiet and let’s you catch up with friends or just spend hours reading. Or may be, it is just their melt in the mouth red velvet cupcakes!
I have a little story to share here:
I had placed my order and went back to writing. In a few minutes, someone served me with two mini cupcakes. I told them I hadn’t ordered those and they said, ‘Ma’am, while you wait for your pancakes, please try these from us.’ I was delightfully surprised! I was eying those cupcakes for my dessert, but here they were complimentary!
The pancakes came soon after and I downed two juices. The pancakes were soft, fresh and the choco-chips melted in their warmth. The cafe is also known for their Salmon Sandwiches and Paninis. I would definitely recommend any of the desserts and a must-try red velvet cupcake. They are delicious!
Cost: 400 INR
P.S> This is one the very few places in Panjim that has free wi-fi, so go exploit!
Get the place: It’s easily located in the quiet locality of Altinho and all you need to do is feed in ‘Sunaparanta’ on your Google Maps.
Verandah, Panjim Inn
Panjim Inn is a heritage hotel with great hospitality. It is one of the very few places that will serve you a late lunch. If you’re hungry post 1500hours, you can always drop by at the Verandah.
The food is scrumptious and fresh. Their vegetarian dishes are as good as their non-vegetarian. The fried fish is basic yet not oily. I loved the Fish Curry Rice. It was comforting after my first dive and the aroma still haunts me. The caramel custard was a perfect end to the meal.
Cost: 540 INR
P.S> It’s a good idea to confirm the portion size with them before you order. Their portion sizes are quite big!
Get the place: On 31st January Road, opposite Gitanjali Art Gallery and next to Velha Goa Galleria.
Things to keep in mind:
-Most of the restaurants in Panjim are strict about their working hours. You might want to check with them prior in the day because there’s definitely nothing called a ‘late lunch’.
-Do remember to ask the size of the fish. The bigger the fish, the higher the cost. If you don’t cross-check while placing the order, they naturally assume you want the biggest one.
~Have you read about my recent solo trip to Panjim yet?