Goa is one of the most popular destinations if you want to revel in a proper New Year’s party. But the days leading up to New Year’s Eve can be hectic here and its usually quiet roads almost always turn into a gridlocked mess. Which is why most people steer clear of Goa on this big night. If you do find yourself in this perennial party place on New Year’s Eve, you can still beat the crazy crowds to find yourself in the midst of some good old-fashioned fun. That’s because nothing, not even noisy partygoers, can come between you and Goa’s fantastic food, quieter beaches and live entertainment. Goa is known for some great restaurants that specialise in Japanese, Burmese, Pan-Asian, Italian and Greek, besides those that are known for local delicacies. So, go on and treat yourself to a good meal on New Year’s Eve before you party until the wee hours of the morning. From a restaurant that serves meals with a side of theatrics, and another that’s manned by a former MasterChef Australia contestant, right up to a restaurant that specialises in dishes from the South Indian peninsula, there’s much to choose from if you know where to look and what exactly you want to indulge in.
A theatrical pre-cursor to the big night
A Reverie, in Calangute, calls its dishes edible installations. Its owners, Aakritee and Virendra, take an approach to cooking that both pleases and shocks in equal measure. Expect a meal that triggers memories, evokes an emotion or tells a story through the interplay of aromas, textures and flavours. With a forever changing menu comprised of innovative dishes, including an adaption of the famous chicken lollypop and Mumbai street staple paani puri, and an Amritsari version of fish ‘n’ chips, a meal at A Reverie is never a dull affair. The unexpected manner in which each dish is presented also reflects the culinary team’s sheer creativity. Even its drinks and desserts are treated with a playful twist. A meal here is the perfect way to kick-off a memorable New Year’s Eve party.
How to get there: Holiday Street, Gauravaddo, Calangute
A stunning transition from day to night
Chef Sarah Todd of MasterChef Australia fame started Antares, a sprawling 250-seat restaurant that overlooks Vagator beach. The entire complex houses a restaurant, beach club, sea-facing villas and a boutique filled with Australian brands. Antares is exactly where you need to be long before Goa’s notorious New Year’s Eve traffic takes over. So start your day off with a late three-course lunch special, and come sundown, bid goodbye to the last sunset of 2016 as you sip on the restaurant’s famous mimosas. As the day turns into night, the New Year’s party will shift to the open-air Antares Beach Club, where international DJs, dancers, fire twirlers and fireworks will set the mood for a night of dance and celebration. Expect the Champagne to flow and sparklers to light up the most anticipated night of the year.
How to get there: Small Vagator, Ozran Beach, Vagator
A fantastic meal for a good cause
Go with the Flow, housed in a quaint Portuguese villa, sits on the banks of a river near Baga Bridge, far from the madding crowd. Led by chef Stefan Marais from South Africa, the kitchen uses only the freshest ingredients for its delightfully conceived menu that comprises dishes like red snapper Carpaccio with passion fruit dressing, Vietnamese-style lacquered pork belly with crispy skin, Goan Chorizo rolls, beef tataki, and beetroot and peppered mascarpone tart. Dishes are priced well, and even better is the fact that all profits earned go towards social projects at the Samarpan Foundation. Goa’s quintessential jazz duo Steve and Kitu will set the mood for New Year’s Eve, while the menu with extravagant specials thrown in for good measure will ensure you have a wonderful time with your friends against the cool, contemporary décor and ambient lighting. Post-dinner, make your way up to the top level platform that offers a low cushion seating option or the hanging basket seating that affords a fabulous view of the firework display and drifting sky lanterns by the beach.
How to get there: Near Baga Bridge, end of Baga River road, Baga
A feast for the senses
Ever since the Goa outpost of Gunpowder opened in Assagao in 2012, it has remained a consistent hit with foodies. Gunpowder describes itself as a peninsular kitchen that covers dishes famous in the south Indian peninsula — Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala, parts of Maharashtra and, of course, Goa. From Pandhi curry, beef fry, Andhra prawn masala and Idukki pork curry to Malabar parottas and toddy fish, the dishes are prepared to tickle your taste buds with the right amount of flavour lent by an artful mix of spices. Each dish feels like it has come straight out of a home kitchen. While there’s nothing special happening for New Year’s Eve, we can guarantee that a meal in the garden of this quaint Indo-Portuguese villa will leave you truly satisfied and ready to take on the night ahead.
How to get there: No. 6, Anjuna-Mapusa Road, Saunto Vaddo, Assagao
Photo credits: Siddanth Sheory & 1 School Goa, Antares and Go With The Flow
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