Cosmopolitan Mumbai is a melting pot of different communities, making it a real treat for those who love to eat! The city has an enviable mix of old and new restaurants, serving up everything from experimental modern Indian to traditional local Maharashtrian food. Don't miss trying these diverse, iconic restaurants in Mumbai.
The fine dining experience at Masala Library will take you on a culinary voyage quite unlike any other. What sets it apart is its focus on molecular gastronomy, which uses scientific principles to present classic Indian dishes in unconventional ways. The restaurant was started in 2013 by Jiggs Kalra, a renowned Indian food columnist, author, gastronome, and food consultant. Unfortunately, the location in a suburban commercial office complex is uninspiring and out of the way. However, if you're a diehard foodie, it's worth making the effort! The highlight is the nine-course Chef’s Tasting Menu, offering small portions of all the signature dishes.
- Address: First International Financial Center (Citibank Building), G Block, Bandra-Kurla Complex, opposite the Sofitel Hotel, Bandra East, Mumbai.
- Opening Hours: Daily from noon until 2.30 p.m., and 7 p.m. until 11. p.m.
- Phone: +91 84529 00900.
- Cost: 5,000 rupees for two people.
The Bombay Canteen is another recently opened restaurant that gives creative twists to regional cuisine in India. The brainchild of Top Chef Masters winner Floyd Cardoz (an Indian-American chef who was born in Mumbai and moved to New York), it opened to much fanfare in early 2015 and quickly established itself as a hip place to dine. It's been designed to resemble a heritage bungalow, complete with stained glass windows, and transforms itself from casual daytime cafe to happening bar at night. The cocktails, with an Indian twist, are outstanding.
- Address: Unit 1, Process House, Kamala Mills, near Radio Mirchi Office, S.B. Road, Lower Parel, Mumbai.
- Opening Hours: Daily, from noon until 1 a.m.
- Phone: (22) 49666666.
- Cost: 1,500 rupees for two people.
Gaylord has been in business since 1956 and is one of Mumbai's oldest and still flourishing standalone restaurants. It was apparently also the first restaurant in India to have an open-air bakery. The menu has both Indian and Continental dishes, and the premises are divided into an old-world outdoor garden patio and larger indoor air-conditioned space. The menu was redone in mid-2016 but retains its north Indian favorites (including a decent butter chicken, rogan josh, and lasooni fish tikka). Dome, one of Mumbai's best rooftop bars, is just around the corner!
- Address: Mayfair Building, Veer Nariman Road, Churchgate, Mumbai.
- Opening Hours: Daily, from 9.30 a.m. until 11.30 p.m. However, the main dining times are from noon until 3.30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. until 11.30 p.m.
- Phone: (22) 22821259.
- Cost: 1,800 rupees for two people.
For rich, traditional Northwest Frontier cuisine, head to award-winning Khyber in Mumbai's Kala Ghoda arts precinct near Colaba. Another of Mumbai's landmark restaurants, it opened in 1958 but completely burned down in 1985 and was rebuilt. The regal interiors of this cavernous restaurant are decorated with paintings by famous artists and graced by a marble staircase leading to the upper floors. Numerous international celebrities have dined there. The chef's recommendations include many tandoori and stewed lamb dishes. However, the menu incorporates a good variety of vegetarian items too. In that regard, the malai kofta and maa ki daal are known to be excellent.
- Address: 145 M G Road, Kala Ghoda, Fort, Mumbai.
- Opening Hours: Daily, from 12.30 a.m. until 4 p.m. and 7.30 p.m. until midnight.
- Phone: (22) 40396666.
- Cost: 2,600 rupees for two people.
If you're a seafood lover, eating out in south Mumbai would be incomplete without visiting Trishna. The restaurant, which is more than 50 years old, used to be called Matrebhoomi Lunch Home but was renamed after it was renovated in 1991. Inside, the dining area is rather claustrophobic and unremarkable but the south Indian coastal cuisine is among the best in the city. The signature dish is crab in butter pepper garlic sauce. Other recommended dishes are chilly garlic lobster, prawns koliwada, tandoori prawns, and Hyderabadi-style pomfret.
- Address: 7 Sai Baba Marg, next to Commerce House, Kala Ghoda, Fort, Mumbai.
- Opening Hours: Daily, from noon until 3 p.m. and 6.30 p.m. until 12.15 a.m.
- Phone: (22) 22703214.
- Cost: 3,500 rupees for two people.
Mahesh Lunch Home
Mahesh Lunch Home was founded in 1977 and is another legendary seafood specialty restaurant in Mumbai. It serves authentic Mangalorean food, similar in style to Trishna, but it's a cheaper and less touristy alternative for those on a budget. It also has more space (but no windows), so you'll feel less crammed in.
The restaurant hosts an annual Crab & Wine Festival, featuring more than 25 crab dishes.
- Address: 8-B Cawasji Patel Street, Fort, Mumbai. There are suburban branches in Juhu and Andheri East.
- Opening Hours: Daily, from 11:30 a.m. until 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. until 11 p.m.
- Phone: (22) 22870938.
- Cost: 1,800 rupees for two people.
When in Maharashtra...Diva Maharashtracha (Light of Maharashtra) is an atmospheric place to sample Maharashtrian cuisine from all over the state. The restaurant aims to introduce diners to dishes beyond the typical Maharashtrian fare (such as vada pav, missal, sabudana khichadi, and Malvali-style cooking). Hence, the menu also includes cuisine from lesser-known Maharashtrian communities and regions. It has more than 200 items, with a generous balance between vegetarian and non-vegetarian food. If you're feeling adventurous, try the bheja (brains) fry and paan ice cream for dessert. There are happy hours during the week. Sometimes, there's live folk music too.
- Address: Next to Goa Portuguesa restaurant, T.H Kataria Marg, Shivaji Park, Mahim, Mumbai.
- Opening Hours: Daily, from 12.30 p.m. until 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. until midnight.
- Phone: +91 22 2444 0707.
- Cost: 1,400 rupees for two people.
Britannia & Co Restaurant
The majority of India's Parsi community (which came from Persia via Gujarat in the 10th century to escape Arab persecution) live in Mumbai. Much-loved Britannia & Co Restaurant opened in 1923 as one of many eateries founded by this immigrant community and is now one of the last remaining. Its rather eccentric owner is in his 90s and he regales foreign guests with stories, especially anyone who's British (he loves the royal family). The restaurant's grand Renaissance-style building was designed by the same architect as the Gateway of India and it has a fitting, pervasively vintage, ambiance. Parsi cuisine intriguingly blends Gujarati and Persian influences. The berry pulao (with meat, paneer or vegetables) is perhaps the most well-known dish on the menu, and it's made using the secret recipe of the owner's late wife.
- Address: Wakefield House, 11 Sprott Road, 16 Ballard Estate, Fort, Mumbai.
- Opening Hours: 11.30 a.m. until 4 p.m. Closed on Sundays.
- Phone: (22) 22615264.
- Cost: 1,200 rupees for two people. Cash only.