Featured, Living

Goa Nights, Cebu’s Latest Fusion of Macau-Goan Wanderlust Now at its Doorstep 

Nestled in the heart of Apas, just a little inside the old Taipa Village, situates Goa Nights. Within the four walls of a Portuguese-styled edifice contains a whole new world of Goan-Indian cuisine where it delightfully nods to its heritage but innovative enough to incorporate a modern twist; effortlessly enchanting the Cebuano palate. 

Spouse-owned and multi-awarded, Gwen Trott narrates up close and personal how she and her husband, Gagan, were able to bolster Goa Nights as a proud Cebuano business. She states pensively, “It wasn’t very difficult for us to come up with the decision to start something in Cebu. I am a Cebuano after all, so the interest was always there. The bigger question was, when?”

In their home base, Macao, Goa Nights has been awarded Best Bar in Macau by The Bar Awards in 2019 and was recognized in the list of Best Restaurants for 2021 by Tatler Dining for Hong Kong & Macao. 

Not only that, it has also made it to Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2021 “51 to 100” list. With these hefty accolades under their belt, spouses Gwen and Gagan uprooted Goa Nights from there and decided to open another branch in Cebu City in 2023, deeming it the perfect time to plunge into the craft cocktail bar industry. Gagan expresses the reason why being, “Cebu has seen much progress and we are finally seeing potential. Is Cebu there yet? No, not yet but it is an emerging market.”

Goa Nights serves an array of hearty food and carefully curated cocktails. Gagan masterfully portrays the menu as not strictly traditional Indian flavors per se but was fashioned after contemporary culinary influences as well. Gwen adds how it became the brainchild of everything they’ve picked up along the way with their travels around the globe, such as the musings of every nomad in search of their purpose. It is truly impressive how much passion both of them show for Goa Nights you can feel the love through their food preparation techniques and prioritizing quality that you can only exclusively find here.

For Gagan himself, what he would recommend a newcomer from their helm of dipping platters would be his favorite, the Afghani naan that is served along with their trio dips; tzatziki, baba ganoush, and hummus. A delectable appetizer beyond the usual fries that can surely hype you up for the extravagant alcoholic beverages that will soon follow. Gwen’s cocktail of choice would be a vibrantly crimson Campari Spritz. For a simple bittersweet base such as Prosecco and a healthy splash of club soda, it’s truly an unfailing crowd-pleaser for a Girls’ Night Out! 

Next up, tandoori chicken, beef tenderloin, and their chicken tikkas are just some of their filling meat dishes that can certainly keep down the alcohol from buzzing one’s system, prolonging the night with more cocktails to indulge. Lisbon and Cape Verde, named after its rich culture and effervescent tropics, these beverages also exude the same electricity as its namesake. The zesty flavor of lime overtakes a classic Cape Verde and hints of sweet peach can be tasted from a Martini Lisbon if you prefer that too.

For the perfect combo to cap off the night, Gwen fancies the Pork Sorpotel, a true blue Goan curry that packs an intense peppery flavor and is reminiscent of the Southeast Asian heat we all crave. As for its side, a Pineapple Affair which is a Piña Colada’s older and more liberal sister chases it down so you can thoroughly appreciate every stunning course that Goa Nights offers you.

If you wish to explore something not too wanton for the Filipino taste but not too boring either, Goa Nights provides you with both adventure and familiarity in every step of their food and service. Visit them at Apas, Lahug as they swing ajar their doors for their tender opening, making every Cebuano feel well-traveled and at home with every sip and bite.  

Photography Kyrra Kho

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