Mumbai, known as the city of dreams, is also known for its vibrant food culture. Over the years, it has become a playground of flavors for all the food enthusiasts out there. From authentic Indian cuisine to world-class delicacies, affordable street food to high-end eateries, vegan-friendly to gluten-free, the list is never ending. Mumbai will offer you immense number of options and will leave you lusting for more!
Having grown up here, I have tasted it all, and I still keep going back. So let me take you on a gastronomic trail across Mumbai, exploring every alley, nook and corner of this bustling city to satiate your tingling taste buds.
When in Mumbai, snack like the Mumbaikars do! And the best way to do it is by savoring the street food. Mumbai and its street food are inseparable. A major part of my life was spent gulping it all down and I have no regrets whatsoever.
It goes without saying that Vada Pav with Cutting Chai (a hot piping cup of tea) is the epitome of Mumbai’s street food. There are so many Vada Pav stalls all over the city that it’s hard to pick a favorite. The runner’s up after Vada Pav is Pav Bhaji. And the prime destination to have it is at Sardar’s Pav Bhaji, Tardeo.
An unforgettable experience in Mumbai is having Chaat by the Chowpatty and Samosas at railway stations. For delicious Dosa treats, Jinny Dosa in Ghatkopar will fix you up. Bademiya’s Rolls and Kebabs are the ultimate savior for my late night hunger pangs.
Khau Gallies (Treat Lanes) are street food paradise. This is where you can have it all. The SNDT to Cross Maidan Khau Galli is my go-to place for street food. There are a variety of stalls here serving Chinese, Pav Bhaji, Frankies, Dabeli, Sandwiches, Chicken Curry, Chaat and Milkshakes.
Another favorite is Mohammed Ali Road during Ramzan, which is famous for its mouth-watering Mughlai food. Juicy Kebabs with Naan (flatbread), Tandoori and Tikkas, topped with Jalebis, Malpua and Phirni are some of the delicacies to try out here.
Cafes are an integral part of Mumbai’s culture and society. The best way to spend your lazy afternoons is by hanging around at these cafes.
Cafe Mondegar at Colaba Causeway tops the list. I go there for its quirky interiors, Beer and Fried Chicken. Similarly its neighbor, Leopold Cafe, is also a popular choice among travelers. I usually end up shopping in the neighborhood after getting a quick bite to eat here.
Kyani & Co at Kalba Devi is an old Parsi cafe, having a nostalgic, vintage ring to it. A cup of tea with Khari Biscuits or Bun Maska and Kheema Pav for Sunday morning breakfast is my all time favorite at this place.
If you are looking for good times, head over to Good Vibes Cafe, Mulund. Sausages, snacks and a cool breeze are all that one could ask for, and this place has got all that.
When you are in Mumbai, you cannot miss a typical Thali meal. A thali is a preset platter with unlimited portions of snacks, starters, main courses and desserts. Chetana Restaurant at Kala Ghoda does a superb job at this by serving traditional Gujarati, Rajasthani and Maharashtrian thalis.
Given its location, seafood is a must-try in Mumbai. To get a taste of Mumbai’s macchi (fish), Mahesh Lunch Home is the spot for you. My personal favorite here is the seafood soup, which tastes like the ocean itself. And don’t forget to try the various, lip-smacking fish curries that this place has to offer.
Mumbai has its fair share of South Indian restaurants as well. One such popular (and personal) choice is Dakshinayan at Juhu which is famous for its crisp Dosas, soft Idlis and Rasam.
For the meat lovers, Indian cuisine has some amazing food to offer. And no better place to enjoy it than Moti Mahal which has multiple outlets across the city. It is one of the best places to have Chicken Tikka Masala and Biryani.
Brunch and Buffets
Pizza with a sea view, anyone? Just opposite Marine Drive we have Pizza By The Bay. This restaurant has an amazing ambiance with all things Italian. For more pizza options, head over to Joey’s Pizza in Malad which specializes in American Pizzas. Another brunch special is Mama Mia in Bandra, famous for its delicious comfort food. If you are planning a romantic dinner, The Table, Colaba is perfect for a date night or a date brunch.
If you happen to have a ferocious appetite, these buffet places will help you keep it in control. The very first place that comes to my mind when I hear the word ‘buffet’ is Barbeque Nation. With a live grill and a variety of dishes on the menu, this place is totally worth it for its price. Bombay Barbeque in Thane is another restaurant that is based on a similar concept. And not to forget, with over 200 dishes to offer, Global Fusion, Bandra is another winner.
If burgers and sandwiches are your gig, then Between Breads, Khar West is best suited for you. And if you are a fan of Indo-Chinese fusion meal, Sahibaan in Worli is to die for. Their Chinese Thali and Sizzlers will make you want to lick your plates.
When it comes to fine dining, Mumbai’s luxury hotels are one of the finest. They might leave a hole in your pocket, but they will definitely fill up your appetite. So whether you are entertaining or just want to enjoy a fancy meal, these places are simply perfect for you.
The award-winning Wasabi by Morimoto at The Taj Mahal Palace is the most recommended place for authentic Japanese food as well as ambiance. If you want to try a contemporary Indian meal, go for Peshawari at ITC Grand Maratha. For a flavor of Italy, do try Vetro at The Oberoi for their elegant Italian spread and guided wine tastings.
Ending on a Sweet Note
If you are someone with a sweet tooth then Mumbai will not disappoint you. One of the fondest memories of my childhood include having the famous Kailash Mandir Lassi (yogurt-based savory drink) just outside Dadar Railway Station. Hungry or not, I always make sure to have it whenever I am in that area.
The Royal Falooda at Baadshah, Crawford Market is also worth a try. Kapoor Kulfi near Marine Lines Railway Station has the best Kulfi in town. Natural Ice Cream is an evergreen spot to devour some delectable seasonal ice cream flavors.
Another favorite at Marine Lines is the Dutch Chocolate Cake at Dark Temptations. For Indian sweets, there is no better match than Jhama Sweets. And Banglore Iyenger’s Bakery, Colaba is my personal favorite for their melt-in-the-mouth Rava Cakes.
I hope you enjoyed this culinary adventure. So what are you waiting for? Put on those stretch pants and start hogging!