“Humen saal mein kam se kam do baar Goa zaroor ana chahiye”, remember Sameer’s dialogue from Dil Chahta Hai? It resonates the feelings of almost every Mumbaiite and I am trying to make it my life’s motto, for now, to visit Goa at least once a year if not twice. This time around, since I was staying at Bay 15 in Dona Paula (there’s another post on it, check it out here), I went exploring Panjim and loved what I saw. Here’re some recommendations if you’re looking at some non-beachy and non-touristy things to do in Goa.
See and Do:
Sit on the steps of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception Church
This church was built in 1541 as a chapel by the Portuguese and was later converted into a church. The all-white church looks like a giant wedding cake from a distance. Once you’re done lighting candles, sit on the steps and observe the local life and people passing by.
Walk or drive through the by-lanes of Fontainhas
The old Latin Quarter is a lovely area to take a walk and click some pictures. The pretty winding roads are dotted with villas painted in yellow, red, blue and green. Walk around to get your fill of old world charm.
Drive down to Old Goa to see the ruins of St Augustine’s Tower Complex
Drive down to Old Goa (it’s a beautiful drive) and if you’ve already been to the Bom Jesus Basilica, go see the ruins of St Augustine’s Tower. The complex was once one of the largest buildings in Goa.
It’s a tiny eatery right opposite the church (Our Lady Of Immaculate Conception) where you’d mostly find locals walking in for a quick breakfast or lunch. They serve dishes that are typically eaten in a Goan Hindu home. They serve various vegetables and curries with poori aur pao. Eat a plate of patal bhaji – white pea curry with pao ; it’ll cost you only Rs 30.
Meal For Two: Rs 100
Mr Baker 1922
One of the oldest bakeries in Goa, Mr Baker 1922 is run by a Portuguese couple. The interiors are pretty with bright blue walls and a typical Goan feel. They have beef chops, chicken and vegetable patties, prawn rissois – prawns stuffed in pastry and baked, muffins, cakes and poi – local Goan bread. Buy packets of nankhatai and sweet Portuguese crackers to carry back home.
Meal For Two: Rs 200
It took as a while to find this cafe, but we’re glad we did. Take the second right next to the church and go uphill; turn left and drive till you reach Archbishop’s residence and then take left from there. You’ll find Sunaparanta Centre For The Arts on your right, park your vehicle and walk in. Run by a chef trained from the Culinary School of America, this cafe serves lovely breakfast. You can spend long hours here with a book and coffee. Order their Eggs Benedict – beautifully poached eggs sitting on fresh waffles topped with ham and Hollandaise sauce; Bagel with Cream Cheese and Smoked Salmon and Cheese and Ham Quiche. Go for the fresh Apple, Carrot and Ginger juice and finish off with Raspberry Tart. Trust me, this place is food heaven.
Meal For Two: Rs 800
If you’ve been to south Goa, you would definitely know about Fisherman’s Wharf. The restaurant is famous for its beautiful decor and seafood. They have an outlet in Panjim too which is a perfect stop for lunch. Try their Calamari Rechaedo with beer or order Choriz Pao or Sorpotel. I’ve heard that their Bebinca is light and really good.
Meal For Two: Rs 1000
This recently opened pizza joint serves NewYork style pizzas along with salads and garlic knots (you got to try those). The pizzas are thin crust and a small is good enough for two. Go for their Bacon and Onion Pizza with a glass of sangria.
Meal For Two: Rs 800