L-R: Outside [email protected], a cocktail from Felix
From dives that celebrate the very best of Goa’s culinary history to those with award-winning bartenders and chefs at the helm, these spanking new watering holes offer creative and exciting interpretations of what a watering hole in the sunshine state can be. Save this list for your next visit.
Goa’s hottest new bars
Puri bhaji paradise Café Tato has been serving the potato staple with piping hot puris to ravenous Goans for breakfast since 1905. The culinary plot thickens as its owners have now set out to prove that their world gastronomy is as mean as their desi bhaji. Enter Petiscos, a high-octane bar just off Panaji’s municipal garden that opened in December. Petiscos are to the Portuguese what tapas is to the Spanish—the small plate philosophy pairs prudent pecking along with some very serious drinking. When you’re at the bar, try the Verde Rita, a cilantro infused tequila drink and pick on some prawn a la plancha— the seafood bisque and bimbli pickle pair well with the subtle flavours of shrimp. With its steely grey interiors and vintage rawhide bar stools, Petisco is the address that has both locals and tourists flocking to it for its sexy chill vibe and fabulous cocktails. Souza Towers, Dr RS Rd, opposite Municipal Garden, Altinho, Panaji. Call 80105 21438 . Cocktails for Two: Rs1,500
Jamming Goat, Benaulim
Jamming Goat takes Goa’s vibrant beach shack culture a notch higher with its funky purple neon lighting and peppy cocktails. The restaurant front gets flooded during high tide on a full moon night and a long, winding bridge connects you from the car park to this beach corner venue. The cocktail that stands out in the menu would be the 1986, which has peppered vodka, jalapeno tea and hints of citrus notes. Also try the Goat in Goa with feni and Peruvian soda garnished with plum leather. To line your stomach, get the prawn pepper fry spritzed with curd rice foam, bheja fry dosa or even the pan tossed wild mushrooms with parmesan for the vegetarians. This beach bar is really generous with their use of edible flowers as garnishes—its use of the Philippines violet, spicy jatropha and dragon flower make for instantly Instagrammable plates. Next to Lloyds beach shack, Utorda. Call 093734 31205. Cocktails for Two: Rs1,200
Felix in Latin means happy and lucky, and this multifunctional space houses a Japanese Robata, a restaurant and grill and the bar is helmed by an all-female team of bartenders. The Anjuna bungalow channels a throwback 60’s vibe, peppered with artworks from a rotating roster of Goa-based artists such as Ronny Frost, Sameer Hazari and Anu Malhotra. The signature cocktail here is a tarty gin and cherry sour that jams well with gluten-free yam samosas. If you’re in the mood for local blends, try the sol kadi spiked with dark rum or the feni-based Anjuna Swing. The kitchen’s mud crab cakes are rich, and this sophisticated club disguised as a co-working space is one of the rare dining spaces in Goa that bakes a flawless Oreo Cheesecake. If you’re in Goa on a work-cum-vacay, and want to network with the who’s who of the city, look no further. Anjuna Mapusa Road, Mazal Waddo, Anjuna. Call 98043 05911. Cocktails for Two: Rs1,500
Kismoor Gin Garden, Sangolda
With Goa witnessing an explosion of homegrown artisanal gins like Samsara, Jin Jiji, Pumori, Tickle and GinGin, the G&T has garnered millennial interest and is no longer just a light tipple your grandmother would fancy. Taleigao restaurant Kismoor Gin Garden’s outpost in Sangolda is set within a gin garden with cerulean alfresco patio furniture, in the backyard of home decor label Paperboat Collective. Sample the one stop ‘Make your own Gin’ concept for which one is presented with gin and tonic along with an assortment platter containing slices of lime, tangerine, cucumber, spices like star anise, cloves, cardamom sticks, sprigs of mint and coarse sea salt. Other gin speciality cocktails include the Beet It that takes the boring out of beetroot juice; Flowers of Kismoor, a blend of G&T with elderflower extract and hints of citrus; and Catwalk, a muddled basil, orange and gin smash. The garden restaurant encounters an especially high footfall for the fish thali but the kombdi chilly fry, crab meat reachado and mushroom butter garlic are good bets if you’re feeling peckish. H No 248 Bella Vista, behind Paper Boat, Sangolda. Call 88886 21905. Cocktails for Two: Rs1,200
Antó[email protected], Fontainhas
Like every thriving tourist destination, Goa is fast becoming a multisensory mixology hotspot. But Goan veterans will tell you that none of that compares to the local tavernas that serve you feni and the seasonal urrak. After a memorable stint at the award-winning A Reverie, chef Pablo Miranda returns to his ancestral roots with Antó[email protected], in Fontainhas’ Sao Tome neighbourhood. With reverberating Latin music, crowded community tables, the taverna is a throwback to what Old Panjim used to be. Slurp up the urrak cocktail, the madhua, that combines mahua with ginger ale, the tamarind whiskey sour or even the jaggery mojito. Pair with tender coconut bhaji, chicharones or pulled pork skin, or something as simple but wholesome as whole boiled peanuts and green mango chilli. Rua 31 de Janeiro, Altinho, Panaji. Call 91758 98161. Cocktails for Two: Rs1,000
Tesouro by Firefly, Colva
In complete contrast to the silence and serenity of South Goa, this fancy new cocktail bar looks like a saloon in an old cowboy Western. Owned by restaurateur Donovan Vaz of Firefly fame and mixologist Arijit Bose who helmed 28 Hong Kong Street in Singapore and New Delhi’s PCO, Tesouro comes loaded with some impressive arsenal.
The vermouth-based Midnight Brekkie tastes like liquid peanut butter and on its own justifies a visit to Tesouro. There’s also a sunny Jungle Bird made from Campari and gold rum topped with pineapple juice. If you’re in the mood for some fun, you could ask the bartender for a suggestively named Big D*ck—a gigantic glass pillar topped with cola, Red Bull and Jagermeister. Eat the sea bass seared in dukshiri feni, the prawn ajillo or the Jorge steak (named after Jorge, a frequent patron), as the dancing will make you work up quite an appetite. Park yourself here quickly, this restobar is quite likely going to become South Goa’s party place this season.Colva-Benaulim Road, Near Florida Gardens Vanelim, Colva. Call 98348 75596. Cocktails for Two: Rs1,200