I have been dreaming about Goa ever since my mum bought me the book Gypset Travel, which dedicates a full chapter to this ultimate Hippie Destination. So when my friend Marion decided to organise her 30th birthday there, I was super excited!
Before that I didn’t realise how easy it was to reach Goa from Dubai. With a 3 hours fight (scheduled on Thursday and Saturday night), Goa really is an ideal week end gateway from Dubai!
I am not gonna lie, the weekend was mostly about eating and partying, so I won’t be able to share much cultural insights, but I can definitely share 3 good restaurants!
FOR A CASUAL LUNCH
ANTARES RESTAURANT AND BEACH CLUB
Antares Restaurant and Beach Club is an Australian-Indian restaurant managed by Sarah Todd, former Master Chef Australia contestant who settled in India a few years ago. From what we read ahead of booking, Antares is all about fine food, beautiful al fresco setting perched on top of a cliff and a breathtaking view over Vagator Beach. Pretty exciting for our first lunch in Goa !
Let’s start with the menu : we were a large group of 11 and therefore got a chance to sample a lot of the menu items … To be honest everything was good, but I don’t remember anyone falling off their chair either. But it was definitely pleasant for a casual lunch with friends. However, I read terrible reviews about the dinner atmosphere: super loud music, Russian gogo dancers and chaotic service! Not exactly the fine dining you could expect!
Now, about the all “Restaurant and Beach Club” supposedly inspired by the likes of Bali & Ibiza … there is room for a lot of fine tuning ! Maybe it is just because we visited during low season, but there was a lot of renovation going on, the stairs going down to the beach were in terrible condition, and the cottages didn’t seem in great shape. In all honestly I thought the place had just opened and was still touching up. But nope, it opened a few years ago already.
Still, the view is really nice and it is great to just walk down the stairs and be straight on the beach !
Check out their website here
FOR A SUNSET DRINK AND DINNER
Located just next to Antares, this Greek restaurant is kind of an institution in Goa.
Also ideally located on top of a cliff facing Vagator beach, you can watch a spectacular sunset and enjoy some pretty decent Greek specialities. From what I gathered and have seen, it is a bit of a See and Be Seen kinda place, for both locals and trendy tourists!
We started with some classic but excellent starters, such as tzatziki, fried feta, watermelon feta salad etc … Together with a ice cold beer, it was delicious. Personally I didn’t take any main course, but my friends were kind of concerned about the meat that was served and returned it for further cooking. To be honest, I think at this stage we were just all still worried about the whole “getting sick in India” thing!
Still if you are a big group (the restaurant is mostly made of long tables), want to watch a beautiful sunset, with some appetizers, I don’t think you will be disappointed here !
Oh and bonus points for the few hippy shops in front of the restaurant!
Check out their website here
FOR FINE DINING
Ok, so let’s get serious now. Both restaurants above are great for lunch, and maybe a sunset drink, but if you want a serious dinner place, you have got to head to A Reverie.
The decoration of A Reverie is an unexpected mix of classic Indian wood furnitures, copper benches, turquoise walls and modern art, all together in a cosy, outdoor patio setting! Not necessarily what I expected in Goa, but for sure a real gem.
When it comes to the menu, just be ready to be amazed by the selection, the presentation and the very subtle taste of your dinner, inspired by typical Goa flavours with a modern, international twist. I ordered the Fish That Swam in Butter : poached fish, sauteed vegetable and potato risotto! It might seems like nothing but it was truly delicious, cooked and season to perfection.
Top it all off with a friendly staff and perfect service, it couldn’t have been any better !
Check out there website here
Voila, this is my take on where to eat in Goa. I hope you get a chance to visit soon!
For a week-end gateway from Dubai :
– November to March seems to be the best season to visit. The monsoon is behind you and the temperature is still manageable.
– Air India flight departs from Dubai at 10:50pm on Thursday and leave Goa on Saturday at 7.15pm. Return ticket is around 350 USD