#TGGfinds – Goa!

Heyyyy guys!

So, I’m back in Mumbai after an intense, hot two weeks at home in Goa! And just when I left, it began to rain. Talk about tough luck…

So, as my blog grows, I have an urge to feed it with new content that’s fun and exciting. I’m glad so many of you liked the ‘I’m Goan and I shower at Night‘ post – and more than anything, relieved to know that tons of folks experience the same thing!

If you’re following me on Twitter, you’ll know about my aversion to franchise eateries. I’ve sort of made it a rule to not visit franchise coffee shops anymore (or restaurants for that matter). It’s amazing how much time and money we spend drinking the same standard coffee 378491 times when there are plenty of places serving food that’s miles better! Wouldn’t you agree?
In the process, I’ve discovered lovely, little gems that I want to tell you about.
If you’re in Goa, maybe you can plan your next catch-up in one of them. And if you’re not, consider visiting them on your next holiday. They’re worth it!

Urban Café, Fontainhas

I came across a picture of Urban Café’s mosaic wall when a tourist uploaded a picture of it on Instagram, captioned “Streets of Goa.” I hadn’t seen this beautiful street and made it my mission to find it! How cool that it turned out to be in Fontainhas! This little toy-town, fashionably called ‘Latin Quarters’ is the ideal setting for Urban Café. Small grilled balconies and doors that open out into narrow, winding streets make it the most charming area in Panjim.

This hideout is perfect for writers, solo travelers and people who want to get away from the noisy beach belt *wall-poster reference.* While the food options are limited to sandwiches, muffins and wraps, what you should go here for is a cold coffee, free wi-fi and a good, long read.  Pick up a magazine from the rack full of books in different languages, put your feet up and sip a coffee in silence and air-conditioned coolness! Downstairs has a very wooden, open and earthy feel while upstairs has dim lights and soft couches.

Urban Café also has dorm-style accommodation under the brand name ‘The Hostel Crowd.’ The staff gladly showed me around when I asked them to. With the same wooden furnishing and white bunk beds the rooms are simple, yet bare with super-clean shared bathrooms. They aren’t air conditioned, but have a standing fan. However, for a price as cheap as the one they offer, you can’t expect luxury. I didn’t get to see the deluxe rooms as they were occupied.

Baba Au Rhum

The first time I visited Baba Au Rhum, they were closed because a power cut the previous night hampered their baking. So I went again the next day and boy, am I glad I did!

In a tiny nook off the road in Anjuna, Baba au Rhum embodies a free-spirited, retro vibe that’s drawing locals and tourists alike. While my visit here has been waaaay overdue, this cafe is anything but undiscovered. It is rustic, surrounded by a bamboo forest and overlooks breezy fields. Trippy, instrumental music, wooden benches & tables under a canopy of trees and plenty of dogs lounging around give it a serene, beautifully laid-back ambiance. So casual was it, that a bunch of Indian tourists began doing the bhangra in the middle of the restaurant (why do people do that!) and were at the receiving end of quizzical looks from people who wanted some peace.

The food, you guys! Fresh, baked bread. Croissants, healthy sandwiches, burgers topped with grilled onions and cheese, quiches and all-day breakfasts are just the start. A wood fired oven churns out heavenly-smelling pizzas and there are options for vegetarians and gluten intolerant people as well. Not forgetting their salads fruit juices, coffees and sinful signature desserts like lemon tarts and chocolate/coffee eclairs!

Definitely going back to try a little more every time!

Black Vanilla

A new addition to the Goa food scene is Black Vanilla – a hip little place on the Campal road in Panjim. While the facade is full of hanging flower pots and ferns, the inside is a mix of rustic charm and sleek black accents. You’ll find a wooden tree-shaped book-case, colorful plastic chairs and wooden stools besides a glass case laden with goodies. The highlight is a gorgeous chandelier made out of a cartwheel and filament bulbs in jars!

The menu is a mix of pizza, sandwiches,  bagels and burgers and sweet treats like croissants in new flavors. Red velvet Swiss rolls, satisfying chocolate pastries and cheesecake are made with French perfection. I personally prefer the lower floor as it is airier and brighter than the top. While-away some leisurely hours with tea, coffees and milkshakes. Check out my thin crust pizza – half chorizo and half ham, cheese and olives!

Tell me… should I do more posts of undiscovered, places like these? Let me know because I may just have a Part Two coming up!


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