Goa has never been this competitive. Even just a few years ago, standardised food and beverage offerings in hotels would have sufficed, but that no longer works with today’s guests. With diners constantly seeking new experiences, we now see a flurry of hip standalone eateries with unique offerings and specialised cuisine. In comparison, five star restaurants could appear jaded, making them the diner’s last choice.
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Not anymore. Goan luxury hotels have been revamping menus and interiors to draw diners from across the country, and world. Understanding that food and beverage is not just a commodity, but has to be leveraged as a competitive differentiator, they have begun to introduce innovative offerings by partnering with iconic standalone restaurant brands, some global.
For your next visit, make a note of these three iconic properties and their edgy new restaurants.
Paper Moon, Taj Fort Aguada Resort & Spa, Goa
Aimed at transforming dining from being an amenity to an experience, Indian Hotels Company Limited (IHCL) has partnered with Ristorante Paper Moon S.R.L, to bring Paper Moon — the legendary Italian culinary experience from Milan to India.
Debuting in India at Taj Fort Aguada, Resort & Spa, Goa, Paper Moon offers gourmands an authentic experience based on a menu handed over by the original team. Using the freshest produce each season, diners can expect inventive dishes such as Carpaccio di pomodori con caprine, olive tagglasce e capperi, pizza capricciosa, apart from a wide selection of wines and cocktails including La Vita In Rosa, Amalfi Coast, with local ingredients to complement the dishes.
Vincent Ramos, Senior Vice President, IHCL, Goa, opines that, with Goa becoming a gourmand’s parade, with a host of independent restaurants and nationally acclaimed chains starting outlets here, Paper Moon is driving audiences from the Independent bars and restaurants, owing to its central location in the heart of North Goa. Their USP, he says, is their home-style Italian food with a menu that changes every season.
He avers, “With its first outpost in India, in Goa, we are catering to tourists and locals too, and not concentrating only on our in-house clientele, which is usually the norm amongst five-star properties. The culinary prowess of Paper Moon is being welcomed and appreciated by the locals and we will be expanding our reach with this new eatery.” A meal for two at approx. ₹5,000+ tax. For reservations, call 8326645036
Edge-Tropical Bar & Kitchen, Alila Diwa, Goa
With a new look, refreshing vibe, and an all-new experience, Edge is a family-friendly, all-day space, seamlessly transitioning into a lovely sundowner spot to enjoy a Gin Michalda or a Caribbean Flair. Featuring a live bar and a show-kitchen with a spectacular view of the Infinity Pool and the Goa landscape of swaying palms and paddy fields, Edge offers an unparalleled experience.
With a menu designed for comfort and shared dining, the ingredients are carefully sourced locally. Don’t miss their ramen bowls, Edge egg florentine, Poee sliders, BBQ pork belly, among other favourites. As for the drinks menu, it has been curated by bar consultants Arijit Bose and Pankaj Balachandran. Their popular and exclusive offerings include Queen’s Park Swizzle, Edgy Negroni and cocktails like Caribbean Flair and Residency Punch.
Suveer Sodhi, General Manager, Alila Diwa Goa, explains, “Edge is designed as a space that makes you forget that you are in a five-star hotel… It is consciously positioned like a stand-alone with its own, unique identity. With the right pricing strategy, we have attempted to break the barrier, which one may have about dining in a five-star hotel. It offers a warm, personalised and relaxed ambience. Ever since we opened in October, we have seen many non-resident guests coming for either lunch or sundowner or to even spend an entire day given the variety of experiences we offer.” A meal for two at approx. ₹2,000+ tax. For reservations, call 8322746800
Sylvia, W Goa, Vagator
Seeing how the past few years have made gin the toast of the town, W Goa has capitalised on the drink’s popularity by launching Sylvia, a space that celebrates its fast-moving renaissance in India. An experiential gin bar that is home to cocktails from all over the world, the bar houses over 21 distinguished gin labels, ranging from British, German and Japanese to Indian craft.
The cocktail menu at Sylvia has been designed to welcome different palate preferences of guests, both in-house and local diners.
Tanveer Kwatra, General Manager, W Goa, says, the bar is a “self-transformational space as it doubles up as a lively space on busy nights coupled with live gigs. Experiences like these, today help luxury hotels draw diners. Although located in a luxury hotel, it carries the characteristic easy-going escapism, that beach bars are known to offer. This is one of the many reasons why it is a hit amongst, not just the hotel guests, but also the local diners”.
The highlight is the Gibson Course: a five-course drink, served with pickles where you can explore dry, wet, sweet, herbal, floral tones. For sides, there is a grapefruit tart, brie tempura with chilli jam, truffle potato, among others. ₹5,000+ tax per person. For reservations, call 9168616029