Mar 31

Standing at Anjuna Beach, near Curlies, looking North, towards Manuel's Beach ShackEating out in Goa can be a science. There is so much choice! As established here, you can indulge yourself in various delicacies all over the state. Now we will shed a bit more light on where you can find those tasty dishes.

North Goa alone is a vast area and you can spend hours and hours driving around and trying new restaurants every day. The variety is stunning, as are the quality of the dishes, its presentation and freshness.

No place is perfect though, there is always some shadow, even with plenty of light. Here are 5 great choices, for eating on a budget, but not compromising on quality and quantity:

5. O’Manuel’O Beach Shack

The view from Manuel's Beach Shack towards South AnjunaI usually wouldn’t recommend a beach shack restaurant anywhere in Goa. They mainly lack hygiene, running water and are basically an unpleasant experience. Also forget (in)famous Curlie’s or ‘Shiva Valley’ right next door (near the spot where Scarlett Keeling was murdered 1 year ago). Curlie’s is smelly, with lots of stray dogs, flies, sub-par noisy trance music, below average food, as well as drunken and stoned retired hippies or obnoxious Mumbai tourists. ‘Shiva Valley’ staff will rip you off any chance they get. Manuel’s is different. It’s very small (just 5-6 tables), but you will notice right away that things work here differently.

Location: South Anjuna, just right next to Curlie’s

Must try why: The awesome views (the waves are just meters away)! Also best value for money food in legendary South Anjuna. They offer a selection of 4-5 newspapers to read through (a rarity in Goa restaurants), delicious coffee shake (what Curlie’s was famous for) and affordable Indian cuisine, as well as standard western fare all with great quality and consistency.

Signature Dish(es): Shahi Paneer for Rs 60 (in my view the best Shahi Paneer I tried in Goa), big chunks of fresh cottage cheese in a smooth creamy white sauce with cashew nuts and cream, add Roti; or Fruit Salad with Curd for Rs 40 (fresh strawberries, among grape, pineapple, apple, papaya and else with fresh curd and honey)

To improve: Alcohol prices aren’t in the menu, ask before you order anything

4. Fisherman’s Cove

Fisherman's Cove in Candolim, North GoaThere are plenty of restaurants in Candolim, but most of them cater to the more wealthy crowd. That means that standard Indian dishes cost already double than anywhere else, yet the quality is just average, or you will sit with lots of package tourists. Overall, I would avoid Candolim for having a good meal any time of day, compared to Anjuna. Fisherman’s Cove is not the place you’d go for its nice atmosphere, after all it’s located directly at the busy main road. It doesn’t make too many things different here, although the staff is extraordinarily friendly and you pay a decent price for a usually good quality and quantity.

Location: Candolim, Main Road

Must try why: Best Bread from Tandoori Oven, eating the Roti or Naan alone will make your mouth watery

Signature Dish(es): Shabnam Chicken – fresh mushrooms and chicken cubes in a white, mild, creamy sauce. Add some Rotis and you will be in foodie heaven. Shalimar Chicken – tender chicken in a spicy, red sauce with onion rings and cashew nuts. Prices around Rs 110-130.

To improve: Breakfast and Lunch, as the whole place is running on a quarter of the staff. You will wait forever for your meal and it’s only half as good.

3. Angara Candolim

Angara Restaurant, Beach Road Candolim, North GoaI wonder, how this restaurant can sustain it’s very affordable price level. They put a lot of effort in making the patrons feel special and the restaurant appear high-class in a garden-like atmosphere. Yet the prices are below average of other restaurants in Candolim (which is generally a high-price region). It’s located in one of the busiest tourist streets in Candolim, has sublime lounge music in the background and specializes in tandoori- and seafood dishes.

Location: Candolim, Beach Road

Must try why: High-class atmosphere – lampoons hanging in the trees, very attentive staff in red robes, open kitchen with staff in chief’s attire, candle lights and red roses handed out for your female dinner companion

Signature Dish(es): Murgh Tikka Masala, the perfect blend of spices and cream, Chicken and Beef Shashliks for something different

To improve: Limited menu, after just a few times you have tried it all

2. Oasis Restaurant and Bakery

Oasis Restaurant in Anjuna, North Goa, near Starco JunctionThere are plenty of good-value restaurant in and around Anjuna, although most of them lack in my view consistency. That means, their food tastes great today, okay tomorrow and whatever on any other given day; either depending on the weather, the mood of the staff or the color of your T-Shirt. Some of them also open only for a few hours after sunset (e.g. ‘Sublime’). That’s not how it should be. ‘Oasis’ is a very low profile restaurant, that will blow you away only on a second thought. They offer great food for the best value in Anjuna, an attached bakery (with fresh bread, cookies, some cake and pastries). In the evenings, this place bursts of people, they have their own Tandoori oven (for Chicken/Seafood Tikka, Roti, Naan) and it’s centrally located.

Location: Anjuna, near Starco Junction

Must try why: Best overall menu in Goa. Whatever you try, it tastes great and costs next to nothing. The quality is way above average and you can eat until you drop without breaking the bank. Usually low profile background music of the 70’s-90’s.

Signature Dish(es): Israeli Breakfast for Rs 90, various Toast dishes made of fresh bread, cheap Lassies, Milk Coffees, Chai and fresh Fruit Juices,

To improve: Friendliness of staff, they only greet or smile at you, after you visited over several weeks ;-)

1. Infantaria

Infantaria in Calangute, North GoaThis 2-storey restaurant is the indisputable #1 in North Goa. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It stands out like a beacon of light for various reasons: Best value for money, consistent great quality, lively and friendly ambiente – everything is there. You can come day or night, rain or shine, the food is simply delicious and the place is almost always brimming with patrons, although it’s not necessary to make advance reservations.

Location: Calangute, near the round-about at the market, left-side on the road to Baga

Must try why: Friendly staff (a rarity in Goa), live music almost every day for dinner, best and consistent quality in town, various daily Specials (like 6 beer for 100 Rs, or 1 for 1 Glass of Wine), attached Pastry Shop

Signature Dish(es): filled Beef Rolado (a Goan Dish), all Chicken/Poultry Dishes, Veal Escallops, gigantic Seafood or Non-Veg Platters

To improve: the Pizza – it’s okay, but nothing to seriously write home about compared to the rest of dishes

What do you think? Did you try any of the above eateries? What are your favorite budget restaurants in North Goa?

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written by Chris

15 Responses to “5 Must-try Restaurants in North Goa with Great Value for Money”

  1. JurgenNo Gravatar ITALY Says:

    Haven’t been to number 3 to 5, but I definitely confirm your first two choices! If you stay in Anjuna the Oasis is a must, I loved Tandoori chicken, best one ever in India. Usually it tastes very dry because you get it served already cooked and just heated up in many places, at Oasis it’s freshly done right in front of your eyes (that is if your table is next to the oven ;-) ). It’s unbeatable!

    The Infantaria though is a complete different pair of shoes, nearly High-Class Cuisine for an affordable price but much more expensive than the Oasis, at least if I remember right.

  2. ChrisNo Gravatar INDIA Says:

    You remember right, Jurgen! It’s just difficult to find real good but ‘cheap’ restaurants in the Candolim/Calangute/Baga area. There are some small cheap eateries like Glen’s Fast Food Corner or Krishna’s, just a few meters down the road from Infantaria, but I doubt their taste is for the majority.

    What I like about Oasis in Anjuna as well are their sandwiches, made of their own fresh bread. The best one for me is their ‘Bookmaker’ sandwich, with eggs, chicken, coleslaw. Hmmmmm! :D

  3. Michael OwenNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    Hello, One I think you have missed is Lilas, its on the left about a quarter mile after the new bridge taking you to Nrth Baga. Its been owned and run by the same German family for twelve to fourteen years, is a daytime only stop. It opens around 9 a.m. and closes about 5 p.m., and is also closed all day on, I think, Tuesday.You cantell by this that they “do what they do do well.” It is spotlessly clean, nicely shaded with drapes, the family and their staff are always on hand, and the food is very, very well done. Its very well known with the breakfast crowd, and it even publishes its own hoiuse newspaper (it doesent comeout all that often) with general local news, stories about the cafe from the past etc. Also free daily papers to read whilst you have your boiled eggs!!! Ive been going there in the mornings for around ten years. Mike P.S. But its not really an indian curry specialist—-more German bakery

  4. ChrisNo Gravatar INDIA Says:

    I don’t know this one, Mike Owen, but glad you mentioned, so I have something new to check out. Newspapers to read while having your meals is a great plus for me also!

    Also I noticed that a few places shut down already due to end of season. It’s getting hotter now every day, yesterday was above 40 Celsius, arglglglgll! If only the rain would come already…..I never thought that I would ever say something like that…. ;-)

  5. ZahlenjongleurNo Gravatar GERMANY Says:

    When I read your article about all this tasty food, I could kick myself, that I didn`t visit you this
    week. Fuck the tempreture, I am sure it would have taste me even it`s getting over 50 Celsius and
    by the way we had to pay less for it cause it´s already cooked by the sun (harharhar :))

  6. ChrisNo Gravatar INDIA Says:

    Hehe! You had 5 months, tough luck now! And it’s really hot at the moment. They say it’s the hottest april in 10 years. Temperatures hover constantly around 40-43 degrees Celsius the last 8 days. You move your little finger, you’ll sweat already. Arlglglggl! :-o

  7. ChrisNo Gravatar INDIA Says:

    Some update: the end of the season is coming faster than expected. I thought season goes until shortly before the monsoon, which is in May/June. Plenty of restaurants shut down already shortly before the Easter weekend. Among them Sublime in Anjuna and Fisherman’s Cove in Candolim. Manuel’s Beach shack only offers limited menu now, as their cook left already for his home village and will only be back in September or October. Unfortunately that means no more Shahi Paneer there until then…. L-)

  8. ChrisNo Gravatar INDIA Says:

    More updates: Manuel’s Beach shack is now completely closed for the season since 15/04/2009. As well Oasis in Anjuna is shut down meanwhile, as there are pipe-works done nearby, so they took the chance and closed down also. So from the recommendations above, only Anggara and Infantaria are currently still open near the end of the season.

  9. ChrisNo Gravatar INDIA Says:

    Michael Owen, had a chance today to try your recommendation Lila Cafe at the Baga River. Actually wanted to try already yesterday, but they are closed Tuesdays. The whole place looks like nothing much from the outside, but that changes a lot, once you step inside! Nice atmosphere! The best filter coffee (and only Rs 25) I had so far in Goa. The menu doesn’t have much choice, but the food is really great. I had some egg omelett on fried paneer with cucumber yogurt sauce for Rs 130, while my gf had German Sauerkraut with sausages and mashed potatoes together with sweet mustard for Rs 180, very nice and delicious food! The newspaper and magazine selection is also outstanding, wish I’d found that place a few months earlier, hehe! Thanks again for the tip! ;-)

  10. mitulNo Gravatar UNITED KINGDOM Says:

    try dum biryani opp oasis bakery. its open all year round. can try cheese garlic nan fresh fish tandoori of your choice & ofcourse their biryani as the name goes. lovely ambience, cosy seating with open kitchen. i should be there first week of june. cant wait to hit dum. cheers

  11. ChrisNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    mitul, yep I had on 2 occasions biryani and something else there, but wasn’t overly impressed both times. For me the food lacked freshness, but maybe I just had a bad day (twice). :-/

  12. LawrenceNo Gravatar THAILAND Says:

    Lila,Next time you eat at Lila you should try the yogurt & Meusli breakfast, it’s delicious!!

  13. nitinNo Gravatar INDIA Says:

    I would agree with your choice of the restaurants, specially with regards to Infantaria being at # 1 position. Just to add to what has already been written about Infantaria, this place also houses some of the most exotic desserts (pastries) and for all the drink lovers, I would advise ‘Death by Chocolate’. This pastry is not an ordinary pastry as it could mean one full meal for a person and is fully soaked in liquor.

  14. ShivaniNo Gravatar INDIA Says:

    I’d like to also recommend KoKoMo Mughlai, North Indian Cuisine & Cocktail Lounge in Anjuna (on the way to the Flea Market opp. the football ground).

    Several people who have been travelling all over India have claimed their best meal and experience has been at KoKoMo which is a real endorsement considering the restaurant only opened on 25th December 2010!

    The authenticity of the food, fresh ingredients, beautifully designed restaurant, world class cocktails, lovely service and weekly live sitar and guitar performances all add to the experience.

    (These are comments that have been received in the customer feedback book :)

    KoKoMo specialities include the creamy Mughlai dishes, Tandoori chicken, Tandoori fish, fresh garlic/cheese naan and not to forget the oh-so-yummy dum biryanis.

    Easy to find, lovely to sit and a delight to eat & drink at very affordable prices. You must visit :-)

  15. mukesh chauhanNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    :-D …..Chris, how many months you stay in goa

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