It is not far-fetched to say that Portuguese culture still has an influence on Goa. After ruling over the small Indian state for over four centuries, the Portuguese left Goa with a heavy influence on Goan culture, cuisine, and architecture. If you delve into the beautiful roads of the coastal village Anjuna, you will come across the Artjuna cafe, which is a perfect example of this.
As I walked through the wooden gates of the famous Artjuna cafe, I immediately realised why every person has got the cafe on their recommendation list of must-visit restaurants in Goa. The cafe is based in a Portuguese house in Anjuna. After you pass the gate, you are welcomed by a beautiful garden shaded by mango trees and packed with frangipani flowers that guides you to the cafe. If this hasn’t still filled the bill, then the treehouse and the swing that is situated in the middle of the garden will surely do the trick.
When it came to ordering the food, it took me a little more than a while to come to any decision because of the immense number of choices available on the menu. The carte du jour has a variety of sandwitches, salads and pasta along with a wide variety of Meditteranean cuisines like Baba Ganoush and Humshuka. What I also found interesting was their attempt in keeping their menu clean off any meat items, which is a rare case in Goa. The only exception is two items that contain fish. To take their environment friendliness a notch ahead, they have even introduced their own special vegan menu.
Eventually, I laid my trust on the waitress’s recommendation rather than my own was a good choice. What came to my table was a Portuguese-styled dish of poached eggs and eggplant in a sauce that contains tomatoes, olive oil, peppers, onion and garlic along with two warm slices of bread and it goes by the name Shakshouka. Just a look at the dish while it was being placed on the table by the waitress was enough to make my mouth water. I wasn’t at all disappointed when I took my first bite either. The only unfortunate part was that I didn’t get to devour this dish more because even my friends left their plates to dig into my plate.
You should try: Shakshouka, Baba Ghanoush
While you are enjoying your meal peacefully, you can take a look around and realise why people were on their toes waiting for the cafe to open after the lockdown. The birds chirping on the trees that are inside the compound, the children running around and playing by the treehouse, a lifestyle shop that sells Goan fabrics, hand-made artifacts and musical instruments like Zenzula...the cafe will definitely imprint a pleasant memory in your Goa adventures.
Open: All Days
Timing: 7:30AM- 10PM