Street food in Mumbai is more than a quick snack to grab if you’re hungry. Head to Bademiya for some super late-night chicken rolls; the roadside kitchen is located in a lane right behind the Taj Mahal Hotel in Colaba. Sarvi, a century-old restaurant at Nagpada junction in Byculla, has the most amazing chicken seekh kebab. At Tardeo, Sardar Refreshments has some legendary pav bhaji. If you have an iron stomach, also try the masala pav. Aaswad at Dadar, Ashok Vada Pav Stall in Prabhadevi and Swati Snacks at Tardeo are all good options for local street food.
Iranian cafés in the city are a whole genre of their own. At Kyani’s & Co, the omelette, akuri (a spiced, mega-mixed version of scrambled eggs), mawa cake and Irani chai would make the perfect breakfast. Stadium Restaurant, located conveniently outside Churchgate station, has some really great kheema pav and bun maska. For a full-fledged Iranian meal head to Britannia & Company Restaurant in Fort where a worthy meal would consist of Berry pulav, salli boti with chapati and fish patra (a whole steamed fish followed by raspberry soda and a caramel custard for dessert). Yazdani Bakery in Fort is where you can get the best Irani breads and biscuits, and also happens to be an Urban Heritage site.
Bars & pubs
A step below the all-out late-night party clubs, these places are where you can grab a bite or enjoy live music and a beer. Most poplar among foreign tourists, Leopold Café in Colaba, founded in 1871, is one of the oldest restaurants in Mumbai that offers a variety of cuisines from Indian, Continental and Italian to fast food. A block away from Leopold, Café Mondegar gets top points for ambience, food, and beer but the highlight of the restaurant is their functioning jukebox. If you want dinner and a show, blueFROG in the central suburb of Lower Parel regularly features live music by artists from all over the world and has live acts by local performers as well. The Barking Deer Brewpub in Lower Parel is the first Microbrewery in Mumbai and has some interesting in-house brews. And for the ultimate, panoramic ocean views to go with your drink, try rooftop bars like Aer at Four Seasons in Worli, Asilo at The St. Regis in Lower Parel, or Dome at the Intercontinental.
Mahesh Lunch Home specialises in seafood and serves brilliant butter garlic crab and fried fish. Pizza By the Bay on Marine Drive has some great Italian food to go with its views of the sea and the city lights. Salt Water Cafe is frequented for its European cuisine; its pasta and risotto selections are plenty, and portions are generous. In Lower Parel, The Tasting Room has an extensive wine list. South Indian cuisine fills the menus of multiple restaurants by default but Café Madras in the suburb of Matunga gets it right. Fluffy idlis and crisp dosas are the specialty here but do not leave without having a glass of filter coffee — a coffee preparation unique to the south. Hotel Ramashray, another South Indian restaurant in the same area is especially popular during breakfast. Post-lunch, head to the popular Candies in Bandra, known for its coffee and desserts or to The Boston Cupcakery in Andheri for cupcakes.