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This article lists the best Panjim restaurants and cafes in the capital city of Goa.
Panjim is my favourite city in the whole wide world. No, I haven't been to every city in the world. Even if I did, my heart would always drag me back here. I can't point out one reason why I love this city so much. Is it the long stretch of road, surrounded by trees or is it the dramatic coastline? Is it the benches where you can sit and watch gentle waves splashing against the city-line or is it the old-school charm of the Portuguese houses? While much has been said about the things that can be done in Panaji, not many have delved into the Panaji food scene. Thus, I present to you the Panjim Food Guide. I've compiled a list of the best restaurants in Panjim, Goa that serve the most succulent dishes as well as some of the best cafes in Panaji city. In case you're looking for more info on Goa, check out my insider's guide to Goa.
Best Restaurants in Panjim, Goa:
Panjim has a galore of fantastic restaurants and cafes. In fact, the top-rated restaurant in Goa happens to be located in Panjim city itself. Take a look at some of the best restaurants in Panjim, Goa which are loved by visitors and locals alike.
1. The Black Sheep Bistro
The highest-rated and the best restaurant in Goa, and not just Panjim, is up there at the top position for all the right reasons. The ambience, service and quality of food are all top-notch. I was here on a busy Sunday afternoon for lunch. I ordered the bruschetta and tarts. Both these light bites had a flavour twist to them that added sophistication and launched a medley of flavours in the mouth. Moving on to the main course, I tried the Hainanese style paneer with rice. The dish came as with bed of rice that was topped with massive paneer (cottage cheese) piece that just melted in my mouth. The Hainanese sauce was pure perfection. I couldn't recommend this place enough! If you're looking for the best restaurant in Panjim city then reserve a table at The Black Sheep Bistro. You can thank me later.
2. Barrels & Bones
Among all the Panjim restaurants, there's no debating that this place is my favourite. Side note - I tend to have many favourites! Barrels & Bones is the right place to be if you're looking for a quiet, rustic yet hip location where the food never disappoints. White rugged walls adorned with vintage posters and wooden tables are the theme of the restaurant. There's both indoor and outdoor seating present here. While on the inside, there's air conditioning and huge glass windows, on the outside you have a view of the bar and a tiny green garden. Having been there numerous times, the food has always been lip smacking-ly delicious. Each dish is a standout. Located in the vibrant neighbourhood of Fontainhas, it makes for the perfect day out. All in all, this place is a gem hidden away in one of Goa's most colourful neighbourhoods.
3. The Oak Barrel
The atmosphere at The Oak Barrel is soothing and comfortable. While the decor is simple, the bar steals the show. However the best part is the location - away from the hustle and bustle of the market, but easily accessible right on the main road. Coming to the food, I recommend trying the T.O.B grills. In this dish, here's an option of choosing your grilled item (which could be chicken, seafood or a vegetarian item). Next, you choose either rice or noodles along with a sauce of your choice. The final dish consists of a grilled item in a sauce of your choice, rice or noodles and chips or fries. The dish was a filling meal that left me with a smile on my face. This place will make you want to come back for the simple reason that the food here is delicious presented in a great atmosphere. This is why I consider The Oak Barrel to be one of the best restaurants in Panjim, Goa.
4. Cafe Basil
How can a food guide to Panaji be complete without mentioning Cafe Basil? A cafe frequented mostly by youngsters, it's the place to be if you're looking for succulent flavorful burgers or sandwiches in Panjim. Each dish is packed in flavour, the burgers are gigantic and the prices are unbelievably low. I recommend the corn and cheese sandwich and any of the burgers. Also, add a mojito to your order. It's a refreshing drink to pair with the burgers. Occasionally, they have desserts as well. The red velvet cupcake is a crowd favourite. While Cafe Basil is frequented mostly by locals, I couldn't exclude it from my list of the best Panjim restaurants and cafes.
5. Black Vanilla
Black Vanilla is located right on the Dayanand Bandodkar Road, a little ahead of Kala Academy. Not only is it right next to a bookstore, but it also has the prettiest entrance. If you're craving a fluffy croissant or a crusty baguette, Black Vanilla is your go-to place. Moreover, the French quotes on the walls and artsy decor will only enhance the experience of dining here. It makes the perfect setting for a date or to catch up with friends. Apart from bread, they also serve sandwiches, bagels, salads, pizzas and a variety of beverages. Coming to deserts, the blackberry cheesecake here is the best you'll find in all of Goa.
6. The Busy Bean Cafe
The Busy Bean Cafe is located in the neighbourhood of Santa Inez in Panjim. The menu here has a range of comfort food such as burgers, hot dogs, various kinds of pasta and shakes. I tried the veggie burger here which was succulent and filling. There's an ample quantity of fries that come along with the burgers. My favorite item, though, was the cheese chilli pasta. The sauce was thick and creamy. It came along with crusty garlic bread. I washed it all down with a delicious cold coffee milkshake. The Busy Bean Cafe is a great hang-out spot in Panjim to share coffee and burgers with friends.
7. Cafe Bodega
Once again, when it comes to the best Panjim restaurants and cafes, it's impossible not to include Cafe Bodega from any list. Also featuring an art gallery, Cafe Bodega is set in a traditional Portuguese bungalow in Altinho, the upscale neighbourhood in Panjim. The cafe has seating around an open-air verandah. During the dry season, there will be seating set-up in the verandah as well. There's nothing quite like sipping a cold coffee in a quaint verandah. While I love most dishes here, do try the red velvet cupcake after your meal.
8. The Junction
The Junction was one of those Panjim restaurants that completely took me by surprise. Because this restaurant is set inside the Caculo mall, it wasn't on my radar. However, I happened to try this restaurant once during a work lunch outing and boy was I amazed! All of us dining there decided to try various combinations of the sizzler. Apart from the main protein (paneer, chicken or seafood, you can choose 3 items from rice, garlic bread, mashed potato and fries. I had the paneer sizzler with schezwan rice, fried and creamy mashed potato. The quantity and taste of each of these items were so good that I immediately added it to my list of the best restaurants in Panjim city and I'd go back there any day!
Comida is one of the two restaurants set inside the hotel DoubleTree by Hilton, Panjim. Since the hotel is set on the riverside, Comida restaurant has large glass walls that look out toward the vast river and the beautiful Goan landscape. Coming to the food, they have many counters serving various courses of meals and different cuisines. I loved the Indian street food counter, the pizza and pasta section as well as the Mediterranean counter. Other than that, they have a massive selection of Indian and local Goan specialities and many-a live counters. I visited the restaurant for the Susegad Sunday Brunch which included access to the infinity pool along with a nice lunch at the Comida restaurant.
10. Caravela Cafe and Bistro
Just like Barrels and Bones, Caravela cafe and bistro is set in the bright colourful neighbourhood of Fontainhas. The decor here is a very quintessential blend of Goan and Portuguese, marrying the two cultures perfectly. I recommend visiting Cafe Caravela for a nice hearty breakfast. The menu has a wide range of breakfast combos where you can choose from chicken, pork, healthy and vegetarian options. Apart from that, they also have a choice of eggs, pancake, Goan meals and snacks. The hearty food here is one of the reasons Cafe Caravela is included in this list of the best Panjim restaurants as well as the best cafes in Panjim.
11. The Chocolate Room
How to finish off a good meal? With dessert, obviously. Even though The Chocolate Room offers a bunch of savoury items, dessert is their strong suit, which you can guess based on the name itself. From cakes, shakes and pancakes to fondue, they offer everything in chocolate. Everything. Most of these dishes tend to be really heavy because of the chocolate yet it tastes just about perfect. One of my fav items here is the chocolate pancake, shown in the picture above. Two pancakes, made of chocolate, are drizzled with a rich chocolate sauce. They serve this with a vanilla ice-cream and some fresh cream. Yum! This dish is quite heavy and thus can easily be shared by two.
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