Fort Tiracol
Ashtanga Yoga
Piccola Roma
Ozran Beach
Miraculous Cross
Souza Lobo
Literati Bookshop
Paper Boat Collective
On The Go
Museum of Goa
House of Lloyds
Bhatti Village
Naik Bar and Resturant
Reis Magos Fort
Black Sheep Bistro
Velha Goa Galeria
Ritz Classic
Old Latin Quarter (Fontainhas)
Sunaparanta Art Center (Cafe Bodega)
Lawrence Bakery
ARTJUNA (Region: Anjuna)
What is it? Artjuna is a garden café and lifestyle shop that keeps Anjuna’s hippie heart alive and kicking. Run by Moshe Inbar and his wife, Anastasia, it is located en route to the Wednesday Flea Market in Monteiro Vaddo and is a meeting ground for the bohemian community. The contemporary space even has a covered workshop area, kids’ playground with a sandbox and a beautiful tree house, and an event space. Their billboard is a great resource to find out what’s happening around town. 
The shop began as a workshop where Moshe and Anastasia made and displayed their leather bags and jewellery designs. It has now grown into a fusion fashion hub selling clothes, jewellery, and more. Although most of the items are hand-made and one-of-a-kind, the prices are reasonable. 
The café, with its wholesome vegetarian menu, is buzzing all day with the sounds of smoothies and detox juices being made. You can stop by for breakfasts that include Muesli Bowls made with organic ingredients, Vegan Waffles, or a Pesto Omelette. Among the appetisers and mains on the Mediterranean menu are delicious Hummus, Falafel, and Baba Ganoush with freshly made pita bread. The coffee served here is made in an Italian machine with beans sourced from Coorg. It’s a match made in heaven! 
What makes it special? It’s not just the delicious food and unique handicrafts on sale – Artjuna offers something for anyone attracted to the spirit of Anjuna, regardless of your age. You can attend daily yoga classes (or try kickboxing or Muay Thai), watch a film, listen to eclectic live music, or make a pit stop to pick some good Anjuna vibes, all while accessing free Wi-Fi.
Artjuna, House no 972, Monteiro Vaddo, Anjuna. Phone: +91 832 2274794 
ASHTANGA YOGA GOA (Region: Anjuna)
What is it? The Ashtanga Yoga Goa centre is, as the name implies, a centre that focuses on the practice of Ashtanga yoga alone. Heidi Ruokoniemi, a native of Finland, is a certified Ashtanga instructor and the founder of the Ashtanga Yoga Goa centre in Anjuna.  Ashtanga is an ancient form of yoga, popularised by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, who started an institute in Mysore. Ashtanga means eight limbs or branches and the physical asanas are only one branch of the eight, while pranayama or breathing is another. Pattabhi Jois encouraged the start of yoga practice from asanas because they prepare the body and mind for more subtle aspects of yoga. Over time, Ashtanga yoga makes you calmer and helps you realise your true self. The classes at Ashtanga Yoga Goa are small, with only around 10 students per class, so that Heidi and visiting teacher can give each one personal guidance. You have to sign up for a minimum of one week of classes, which are held at 6.30 a.m. and 8.30 a.m. (drop-ins are not allowed). There are also afternoon gatherings twice a week to deepen the understanding of the practice with chanting and yoga sutras. Students of all levels and ages are welcome, with the youngest bring in their early 20s and the oldest in their 70s. 

What makes it special?
Heidi is certified by the Pattabhi Jois institute in Mysore and is a Level Two experienced instructor trained by her guru Sri Sharath Jois, the grandson of Pattabhi Jois. She taught yoga in Helsinki for several years before starting the centre in Goa with her Indian husband. Ashtanga Yoga Goa Center, Near Mango Tree restaurant, 495/2 Vagator Beach Road, Coutinho Vaddo, Chapora, Goa. Ph 77604 00111.
Baga-Anjuna Walk (Region: Baga)
What is it? Beyond the beaches and bars lies a secret – Goa’s hidden paths that criss-cross its grassy patches, rolling hills, backwaters, waterfalls, and rivers. You may catch the sparkle of the Arabian Sea through the trees or beyond a cliff, but there is a thrill to the easy treks of Goa that rival surfing the tides. 
If it’s your first time, try this easy, faceted walk that starts from Baga and winds up in Anjuna. This trek will take you through jungles and over a few hills that will give you a bird’s eye view of the sea and the delight of finding secret beaches and secluded cliffs. Winding pathways take you across barren plateaus and through some privately-owned land, but you’ll be able to find the gravel paths that are the old public walkways probably forged by generations of people on foot.  
It’s an easy two-hour trek, but wear trekking shoes, because the gravel paths can be treacherous. Carry water, sunscreen, and basic first aid. Keep an eye out for snakes (let them pass, they’ll mostly ignore you), and avoid trekking in the monsoons – it’s slippery. If it’s your first time on the trail, go with a seasoned trekker, because the way is not well marked, and you don’t want to get lost. 

What makes it special?
Be prepared to say a friendly hello to the few tourists in on this secret exploring the trails like you. The paths are beautiful and offer incredible views, which is why some places are well known as romantic spots to propose marriage. Adrenaline, adventure, and maybe l’amour! What’s not to love?   To start, follow the pathway leading uphill at the end of the road adjacent to Rasa Restaurant on the Baga River Road.
BHATTI VILLAGE (Region: Candolim)
What is it? Bhatti Village is a quaint and cosy tavern where you can find authentic Catholic Goan food in north Goa. Consistent favourites include the tiny Indian anchovies (motiyali), Kokum Pork (amsol), Dry Prawn Curry (samarachi kodi), Baby Shrimp Chilly Fry (galmo), Fresh Sanaa (an idli-like, mildly sweet fermented bread), Ox Tongue, and Portuguese Sawdust Pudding (Serradura). Wash these down with some urrak or feni with lemon soda, and you get a taste of real Goa. Much like at other Catholic Goan restaurants, there isn’t much available here for vegetarians. But if your meat-loving friends drag you along, they can whip something up for you – just ask. 
To get to Bhatti Village, take a left at the main Nerul crossroad when coming from Candolim a couple of hundred yards after Nerul Bridge, and go down the road until you see a lit archway on your left. They are only open for dinner, there isn’t much parking, and you must make a reservation – but it’s worth the effort. Also make sure to carry cash, because it’s the only form of payment they accept. Some find the prices high, but for others, you can’t put a price on flavours like these. 

What makes it special?
Bhatti Village is warm and welcoming. The owner, Patrick, greets you himself and tells you what the day’s specials are. Save for two tables in the front yard, the restaurant is indoors, with mismatched cutlery and an informal atmosphere that makes you feel like you’re eating in someone’s home. The quirky mementos displayed – think large old wine barrels – are reminiscent of a bygone era.
Bhatti Village, Bhatti Vaddo, Nerul. Phone: +91 98221 84103
Bomra’s (Region: Candolim)
What is it?  When Asian restaurant Bomra first opened in Candolim, it was a sleepy, slightly posh part of the tourist strip unlike the neon-lit, noisy place it is today. But step inside and be reassured that Bomra has gone from strength to strength and is easily one of the best restaurants in India.
Bawmra Jap is well travelled, passionate, and a genius with flavour and texture. His eponymous restaurant may have accents of Burmese cuisine, but his menu is a tantalising, inspiring trek for your taste buds across both, the culinary traditions and innovations of the Far East. 
His staples – crackling pork salad with pomelo and pomegranate, the spicy tuna larb, the homemade Shan tofu – are what turn patrons into pilgrims who return time after time. His more recent additions, the Pickled Tea-leaf salad, Slow Cooked Pork Belly with a Cashew Nut Crust, and Lemongrass and Ginger Crème Brulee are inventive, intriguing, and satisfying. The cocktails at Bomra are as exciting – in addition to the Lychee Martini or Pomegranate Margarita, the restaurant used to have a cracker Tamarind Martini and a host of other surprises. 
There’s a relaxed vibe to the open air, elegant design of the place with its large handmade paper lamps, natural wooden furniture, and bamboo walls. 

What makes it special?  The food is like nothing you’ll ever have encountered before. Bawmra himself is often in the kitchen, and while he’s a celebrity in his own right, you may even be seated next to some of his famous fans amongst whom he counts some of Hollywood and Bollywood’s brightest. 
Be sure to make a reservation, or you may get turned away.
Bomra, 247 Fort Aguada Road, Candolim, Goa. Phone: +91 97675 91056.
FORT TIRACOL (Region: Morjim)
What is it? Fort Tiracol is a charming heritage property on Goa's northern border with Maharashtra that offers secluded, gorgeous views, a slice of history, and delicious food in its restaurant. Sometimes spelt as Terekhol Fort, its highlight is undoubtedly the unobstructed views of the sea, Keri Beach, and the river. It’s also culturally rich, with a charming chapel on the grounds that opens its doors to the local village folk on Sunday mornings. 
Although Fort Tiracol is a hotel, you don’t have to be a guest to savour in a meal at its restaurant. You can enjoy a long drive along the northern coast to dine at Tavern, which has arguably the best view to accompany a meal in Goa. The small restaurant offers a delicious mix of international, Goan, and Indian specials. The kitchen is happy to customise a meal for vegetarians.  
Fort Tiracol is not for those who want to party, but it’s just right for those who want to get a break from a busy, urban lifestyle. Take a walk behind the fort or a ferry ride to Keri Beach nearby. You may have to cross the border to Maharashtra if you’re driving to the fort, but don’t worry; you are still technically in Goa. 

What makes it special? Fort Tiracol is not just about the stunning views and beautiful property – it has a rich history as well. Built by the Maharaja of Sawantwadi in the 17th century and captured by the Portuguese in 1746, Fort Tiracol became an essential part of Portuguese maritime defences until 1961 when Goa was forcibly annexed by India. It originally had 12 guns, a barrack, and a chapel and has received quite the makeover now, courtesy of Goa Tourism and the property’s manager, Rainer Stoll.
Fort Tiracol Heritage Hotel, Terekhol Village, Pernem, Goa. Telephone: +91 77200 56795/96
Gusto (Region: Candolim)
What is it? Gusto is a delightful garden café specialising in a Mediterranean and Kashmiri menu after the specialities of the couple who own it, Jennifer and Bilal Dar. The café moved from its long-time home on the busy Calangute-Candolim road to the iconic Literati bookstore grounds in a by-lane nearby.  The new location is greener and more spacious, with large orange umbrellas shading tables from the sun. Jennifer and Bilal take pride in both their authentic food and make sure their service staff know the origin of each of the dishes. One must-try classic is the Mezze Platter with houmous, aubergine dip, tzatziki, harissa, pickled vegetables, sun-dried tomatoes, and Piri piri olives with a selection of homemade bread. But they also have wonderful mains like the Seared Yellow Fin Tuna, Ratatouille, Israeli Chicken, and Badam Korma on the Kashmiri Wazwaan menu. They even have a vegetarian Wazwaan menu with Mushroom Yakkhni that goes wonderfully with a Kahwa. There are many options to recommend in the dessert menu like the Panna Cotta or the Kashmiri ‘Kong Firin’ semolina pudding, as well as a range of cocktails and wines to accompany your meal, so you’ll always find something new to try when you come here. There is also an excellent deli with artisanal products and baked goods that you can take away, such as muesli, fine coffees, teas, chocolates, and cheeses. 

What makes it special?
You can even pair a movie or live music show with your dinner at Gusto. Literati hosts movie night every Thursday evening, and Gusto offers a fixed price menu to go with it. Local singer-songwriters like Natalie Matos, Daniel Lawrence, and Noel Clinton perform here on Sunday, making for a delightful evening meal. Gusto, at Literati Bookstore, Opposite Old Tarcar Ice Factory, Gaura Vaddo, Calangute. Phone: +91 777 400 6200. 
Habanero (Region: Baga)
What is it?  Habanero, Baga is the fourth in a chain of Tex-Mex restaurants across the country (the others are in Bangalore, Chennai, and Hyderabad). It also houses North Goa’s first microbrewery – launched only this year – and you can pick from options such as an India Pale Ale, a vanilla porter, or a mango wheat beer in addition to spirits. 
Tex-Mex is a cuisine that comes from Texas’s Tejano culture – the food of people with Spanish or Mexican heritage who live in that state. The popularity of the cuisine in India – think nachos, quesadillas, fajitas, burritos, guacamole – may come from the fun format of the food and the abundant use of cumin and chilli powder that appeals to the Indian palate. You’ll find all of the above at Habanero, with generous portions and fresh flavours. Try the Macho Nachos (available in mini or macho sizes), smokey, sweet chicken wings served with a cool ranch dressing, or the fajitas, made of soft, delicious tortillas. Habanero will also let you customise your meal with all the ingredients you love. Save some space, because there’s Churros Con Chocolate for dessert. 

What makes it special? 
Being at Habanero feels like being in a big party. The bar is lively and peopled with a mix of tourists and locals sampling the extensive collection of signature cocktails as well as the beers, wines, and whiskeys. If you’re in a group, check out the giant margarita pitcher that is served in what looks like a massive fish bowl! 
The Milky Way Road, Opp. Baga Deck, Khobra Vaddo, Baga. Phone: +91 95039 77700. 
p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px 'Times New Roman'; color: #000000} p.p2 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px 'Times New Roman'; color: #000000; min-height: 15.0px} span.s1 {text-decoration: underline} What is it? Goa’s Indo-Portuguese heritage dates back to a 450-year period of Portuguese colonial rule, reflected in places like the Fontainhas area of Panjim, which is the oldest Latin Quarter in the capital city. Fontainhas translates to Fountain of the Phoenix and gets its name from the natural spring at the bottom of the Altinho Hill. 
Walk down the colourful lanes of Fontainhas where the buildings are a rainbow of hues – bright yellow, deep red, emerald green, vivid blue. Glimpses of Portugal are visible in details such as rooster figurines – a symbol of the country – above some houses. Along the winding maze of Fontainhas, you can find a bright red well, also with roosters on it, that’s said to be a wishing well. The Hanuman temple at Mala marks the end of this beautiful and heritage-filled Latin Quarter of Goa.
If you’re looking to take a slice of Goa back with you, stop by Gallery Gitanjali at Panjim Inn for their art collection, and Marcou Artifacts and Velha Goa Galeria for beautiful souvenirs and collectables. 

What makes it special?
Fontainhas is a world heritage site, and not many people know about the history that this place holds. There are groups like Make It Happen and Goa Heritage Action Group that organise guided walks that educate and provide a lot of insider tips that make for an interesting experience. But if you want to go it alone, start near the General Post Office and walk towards the small church of San Tome. Then look for the 31st January Bakery, the chapel of San Sebastian, Panjim Inn, Fundacao Orient, and Gallery Gitanjali. 
Walking Tours of Fontainhas: / Phone: +91 97419 11408. / Phone: +91 97649 72646
HOUSE OF LLOYD’S (Region: Candolim)
What is it? House of Lloyd’s is a restaurant that, as the name suggests, is located in its owner Lloyd’s house – outdoors, alongside the garden – in the village of Saipem. Lloyd, his wife Nerissa, and their team serve a menu that’s filled with specials such as Pork Chops and Steak and fantastic cocktails such as Raw Mango Margaritas and Watermelon Mojitos. Other dishes that come highly recommended are the Fried Crispy Sardines, Steamed Mustard Snapper, and Crab with Ricotta Cheese. Although there are fewer vegetarian options, you can customize your meal – ask for the Mango Avocado Salad minus the crab for a delicious dish. 
House of Lloyd’s Sunday brunches make for a perfect lazy weekend afternoon. It doesn’t get much better than live music, great food, refreshing drinks, and a relaxing atmosphere. If you’re planning a romantic evening date, call ahead and make a reservation to guarantee a table.

What makes it special?
Lloyd became famous for serving some of the best Goan barbeque and home cooking out of a much smaller roadside eatery on the main road in Calangute. His food is so good that he outgrew the tiny space and moved his restaurant into a larger space in his ancestral home.
House of Lloyds, near Candolim Church, Saipem. Phone: +91 9823032273. 
LAWRENCE BAKERY (Region: Porvorim)
What is it?  Pao (the Portuguese word for bread) is a big part of daily life in Goa. It goes down wonderfully with any curry and with any meal. In Succuro, a village near Porvorim, bread-lovers flock to Laurence Bakery, founded by Bernard Rodrigues in 1987 and handed from father to son 20 years later. Now Laurence Rodrigues toils near the high-temperature ovens all year round making breads of all kind in addition to pao and poie, its rounder, flatter cousin with more wheat: Katricho Pão (butterfly-shaped paos), poxiea (round buns), kankda (bangle-shaped bread), shawarma bread, burger bread, dinner rolls, chutney bread, and fruit buns. 
Laurence Bakery also customises bread for special orders. They churn out 1,500 pieces of bread daily, all without any preservatives. The dough is tirelessly mixed, rolled into shape, and baked in batches early in the morning. The bakery is open from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. and then again from 2.30 p.m. to 9 p.m. 

What makes it special? Goa is full of bakeries, but Laurence maintains his loyal clientele and superior quality by following the traditional methods he learned from his father rather than depending on imported labour as some other bakeries do. Despite not using preservatives, his bread has been said to last for up to three days. He toils all day, every day, all year round, and looks forward to the day his children can take over for him. 
Lawrence Bakery, Near St Sebastian Chapel, Vaddem, Socorro. Phone: +91 98221 50243. 

Literati Bookshop and Cafe (Region: Calangute)
What is it? Literati Bookshop should be your go-to destination if you’re looking to pick up a book to complement your holiday. Located in a bylane off the busy main road in Calangute, Literati is housed in a large villa with a beautiful garden and outdoor cafe. It’s peaceful and serene amidst the chaos of Calangute. 
Literati has one of best collections in fiction, poetry, drama, autobiographies, and more in the area, so you’re sure to find something you will love. The team can recommend books from their collection based on your preferences. Time slows down at Literati, where you can enjoy your book while sipping on tea or coffee (or even wine or beer) in the cafe. If you want to stay a while longer, the cafe also serves breakfast and lunch.
Literati has been featured in the book Footnotes from the World’s Greatest Bookstores alongside bookstores in New York City, Buenos Aires, and Paris. It was also awarded the Bookstore of the Year award by Publishing Next in 2014.

What makes it special?
They also host events such readings by authors, book club discussions, movie nights, and an annual market benefit for their mobile children’s library called Bebook. But it’s the collection of antiquarian books for sale that sets Literati apart from bookstores across the country. You can find hardcover editions of classics such as Charles Dickens’s Great Expectations, Maurice Herzog’s Annapurna, and William Shakespeare’s Julius Caeser in good condition and reasonably priced.
Literati Bookshop, E/1-282, Gaura Vaddo, Calangute, Goa, (in the lane opposite Queen B, next to ABC farms). Phone: +91 74474 37768. Closed on Sundays. The cafe is open during the season from October to March.

MARACAS (Region: Sangolda)
What is it? Quite possibly the best restaurant in the Porvorim area, Maracas is a stylish yet informal neighbourhood bistro with a steadily growing cult following of locals and tourists alike. Owner Ralph Pinto and Chef Sanjeev Mulchandani make a formidable duo, supported by their team of genial and well-informed service staff. They regularly add new dishes added to an already diverse menu that has healthy options such as Asian Lettuce Wraps. But if you’re feeling indulgent, the Baked Brie served with mini toasts and Monaco biscuits is highly recommended. For mains, the Pulled Pork Burger, Pumpkin Agnolotti with burnt butter shine on a menu full of exceptional dishes. 
There’s plenty for meat lovers and vegetarians alike, and the food is well-priced. Regulars repeatedly return for their favourite dishes, and several swear by the cocktails like the Kokum Spritzer and desserts like Serradura, the Portuguese descended biscuit-crumb topped pudding.  

What makes it special?
Maracas is a delight to all your senses. The restaurant looks inviting with its distressed peach walls and colourful signage. ‘Maracas’ are Latin American percussion instruments, and the eclectic music played at the restaurant gives it a relaxed, comfortable vibe. There’s an outdoor area with a small pond and an indoor air-conditioned space with a long bar. The exteriors are unassuming, making for a pleasant surprise and memorable experience once you step in. 
Maracas, NH 17, Porvorim, Goa. Phone: +91 88055 86728
Marbela beach resort (Region: Morjim)
What is it? Marbela Beach Resort has a spacious al fresco restaurant flanked with white lounge furniture that boasts a mix of great cuisines. From France to Thailand, Hungary to Mexico, and everything in between, the food at Marbela is truly from across the globe. Walk in for a quick drink and appetiser, and you might end up finding yourself leaving hours later. 
The Papa & Me salad is a nice blend of papaya, sprouts, nuts, and chillies, while the Chargrilled King Prawns go well with nice, chilled beer. The menu includes dishes such as Chicken Wings with the house-special sauce, panko-coated Chicken Strips, and bruschetta that comes with an assortment of toppings: chicken tikka, barbecue chicken, creamy chicken and pesto, garden-fresh tomatoes, and sautéed mushrooms.
Marbela is frequented by a horde of celebrities and hosts renowned Indian and international DJs at its famous white-themed parties. They have a dedicated dance floor and a wading pool, making it a special place to party by the beach.

What makes it special? Although Marbela is better-known for its parties, its best-kept secret is that it’s also an excellent spot for a quiet beer on the beach during the day. Watch the sunset at Marbela while resting in the pristine white tee-pees and tented beach beds. They have a spa as well, so you can get a relaxing massage while you’re spending the afternoon on the beach, and don’t forget to visit their designer boutiques for some chic beachwear retail therapy. 
Marbela Beach Resort, H. No. 782, Morjim-Ashwem Road, Gawde Wada, Morjim, Goa 403512. Phone: +91 832 645 0599
Mario Miranda Gallery (Region: Calangute)
What is it? Goa’s most recognised and prolific artist, Mario de Miranda, was from the village Loutolim in south Goa. The Mario Miranda Galleries, located at Panjim, Margao, Porvorim, Calangute, and Carmona, feature his entire collection of artworks. Miranda made his mark not only in India but around the world, and he was the recipient of many national and international honours.
Miranda never formally studied art. He began to draw when he was a child, and in 1953 he became a cartoonist for the Times of India Group. He was a great observer of people going about their daily lives, and all of his art is based on human behaviour. His illustrations depict scenes are varied as family gatherings, a couple quarrelling on the streets, and weddings. With his undeniable talent, Miranda immortalised the Goa of yesteryear. His cartoons also feature the beautiful old buildings and colonial style architecture that Goa is famous for.  
You can buy reproductions of his artworks at the galleries in various forms – books, collectable cards, postcards, bottle openers, fridge magnets, coasters, cushion covers, badges, lamp shades, crockery, t-shirts, bags, and more. 

What makes it special? Miranda’s art is world-renowned for its honesty, humour, and distinctive caricature style. But he has lesser-known, gorgeous artworks such as the Monte-Loutolim, Church in Macau, and Serenade, which showcase his talent and diversity in style. The Mario Miranda Gallery is one of the best places for anyone who would like to carry away a piece of Goa with them, whether on a curio or a priceless original available for sale.
Mario Miranda Gallery, H. No. 674, Near Nisha's Play School, Torda, Salvador do Mundo, Penha de Franca, Goa. Phone: +91 832 241 0711.
What is it? This Miraculous Cross is at the top of a 309-step climb, offering breath-taking valley views of Anjuna for those who make the trip. You can see far and wide from the top – Vagator, the ancient Chapora Fort, the Arabian Sea on your left; Soilim Hill, Assagao, North Mapusa on the right.
The climb to the Cross is dotted with Stations of the Cross, a 14-step devotion commemorating and focusing on events during Christ’s last day on Earth as a man. There are also beautiful murals on the walls along the climb. Once you’ve made your way to the top, you can rest a while in the open-air amphitheatre. Offer a prayer in solitude at the little capelina (chapel) built in 1929. The faithful believe your wish will be granted. It is busier here during the season of Lent, particularly on Good Friday and Easter. From 1999, the local Catholics began to celebrate the feast of the Holy Cross on the hill, which is known as “Milagrincho Khuris – Vatt” (The Miraculous Cross – The Way). The feast is always celebrated on the second Monday of January at 4:30 p.m.
To get there, go past the Saturday Night Market and Tito’s Whitehouse on the main road in Arpora and turn right at the four-road intersection that marks the beginning of Anjuna. Look for an arched sign on the right around 300 metres down the road, and begin your climb. Try to avoid going in the early afternoons and after sunset, because it can get hot and secluded at those times. 

What makes it special?
The Miraculous Cross is what you’d least expect to find in Anjuna. It’s a hidden gem in an area of Goa more famous for its hippies and parties than devotion.
The Miraculous Cross, Anjuna-Assagao Road, Anjuna. 
Museum of Goa (Region: Calangute)
What is it?  Art today is a medium of communication in modern life. The Museum of Goa – or MOG, as it’s known by patrons and fans – was set up by Subodh Kerkar, a celebrated Goan installation artist. ‘Mog’ translated literally is ‘love’ in Konkani, and the museum was created to bring the love of art to everyone. It is an inclusive space meant to generate ideas and discussion via painting, sculpture, photography, design, video, poetry, theatre, and more.  In the couple of years since it was founded, MOG has grown to host events, workshops, lectures, and live performances. Spread over three storeys designed by the architect Dean D’Cruz, the space looks out on the Pilerne Industrial Estate on one side and a deep forest on the other. In addition to the galleries, there is also an art store, café, an auditorium and studios. The theme of art as communication is first noticeable in the indigo blue sculptures that double up as direction signage within the museum. There’s something new each time you visit, and you’ll pick up nuggets of Goan history as well as glimpses of modern art. Many of the installations are interactive, making it an immersive experience.  

What makes it special?
On Sundays, prominent local thinkers and personalities give talks related to their areas of expertise. You can wander through the galleries at leisure and visit the gift shop that retails Subodh Kerkar’s photography in the form of postcards and other merchandise or enjoy a snack and beverage at the lovely café.  Museum of Goa, 79, Pilerne Industrial Estate, Pilerne, Bardez, Goa, 403511. Phone: +91 77220 89666

Mustard (Region: Sangolda)
What is it? Mustard, one of Goa’s finest restaurants, serves up an array of traditional Bengali delights along with European culinary masterpieces. What connects this eclectic combination of cuisines? Mustard – the condiment found extensively in both. 
Mustard is the brainchild of Poonam Singh and Shilpa Sharma, who transformed their passion for food into this heart-warming culinary venture. Pritha Sen, a renowned chef and food historian, has curated the Bengali menu to uncover its rich heritage and secrets, while Frenchman Gregory Bazire has wrought his expertise to create a European menu. The execution of their combined vision is through two separate kitchens and chefs who are highly specialised chefs in their fields. 
The Bengali menu offers dishes such as Dal Puri, Machher Chop (potato chop stuffed with spiced fish), Rui Maacher Shorshay Jhaal (Rohu, a freshwater fish cooked in a mustard gravy), and Bhapa Doi (steamed yoghurt). From their European specialities, you must dive into Cucumber Latte Soup, the Dijon-stuffed Chicken Breast, and Pork Medallions (served with sweet potato mash and runner bean fricassee). For vegetarians, Mustard has a wide selection including Kaanchkolar Kopta (spiced green banana croquettes slow cooked in a rich sauce) and Pesto Arancini (fried risotto balls in cheesy mozzarella sauce). 

What makes it special? Sharing space with the designer home store Freedom Tree, Mustard is set in a refurbished colonial Portuguese house. You can eat indoors – amidst pastel blue and white walls and charming chandeliers – or outdoors in a lush, quiet garden. As part of their earth-friendly commitment, they grow their own microgreens and bake bread in-house, which you can also buy for your home. 
78, Mae de Deus Road Vaddo, Chogm Road, Sangolda. Phone: +91 98925 12435
NAIK BAR (Region: Nerul)
What is it? Naik Family Restaurant and Bar is a simple, reasonably-priced restaurant in Nerul that offers authentic Goan fare. It was started by Ratnakar Naik’s father in 1984 and has grown over the years to a two-floor space. Today, it stands out to passersby with its bold red façade, and although the interiors are simple, you won’t care once you taste the home-made masalas, fish thalis, and Goan bhajis
The village of Nerul runs alongside the Mandovi river and also has its own Coco Beach, so fresh seafood is always on hand. Ratnakar Naik picks his fresh catch of fish and shellfish from the Betim jetty nearby or Panjim market. His customers’ favourites are Butter Chicken, Crab Xacuti, and Chicken Kadai, but he proudly claims that everything you order is excellent. Goans love the fish thali served at lunchtime, but you should also try the Indian, Chinese, and Tandoor classics. 
Naik’s follows the Hindu Goan cuisine, so while the restaurant doesn’t serve pork and beef, it has a variety of vegetarian options in addition to the chicken and seafood dishes. At Naik’s, there is a different vegetarian bhaji available every day, either from masoor dal, brinjal, or bhindi

What makes it special? 
The simple, home-style cooking and no-frills ambience give you a sense of Goan village culture. Ratnakar Naik is friendly and happy to engage in a conversation. And best of all, its inexpensive without compromising on taste and quality. 
Naik Family Restaurant and Bar, Verem-Nerul Road, Nerul, Goa. Phone: +91 98221 36778
ON THE GO (Region: Sangolda)
What is it? On The Go is a Peruvian café, but you won’t be able to tell at first glance. The sign outside is universally contemporary, and ambience inside is that of a modern café. You will discover its Peruvian influences in the desserts, meals, and a conversation with the sociable owner Marco Crisanto, who ran a tea-house in his hometown of Lima before moving to Goa some years ago. 
Marco is the one-man army behind On The Go, which ensures consistent, high-quality food, drinks, and service. Tell him your preferences, and he will do the rest, suggesting what you should try that day and blending his special iced tea with fresh fruit just how you’ll like it. His partner, Mona Nolavalia, is the genius behind the addictive dessert counter and has her own brand of speciality desserts called Mona’s Pantry. 
On The Go is centrally located just off Chogm Road in Porvorim, making it the perfect stop to grab a quick bite or have a business meeting in. 

What makes it special?
It’s hard to find a good, authentic Peruvian restaurant in most places in India, but On The Go provides the perfect experience. You don’t have to travel across the world for a taste of Peru – Marco has brought the flavours of his home country right to our doorstep. The savoury dishes are fresh and flavourful, but it’s the Espiro Limeno – or the Sigh of Peru – that is true to its name with the caramel Dulce de Leche flavour that’s rich from hours of churning. 
On the Go, Shop No 2, Ground Floor, Project Sapana Sagar, Chogm Rd, Porvorim, Goa. Phone: +91 70289 24234 
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Ozran Beach (Region: Vagator)
What is it? There are around seven little pathways that start at Anjuna and end up on the picturesque side of Vagator, behind the hills. This area is called Ozran, or Little Vagator Beach, with a unique way to get to the beach – you have to go down a cliffside! Don’t worry; there are steps leading you there, so you don’t have to get your trekking gear out.  There are many world-class restaurants along the cliffside overlooking the striking view. The most iconic of them all is Greek restaurant and bar Thalassa, known for its gyros and live entertainment. In fact, it’s so popular that there’s almost a whole lane of street stalls catering to those who don’t get a seat inside when it’s full (which is quite often). There is also Antares next door, owned by Masterchef Australia contestant Sarah Todd, Moonlight for momos, Fusion for pizzas, Nine Bar for trance music, Sri for its laidback charm, and Prim Rose, a legendary trance venue in the ’90s, recently rechristened ‘Goa State of Mind’.  You can park in the spacious parking lot on top of the cliff and walk down the stairs through any of these restaurants sitting to get to Ozran Beach. Although it’s a rocky beach, you can walk along and lay out on the beach beds in front of shacks like Fish Tail or Our Shack, soaking in the eclectic ambience.

What makes it special?
It may be close to the more touristy main Vagator beach, but because it’s harder to access than other beaches – it’s quite a flight of stairs you need to take – Ozran Beach is more peaceful and cleaner than many of Goa’s most popular beaches. Ozran Beach, Little Vagator, Bardez, Goa 
What is it?  Paperboat Collective is a concept lifestyle boutique hosting a curated collection of exclusive, luxury handcrafted products. Luxury, for the discerning, is about high-quality raw material, intuitive design and authentic, unique products. National Institute of Design graduate Bhagyashree Patwardhan realised these products were being made in the country, but there was no space that hosted these brilliant, up-and-coming designers and manufacturers. And so Paperboat Collective was born. The store stocks products made only by India-based designers and lesser-known studios. This makes it a treasure trove for trend-makers and those who want to discover new, fresh homegrown ideas and talent. You’ll find high-quality and high-end footwear, ceramics, clothing, bags, jewellery, and organic beauty products. Labels here include No Nasties, Anavila, Mayank Modi, White Noise, BOTL The Burlap People, and many more.  Paperboat Collective is housed in a gorgeous villa glowing with fairy lights and a large mural of a blue paper boat on the exteriors. 

What makes it special?
Once you’ve browsed the beautifully displayed products and you’re done with shopping, head to the café Tierra Y Mar (‘Land and Sea’ in Spanish). The menu includes fresh seafood, inventive finger foods, and hearty mains like the Seafood Paella and Vegetarian Millefeuille. There’s also an event space, House No. 248 where you can do yoga in the mornings, attend art, design, and pottery workshops during the day, and catch a music performance post sunset.  House No. 248 Bella Vista, Chogm Road, Sangold. Phone: +91-7798982907
Piccola Roma (Region: Vagator) 
What is it?  Piccola Roma is a restaurant in Vagator that is famous not just for the wonderful, wood-fired pizzas but their entire Italian menu. It all began when brothers Alfred and Dominic Vallis, who had too much cheese left over from a cheese-making endeavour, thought they’d make a few pizzas. One thing led to another, and today they have one outlet in Vagator and another in Calangute.
The pizzas, made with olive oil, come in two sizes, 8 and 12 inches. The Viva La Carne is piled with prosciutto, salami Milano, salami Napoli, and buffalo mozzarella. The pizza options are plentiful, including great vegetarian options like the Pizza Bellisima, topped with tomato sauce, artichokes, sun-dried tomatoes, olives, and arugula. The rest of the menu is as skilled and authentic: the beef carpaccio is sliver-thin and drenched in olive oil and lemon, the seafood risotto is hearty and wholesome, and the Al Pesto is a vegetarian delight – spaghetti topped with a pesto rich with walnuts, cashews, olive oil, and parmiggiano. Save some room for dessert! You’ll want to try the Profiteroles Al Cioccolato – soft dough balls stuffed with cream and topped with dark chocolate. 
The restaurant has an air-conditioned interior and a casual, al fresco area. The service is friendly, and the crowd is a lively mix of enthusiastic tourists, local teens, and families. It’s a great evening out and, unlike the usual premium placed on Italian food, it’s excellent value for money.

What makes it special? The big wood-fired oven and the open barbecue catch your eye immediately at the Vagator branch. You’ll also see the pizza chef spin his pizza dough in the air – food-theatre that is a delight to watch. 
Piccola Roma Pizza, Chapora Road, Near Petrol Pump, Vagator, Goa 403509. Phone: +91 75078 06821
Reis Magos Fort (Region: Candolim)
What is it? Reis Magos Fort is the oldest fort in Goa. Situated in the village of Reis Magos – which means Three Wise Men in Portuguese – it is a commanding structure with a breathtaking view of the river Mandovi from the top. Although it is not as large as the more famous Fort Aguada, its skilful construction and strategic placement made it a vital defence post. The glory of its history can still be seen with its distinctive reddish stone walls and the six cannons on display.
Built in 1493 as a military outpost for Adil Shah of Bijapur, Reis Magos Fort has since been used as a fort, prison, and hospital – there is even a solitary confinement chamber that you can go into to see glimpses of its use in the past. It was abandoned in 1993, and in 2008, the UK-based Helen Hamlyn Trust, the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH), and the Government of Goa collaborated to restore it as a cultural centre. It was the late Mario Miranda, the famous cartoonist, illustrator, and then-convener of INTACH, who approached Lady Hamlyn to fund the restoration of the fort. It’s fitting, then, that his works are available to purchase in the fort’s gift shop. 

What makes it special?
The efforts of the restoration team in preserving a slice of Goa’s history and heritage are commendable. There are exhibition halls, historical images, and signage all around the fort, so you aren’t lost while exploring. The beauty of the structure and the picture-perfect views of the Mandovi river make it a perfect place to visit if you’re looking for a change from the beaches.
Reis Magos Fort, Bardez, Goa. Phone: +91 9423885973, +91 9673935195.
RITZ CLASSIC (Region: Panjim)
What is it? Ritz Classic is a restaurant that is almost synonymous with a fish thali in Panjim. It has two branches in Panjim: the newer, spacious branch in the office area of Patto, and the original branch off the main 18 June Road in the downtown shopping area. (There is also a branch in Porvorim at the Mall de Goa.)  The difference between the special and regular thali is the choice of fish. The special thali usuallys has a fillet, while the regular has a less expensive fish like the mackerel. The fish thali also includes a vegetable bhaji, some prawn curry, clams, the traditional Goan kismoor (a salad with dry prawns sautéed with dry coconut and chillies), salad, papad, pickle, sol kadi (a kokum and coconut drink), and a generous portion of rice. In addition to the fish thali, you also get mori (shark), oysters and bombil (Bombay Duck) here.  Ritz is consistent for its quick service and delicious food, and the cherry on top is the modest pricing in proportion to the quantity of food served. It is four decades old, beginning with a humble-sized Café Ritz started by Rohidas Dessai in 1985, which has now grown into a chain of Ritz Classics managed by his son Rajesh.

What makes it special?
The menu might sound seafood heavy, but vegetarians needn’t despair: Ritz recommends the Babycorn Cafreal, a dish that’s not commonly available elsewhere. And although a dessert is included in the thali, the generous portions of the rich crème caramel made with coconut cream make a second dessert worth every bite.  Ritz Classic Patto: Ground Floor, Gera Imperium - II, Patto Plaza, Ozari, Panjim, Goa 403001
SARAYA (Region: Sangolda)
What is it?  Sangolda has a quiet, upscale charm all its own, and Saraya sits in the heart of this lovely neighbourhood. Saraya is a restaurant, eco-hotel, and art gallery that aims to be a refuge for the modern aesthete. It is set in a sprawling, beautifully restored house that has a living tree growing through it.  Saraya’s progressive philosophy is most evident in its organic, gluten free, vegan-friendly restaurant. The café is up front, covered in recycled tarp, and you catch sight of the wood-fired oven almost immediately. The whole-wheat pizzas here are excellent, and they also serve gluten-free pizza bases with vegan cheese. Regulars swear by the healthy, vegetarian menu of salads, sandwiches, mezze, and smoothies. There’s even homemade vegan ice-cream!   The art gallery displays the work of new artists and retails handicrafts created by local artisans. Check the schedules, because you may be lucky enough to catch a workshop or a film screening here.  The lodgings are divided into earth-houses and tree-houses. Using local construction material, built around the existing vegetation, and using building techniques from around the country, each room promises a comfortable stay even if you’re up a tree! 

What makes it special?
Truly unique and perhaps the best feature here is the barter program, which allows travellers to work as servers at the hotel. Warm, community-oriented, and full of stories, they host ‘Earthkeeper’ markets every month. You can catch them in their downtime jamming with local musicians. Saraya, in Sanskrit, means ‘to begin, to flow’, and you’ll find your own way to do that here.  Saraya, House # 64, Chogm Road, Sangolda. Phone: +91 88889 2681
SOTOHAUS (Region: Candolim)
What is it? Goa has long been a favourite destination for European designers to showcase their artisanship. But few have stood the test of time keeping their doors open throughout the year, peak season or not. Sotohaus is one such hub of creativity. There are only a few high-end furniture stores in Goa, and Sotohaus can undoubtedly be included on your shortlist if you’re decorating a luxury home. Sonja Weder and Thomas Schnider are the duo behind Sotohaus, a showroom in which the Swiss designers exhibit and sell their furniture, lighting, and art. Natural colours dominate the collection, which is modern and elegant. However, they can customise most of their products in size and colour. Their ‘funky yet functional’ style is modern, clean, and ergonomic, and they have a global clientele. They also exhibit Sonja’s artworks, which are evolved and sophisticated collages made from handmade paper, acrylic paints, and natural matter on acrylic sheets.

What makes it special?
The unique element of Sotohaus’s designs is a lacquer technique that Sonja invented, whereby they embed and preserve parts of plants (such as seeds and leaves) in polyurethane. This makes their products unique and unconventional – lamps made from acrylic and decorated with handmade paper and seeds, table tops with embedded real leaves and diagonally oriented legs, and tall back dining chairs with ends that look a bit like antennae. Sotohaus, Anna Vaddo, Near the Football Ground, Candolim. Phone: +91 98229 83321, +91 97649 69821
SOUZA LOBO (Region: Calangute)
What is it?  Souza Lobo is one of the oldest beachfront restaurants in Goa, and their location on the busiest tourist stretch of Calangute Beach has made them rise to prominence since their opening in 1932. Joao Fortunato Lobo, the grandfather of current owner Jude Lobo, opened a beachfront hotel with nine rooms and a restaurant. In the ’90s, when the restaurant couldn’t cope with the high demand and queues of people lining up for their authentic Goan food, the family closed the hotel and used the room space to expand and focus on the restaurant.  If you’re in Goa for the first time and want to try a candlelit dinner on the beach, Souza Lobo is a safe bet since it’s open throughout the year. Their Prawn Curry Rice, Crab Xacuti, Pomfret Recheado, and Pork Vindaloo are the most in-demand dishes and are true to their Goan Catholic family recipes. Also worth a taste are the continental Baked Crab and Lobster Thermidor. Vegetarians can find ample variety in the restaurant’s north Indian and Chinese menus.  The interior decor at Souza Lobo gives it a simple, homely, Goan feeling. They have a large seating capacity of around 300 customers with about 60 tables, but you still may not get a seat over the weekend, so it’s a good idea to make a reservation. 

What makes it special? 
Souza Lobo features live retro music performers every night who throw in a little Konkani, Portuguese, and Hindi songs too. The food – cooked in Mrs. Lobo’s traditional masala recipes – is authentic, and also the restaurant is a little pricier than nearby beach shacks, it is completely worth every rupee.  Souza Lobo, Calangute Beach. Phone: 0832 2281234, 0832 2276463.
STAR BAR (Region: Ribandar)
What is it?  A pit stop when you’re visiting the World Heritage site churches of Old Goa, Star Bar is a famous Goan restaurant in Ribandar. In fact, it’s so famous it doesn’t even think it needs a proper signboard. It can be quite tricky to find unless you ask your cabbie or call Anand, the owner, who is now used to directing hungry folk to his restaurant. 
Located in a narrow lane that opens up into a very basic structure with a lovely view of the river, Star Bar is usually packed to the rafters with locals and tourists. If you’re here during peak hours, they’ll set up a table for you by the river or ask you to wait. Never fear, the service is prompt, and the waiter will tell you what’s on offer because there is no printed menu. 
Ask to hear the day’s recommendations but know that everything is homely, delicious, and wholesome. There’s the generous fish thali, the Chonak Masala, Rawa Fried Kingfish, and other preparations featuring fresh catch such as prawns, mussels, squid, and red snapper. 

What makes it special?  Local fish, freshly cooked with authentic ingredients in the Hindu Goan style is the main draw at Star Bar. Anand oversees everything, and you can ask him to have your thali topped up with rice or gravy. And unlike the limited menu, the beer selection includes most of the latest brands, proving that the place has quite an eclectic set of patrons. 
Star Bar, NH4A, Sao Pedro, Goa. Ph: 9822382944
What is it?  Sunaparanta is a centre for the arts across film, literature, theatre, photography, and more. Owned by the prominent Goan industrial family, the Salgaocars, the centre is housed in a heritage mansion perched on a hill in Altinho, a posh neighbourhood in Panjim that’s worth a walk around. 
A large garden sprawls in front of the mansion, and the open-air amphitheatre is hemmed in by walls that contain murals by Deviprasad Rao. Within, you will find art by Indian and international artists. Past exhibits have included Goan legends like F.N. Souza, Trindade, and V.S. Gaitonde and modern names like Sooni Taraporevala and Jitish Kallat. Look at the schedule to find out which artists are in residence, whether author Siddharth Dhanvant Shanghvi is hosting an art salon or, if it’s Wednesday, catch a classic European film with the film club.

What makes it special?
Whether you love art or not, the walk up through Altinho is delightful and, after you’re done browsing, Sunaparanta has a lovely café named Bodega. Run by New York-trained Vandana Naique, the courtyard café lets you indulge in a preservative-free, additive-free menu of quality ingredients that includes incredible baking, a superb Vietnamese Iced Coffee, soups, salad, and quiches. The café is open throughout the year and makes for a pleasant sit-out even in the monsoon, but make sure to arrive well before 5 p.m. when they close for the day. 
Sunaparanta Goa Centre for the Arts, Near Army House, Altinho, Panaji. Phone: 0832 2421311 
The Black Sheep Bistro (Region: Panjim)
What is it?  The Black Sheep Bistro could be anywhere in the world. Set in a century-old Portuguese villa in Panjim, its contemporary interior design, farm-to-table philosophy, and focus on good wine is at once international and hyper-local.  Owners Sabreen and Prahlad Sukhtankar source ingredients from within a 100-mile radius, and the menu is a clever compilation of Goan flavours and twists on domestic and international favourites. The Inspired Choriz Pao is reimagined using sweet and savoury chocolate. The Seafood Paella is hearty and made entirely with local seafood, like the Local Stuffed Kingfish Fillet. The Iranian Lamb Abghoosht is tender and creamy, served with crunchy garlic bread and a dollop of spicy Harissa sauce. Ask the knowledgeable, friendly staff to show you around the menu. There are Churros for dessert! BSB, as regulars like to call it, is known for its fun cocktails like the ‘Dill Fling’, a chilled, balanced drink of vodka with a dash of fresh cucumber juice and beaten egg whites.

What makes it special? 
The Sukhtankars graduated from no less than Les Roches, Switzerland, one of the best hospitality schools in the world. They have managed luxury hotels across Europe and North America. They also offer a large selection of local and international wines that have been handpicked by Prahlad, who is certified by the International Sommelier Guild.  Swami Vivekanand Road, Next to ICICI Bank, Panjim. Phone: 0832 222 2901
VELHA GOA GALERIA (Region: Panjim)
What is it?  Velha Goa Galeria, which translates to Old Goa Gallery, is a store in the Latin Quarter of Panjim that has developed the art of making azulejos, the attractive traditional white tiles with blue hand-painted writing and designs. Azulejos originated in Portugal in the 13th Century, and in Goa today they’re used to decorate churches, homes, and resorts across the state. In addition to these tiles, the store also makes ceramic curios, Goan handicrafts, wall plaques, photo frames, and other collectable items. 
Velha Goa Galeria’s founder, Ivo da Costa Azaredo, started the store in 1999 with the help of a Portuguese artist named Eduardo Bobone, but Azaredo’s daughter Ivina has taken over the reins now. She continues his vision of keeping the tiles as authentic as possible. The designs, ovens, brushes, and clay are all imported from Portugal to maintain the classic look and feel of the tiles. They also do custom work for clients, modernising the designs requested. They can make nameplates on order for long-stay travellers who can wait for 15 days. If your stay is shorter, they can ship the nameplate to you.

What makes it special?  Velha Goa Galeria is one of the few places to get authentic Portuguese azulejos tiles that can give a distinctive Goan look to your home, office, or business establishment. The tiles with Mario Miranda’s cultural scenes from Goa hand-painted on them make for a classic souvenir from Goa. For visitors staying in South Goa, there is a small store next to the factory in Margao from where you can get the Galeria’s products.
Velha Goa Galleria Panjim, House no 191, Rua de Ourem, Fontainhas, Panjim, Goa. Phone: 0832 2426628/ 2711468.    Velha Goa Galeria Margao, H. no 339, Aquem Alto, Margao, Goa. Phone: 08322 735294 / +91 77981 13770
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