Mumbai’s colorful history is told through its diverse food culture. Over the years, the wonderful metropolis has become a melting pot of rich traditional cuisines and impressive flavors, allowing the visitor to trace the regional origins of each ingredient. We explore the 10 best restaurants in Mumbai.
The Taj Hotel, Mumbai, India
The magnificent Oberoi Hotel’s signature restaurant Ziya features innovative contemporary Indian cuisine, combining international ingredients with the tastes of traditional India. Exotic spices and aromatic herbs of the East are used here by Michelin-starred Chef Vineet Bhatia to create bold flavors with a modern twist. The talented Indian chef is renowned for breaking the boundaries and evolving Indian gastronomy, as well as for his imaginative presentation style. The word ‘ziya’ means ‘glow, light and splendor’ and this concept is reflected in this elegantly furnished and sophisticated restaurant. The glass-enclosed show kitchen offers diners the opportunity to watch the chefs at work while discovering India’s tastes and aromas through the multi-course Gourmand tasting menu.
Listed as one of Asia’s 500 best restaurants in the Miele Guide 2013, The Tablestands among Mumbai’s biggest culinary hits. The black-and-white floors, green velvet armchairs and sparkling cocktails exude a lively jazzy atmosphere, complete with a distinctive cooking style full of international influences. Under the direction of the San Franciscan expat chef Alex Sanchez, the cuisine is simple, pure and ingredient-driven. The menu features dishes such as lobster sliders, quesadillas with green pea guacamole and the prettiest beet and mascarpone risotto in the city. With food inspired by each corner of the globe, The Table is known to use the finest, locally produced vegetables, meat and fish, creating a vibrant menu.
Flickering candles, fairy lights and haute cuisine make the multi-award-winning Indigo restaurant a magical destination. Housed within a restored turn-of-the-century bungalow in fashionable South Mumbai, Indigo serves an eclectic menu of European-Asian cuisine. Offering one of India’s premier culinary experiences, it is run by Rahul Akerkar, a legend on the city’s restaurant scene. Within its warm, minimalistic interiors and under the romantically illuminated trees in the lovely open terrace, guests can sample slivers of roast duck, pork chops and other star dishes. Other choices include the lobster risotto, the salmon ravioli with cucumber soup and chilled tomato sorbet. Indigo presents a superb wine and single malt list, while the al-fresco dining moments against the dramatic backdrop of the city are unforgettable.
Founded in 1871, Leopold Café is one of Mumbai’s oldest restaurants. Widely referred to as Leo’s, it features a mystique and carries an amazing artistic history. Over the years it has entered every traveler and curiosity seeker’s must-visit list. The cafe has a literary aspect, deriving from the 2003 cult novel Shantaram, written by Gregory David Roberts. Leo’s plays a central role in the book, which is set in the complicated underworld of 1980s Mumbai. In the novel, the cafe is the canteen and neutral ground for rival gang members, Afghan drug lords, European prostitutes, and other colorful characters. The food is diverse here, while the Leopold special vegetarian pasta, red pepper chicken, prawn chili and soya wine chicken are the most recommended dishes
NEEL – TOTE ON THE TURF
Set amid a lush canopy of 100-year-old rain trees with a stunning backdrop of historic buildings and the green of the Mahalaxmi Race Course, Neel impresses with its fairyland interiors and Nawabi Muslim cuisine from Hyderabad, Kashmir and Lucknow. Mumbai’s restaurant ‘guru’ Rahul Akerkar returns to his Indian roots with Neel restaurant, presenting a tasteful blend of flavors, textures and colors. He gives a new twist to traditional dishes, serving them alongside pineapple chutney, orange soup and even mildly spiced apple curry. In this first-ever Indian grill restaurant, the menu comprises 30 non-vegetarian and 20 vegetarian kebabs. Hyderabadi fish and whole lambs make appearances. Vegetarian dishes such as chilgoze ka shorba (a thick soup made of pine nuts), Kashmiri seb ki sabzi (a curry made of Kashmiri apples), achari portobello mushrooms and gucchi ki biryani (rice cooked with morel mushrooms) are extremely promising.
WASABI BY MORIMOTO
Recently voted one of Asia’s top 50 restaurants, Wasabi by Morimoto draws its inspiration from Japanese culture, which it successfully mingles with the unique styles of Indian craftsmanship. A wide-ranging menu created delicately by the chefs Herman Oberoi and Masaharu Morimoto promises mouth-watering Japanese delicacies with an array of delicious sakes and succulent sushi. Eye-catching artwork by Mumbai artist Sadanand Shirke dominates the stunning interior décor, while the teppanyaki counter is the heart of this minimal restaurant. The white fish carpaccio, black cod miso and wasabi creme brûlée are only some of the Wasabi By Morimoto signature recipes. The wide variety of single malts and blended whiskeys forms the perfect accompaniment to this exotic culinary experience.
‘Three energies’ is the translation of San-Qi, the name of this spirited, contemporary pan-Asian restaurant in the heart of the Four Seasons Hotel in Mumbai. The most exotic cuisines of the East – Japanese, Chinese, Thai and Indian – beautifully clash here, resulting in an eclectic culinary experience. The materials used in its surroundings, such glass and natural wood and the dramatic staircase linking the restaurant’s two floors create a theatrical atmosphere. San-Qi serves many tastes, featuring tandoor kitchens, a wok station, a sushi bar, a teppanyaki table and robata grill. Among the chefs’ favorites is a desirable selection of nigiri sushi, galawati kebab (Lucknow-style marinated lamb kebab) and fugu tataki (globe fish). Under the sounds of new Indian jazz, one can wander through the selection of handpicked wines from Bordeaux and the Nashik region in India.
One of Mumbai’s cheeriest, brightest and most amusing places to eat, the Smoke House Deli attempts to take its guests on an adventurous journey and create a bizarre and fun world around them. Here, everything from walls and sugar jars to telephones and gramophones seem to have been doodled upon by a crazy artist with an exceptional eye for detail. Surrounded by marveling sketches that unravel fantastic tales, in Smoke House Deli one can discover a kitchen that ‘wakes sooner than the sun’ and taste Chef’s Glyston Gracias hearty and healthy menu. The salad-and-sandwich deli menu includes a grape and Brie salad, soft scrambled eggs folded into a warm croissant and a burly beef burger, easily paired with the fresh kiwi and mandarin mojitos.