Mumbai guide: 12 iconic restaurants you definitely need to eat at

This article first appeared on as 12 nostalgic restaurants in Mumbai, while I was a writer there and is republished here only for personal use.

Mumbai’s iconic restaurants have personal tales and several memories attached to them. And even if you’re dining at a suave restaurant in Colaba with old college friends, you’ll be talking about the Kheema Pav at Kyani’s or the Chicken Sandwich at Stadium. We take you down memory lane and revisit the city’s favorite hangouts that remain popular even with today.

Stadium Restaurant, Churchgate
Where do you’ll think cricket fans get the energy to cheer at Brabourne from? It’s undoubtedly after eating hearty meals from Stadium. Gaylord has always been popular, but Stadium serves simple food at pocket friendly prices. Less popular than most Irani restaurants, it has loyalists and you’ll often spot old Parsi uncles grabbing a quick breakfast here. If you’ve never eaten here, we recommend you try the Chicken Sandwich for a quick-bite.

Meal For Two: Rs 300

Kyani’s Restaurant & Co., Dhobi Talao

Kyani’s Restaurant & Co., Dhobi Talao
When you’re nostalgic about food in Bombay, you cannot miss Kyani’s. The 111-year-old restaurant has served Mumbaikars delicious Parsi fare. The Kheema Pav, Chicken Farcha or the Kyani’s Special Burger with Pastonji’s Raspberry Sodas are treats we still revisit this Irani restaurant for. Loyalists still drop by the restaurant to grab a quick snack or pack away baked goods. The restaurant has made no attempt to change, so it still looks like the 1900s when you enter.

Meal For Two: Rs 400

Cafe Military, Fort
The quintessential Irani cafe got its name in the early 20th century from the military establishments in the neighbourhood. The restaurant opened doors in 1933 and has been around ever since, serving Kheema Gotala, Mutton Sali Boti and Caramel Custard which are popular amongst Mumbaikars of all ages. However, the main attraction remains the Khajuraho beer (which isn’t available at the moment due to stock-shortage). The cafe is one of the few to serve this beer in Mumbai, so you’ll find several uncles who walk in for a beer on a hot afternoon.

Meal For Two: Rs 400 (without alcohol)

Cafe Military, Fort

The Tea Centre, Churchgate
Famous for its tea varieties, the 80s-styled cafe has reputation of being a good multi-cuisine cafe. It does not look like they have any intention of changing the ambiance of the restaurant and why should they? While here, try the Roast Lamb in Mushroom and brown sauce and the Honey Walnut Pie for dessert, we promise these will go well with any tea you order.

Meal For Two: Rs 600 + taxes

Yazdani Restaurant and Bakery, Fort

Yazdani Restaurant and Bakery, Fort
Walk past this bakery and you’re always drawn by the smell of freshly-baked bread. The 60-year-old bakery has a large following among Mumbaikars and you can hop in for a simple bun-maska chai or pack away warm an Apple or Banana Pie or even Oatmeal and Raisin cookies.

Meal For Two: Rs 100

Kamath’s Vaibhav Veg Restaurant, Fort
Serving vegetarians with a simple udipi fare, Kamath’s is a go-to for office-goers at lunch time. The simple home-style food makes people come back for more. We recommend the Vaibhav Special Biryani, which comes in a portion that’s big enough to serve two.

Meal For Two: Rs 500

Also Read: Experience Burmese cuisine at this Atho Kadai in Chennai 

Mahesh Lunch Home, Fort
Mahesh started in the early 70s and still has a reputation of serving some of the best seafood in Mumbai. Popular for serving fresh fish in their spicy fish curries, which are made from in-house masalas, the restaurant made Mangalorean food popular in Mumbai. And, the Surmai Curry became an instant hit. We also recommend the Butter Garlic Crab, if you ever plan to visit.

Meal For Two: Rs 2,000 + taxes

Bagdadi Restaurant, Colaba

Bagdadi Restaurant, Colaba
Overshadowed by Bademiya’s and Gokul’s popularity, Bagdadi was once frequented by many for its food, although loyalists still visit often. The decades-old restaurant seems unclean if you’re one who is bothered by the ambience. Rickety tables and benches still stand since the year the restaurant first opened. Try the Chicken Fry with gravy along with Bada Roti and we’re sure you’ll keep coming back for more.Meal For Two: Rs 400

Mama Kane Restaurant, Dadar West
You’ll always find Mama Kane full; located near Dadar station the restaurant serves tourists and locals alike. The 105-year-old restaurant serves hot Batata Vada with the spicy red garlic chutney. Their Masala Rice and Mini-Lunch meals are popular among the regulars who don’t mind a long queue for hot and simple lunch.

Meal For Two: Rs 300

Cafe Madras, Matunga East
Ask anybody for good south Indian food in the city, they’ll immediately say, “Go to Cafe Madras.” The most iconic udipi that the city has seen is always packed with customers, no matter what time you go. Wait in queue and sip on hot Kapi and once you’re seated, try the Thuppa Dosa (ghee dosa) and Pesserettu (green moong-dal dosa).

Meal For Two: Rs 300

Suk Sagar, Chowpatty (Girgaon)

Suk Sagar, Chowpatty (Girgaon)
Anyone who goes to Girgaum chowpatty, ends up eating at Sukh Sagar. The five-decades-old restaurant that once only served udipi fare became so popular that it now has outlets in Dubai and Qatar too. The hot Pav Bhaji or a simple Sada Dosa is enough to make your heart happy. Now, the restaurant has expanded with seating and also serves cheap Indian-Chinese.

Meal For Two: Rs 500

The American Express Bakery, Bandra West
We hear American Express Bakery was named after its owner Joseph Carvalho who supplied baked goods to American ships docked at Bombay, at an express-fast speed. The neighbourhood’s baked goods and Christmas specials, all come from here. Drop in for a quick-bite and witness the express service; try the Chicken Bacon and Egg Croissant and the Garlic Roast Chicken Sandwich.

Meal For Two: Rs 250


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