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Mumbai Restaurants

Bachelor's Juice House
Marine Drive, near Chowpatty
Mumbai
India
Tel: 91 22 2368 8107

This is not a "House" but a hygienic, late-night street stall that has grown into a local institution, popular with everyone from cabdrivers to Malabar Hill princesses. Bachelor's is primarily a dessert haven, with an emphasis on fresh fruits, but they do serve tasty vegetarian sandwiches and the classic version of Indian pizza too. Favorites include the creamy custard apple ice cream, the fresh mango pulp, and tart jambul juice, when the fruit is in season. The green chile ice cream, while a spicy local favorite, is clearly not for everyone. Past midnight, a police van full of constables is usually spotted parked nearby. What's a round or two of free strawberry shakes to ensure the stall stays open late?

Open daily 11 am to 1 am.

Britannia
Sprott Road
Ballard Estate
Mumbai
India
Tel: 91 22 2261 5264

In the heart of the colonial business district of Ballard Estate lies this 84-year-old gem with peeling walls, marble-top tables, and indolently whirring fans that evoke the tattered grandeur of the city. Proprietor Boman Kohinoor is as old as the restaurant, and loves tottering up to customers and recounting his nostalgia for the days of British governance. But the real reason people eat at Britannia is its Indo-Persian food. The restaurant's signature dish is the spicy berry pulao, delicately marinated chunks of mutton served on a bed of aromatics and garnished with tart berries from Iran. If you have room, follow it up with some creamy caramel custard.

Open Mondays through Saturdays 12 to 4 pm.

Goa Portuguesa
Kataria Road
Mahin
Mumbai
India
Tel: 22 2444 0202 or 022 2444 0707
www.goaportuguesa.com

Goan cuisine has fiery flavors and tropical ingredients, and it also encompasses some Portuguese dishes (Goa was formerly a Portuguese colony). This superb restaurant is about ten miles from the heart of tourist Bombay, halfway to the airport, and a dinner there makes a magnificent last night's banquet on your way out of the city. Guests eat in a tropical-theme dining room; the amiable wait staff wear dhotis and sarongs. Try the grilled spice-rubbed tiger prawns served with three sauces: garlic butter, a Portuguese brown sauce, and a Goan masala. For dessert, don't miss bibinka, the Goan sweet of stacked coconut pancakes.

Indigo

Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt dined at this, Mumbai's best stand-alone restaurant, following in the footsteps of slain Wall Street Journal journalist Danny Pearl, who used to play the saxophone on a makeshift stage here. Indigo's ever-evolving menu focuses on sophisticated European fare, with some interesting local twists and turns. The gorgonzola beef tenderloin is served with a tandoor-roasted onion. The converted bungalow is divided into four distinct spaces, including a courtyard, a bar area, and an anteroom, but none is more enchanting than the fairy-lit open-air terrace where old-money types gather to see and be seen. The atmosphere is a little more laid-back at Indigo Deli, a sister restaurant located a few streets north, serving soups, salads, sandwiches, and high-quality comfort food—just ask the hordes of hungover hipsters digging into eggs and waffles on Sunday afternoons.

Open daily 9 am to midnight.

Kandahar
The Oberoi
Nariman Point, Colaba
Mumbai
India
Tel: 22 2202 4343 ext. 6111 or 22 5632 5757
www.oberoihotels.com

This upscale restaurant has linen-clothed tables, maroon banquettes, and mirrored pillars. The cuisine is northern Indian—but updated, so that it's subtler and lighter. Diners can watch as chefs prepare delicacies in the glass-fronted kitchen. As you wait, nibble on khakras, (crispy flatbreads famous in the city of Surat) served with the house chutneys, including a perky green one made with coriander and raw mango. Be sure to try the salmon ka tikka, cubes of salmon marinated in dill, fennel, ginger, honey, and mustard oil, then roasted in the tandoor.

Kebabs & Kurries
ITC Grand Central Sheraton
Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Road
Parel
Mumbai
India
Tel: 91 22 2410 1010
www.starwoodhotels.com/sheraton/property/dining/index.html?propertyID=1540

Giant skewers stacked with meat, chicken, and fish line the walls of this immaculately clean open kitchen in the Sheraton. Chefs deftly slide the well-rubbed kebabs into glowing tandoors, or clay ovens, nurturing them until they explode with flavors like fenugreek, cumin, and pepper. The focus is traditional Mughlai and Nizami cooking, though the chefs at this sprawling restaurant have also developed their own exciting recipes, most notably the oven-cooked jumbo shrimp split and stuffed with crumbled potatoes, spices, and pomegranate seeds. There are extensive vegetarian selections, very popular with the city's legions of wealthy vegetarians.

Open daily 12:30 to 2:30 pm and 7:30 to 11:30 pm.

Khyber
145 Mahatma Gandhi Road
Khala Goda
Mumbai
India
Tel: 22 2267 3227 or 22 2267 3228

Khyber has a Northwest Frontier feel: Its low, beamed ceiling is intended to evoke a haveli, a mansion typical of that part of the country. Paintings by some of India's most famous artists decorate the walls. The restaurant is known for its northern-style meat-based kebabs and tandooris. Try a tender, flavorful reshmi kebab, chicken marinated in yogurt with mild spices and cooked on a skewer. In addition to beer and soft drinks, the restaurant has a short list of Indian wines, all from Maharashtra state. Soothe your palate with kulfi (Indian ice cream) or gajar halwa (available in winter only), a sweet pudding made from red carrots. Reservations are advised.

Konkan Café
Taj President
90 Cuffe Parade
Mumbai
India
Tel: 91 22 6665 0808
www.tajhotels.com/FoodandWine/Taj%20President,MUMBAI/KONKAN%20CAFÉ/default.htm

Fashioned after a seaside bungalow on India's palm-fringed southwest coast, the Konkan Café is the Taj President hotel's tribute to the coconut-rich cuisine of the areas that stretch between Mumbai and Karnataka. Start with a traditional predinner tumbler of sol kadhi, a milky blend of kokum fruit and coconut. The menu is ambitious given the vast areas it attempts to cover, so focus on the dishes from Goa, like the delicate pomfret fish, coated with handground masala. Another winner is the shrimp gassi, a coconut-based gravy that can be mopped up with a fluffy neer dosa or poured over a helping of unpolished rice.

Open daily 12:30 to 2:45 pm and 7 to 11:45 pm.

Masala Kraft
Taj Mahal Palace & Tower Hotel
Apollo Bunder
Colaba
Mumbai
India
Tel: 91 22 6665 3366
www.tajhotels.com/FoodandWine/The%20Taj%20Mahal%20Palace%20&%20Tower,MUMBAI/MASALA%20KRAFT/default.htm

Although master chef Hemant Oberoi reaches across culinary boundaries at his signature restaurant, his feet are firmly rooted in India. Oberoi uses ingredients not usually seen on the subcontinent, like broccoli and salmon, and the results are hybrid marvels: That salmon, for instance, is smeared with sugarcane vinegar and baked in a clay tandoor oven. Other dishes seem straight out of a kitchen in the heartland—try the tangy, tomato-based mutton curry and dal makhani (creamy lentil stew) for a taste of wholesome home-cooked fare. The setting in the Taj Mahal Palace hotel is grand: Patrons dine amid imposing Thanjavur pillars that shimmer with draped silks, but they still dig in with their hands instead of using cutlery. Don't feel shy about getting your fingers dirty: Soon after the meal, waiters arrive to sprinkle rose water over them.

Open daily 12:30 to 2:45 pm and 7 to 11:45 pm.

Peshawri
ITC Maratha Sheraton
Sahar
Mumbai
India
Tel: 91 22 2830 3030
www.starwoodhotels.com/sheraton/property/dining/index.html?propertyID=1349

It's a little hard to visit the rugged, war-torn provinces around the Pakistan-Afghanistan border these days. But you can get a taste of the region's cuisine by snagging a corner table at this faux-cave restaurant at the Sheraton in north Mumbai. The rugged decor—tree-trunk tables, beaten copper cups—extends to the dining experience: There are no utensils, so be prepared to eat with your hands and wear a bib. Diners tend to get into the spirit of things, tearing the meat off the bone with their fingers like feudal lords. Try the Sikandari raan, a cinnamon- and cumin-spiced whole leg of lamb; or the dark dal bukhara, a rich blend of black lentils, tomatoes, ginger, and garlic, simmered overnight on coal embers and topped off with cream and butter. It all sits a bit heavy, so try not to pass out at the table.

Open daily 12:30 to 2:30 pm and 7 to 11:30 pm.

Salt Water Grill
H20 Water Sports Complex
Next to Mafatlal Swimming Club
Marine Drive
Mumbai
India
Tel: 91 22 2368 5459

The Arabian Sea washes up to the foot of this charming restaurant, where diners laze on plush lounge chairs sipping fresh-watermelon caprioskas as fishing boats float in the distance. Lanterns adorn the central courtyard, and white canopies billow in the breeze. The modern European menu focuses on seafood with standouts like white salmon rubbed with three varieties of garlic and smoked duck smeared with raspberry. The bar serves up delicious cocktails too—the tart kiwi margarita is a favorite with South Mumbai princesses. The languorous mood is accentuated by trippy lounge beats, as uplit palm trees sway in the horizon.

Open daily 7 pm to 12:30 am.

Samrat
Prem Court
J. Tata Road, Churchgate
Mumbai
India
Tel: 22 2282 0942 or 22 2282 5811

You may be the only foreigner at this popular eatery near Churchgate Station. The restaurant specializes in the delicious vegetarian cuisine of the Hindus of Gujarat, the state bordering Maharashtra. The menu also includes Jain dishes (adherents of that religion do not eat foods grown underground, such as potatoes, onions, and garlic). Despite the doorman and mirrored walls, the restaurant's glaring lights and humble tableware give it a cafeteria feel. No alcohol is served—guests wash down their meals with buttermilk instead. Try a Gujarati thali, an assortment platter that may include samosas and chapattis, as well as lentil dal and curried vegetables. You'll find the food is rich, savory, and satisfying.

Soam
Sadguru Sadan, Ground Floor
Opposite the Babulnath Temple
Chowpatty
Mumbai
India
Tel: 91 22 2369 8080

Be prepared for a tedious wait outside this local vegetarian institution: There are no reservations, and tables are usually packed with chattering housewives from the surrounding neighborhoods, the bastions of old business families from Gujarat and Rajasthan. The food served at Soam is primarily from these two states, and is prepared by maharajs, cooks traditionally retained in the wealthy households of Western India. Standout dishes include dal dhokli, a spiced dumpling simmered in a rich lentil broth; and the Farsan platter, an assortment of savories including fluffy yellow dhoklas served with tamarind chutney and samosas stuffed with spinach and cheese. A tumbler of thick mango lassi, topped with shavings of nutmeg and pistachio, will do nicely for dessert. Vegetarianism doesn't get more sinful than this.

Open daily 5 am to 11 pm.

Trishna
Birla Mansion
Sai Baba Marg, Kala Ghoda
Mumbai
India
Tel: 22 2270 3213 or 22 2261 4991

Trishna is legendary for its seafood. It's popular with Mumbai politicos and glitterati, so don't expect to get in without a reservation. And when you do, don't be put off by the lackluster decor or the sulky staff. Don't even be discouraged by the menu, with generic nouns accompanied by incomprehensible adjectives—and no prices. Instead, ask the waiter what's good or point to what others are ordering. Try shrimp hariyaki (grilled shrimp with mint) or stuffed pomfret baked in greenmasala (a spice paste that includes cilantro, ginger, garlic, and green chilies). Or, splurge on the restaurant's signature dish, garlic king crab swimming in butter and garlic.

Wasabi by Morimoto
Taj Mahal Palace & Tower Hotel
Apollo Bunder
Colaba
Mumbai
India
Tel: 91 22 6665 3366
www.tajhotels.com/FoodandWine/The%20Taj%20Mahal%20Palace%20&%20Tower,MUMBAI/WASABI%20BY%20MORIMOTO/default.htm

When Iron Chef and Nobu star Masaharu Morimoto announced he was opening a restaurant at the grand Taj Mahal Palace hotel in 2004, it was seen as a high-stakes gamble. The restaurant is minimally but expensively decorated, and no one was sure whether locals cared enough for Japanese food to justify the sky-high bills. Yet Morimoto's deft hand and exquisite ingredients have turned skeptics into fans, and Wasabi is now the see-and-be-seen place to eat. Some of the dishes have subtle American influences, but it's mostly traditional Japanese fare; standout dishes include the flounder carpaccio, lightly dressed with sesame and lemon, and the marbled strips of seared teriyaki Kobe steak. The latter, we're told, is most popular with visiting Indian businessmen who are militant vegetarians at home.

Open daily 12:30 to 2:45 pm and 7 to 11:45 pm.

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.