I was on a quest for a killer vada pao in Mumbai. After 10 days in the city, I still am. While on the hunt for the famed street food dish, I had amazing meals, at legendary establishments as well as new-age restaurants in Mumbai. Let me lead you to the narrow lanes of Town and edgy places in the suburbs where you can dig into dishes that are aptly tagged #foodgasm on Instagram.
Unmissable Restaurants In Mumbai
Forgive me if I’m stating the obvious while talking about some of these—it was my first experience at all of them and I’m an unwavering fan of these restaurants in Mumbai.
Britannia & Company
This Parsi cafe is stuff of legends. It’s almost on every list of restaurants in Mumbai—it’s a rite of passage for any visitor. I visited on a Saturday evening, travelled from Goregaon to Fort to get a parcel (it takes 1.5 hours one way). Founded in 1923, the character of its restaurant is its heritage—the high ceiling that’s getting chipped off, the cash-only policy, and no-frills decor with red-and-white chequered tablecloths. It took exactly 10 minutes to get my parcel of chicken berry pulao, mutton berry pulao, vegetarian dhansak and sali chicken (no, all of it wasn’t for me!). This pre-independence restaurant has made a name for itself and there are always queues when it opens for lunch—it’s worthwhile to wait for your turn at the table.
Address: Wakefield House, 16, 11, Sport Rd, opp. New Custom House, Ballard Estate, Fort
Cost for two: Rs 1,000
I’m not a chaat person at all, so this place on the list is a surprise to me too. This Bandra establishment is a favourite of a friend who took me there, and I could see why–they have some delicious dahi poori and paani poori. Again, don’t expect a fine-dining experience here. It’s a streetside shop (with an upstairs seating area) that is known for its paani poori, sev poori, and all other types of chaat you can find. What you can expect here are long queues at the paani poori counters and again, swift service. Care for some kulfi? They’ve got that on the menu too.
Address: 2/A, Elco Market, 46, Hill Road, Bandra West
Cost for two: Rs 800
This upscale restaurant in Colaba is a celebrity favourite. The two-floor restaurant serves globally-inspired cuisine with food philosophy that’s seen in San Francisco and the menu changes frequently. We took a seat at the signature teakwood dining table next to the bar and had two very cheesy dishes: spinach benedict and mac and cheese. It was a lovely meal, but on Sunday, the menu had no vegan options for a friend. The chef, graciously, offered to fry some veggies and she teamed it up with a salad. Another great thing about the restaurant is that all veggies are grown in its own farm, and everything is fresh and seasonal. The owner Gauri Devi Dayal and her husband Jay Yousuf have created the restaurant to be ingredient-focussed, with influences from all over the world.
Address: Kalapesi Trust Building, Near Hotel Suba Palace, CS Maharishi Marg, Colaba
Cost for two: Rs 4,000
It’s always packed, let me tell you that. This cafe, attached to the legendary Prithvi Theatre, is known for its Irish coffee and cutting chai. Many artists hang out here; actors and theatre personalities will often be spotted, especially if you’ve come to watch a star-studded play. The ambience is chill and the vibe is laidback; if you listen closely, you’ll hear interesting conversations all around this cultural hub. Oh, and there’s also a house cat that hops on tables to have a little bite of whatever you’re having.
Address: Prithvi Theatre, Janki Kutir, JuhuChurch Road, Juhu
Cost for two: Rs 500
Taj Mahal Tea House
A quaint tea house in Bandra, Taj Mahal Tea House is something of a legend–it’s the charming Bombay bungalow; the inviting armchairs and the white and blue decor with patterned tiles; and the extensive tea menu with everything you can think of! As you enter, there is a glass display with pretty teapots and cups, and there are photographs of tabla maestro Ustaad Zakir Hussain and books on every corner. It might take some time to go through all the varieties of teas they offer–there are pots of green teas and herbals teas and masala teas and milky teas. From Kashmiri Kahwa to Darjeeling cuppas, you will have to make frequent trips to taste ‘em all. They also have nibbles and there’s a Sunday brunch with live music as well.
Address: 36-A, Ground Floor, Sanatan Pereira Bungalow, St John Baptist Road, Reclamation, Bandra West
Cost for two: Rs 1,000
There are two ice cream teams in Mumbai: Team Naturals and Team Apsara. Now we Delhiites have only just got Naturals, so Apsara for me was novelty (they have just one store in West Delhi). I loved the paani poori ice cream that we ordered–it wasn’t too sweet; it had that kala khatta flavour and it came with sookha poori on top. Not creamy at all, it was just a taste of crushed ice cones (gola) that we used to have as kids. Yum!
Address: 74/76, Subhadra Mansion, Near Gopi Birla Memorial School, Walkeshwar Road, Malabar Hill
Cost for two: Rs 200
The Tanjore Tiffin Room
From the wooden door with cravings to the creepers on the entrance and the beautiful mural of foliage on the front wall, The Tanjore Tiffin Room oozes fresh, verdant vibes. Sit outdoors and enjoy the al fresco seating, but do take a peek inside to see the sepia photographs on the wall. The menu offers delicacies from Tamil Nadu. Ask one of the servers dressed in dhoti and kurta to bring the sampler for main course and try different curries and rice–I loved coconut based korma curry and picked chicken, but there were tamarind and spicy varieties too (your server will explain what goes well with veggies, meats and seafood). Pair them with malabar parantha or appams. Jackfruit cutlets and prawn sundal are recommended too.
Address: Jewel Mahal Shopping Center, 7 Bungalows, Versova, Andheri West
Cost for two: Rs 1,500
Sweetish House Mafia
If you have a cookie craving, I’d suggest you go to this cutesy cafe painted blue with white picket fence on the facade. I’ve been asking friends to bring their Nutella & Seasalt cookies to Delhi for years and this time, I went in and selected my own. I’ve loved the story of this dessert brand–the owner Neha Arya Sethi started selling cookies out of her blue Tata Nano years ago and she got so popular (Twitter has a part to play) that she started a store. She has now expanded to seven locations across Mumbai. Come here for cookies (snickerdoodle, double chocolate chip and s’mores are amazing too), shakes and sundaes.
Address: Shop 3, Building 42, Matrucharya, Near Oshiwara Police Station, New Link Road, Oshiwara, Andheri West
Cost for two: Rs 300
It was my first meal in the city after landing. A Japanese restaurant, we picked it because it was close to Rang Mandir where we had the good fortune to watch 16 comedians on stage! I’m told it’s not frequently by celebrities normally, but it may have been my lucky day because I saw so many of them–Ananya Panday, Ishan Khatter, Shahid Kapoor, Mira Rajput, Neha Dhupia, Angad Bedi and Gaurav Kapoor. On the sixth floor of Shoppers Stop, this place has a Korean wing as well, and you can order from that restaurant too. We had miso soup, wasabi chicken with sticky rice, and cucumber roll. The place has a full bar setup and there’s a live teppanyaki counter. If you don’t like the tables in the centre of the room, there’s floor seating in the corner, Asian style. (They have an outpost in Delhi too.)
Address: 6th floor, Suburbia Mall, Above Shoppers Stop, Linking Road, Bandra West
Cost for two: Rs 2,300
On a Sunday morning after a visit to the farmer’s market in Bandra, find an outside table at this European cafe that whips up healthy and tasty buckwheat crepes. The crepe menu is quite extensive (from sweet Nutella crepes to veggies and meats filled crepes with cheese and make your own crepe option); but there are also delicious salads, sandwiches, croques and omelettes. You can pair them up with their signature hot chocolate, or a smoozie.
Address: Near Gold’s Gym, St. John Street, Pali Hill, Bandra West
Cost for two: Rs 1,500
Have more restaurants in Mumbai that should be on this list? Drop a comment and I’ll follow your trail!
Looking for a quick getaway from Mumbai? Check out this farm experience in Khopoli and spend time with pets (and without your phone).