Wondering what to eat in Mumbai's Colaba neighborhood? Here's where you'll find everything from authentic north Indian Mughlai cuisine to locally brewed craft beer. Some of the restaurants are more than a century old, while others have been more recently established, reflecting the diversity of Colaba's dining scene.
Colaba's most iconic restaurant, historic Leopold Cafe, serves up decent Indian, Chinese and Continental cuisine. Most people go there for the fame factor though. The restaurant dates all the way back to 1871 and has a prime position on Colaba Causeway. However, it really rose to notoriety after featuring prominently in Gregory David Roberts' epic novel Shantaram, published in 2003. Leopold's was also a target during the 2008 terrorist attack in Mumbai, and it's still possible to see the bullet holes in the restaurant's walls. Along with nearby Cafe Mondegar, Leopold's is one of Colaba's popular hangout places. Kick on into the night in the cozy upstairs area, where a DJ often plays.
Located opposite Leopold's on Colaba Causeway, Delhi Darbar is another legendary restaurant in Colaba that was established many decades ago. It's renowned for its rich Mughlai cuisine, including butter chicken and mutton biryani. The dishes are made according to the chef's grandmother's traditional style of cooking from the early 1900s. The restaurant's exterior doesn't give too much away, but inside it's decorated to give the feel of a darbar (a royal court or assembly).
Do note that Indigo has closed. Fashionable Indigo opened in 1999 and is one of the city's oldest fine-dining restaurants. It's housed in an elegantly restored Colonial bungalow, in a lane behind the Taj Mahal Palace and Tower hotel in Colaba. Apart from holding one of the best Sunday brunches in Mumbai, Indigo delights diners with its inventive high-end European dishes and personalized service. The menu was completely overhauled on the restaurant's 18th birthday in 2017 but still incorporates classics such as the signature Lobster Risotto Or, choose from the special chef's menu for a taste of the best dishes. If you're in the mood for romance, have a candlelit dinner on the open-air rooftop deck. The vibe at the downstairs bar is distinctly more upbeat.
A relatively new but much-acclaimed entrant onto the Colaba dining scene, The Table was established in 2011 and quickly became sought after for its distinctive San Francisco-style globally inspired cuisine. The restaurant's menu offers a selection of large and small plates that are perfect for sharing. Think fish tacos and pork belly buns. The Table was also one of the first restaurants in Mumbai to implement the "farm to fork" concept, by growing its own produce. This chic restaurant is spread over two levels, with the lower one designed for relaxing with a drink.
Splurge on afternoon high tea at the atmospheric Sea Lounge, in the heritage wing of the luxury Taj Palace and Tower Hotel, where you can sit by the window and gaze out over the Gateway of India. It's Mumbai's classiest tea room. In addition to an extensive spread of cakes and pastries, hygienically prepared Mumbai street foods such as pav bhaji and pani puri are a highlight. Go with an empty stomach because you can eat as much as you want. Service starts at 3:30 p.m., and you'll need to arrive early to get a window table.
Colaba's landmark roadside restaurant, Bademiya has been in business since the 1940s. The restaurant, which is really just an elaborate food stall, cooks succulent kebabs and grilled chicken well into the night (it often remains open until around 3 a.m.). The food can even be served on the hood of your car, reminiscent of an American diner. Expect huge crowds of party people from the surrounding nightspots if you go after midnight on the weekends.
Local Mumbai Breakfast: Olympia Coffee House
Locals flock to no-fuss Olympia Coffee House on Colaba Causeway to get their fix of inexpensive kheema pav (spiced minced mutton/goat with bread) for breakfast. If you'd prefer to skip the kheema, try the Indian-style scrambled egg bhurji instead. Wash it down with tea or coffee. This century-old restaurant is open throughout the day and offers a variety of other non-vegetarian dishes, the most adventurous being fried brain (bheja fry). It's considered to be a delicacy!
Head to Woodside Inn, housed in a heritage building opposite Regal Cinema in Colaba, to sample a wide range of Indian craft beers on tap. A friendly and laid-back neighborhood pub, Woodside Inn was established in 2007 as place to enjoy a few cold ones with conversation and comfort food. There are evening happy hours until 8 p.m. (the cocktail concoctions are a treat too), plus hearty breakfasts available until 5 p.m.
Homemade Regional Indian Food: AuthentiCook
For an immersive experience, dine on a regional Indian meal made by a talented home chef (it's different to the usual Indian cuisine as you may know it). AuthentiCook is a platform that enables home chefs to showcase their culinary skills, and visitors to learn about their culture by eating with them in their homes. In the Colaba area, choose from Bihari cuisine cooked by Chandana or Bohri cuisine cooked by Nafisa.