Some would say that a trip to Goa is incomplete without witnessing the warm orange tones take over the blue skies at Thalassa or the pastel homes of Fontainhas - the state’s Latin quarter known for its Portuguese architecture, or the innumerable churches of Velha-Goa. But for someone who visited the place almost every year as a ritualistic “family vacation”, most of these places have been reduced to redundant tourism cliches. There’s only so many times you can have lunch at Curlies and visit the long-standing Portuguese forts in the city before the Goan air starts to feel drab and uninteresting.
In the past few years, Goa has exceeded itself - not just as a tourist destination but also as a hub for creative minds to come together and put on their entrepreneurial hats. From brand new concept stores bringing together the best of independent designers to interesting themed cafe and restaurants to flea markets for the season’s best deals - Goa is full of new experiences for anyone who goes looking for them. Especially with the new Mumbai-Goa cruise, a 14-hour journey on-board the Angriya Cruise, there’s just so much to look forward to.
But, it’s often difficult to track down these new stores and restaurants, and even more confusing to figure out whether or not these new places are worth visiting. So to help you chalk down a refreshing itinerary for your upcoming Goa trip, we’ve listed down some of Goa’s newest offerings including events, festivals, and unique experiences you wouldn’t find anywhere else.
Where: Near Vagator Petrol Station, Opposite to Hacienda Resort, Panchayat Road, Anjuna, Vagator.
One of the most recent additions to Goa’s diverse and flourishing gastronomy scene, Darvish in Vagator is a little outdoor joint serving delicious Persian and Spanish cuisine. Run by Hussain who brings the flavours all the way from his hometown in Iran, the chef might be a north Indian woman but she gets the taste just right. We’d recommend beginning your meal with mirza ghassemi - an authentic Persian appetiser that will adjust your palette for the rest of the Persian meal to follow. Also try their Koobideh and Chenjen Kebobs. They also have a variety of Spanish tapas on the menu. Darvish also does special weekend lunches that pair perfectly with Hussain’s sangria - look out for the same on their Facebook page.
Cost: INR 700 for two.
Where: 560, Villa Rodrigues, Arpora-BagaCreek Road, Arpora, Bardez, Goa, Baga.
Earlier this year, Goa witnessed all its motorbike enthusiasts get together to welcome the state’s first Royal Enfield Garage Cafe. Overlooking the Baga river, this new Garage cafe has a lot more than just food and drinks to offer to its customers. With a number of vintage motorcycles on display (the specs of which can only be understood by a true enthusiast), a customisation area along with an expert who can help with maintenance of your bike, and a full-fledged Royal Enfield store with bikes and accessories on display - this new cafe has won many hearts. From thin-crust pizzas to salads, coffee and more, the food here is phenomenal. The space is also open to public events and also rents out bike for those who want to explore Goa on a two-wheeler.
Cost: INR 1,600 for two.
III. Beetle Pub
Where: 777/1-6, Casa Bela, Off NH 66, Aradi Socorro, Porvorim.
With its Beetle-inspired retro interiors and live music nights, this cute little pub is a new addition to the already charming streets of Porvorim. This place opens at 3 pm in the afternoon and is functional till midnight, serving a wide variety of finger food, pizzas, pastas, salads etc. The wooden floors, posters of Beetle & The Beatles only add to the venue’s grunge vibe which is complemented by a mouth-watering menu - which is full of unlikely food experiments like chocolate pani puri. Try their Chicken Roulade or the Classic Lamb Burger - both are more than filling and affordable as well!
Cost: INR 1000 for two.
IV. La Cucina
Where: 749, Morjim, Ashwem.
Known for its wood fired pizza and cute interiors that transport you to a quaint European cafe probably in Italy or France, La Cucina is only a few months old but has successfully managed to garner loyalists from across Goa. With a focus on food and minimalistic decor, La Cucina’s pizzas are fresh and the owners are extremely welcoming to any kind of feedback from their customers. Try the Mexican pizza for its smoky flavours. Moving on to dessert (if you still have the apetitie for it), pick between the panna cotta and the home-made brownies. While the former goes with the overall experience of the place, the latter has a unique homely feel to it and absolutely nothing beats the goeiness of melting chocolate brownies in your mouth.
Cost: INR 600 for two people.
Where: Opposite Nelson’s Bar, Anjuna.
A cute little Japanese food joint in Goa, Matcha is almost like a hole-in-the-wall and you’re most likely to miss it, so try not to. A small place with an equally small menu that is often sold out by the time Matcha shuts every day, this place serves six types of sushi, rice bowls and udon - all of which will be scribbled on the board right outside it. The food here is priced affordably and the season specials are what you should be looking out for!
Where: House 248, Chogm Road, Sangolda, Bardez.
With white furniture under a thatched roof, Tierra y Mar sits in the midst of fresh Goan air and sunshine with a menu full of Spanish, South American, and Continental dishes.
VI. Jazz India Circuit International Festival
Where: International Centre Goa, Dona Paula.
When: 1 - 2 December, 2018.
Every year, the annual Jazz India Circuit International Festival brings the best of the world’s experimental jazz to India. With food, drinks, international musicians, and the winter skies of Goa, this festival is for anyone planning to make a trip to Goa in December. However, this year’s lineup includes the two time Grammy award nominee and Australian soul quartet Hiatus Kaiyote. Being held at the International Centre Goa, the other artists performing this year include Jerome Klein from Luxembourg, the French ensemble OZMA, and our very own Rhythm Shaw & his band Orjazzmic.
Where: The Panjim Gymkhana.
When: 16 December 2018.
Whether its Christmas gifts or New Year wardrobe makeover, December is always the month of shopping - even the flat 80% signboards in malls agree. But not everyone wants to shop at the mall, which is why Pop It Goa’s Winter Flea Market is where you should be. From local bakers and their delicious cookies to jewellery designers, cocktail connoisseurs and independent designers selling their refreshing designs, this Winter Flea Market has everything. Located in the heart of the city, there is no entry fee for the market. Although it’s only there for a day so make sure to drop by!
Where: 13, Near Gunpowder Restaurant, Anjuna - Mapusa Road, Saunta Vaddo, Assagao.
A lifestyle boutique and concept store in Assagao - Goa’s very own creative centre - Rangeela is not exactly new. It’s unique collection of contemporary Indian textiles, home decor and pastel fabrics has been the talk of the town for quite some time. Which is exactly why Rangeela has very recently moved to a bigger space, allowing it to house more gifts, clothes and homeware from designers across the country. The new location is not too far from the original store, and comes with ample parking space (phew!). Moreover, it’s right next to Gunpowder restaurant - the ultimate fix for those mid-shopping hunger pangs.
Where: House no. 220 B, Auchit Vaddo Verla Parra Parra.
India’s first ‘Zero Waste Grocery Store’, Ecoposro is the brainchild of Jonah and Eldridge. A homely little shop tucked into a quaint hamlet in Parra, Ecoposro not only sells organic products but also handpicks the vendors and suppliers it works with, ensuring that there is no waste generated in the supply chain. From providing ample parking space right next to the store to selling glass bottles and jars which can be brought back for a 50% refund to home delivering groceries — Ecoposro is trying every possible method to tackle waste generation without letting it affect the cost of their products. They also organise a Farmer’s Market every Saturday where they sell a variety of organic produce.
Where: Villa no. 190-268(1) Vadem Village, Soccorro.
An extraordinary collection of bespoke furniture and home decor designed exclusively for Indian homes, Vaishnavipratima is an interior decoration store situated in a 105-year-old Goan villa. From pop art to sculptures, each room is adorned with stuff you’re going to want to take home the minute you lay eyes on it. With its unique rustic charm and a warm blend of Indian and western ethos, Vaishnavipratima is much bigger and improved as compared to its flagship store in Mumbai.
XI. And So
Where: AND SO Store, H. No. 850, F.C. Goa House Off, NH 66, Porvorim.
Goa has always been known for all things quirky and this new furniture store in Porvorim is only a testament to that. Brainchild of Anjali Mody, AND SO’s philosophy is to house the best of independent designers from across the country. Every article here will leave you in awe - not just because of how it looks, but also because of how affordably it is priced. From beautiful paper stools to a test tube vase set, AND SO stocks the best of what’s in season and regularly brings in new designers. Some of the brands that are stocked here include A Wooden Story, Botl, Art & Found etc.
Other Places To Explore
XII. The Project Cafe
Where: The Project Cafe Amalia Villa No. 198, Mazal Waddo, Assagao.
A 130 years old Portuguese Villa is where all the cool stuff is happening these days. From interesting pop-ups to other artistic meetups and what not, The Project Cafe has a whole lot of stuff planned for the new season. An artistic sanctuary that allows for all kinds of creative expression, The Project Cafe is a unique hotel-cum-art-gallery-cum-cafe situated amidst the old world charm of Assagao. So whether you want to attend the most recent music gig or just pick up a book and lounge near the cafe or a spend a night in pampering yourself, The Project Cafe is your go-to place for all of those desires.
XIII. Vaayu Waterman’s Village
Where: Ashwem Beach Road, Opposite Holy Cross Chapel,Ashwem Beach, Ashwem, Mandrem
A haven for anyone who wishes to discover, explore, and redefine themselves within the context of their community, Vaayu Waterman’s Village is much more than a destination for water sport enthusiasts across the country. Built on the principles of sustainability and creative expression, over the years Vaayu has come to represent a generous space that does not discriminate. With a Vision Collective Artist Residency, an in-house cafe that is open all day, and a variety of accommodation options like wooden cabins, coconut domes etc., Vaayu has become a universe of its own and a little birdy tells us that there is more to come. Currently a new property is under works and is expected to be ready and open to the public by December.
XIV. Studio Arpora
Where: Shop No. 287/GF-SH3, Tambudki Vaddo, opposite the famous old fish curry restaurant called Starlight, Arpora.
Studio Arpora, a new art gallery run by Saffron Weihl and her mother Shireen Mody, is opening its doors to the tourists (and residents, of course) of Goa this year. With its giant blue doors with the words ‘Studio Arpora’ neatly settled on top, and minimalist interiors, Studio Arpora is Saffron and Shireen’s attempt at not just venturing into the art world professionally, but also providing space for their creative energies to be discovered organically. Apart from selling their own artwork, Studio Arpora will also display various creative projects that can easily be turned into unusual gifts for friends and family. From silk scarves to kitchen towels and even vibrant wrapping paper, there’s something for everyone. Saffron also plans on branching out to include other products like cushion covers and items for interiors.
Feature Image Courtesy: Outlook Traveller
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