With a heavy heart, Shirin Mehrotra on May 18 announced to her Twitter followers that her days in Mumbai are numbered. The food writer decided to mark her last days in the city, which she called home for 15 years, by looking back at food haunts that have become her favourites over the years. India Food Network compiles her whole Twitter thread of must-visit Mumbai restaurants by neighbourhood.
Intentionally keeping out "usual suspects", Shirin refrained from naming some popularly-known Mumbai restaurants in her list and says they are "all affordable. I rarely eat at expensive restaurants." Take a bite out of this list that takes you on a culinary journey from Goregaon in the Western suburbs to Fort in south Mumbai, giving you a taste of traditional Maharashtrian and Konkani cuisine to hidden street foods from the financial capital's bylanes.
Whether you've lived here all your life, moved to the city recently or planning to visit for a holiday, Shirin's personally curated list of Mumbai eateries is a food trail waiting to happen. To make things easier for you, we also have the restaurants Mapped!
This tiny cafe in the art district of Mumbai is easy to miss so you'll have to keep your eye out for it. Shirin strongly recommends their Flourless Chocolate Almond Cake. "Best dessert ever," she exclaims and adds, "Eat it warm."
Kala Ghoda Cafe, Kala Ghoda - a little deviation from the inexpensive places, but you HAVE to eat the flourless chocolate almond cake here. Best dessert EVER! Eat it warm 😌
Seafood lovers, this one's for you! Shirin took a well-travelled and well-fed American photojournalist friend to the eatery and ended up with a lesson on eating "crab properly." Shirin tried their Mangalorean-style Crab Curry.
This one was Shirin's lunch haunt for a year and a half. "Hands down the best Bisi Bele Bath and Curd Rice in Mumbai." She also recommends their Set Dosa. Shirin suggests checking out Star Cold Drinks, another eatery nearby run by the same owners.
Shirin swears by the Farali Pattice at this eatery in Mangaldas Market in Mumbai's Kalbadevi area. It is "made with potato stuffed with coconut and peanuts," she says, describing what she calls "one of the most favourite snacks in Bombay."
After she recommended the eatery to a friend, Shirin says, "He ended up going there more than I did and ate every possible combination of their thali. The most humble Gujarati Thali place."
Friends Union Joshi Club, Kalbadevi - I introduced this place to him and he ended up going there more than I did and ate every possible combination of their thali. The most humble Gujarati Thali place.
This is another must-visit for authentic Maharashtrian fare, says Shirin. Always packed, patrons grab a seat where they can find one. Despite being a small eatery, it's touted for its hygienic conditions.
This was Shirin's "go to breakfast place" when she was living in the neighbourhood. Apart from their Bhajiyas which she says "all of them are good", she also recommends their Undhiyu. "One of the best in the city made with loads of green garlic." Go during winter, she suggests.
Shirin loves the eatery like it's her own home. "I ate Kheer here 14 years ago when I was new in Bombay, and it was heaven away from home," she recollects. While she loves everything at the restaurant, it's hard not to after it reminds you of home, her recommendations include Baingan Bharta, Rajma, Daal, Aam Ras.
Crystal, Girgaon - We both took each other here cause we both loved it like our own homes.
Shirin belongs to Team Chai, and her day doesn't begin without a cuppa. "Waking up in a house without any chai patti was tough love. So we found a place that has the best Mint Chai," she recollects and doesn't forget to mention the "polite owner". "Go meet Gustad and say hi."
Among some of the few 'expensive' exceptions in her list, Shirin says, "Not an inexpensive or old place but it's done more for Indian food (in the city and globally) than any other restaurant of this level has. Love the philosophy they work with." The Jowar and Barley Salad at The Bombay Canteen is her favourite.
The Mutton Thali, Keema and Prawns over here make Shirin's mouth water. "Food is spicy though," she warns. So make sure your spice setting is on high when you head to this eatery "next to Deepak (now Matterden) Cinema."
Shashikant, Lower Parel - next to Deepak (now Matterden) Cinema. Good mutton thali, keema and prawns. Food is spicy though.
While this one is no hidden secret, says Shirin, she recommends skipping their Misal Pav and trying their Amba Daal instead, "It's the best thing on the menu." Their Ukdiche Modak, available around the year, is another must-try.
Aaswad, Dadar - yes yes, this one's no hidden secret but honestly skip their misal pav and eat amba daal. It's the best thing on the menu. Also ukdiche modak which are available round the year.
The long queues outside this restaurant don't deter the foodie in Shirin. "I'll wait forever in the queue outside this restaurant to eat their Teesrya, Prawns Fry, Fish Curry and Crab."
Gomantak Boarding House, Dadar - I'll wait forever in the queue outside this restaurant to eat their teesrya, prawns fry, fish curry and crab. @thestonedmonk and @thehissingsaint can give testimonial. 🤣🤣
Shirin began the exhaustive list of must-visit restaurants in Mumbai with her favourite. "My absolute favourite for Misal Pav, Kothimbir Vadi and other Maharashtrian snacks," she says and adds, "It's over 75 years old now and gives the typical old khanaval kind of feel."
Shirin made many south Indian delicacy discoveries at this eatery thanks to her friends. She exclaims that her life changed after trying their Paniyaram, and it's also where she encountered the "gift of Brahmin Idli". She strongly recommends their Molgapodi as well.
She may be biased she warns but "maybe this place really serves one of the best Chinese food in the city." The owner of Lucky Dragon was the former chef at China Valley in Prabhadevi and is half-Chinese himself, informs Shirin. She recommends their Chicken Noodle Soup, Paneer Chilli Dry and Burnt Garlic Rice.
Lucky Dragon, Matunga - maybe I am biased, maybe this place really serves one of the best Chinese food in the city. The owner was the chef at China Valley in Prabhadevi and is half Chinese himself. Chicken noodle soup, paneer chilli dry, burnt garlic rice are 💙
Simply naming this restaurant is enough says Shirin, whose father is a fan of the eatery too. "This place has my heart and space in my stomach forever," she says emotionally. "Their meals are beautiful and so is their ideology. Also, Aam Ras is bomb!"
A Ramanayak Shri Krishna Udipi and Boarding House, Matunga - naam hi kaafi hai! This place has my heart and space in my stomach forever. Their meals are beautiful and so is their ideology. Also, aamras is bomb!
Shirin's two years living in the Sion-Chembur area led to several culinary discoveries. One of them was this restaurant which she learnt about from a friend's blog. "The old-style tandoor at the entrance blew me over," she says and adds that you will find the best Kulche Chole in town at Chawla. Don't forget to try their Chaas.
Let's move to Chembur/Sion - my home for over 2 years...
Chawla, Sion Koliwada - found out about this place via @gauravgjain's blog (back in the days). The old style tandoor at the entrance blew me over. Best kulche chhole in town. And that ati thandi chaas!
When she was living in Chembur, this was Shirin's favourite restaurant and missed it sorely once she moved out. She recommends their Chole Bhature with a tall glass of Chaas, and says their Pakwan is "superb".
Shirin describes her years spent in Mahim as the "most precious" and recommends Sneha for their Kerala food. Her usual order at the restaurant was "Beef Fry and Porotta followed by Yethekaaapam (Deep Fry Plantain)."
Dedicating today to Mahim-Matunga where I spent my most precious years eating out with the @burrp team.
Sneha in Mahim - Tiny place serving Kerela food...beef fry and porotta was the usual order followed by yethekaaapam (deep fry plantain).
This one is a "Ratan Tata Institute initiative," informs Shirin, "You'll get Parsi snacks like Chutney Sandwich, Farcha and Cutlets."
RTI Canteen, Bandra West - Ratan Tata Institute initiative. You'll get Parsi snacks here like chutney sandwich, farcha, cutlets. There's one outlet near Bandra Station. Even Fort has a cafe (OPP ICICI Bank near Horniman Circle) where they keep RTI stuff.
Crediting it for the "best Japanese and Thai food in the city", Shirin suggests trying the Chicken Gyoza, Salmon Teriyaki Rice and Sushi at Seefah. Not only does Shirin love the restaurant but also Chef Seefah who was formerly with San:Qi at the Four Seasons Hotel in Mumbai.
Seefa, Bandra - best Japanese and Thai food in the city. Go eat chicken gyoza, salmon teriyaki rice, sushi. Love the chef and love the restaurant.
Shirin says her list of must-visit Mumbai restaurants would be incomplete without a mention of this highway-facing restaurant. "Every damn dish here is amazing," she says and recommends their Prawns Rawa Fry, Fish Fry, Sol Kadi and Teesrya. "Love their mutton preparations also."
Appearances can be deceptive, and that's the case with this eatery in Juhu says Shirin. "It's a new place, looks like a generic Gujarati joint but the food is superb," she informs her followers. She recommends the Mangalore Buns, Bene Dosa and Thatte Idli at Ten One.
Ten One, Juhu - posted about it earlier too. Great Mangalore buns, bene dosa and thatte idli. It's a new place, looks like generic Gujarati joint but food is superb.
Honouring this eatery in Versova's Seven Bungalows as the "best Momos in Bombay", Shirin says rest of the momo haunts in the city don't stand a chance. "The sauces they make are superb and perfectly thin momos."
Suraj Lama's Momos - best Momos in Bombay...baki sab baith jao. The sauces they make are superb and perfectly thin momos.
Since Shirin's list is mostly dominated by eateries in south Mumbai, she balances the ratio by recommending Guru Da Dhaba in Andheri. It's their homestyle food that keeps Shirin coming back for more. "Everything is so good," she says. Shirin recommends their Moong Dal, Mooli Ka Saag, Karele Ki Bhurji.
It "might not be the best Bengali food you've ever eaten," she warns, "but Luchi, Chicken Shorshe, Kosha Mangsho and Aaloo Posto is pretty good." For those with a sweet tooth, Shirin recommends their Noren Gur Ice Cream.
Bhojohori Manna, Oshiwara - might not be the best Bengali food you've ever eaten, but luchi, chicken shorshe, kosha mangsho and aaloo posto is pretty good. And noren gur ice-cream too.
You may have heard that Sardar in Tardeo is the place to go for the best pav bhaji in Mumbai, but the hype over their butter-laden bhaji has gradually become passé. Shirin discovered Green Pav Bhaji at Blossoms thanks to a friend's recommendation. "I was apprehensive of eating green pav bhaji but loved every bit of it. Even better when it's raining," she says.
Kutumbsakhi is "a collective run by women that makes Maharashtrian food," says Shirin. You can vouch on them for traditional Maharashtrians treats like Puran Poli, Tel Poli, Modak and Masale Bhat. "It was started by the wives of mill workers when the mills shut in the '80s," continues Shirin, peppering her list with trivia about the city.
Kutumbsakhi - a collective run by women that makes Maharashtrian food - Piran poli, tel poli, modak, masale bhat etc. Was started by the wives of mill workers when the mills shut in the 80s. There are a few outlets across city.