The Best Restaurants In Mumbai

Where to find spicy seafood, vada pav, and seasonal tasting menus in the fifth most densely populated city in the world.
Sample platter of Tanjore Tiffin Room favorites plated on gold tray

photo credit: Vikas Munipalle

A guide to Mumbai’s best restaurants will incite debate. Mumbaiites will passionately rep their favorite thali place, vada pav stall, and perfect pizza spot, and have an opinion on every new opening—this city has over 20 million people and over 85,000 restaurants, so, yes, there’s plenty to talk about, and many places to eat. 

Mumbai packs in everything. There are tasting menus built around foraged produce, and small spots celebrating local communities, such as Tamilian Brahmin “lunch homes” and Marathi khanavals. You’ll also find new bootstrapped restaurants that count on deliveries to meet the city’s high costs—sprinkled in among fancy Japanese spots with extensive sake menus and ₹5,200 truffle-topped lobster. Meals are ultimately welcome breaks in a city that’s always on the move, so we’re here to help you choose yours well. Whether you’re a local, or someone dropping in for a few days, here’s how to fill your dining schedule.


photo credit: Vikas Munipalle



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Since 1945, Mumbaiites and visitors have been lining up outside Shree Thaker Bhojanalay’s door, sometimes even down the stairs and onto the dusty chaos of Kalbadevi’s streets, and for good reason. Their unlimited Gujarati thalis are revelatory, and the warm, efficient service ensures you never want to leave. No matter how busy it gets (seating is first-come, first-served), the movements in this energetic dining room always seem choreographed. Waiters with four-bowl caddies loaded with vegetable dishes, chutneys, pickles, and platters of farsan, rotis, and rice, walk around and fill (and refill) steel plates and bowls, while urging diners to go for third helpings. More reasons you should become a regular: The menu changes daily, and on weekends the thali includes sweet dishes, like gulab jamun, shrikhand, and fruit custard.

photo credit: Rohan Hande

Why do Mumbaiites go wild for the seasonal ₹5,200, 10-course tasting menu at Masque? It’s an experience, and one that begins when you step into the elegant dining room housed in a former textile mill. The pendant lamps hanging from the high ceiling, the lab-like, glowing bar, and the metal sculpture rising from the floor (inspired by the Mahalaxmi and Parel skylines) create the perfect setting to impress a date, celebrate, or listen to your server tell stories about all the locally sourced or foraged produce you’re about to consume. The themed menu could be inspired by a region, season, or way of cooking, like a Kashmiri winter or Jodhpur’s khad cooking. Whatever wonders emerge from the kitchen, like a pit-cooked quail and tiny puran poli topped with crab and amti, they employ top-tier kitchen chops to make us beam with equal parts joy and astonishment. You’ll need to book a week in advance for weekdays, and further ahead for weekend tables.

Mumbai runs on vada pav, the city's iconic street food. A spiced ball of chunky potato mash is dipped in yellow chickpea batter and deep fried before it’s tucked into a split-open pav bun, along with dry red garlic chutney, green cilantro chutney, and a fried green chilli pepper or two. Among Mumbai’s many vada pav joints, 85-year-old Aram is an institution that always impresses. Wait your turn to grab the assembled-to-order snack from this sidewalk counter. While the potato filling for most vadas in the city is laced with turmeric, Aram bucks the trend, and proves that the golden powder isn’t necessary for maximum flavor. Sips of buttermilk will help break the heat as you marvel at the grand Victorian Gothic railway terminus across the street. 

Flavors from six Deccan coastal regions bump into each other at this casual, earth-toned Bandra West restaurant, and the resulting mashups demand repeat visits. This city loves to combine ingredients from the region and beyond, and at Kari Apla, those pairings feel balanced, and work like they were meant to be together. We keep going back for the lush omelet moilee, the slow-cooked, warmly spiced Madurai mutton cutlets, Angamaly pork pepper roast, and bone-in kingfish wrapped in a banana leaf. Another thing we love about Kari Apla that’s rare for Mumbai: the chefs-owners play multiple roles, smoothly gliding in and out of the open kitchen to bus tables, and chat with diners about their day or the inspiration behind each dish. The partially open outside seating faces a busy Bandra road, and can be muggy, dusty, and noisy, so we prefer to prop ourselves on a high stool at the kitchen counter in the narrow air-conditioned back room and enjoy the action.

You can’t go wrong with anything at Soam. The all-vegetarian spot makes street food and chaat, but we love it for its traditional Gujarati snacks, comforting plates, and seasonal specials like vegetable-loaded undhiyu, and tangy-sweet aamras puri platter. A visit to this homey, briskly run spot, not far from Girgaon Chowpatty beach and across from a large Shiva temple, should feature any combination of these: crunchy palak cheese samosa that feel like spanakopita’s spunkier cousin, healthy-but-not-boring vitamin bhel, slinky panki, and fragrant, spicy Surti chaas. And since there are so many paths to a successful lunch or dinner, the waiters are always at the ready with suggestions, no matter how hectic this place gets. Soam’s devoted regulars waiting on chairs by the entrance will enthusiastically agree.

Anyone who comes to this casual, always busy Lower Parel spot in a central Mumbai office complex falls unfailingly in love with it. Blame it on their playful riffs on traditional Indian dishes that amp up familiar flavors and textures. Flying off the pass are the cheese bombs known as the Eggs Kejriwal, the flaky, fragrant Guava Tan-Ta-Tan (a post-school street snack meets tarte tatin), and the Chettinad prawns Ali-Yolio, an intense study in umami thanks to the pool of prawn head oil at the bottom of the bowl. The lively dining room, which evokes a high-ceilinged Mumbai bungalow with marble mosaic tables and Art Deco flourishes, guarantees a grand time. First-timers should go for The Canteen Experience: eight courses (₹2,950, or ₹2,650 for vegetarian) that take you through the menu’s best, while regulars should order the always worthwhile recent menu additions marked with a highlighter. Adding to the fun are cheeky cocktails, like a bright mini gin martini with housemade chili marmalade. And thanks to the friendliest bartenders in the city, dining solo at the bar is never a bad idea.

Every time we walk through Fort’s narrow lanes—past the engineering works, tool shops, and Xerox centers—and enter Americano, we feel a fizzy anticipation, like going to meet a crush who kinda already knows we’re crushing on them. We can’t put our finger on exactly why this Italian restaurant ensures we always leave happy, but we have theories. For starters, the glowing bar belts out the city’s most creative cocktails, like the Worli Bird with tequila, passion fruit, and hellfire tincture, the custom gold-tiled oven turns out perfect Neapolitan-style pizzas, and everyone and everything looks gorgeous at weekend brunch under the slanting light from the high windows. Order the salads and share plates like the aromatic truff puffs, shaved brussels sprouts, and delicate sea bass crudo as soon as you sit down. We should mention that their luxurious (and, yes, monogrammed) tiramisu is easily the best in town.

We’d gladly move into any of the three rooms at this all-day Kala Ghoda cafe that almost feels like you’re in Europe. The high-ceilinged main room, inspired by the OG Parsi and Irani cafes in the city, is where to meet with a friend or co-work over coffee, tea, and the best chef's salad in town. And the back wine bar feels built for big conversations thanks to heavy curtains, moody lighting, and plush armchairs. Much like at the Irani cafes of yore, there’s something here for every time of day and every dietary persuasion. We love the rasta sandwich with omelet and chopped onions, tomatoes, cilantro, and green chillies, which goes well with the Rojo, a tomato, watermelon, celery, red pepper, sundried tomato, and basil juice spiced up with Tabasco. The chocolate almond flour cake with so-thick-it’s-barely-pourable milk cream is non-negotiable.

O Pedro does for Goan grub what The Bombay Canteen does for Indian food—play with tangy, spicy, meaty, and coconutty flavors, to wow diners (both restaurants share owners and an executive chef). O Pedro feels like a sundowner at a colorful beach shack, and an escape from the tall glass-and-steel buildings of Bandra Kurla Complex’s new-ish downtown. It brings the susegad of India’s tiniest state to Mumbai—you'll eat surrounded by tented ceilings, blue and white painted pillars, and rattan chairs. This Goan vibe continues on the plates. A chicken masala poee sandwich with pickled cucumbers and spicy coconut masala makes a substantial mid-day snack. No one thinks of ceviche as fluffy, but O Pedro’s version with pickled oyster mushrooms, lima bean mousse, and crispy tempura is a perspective-altering thing. Flavor-packed renditions of watana rassa with bhatura, and bone marrow aad-maas keep the tropical coastal fantasy going. 

You better enjoy coconut if you’re going to Taste of Kerala. It’s all over the sadya, the ₹310, all-you-can-eat vegetarian meal served on a banana leaf. Here pumpkin, beans, and other vegetables are cooked in coconut in all its forms—light and heavy milk, rich cream, freshly grated, desiccated—to make avial, thoran, kootu, pachadi, erisnsery, kalan, and more. Rounding out this coconutty feast are dabs of pickles (the jammy puli inji made with tamarind and ginger is incredible), and mounds of rice with sambar and rasam that threaten to run off the frond and onto your lap. On a second visit, or with a big group, get their other staples, like smoky, sour surmai pollichathu wrapped in a leaf, and starchy kappa biryani. The space is spare and functional at best, but after a meal here, it’ll be impossible to think about this spot and not feel excited and/or hungry.

Ekaa is an upscale restaurant in Fort that highlights hyper-seasonal Indian ingredients, and treats them with the love a local jeweler might have for emeralds—fermenting, emulsifying, and roasting them so they feel refreshingly new. The minimal, slightly industrial space with the glass roof doesn’t adhere to a single cuisine, so every dish that lands on your table is full of remarkable surprises. The finger-long house sausage looks tiny, and tastes so big. The just-picked butterhead lettuce is the powerhouse lead actor to its supporting character cast of onion dressing, sesame emulsion, silken tofu, courgette, and salmon sashimi, because it needs very little work to shine. Never leave without trying their fried chicken, which maxes out its savouriness with soy pickle, egg yolk jam, and fermented cauliflower. Whether you go for the totally-worth-it 10-course tasting menu (₹4500-₹4800 per person, reserve ahead), walk up to the bar for the Ayurveda-inspired clarified cocktails and tapas menu, or order a la carte, expect simplicity at its finest.

The food at this former pop-up in the old Salt Water Cafe space makes us feel like we’re traveling through time. It’s both nostalgic and futuristic, inspired by Bandra in the ‘90s, and reimagined as a trippy underground venue. Did the graffiti and neon signs give it away? This place is pumping out dishes inspired by the chef’s childhood, and flavors from the communities that shaped the western suburb, from East Indians to Goans to Sindhis. Downright delicious experimentation is happening on the long list of shareable plates and entrees. The retro chicken puff pie, inspired by the one at Hearsch Bakery, is drowned in wine and truffle sauce. A Punjab Sindh malai paneer deluxe is a multicultural mix with harissa, hazelnut, and veg marmite broth. And the king cabbage, slow cooked until it resembles steak, finished with brown butter, and served in its own jus, will have everyone at the table haggling for the last bite. We want to list off the whole menu, but we’ll stop and just tell you to get here with a big group so you can try everything. 

For the best traditional Chinese food in Mumbai, cross the gaudily lit footbridge spanning a koi pond inside Ling’s Pavilion, the city’s oldest Chinese restaurant. On the other side is the two-level dining room with high-backed chairs flanking tables, each stacked with hard-bound menus that are as large and heavy as ledgers. This Colaba institution has looked the same throughout its 30-odd years—and so has the food—and we’re eternally thankful for its unchanging steadiness. We always go big when we’re here, so plan on over ordering. Get the hefty chunks of corn curd, silky steamed prawn wontons tossed in burnt garlic bits, spareribs in spicy black bean sauce, and Ling’s utterly fragrant claypot rice with mushrooms. Ask your server about the daily off-menu specials and order them in addition to the heavy hitters. 

Ode is one of the newest spots to hit the city's dining scene, but feels established because it's from Rahul Akerkar, the chef behind the game-changing Indigo, and the father of fun, casual fine dining in Mumbai. The menu is an eclectic mashup: modern European- and American-style food with slivers of desi flavor. Here, that translates to sophisticated, comforting, and straight-up irreverent dishes, like pasta, pizza, and tartare with local ambat-goad (sour-sweet) notes, and the “best damn” tarte tatin (it says so on the menu, and it’s absolutely accurate). The cecamariti cacio e pepe uses local produce with rombay (robiola-style cheese made in the suburbs) and long pepper to glorious effect. Pizzas, like the mushroom-loaded Fungus Among Us, are made with chewy biga dough. And few places in Mumbai make a burger that’s as well crafted as Ode’s—it’s a lamb patty layered with celeriac stew and rosemary jam. This place sits in a shiny new office building right by old mill grounds in Worli, and is where the city's cool crowd gathers to eat and drink under flattering light. 

The servers at this intimate, laidback South Indian bistro won’t let you order a main course until you’ve worked through the 4x4 tasting caddy, a spectrum of curries, rice dishes, and gravies.  That’s fine by us—it’s a punchy start to a meal of traditional Deccan dishes. We're more than happy to revisit this bungalow-like space in Bandra and run through the entire menu, which is inspired by the owner’s grandma’s cooking. Gravitate toward the more tangy flavors, like the vatha kolumbu, lemon rice, and sambhar, or the roasted spice-based dishes like egg thokku masala and Chettinad curry if you need heat. The Tanjore Tiffin Room is in a dull, nondescript building, but inside, it’s full of botanical murals and tasseled lampshades, and feels like the living room of a stylish relative. We always pretend that we’ve left the city, if only for a relaxed lunch date, or dinner with friends. 

Looking for a Parsi wedding feast without the actual wedding? All roads lead to Jimmy Boy in Fort. The sunlit cafe is full of paintings of Parsi prophets looking down on a crystal chandelier and bentwood chairs, while a cooler near the cashier glows with neon pastries and Pallonji’s sodas. It’s a quirky, charming spot, but the point of a trip to Jimmy Boy is always the ₹1,150 (or ₹850 vegetarian) lagan nu bhonu. The heaving feast is a parade of three main courses: either the sweet-sour saas ni machhi or patra ni machhi, tangy salli marghi or lacy farcha, and the pulao with dhansak dal, including free rotli, achaar, wafers, and dessert—and, yes, you’ll want to grow an extra stomach for all of it. The a la carte menu is expansive, so here's the move: skip the more generic North Indian dishes, focus on the bhonu plates for a lighter meal, and grab a window seat for fantastic people watching.

Meet the only restaurant in Mumbai with a motorbike parked between two tables during business hours. It’s the owner’s, and he’s (almost always) by the bike inside this stuck-in-time Parsi cafe, having a snack, meal, or cup of gingery chai. We don’t know a better way to endorse a place. Ideal occupies a rounded corner in the gorgeous Art Deco Horby View building in Fort’s office district, so you’ll eat cutlets and gravy, spicy-sweet patra ni machhi, and mutton dhansak next to lawyers and clerks. If the owner discovers that you’re visiting Mumbai, you're likely in for a long, delightful chat. 

A Bombay sandwich is held together by green chutney, and without the bright condiment smeared on its insides, a Bombay sandwich isn’t worth its bread. Anand Stall’s chutney is so compelling, we’d pay top rupee for the recipe. At this hectic street kiosk near Mithibai College, students and old loyalists huddle to pay for the sandwich tokens needed to place an order. Everyone ignores the dusty blare of traffic, and the sewer nearby, since their classic Mumbai snack is just that addictive. Ridiculously fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, and onions are thinly sliced to order, then stacked with discs of boiled potato, and chaat masala on buttered, chutney-ed slices of local Wibs bread (the only brand the best sandwichwallas will use). They’ll pack your sandwich in foil, so you can dash to a car or a quiet, less offensive lane off the main street. This must be eaten fresh for max fun. 

Dadar has long been the Marathi community’s preferred neighborhood to live in, so some of the city’s best and oldest Marathi restaurants are located there. When it comes to dependably delicious food from the Malvani region, we turn to the cave-like, village home-inspired dining room of Chaitanya. If you’re solo or with a friend, the dishes to order again and again include the kombdi curry with crispy wade, tisrya bhujane (unshelled clams sauteed in spicy coconut), and chicken sagoti on the bone. Groups should go for more variety—add a few of the fish thalis, supplemented with a spicy olya kajuchi usal made with cashew nuts in roasted masala gravy.

Ask 10 people in Mumbai to recommend their favorite idli spots, and you'll get 10 different answers. Ask us, and we'll tell you Cafe Madras every time. On weekends, especially, locals travel from all over the city to tree-lined Matunga to share a table with strangers for a South Indian breakfast or lunch (expect a wait), and dive into this spot’s fluffy, grainy rice cakes, with hot sambar and coconut chutney. While you’re here, carb load on the folded-over benne pessarettu dosa stuffed with spiced potato masala, ghee-laden sheera with chunks of fresh pineapple, and idli butter podi. 

Shalimar’s maze of different rooms and moods—from loud, hot, and busy, to private, plush, and cool—seem to go on and on (a walk through the entire restaurant’s many levels can take a full 10 minutes). The menu at this grand shrine of Mughlai food on Mohammad Ali Road that’s been around since the 1970s is neverending, too. It’s a rabbit hole of choice with hundreds of dishes. The cheat code of things you absolutely can’t miss: raan biryani, nihari, dal gosht, kheema, and the legendary layered sundae-like dessert falooda—a tall cool glass stacked with soft vermicelli, jelly, nuts, chia-like basil seeds, syrup, and ice cream. Large groups should snag one of the private dining rooms and share a family-sized, ₹2,529 raan biryani, while the air-conditioned upstairs is ideal for small groups.

Before it was refurbished in 2023, C D’Souza felt like a rundown parlor of a stingy distant relative. Now this spot near Marine Lines station—with new polished Burma teak rafters, and a glass case filled with vintage wine glasses (but no wine, because local laws don’t permit a bar in the vicinity of a church, go figure)—has transformed into a Goan classic. Here, the portions are big, and the hospitality is friendly. Order the onion-y buffalo tongue roast done Goan-style with green chillies, and the ros omelet blanketed with thick chicken xacuti gravy. Also get acquainted with the Portuguese-influenced Goan staples like vinegary red vindalho, fiery cafreal in green masala, and funky fermented choriz tucked into pav—and maybe hear from one of the co-owners about Goan painter Derek Monteiro’s art, which lines the walls. Chances are high that you’ll be gently pressed into having a sweet from the case, like the bol di naranjo, fruit jam-filled tarts, and coconut macaroons. 

There’s no shortage of seafood places in Mumbai. After all, this megalopolis started as a fishing village. Bharat Excellensea is an over three-decades-old spot that trumps all other seafood institutions in Fort. Here, the fish is uber fresh, the service is instantly friendly, and you won’t find their scrape-the-plate-clean prawn curry with unripe mango, onions, tomatoes, and green chillies anywhere else in the city. The dish is the perfect launch to a meal that delivers nothing but piscine hits, like kane ghee roast and gassi with neer dosas and appam. The two-level dining room has an “anything goes” vibe that somehow feels fitting, with murals of blue glass fish and caricatures of commuters jostling on a local train. So give in to the roomy couches and forever fun pop soundtrack, and settle in with a fruity-tart kokumtini, which pairs well with the catch of the day.

People rarely first encounter Sarvi on their own. It’s on an unchanged corner of Nagpada, and is privileged information you get in on only after a diehard of the dive-y, over 90-year-old restaurant takes you here and orders you the best Irani kainchi seekh kebabs (₹35 apiece) in the city. These are long, spiced mince kebabs, with a head-filling meatiness, not bludgeoned with spice, freshly nudged off double flat skewers to order. They’re grilled over a coal grill by a large window that faces the street. The menu has nearly 100 items, but most people rarely get past the kebab platter with puffy tandoori rotis, onion rings, lemon wedges, mint sprigs, and a fiery green chilli pepper chutney that isn’t messing around. At breakfast, Sarvi serves the city’s most true-to-community, rustic green kheema, tinged with dill leaves, and variations of it like the kheema ghotala or kheema half fry. Any of these should do the job of soaking up the previous night’s rager. 

This original, decades-old Colaba outpost of the international chain is an institution for Sindhi chaat, snacks, and sweets—and one of the few of its kind still standing in a city where Gujarati bhel and pani puri are more of a thing. Their dahi batata puri is sensory overload—the crunchy shell collapses into mashed potatoes, topped with cool yogurt, tangy tamarind, and spicy green chilli chutney. This branch is the best of the nine in town because their recipes and old-school service have stayed as OG as they were since KP’s inception at this spot, utterly unbothered by its global expansion. Go order happy. We love the ragda pattice and dal pakwan, the mirchi chaat, and the special falooda kulfi and rabdi from the sweets counter in front of the big tawa that perfumes the room with ghee. (Just don’t bother with the non-Sindhi hot mains playing menu-fillers, like the paneer and Chindian dishes.) Eat standing at the counter, or at one of the tables touching the sidewalk. 

For over 20 years, three dishes have had fans flocking to this momo-mad city’s only dedicated Tibetan restaurant: the spicy then-thup soup with hand-pulled dough, aromatic bamboo rice finished with wine and served in a bamboo jar, and, of course, the momos. Their thin, adeptly pleated dough and juicy pork filling surpass many of those found at momo shops that have proliferated the city. What else has worked in the favor of this no-fuss Oshiwara spot is that it’s consistent and affordable every time. Fittingly, this spot with red tables and chairs, and color-blocked red-orange-yellow walls is less about the atmosphere, and all about the food. If you’re branching out from the essential three items, ignore the Chinese menu at the back of the book, and go for pork spare ribs, thukpa, and jasha sausages. 

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