When you visit a new place for a few days you just cannot afford to visit the wrong restaurant and waste your time and effort on mediocre food. You wish someone could simply tell you where the best restaurants are located so that you can make every meal an absolute culinary delight. After spending the better of two and a half decades in South Goa, I can confidently say that this is my tried and tested list of the best South Goa has to offer. Hope you like it!
1) Cavatina Cuchina Grill and Bar, Benaulim Cavatina is personally my all time favourite restaurant in South Goa and is known for its contemporary elevated Goan cuisine. Chef Avinash Martin, owner and lead chef at Cavatina, digs deep into old traditional recipes from all time periods of Goan history and using only seasonal ingredients, freshly brought from local markets, he creates modern culinary masterpieces. And a single visit can be so addictive. You will want to visit Cavatina again and again to indulge in Chef Avinash Martin's latest genius creation. Cavatina is tastefully designed and has a lot of Chef Avinash' paintings on display. I can swear by the desserts and cocktails served here as well which are amazing! Tip: Cavatina has an experiential menu with 12 courses which is a must try!
2) Martin's Corner, Betalbatim Martin's Corner has steadily converted from a small cosy 4 table food joint to a large full fledged service restaurant and bar over the last 30years. Visited by renowned Indian and International celebrities, Martin's Corner is an ideal place to relax at the end of the day and have some scrumptious Goan food. A night at Martin's Corner will also give you the opportunity to enjoy some live entertainment by some of Goa's upcoming musical talents. My favourite dishes here are the fish fingers and batter fried squids. Consider picking a lobster or king crab from the restaurants aquarium and feasting on it. Tip: Martin's Corner is a cult favourite and is thus almost always crowded. To get a good table make sure you reach by 6‑7pm.
3) Magic Italy Authentic Italian Restaurant, Palolem Magic Italy is probably South Goa's only restaurant with authentic Italian cuisine. It was started by an Italian native who had migrated to Goa back in 1999 and has since then stood the test of time. Here, Italian homemade specialities are served with ingredients sourced all the way from Italy. Now doesn't that sound fancy? Many of my friends vouch for the pizzas, pastas and lasagnas served at Magic Italy. So the next time you decide to spend your day at Palolem make sure to add a pitstop to have a delicious Italian meal at Magic Italy. Tip: I would recommend ordering 'Pizza Diavola' which is a pepperoni pizza and is super delicious.
4) The Farmhouse Bar and Bistro, Varca The Farmhouse is a very ambient and spacious restaurant that specialises in Goan cuisine. The restaurant looks beautiful, has really tasty live music on Sundays and is a really great place for large groups and parties. The most fun part about dining here is that you can catch your own fish in the lake on the property and have the chef specially cook it for you in a style you like. I would like to point out that the number of waiters here are probably a little less considering the large premise which makes it kind of difficult to grab their attention. So the best way to ensure great service would be to either raise your hand or stand up and call out to them. Tip: Friday night is karaoke night at Farmhouse which is absolutely fun. So if you have a choice on which day to choose to visit this restaurant‑ Friday it is!
5) Sharda Classic, Fatorda Sharda Classic is located in the heart of the city and is well known for its seafood. The famous seafood platter served by the restaurant is known to provide a huge assortment and is incredible value for money. The thali includes shellfish (tisrio), mackerel fry (bangda), prawns Rawa fry, kingfish fry, prawns Goan curry, dried fish pickle, kokamkadhu, rice and roti. Other tasty seafood options we can vouch by are Prawns chilli, Fried squids and Crab butter garlic. The ambience at the restaurant also is great which is a plus. Tip: I have been told that the restaurant does not like wastage of food on the plate. So make sure you visit the restaurant on any empty stomach to ensure that you can eat the whole meal.
6) Greco Restaurant at Radisson Blu, Cavelossim If you are tired of eating only Indian food on your trip to Goa ‑ Greco is the restaurant for you! It is a stunning Greek restaurant with tasteful decor in blue and white, live music and really tasty food. Also the portion sizes here are really good. The place has a nice wine collection too which is a huge plus. During the monsoons they shift the restaurant indoors so the Greek decor is lost when they do that. Tip: Make it a point to order the Baklava for dessert. It is freshly prepared and incredibly tasty. I developed my love for Baklava after tasting it here at Greco for the first time.
7) The Fishermans Wharf, Cavelossim The Fishermans Wharf is another Goan classic restaurant that serves exquisite food, cooked with zest, typical of the Goan kitchen. Live music and a view overlooking the river Sal make this restaurant irresistible. The Fishermans Wharf is truly a crowd favourite with 3 restaurants in Goa, 1 in Bangalore and 1 in Hyderabad always full. It you have visited the one in Bangalore, Hyderabad or North Goa and loved it. Guys! The Riverside restaurant is their flagship restaurant and it is really the real deal. Tip: Take a seat on a table adjacent to the river for the best views.
8) The Red Ginger, Colva The Red Ginger is the best Oriental restaurant in South Goa. It serves soulful Asian delicacies and definitely has the best sushi in town. The restaurant is spacious and ambient and has tens of Buddhas everywhere. Our recommended dishes at Red Ginger are sushi, pork dumplings, Singapore chilli, Bangkok Pad Thai and my families favourite‑ Green Thai Curry with jasmine rice. Tip: If it is your first time having sushi consider starting with the Philadelphia roll or the California roll