Places to Eat in Mumbai
Mumbai’s transition from a squad of fishing islands to India’s financial and entertainment capital has been nothing short of spectacular. With its cultural evolution and influx of people from all over the world, the city has become a culinary heaven for food enthusiasts.
Over the years, its local flavours have seamlessly blended into other regions’ flavours, through the hands and recipes of immigrants from across India. Mumbai’s current food scene boasts of offering something for everyone. Here’s a lowdown on some dishes and places we tried so you don’t have to miss them next time you visit the bay – experience a melting pot of culinary delights in India's maximum city.
Street Food/Chaat: Food for the Soul
Bombay chaat is synonymous with Mumbai and its on-the-go residents. Devoured by the locals as morning or evening snacks, these preparations left our soul and stomach full of happiness.
What: pao bhaji, pani puri, sev puri, vada pao and Bombay sandwiches.
Where: If you’re in central Mumbai, head to Amar Juice Centre, Elco or Sharma Chaat Centre and in south of Mumbai go over to Bachelors, Girgaum Chowpatty, or Haji Ali Juice Centre.
How much: A couple of snacks will not cost you more than INR 100 at any of these places.
Irani Café: A unique gift to your taste buds
Typical to Mumbai and Hyderabad (another capital city in South of India), these Irani cafes popped up in 19th century and some of them still retain their old world charm. Run by old-school Parsi families (descendants of Persian Zoroastrians who emigrated to India), these cafes are gastronomical heaven for those who enjoy flavoursome food. We paired up our meals with cold raspberry soda found only in these cafes.
What: Bun maska (bread & butter), kheema pao (bread & minced meat), mutton samosa for snacks and berry pulao (rice covering spicy meat gravy sprinkled with sweet dried berries), dhansak (meat cooked in lentil & spices), salli boti (mutton in broiled gravy with dry potato straws as topping) for lunch/dinner.
Where: We picked Britannia & Company in south of Mumbai (also chosen by the British Royal family, during their visit some years back), but there are also Kyani Café, and Jimmy Boy in the same area.
How much: With their humble set-up and no-nonsense service, a good meal for two will not cost you more than INR 800
Konkan and Malvani Food at Family Restaurants: Sumptuous Seafood
Mumbai is part of a long coastline that stretches from South of India to Konkan region (Goa & Mumbai), and Malvan region, which makes this city seafood lover’s dream destination. While the flavours keep changing along the coast, these specialty restaurants put together the best of everything.
What: Meats and seafood (squids & crabs) with neer dosa (thin rice pancake) are special to the Konkan coastline (Goa & Mumbai). The local fish – bombil, surmai and prawns are special to the Malvan region.
Where: For a Konkan feast, head to Mahesh Lunch Home (South & Central Bombay), and for a Malvan meal, go to Highway Gomantak (Central Bombay) or Pradeep Gomantak (South Bombay).
How much: An elaborate meal for two is likely to cost you around INR 1500
Bar Food: Eat, Drink and make merry
Downtown Mumbai has a long history with its bars that hosted tourists, aspiring writers, actors and unfortunately a terror attack in 2011 that made them an indelible part of India’s history and culture. Every snack or meal you have will have a stamp of Indian flavours all over it. The balmy weather, the buzzing crowd and spicy hors d’oeuvres left us exhilarated.
What: Indian grills and (Indianised) Chinese & continental – burgers, sandwiches, chilly chicken & chicken tikka
Where: Café Leopold (made famous by writer Gregory David Roberts’ memoir- Shantaram), Café Mondegar (with murals painted by India’s most famous cartoonist- Mario Miranda) in Colaba (south of Mumbai). While there, don’t forget to pick up a few meat rolls from Bademiyan, the oldest and most popular street food counter in the vicinity of these bars. In Central Mumbai, visit Janata Bar or Café Toto’s to experience the essential watering holes frequented by the locals.
How much: Snacks and a couple of drinks for two are likely to cost you INR 1000
Rooftop extravagance: Dreamy meal with a view
Finally, if you prefer to see the might of Mumbai from a height, there is one destination you cannot miss. Aer at Four Seasons is perched at the 34th floor of one of Mumbai’s leading 5 star hotels. The restaurant hosts the most affluent of the city’s partygoers over the weekends and serves delicious European and Continental food through the week to its sophisticated patrons.
What: Slow roasted chicken wings, spicy chicken 65 on a stick and the extensive cocktail menu
Where: Four Seasons Hotel, Worli, Mumbai
How much: A meal and a few drinks for two are likely to cost you INR 4000.