"Choosing WHERE is the issue"
As a man perpetually on the hunt for the perfect meal, I have a habit of running into the right people to question. After asking them to tell me their favourite spots in town, I collect it all on google maps, head to my hotel, and start researching. Once a list has been amassed, cross-checked, compared, and confirmed, I set about my plan of attack. No matter what city you're in and how many restaurants there are, the same few names start to crop up in multiple articles to reassure you that if THAT many people rate it, there might be something to explore.
So I set about my days, controlled entirely by the location of restaurants, eat to my heart's content, disregard the ones that didn't tickle my tastebuds, and lavish abnormal praise on those that did.
They are collected below in no particular order, and links to them on google maps can be found by clicking on the main images:
Special thanks this time go to Debjeet Sen, Viraaj Braganza, and Ritu for their excellent advice. Seers of the modern age!
GUide to eating in mumbai
SHREE THAKAR BHOJANALAY
Without question the greatest vegetarian Thali you will ever eat. No contest. No arguments. Move along folks, nothing to see here.
Try to plan your visit to avoid the main rush hours, this place gets exceedingly busy. Pay your 600Rs (900 on weekends) to the cashier, and take your seat. Unbutton your imagination and prepare to be taken on a ride through flavours you've never tasted, combinations that at first sound bizarre but upon tasting them seem totally natural, and pray you arrived with an empty stomach because these guys do not let you leave without finishing every morsel on the plate.
Gujurati snacks of the highest, highest order in India's cleanest restaurant.
Tip: Do not miss the Panki Chatni.
BRITANNIA & CO
A quintessential institution in the decaying fabric of Mumbai's old Parsi Cafes. No visit to the city is complete without trying their food and soaking up the magical atmosphere.
Despite one local claiming he no longer goes here because they "Add potato to the chicken biryani", that simply made me want to go even more. Who doesn't love potato + rice? Anyway, sumptuous, delicately flavoured biryani in this temple of temptations.
Expect insane lines if you don't make reservations, upwards of 1 hour, but worth every minute waiting for their delectable seafood. Special mention goes to their Tandoori Chicken starter which was sublime for being at a fish restaurant.
MAHESH LUNCH HOME
The seafood here is authentic, tasty and fully on point. Just expect to sell a kidney next door when the bill comes.
This long-standing restaurant must be doing something right to survive that long in a food mad city. Skip the branch opposite with the beer hall, it's tacky and loud. The thing to order here is the Banjara Kebab. It is divine. And the Romali Roti.
Nobody escapes a trip to India without getting a serious stomach upset, and this spot will almost guarantee it. However, with kebabs this tasty, you'll gladly accept the after-effects.
(Photo from their website)
KALA GHODA CAFE
Tucked away in the boutique alleyways of Kala Ghoda, this cafe is the perfect tonic to escape the din of Mumbai. Head into the larger cafe at the back for AC and calm music, or if you're feeling cheeky then step into the "speakeasy" wine bar where vinyl is played and judgements are waylaid.
The tourists go to Leopolds, the locals go to Mondy's.
These recommendations are just personal opinions based on my palate, things change, chefs get fired or replaced, places open-close, relocate, so take it all with a pinch of MSG and discover your own gems too. But please do try a few of these, they have been researched exhaustively.
"Tastes are subjective, so take everything with a pinch of salty tears"
CITIES / Places