Mumbai has undergone an exciting culinary revolution in recent years and is now renowned for its food diversity. Talented young Indian chefs, lured back from abroad by the city's cosmopolitan culture, have been transforming the dining scene with their trailblazing experiments in formats and flavors leaving gourmands delighted with the restaurant offerings.
Best for Fine Dining: Masque
Each dish on Masque's 10-course tasting menu is designed around the novel concept of "botanical bistronomy," and Kashmiri-born chef Prateek Sadhu changes it regularly to showcase his creativity. He emphasizes the use of seasonal indigenous produce from the Indian Himalayan region, where he grew up. This includes lesser-known, foraged wilderness-to-table ingredients such as seabuckthorn from Ladakh. The exclusive gastronomic experience takes place inside one of Mumbai’s repurposed textile mill compounds, with the restaurant's industrial-chic interior complementing its location.
Best for Modern Indian Cuisine: The Bombay Canteen
The Bombay Canteen is a reigning fixture among the top restaurants in India for its crafty, inventive twists to local dishes and fun vibe. The restaurant celebrates pan-Indian cuisine but in a non-conventional way—there's butter chicken on the menu, although it's made with green tomato gravy—that still connects with the country's culture. Themed cocktail menus, in the form of artistically composed narrative books, also bring to life aspects of Mumbai's past. New editions are curated annually, with the latest edition, "A Guidebook to the Talkies of Bombay," dedicated to the city's iconic single-screen cinemas of the 1930s. The cocktails are named after prominent films from the era.
Best for Heritage Cuisine: Kebabs & Kurries
A signature fine-dining brand of ITC Hotels, Kebabs & Kurries pays tribute to Northwest Frontier food at the ITC Grand Central in Mumbai. This cuisine has its roots in the remote region of present-day Pakistan, bordering Afghanistan, which was part of undivided India during British rule. Minimal spices and simple techniques, such as marination and slow-cooking in clay tandoor ovens, bring out the flavors. Selected dishes from the hotel's other iconic traditional fine-dine brands—Peshwari, Dum Pukht, and Bukhara—are also on the menu, so you can enjoy them all under one roof. Try the labgeer (stuffed beetroot kebabs), murgh angaar (marinated boneless chicken leg), Sikandari rann (leg of lamb), bum pukht biryani (Awadhi-style biryani), and Dal Bukhara. Finish the meal off with the dessert sampler.
Best for Regional Indian Cuisine: Bombay Vintage
Discover delicious Parsi, Goan, Sindhi, Bohri, East Indian, Anglo Indian, Gujarati, and Maharashtrian delicacies at the retro-inspired Bombay Vintage. This restaurant successfully shines a spotlight on the cuisines of various communities that make up Mumbai, and some dishes have been contributed by gourmet niche chefs. The restaurant's cocktail menu also has signature mixes that are an ode to the city encompassing elements such as tamarind, Indian spices, and coconut water.
Best for Fusion Food: Mustard
Gastronomes will appreciate the juxtaposition of French and Bengali cuisine, brought together by the common use of mustard as an ingredient, at this innovative passion-driven restaurant. Heirloom recipes and the thoughtful attention given to the often unsung food of East Bengal are highlights. The restaurant's in-house mixologist has also made-over some conventional cocktails like the Mustard Sour—a take on the classic whiskey sour, with whole grain mustard blended into it. The drinks are just as alluring as the food but keep in mind, children under 18 years old are permitted for dinner.
Best for Contemporary Global Cuisine: The Table
One of the top places to eat in Colaba, The Table's small and large plates will take you on a culinary voyage around the world, inspired by the global dining scene in San Francisco. The farm-to-fork concept is so important to the restaurant that it grows its own chemical-free fruit, vegetables, and herbs in nearby Alibaug. Not all the food is fancy, however. Zucchini spaghetti, boneless chicken wings, and The Table's signature burgers are the most frequently ordered dishes.
Best for Seafood: Mahesh Lunch Home
Tourists usually head to Trishna, in Mumbai's Fort district, for a Mangalorean-style seafood feast from the south coast of India. However, locals will recommend the nearby Mahesh Lunch Home for a more authentic and reasonably-priced meal (Maharashtrian-style Gajalee gives serious competition too). Mahesh Lunch Home has been in business since the 1970s and offers a vast variety of crab, lobster, clam, fish, squid, and prawn preparations. The coconut-based Mangalorean prawns gassi (curry) paired with soft neer dosa or appam is a must-have. Don't pass up the huge tandoori pomfet (fish) either.
Best for South Indian Cuisine: South High Kitchen & Bar
South High Kitchen & Bar in Lower Parel's Kamala Mills Compound is ideal for those who want to explore South Indian food beyond "cheap eats" such as Cafe Madras. This colorful and cool restaurant has an extensive menu covering the five South Indian states (Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, and Tamil Nadu). The dishes are all so tempting, it's hard to choose! If you're feeling hungry, go for lunch and order the comprehensive unlimited thali on a banana leaf to taste a range of items.
Best for North Indian Cuisine: Koyla
Koyla serves rich and authentic Mughlai cuisine from royal kitchens, introduced into India during the 300 years of Mughal rule that began in the early 16th century. The restaurant's delightful open-air position, hidden away on a Colaba rooftop by the bay, is a bonus. You'll find all your North Indian favorites there such as creamy butter chicken, rogan josh, and dal makhani. The only drawback is that alcohol isn't available (but you can detour to Bayview Cafe for that). Try the zaffrani lassi, topped with a mix of dried fruits and saffron, instead. Koyla is only open for dinner.
Best for a Vegetarian Thali: Revival
Revival's flagship unlimited Golden Thali comes with a curated mix of 44 items from across India. They're rotated each day and prepared in a healthy Ayurvedic manner using trans-fat-free oils and homemade ghee (clarified butter). Other draws are the restaurant's superb location right opposite Gurgaum Chowpatty and the fact that it serves alcohol—so you can soak up the sea view with a chilled beer! Many employees are people with disabilities and waiters use a special sign language to communicate with each other.
Best Ambiance: Britannia & Co.
Britannia & Co. is one of Mumbai's nostalgic Irani cafes that hark back to the early 1900s, appearance unchanged. It's housed in a heritage building designed by Scottish architect George Wittet (who was responsible for many of the city's major landmarks, including the Gateway of India). The mutton berry pulao is legendary. It's made according to a secret family recipe and topped with imported Iranian barberries. Sali boti (a Parsi mutton and potato curry) is another specialty.
Long-running Gaylord is still as popular now as it was when it was established in 1956. The restaurant's broad menu offers a great assortment of seafood, north Indian, and Continental dishes. While pastry and bread-lovers can enjoy the bakeshop on the premises. The only dining dilemma here will be choosing where to sit. There's both indoor and outdoor seating, and plenty of space spread over two floors for large groups (Indian families fill the tables on weekends). The convenient location just off Marine Drive is fabulous too!
Best for Breakfast and Healthy Food: The Pantry
If you're craving a hearty breakfast and Americanos made with freshly-roasted coffee beans, you'll get it at this cozy cafe. Plus, feel-good soups, salads, artisanal sandwiches, guilt-free pizzas, eclectic main dishes (from hummus bowls to risotto), waffles, desserts, and freshly-baked goodies. Keto, vegan, and gluten-free options are provided. The cafe uses organic locally-sourced produce, steel straws, and eco-friendly packaging.
Best for Romance: Asilo, St. Regis Hotel
Mediterranean-style Asilo, 40 floors up on the rooftop of the luxe St. Regis hotel, sets the scene for romance perfectly as the city lights glitter below. This open-to-the-sky sanctuary is the highest restaurant and lounge bar in Mumbai, and its name appropriately means "refuge" in Spanish. The restaurant is open for dinner only and the menu features mouthwatering tapas, grills, and seafood accompanied by fine wines and cocktails.
Best for Dessert: The Sassy Spoon
Not only does The Sassy Spoon serve acclaimed modern European cuisine, it also has super cute decor thanks to Mumbai-based interior designer Shabnam Gupta. The woman behind the restaurant is sassy young chef, writer, and entrepreneur Rachel Goenka. Desserts are her passion, and you'll find plenty of decadent ones on the menu. They include her Sassy Stacks (red velvet cake with a twist), dark chocolate and basil fondant, and signature ice creams.