Restaurants in Mumbai

For busy Mumbaikars

Want a sandwich, The Kite Runneror a window seat for your Volvo ride to Goa? Now you get it all online. Malay Desai goes site-seeing to test whether you should sign up or simply press Alt+F4

   
Order food    

www.mealtree.com
Taking a cue from their daily food-ordering habits, citybased professionals Ashish Agarwal and his brothers conceptualised Mealtree. Albeit not a novel idea (many western cities, for example Durban, have centralised helplines and ‘menu directories’), Mealtree attempts to bring in all major restaurants and fast-food chains under one roof. UPSIDE: We placed an online order (rolls from Wraps and Rolls), and promptly got a call for confirmation. The delivery took the usual time it would have had we ordered directly. What impressed us was the user-friendly menus, where you can easily order from multiple places. There was also the option of mentioning exactly how spicy we wanted our chicken roll.

DOWNSIDE: We didn’t find McDonalds on the site and all items under Garcia’s were dysfunctional.
   
Look up a book    

www.librarywala.com
Our ‘time-less’ city life coupled with the love for books prompted IT professional Hiten Turakhia and his buddies to kickstart India’s first online circulating library last year. It is ideal for professionals with five-day weeks who tremble at the prospect of visiting a library or buying expensive books. UPSIDE: We shelled out Rs 2,398 (out of which Rs 500 was refunded because of a new special offer) to opt for a plan which gives three books per month, for a year. After ‘queuing up’ for The Kite Runner online late one night, we received it the next afternoon.

DOWNSIDE: Its collection is all-English. It won’t have Stephen King’s On Writing — which your nearby raddiwala may have. Nor will it have recently-published books (like Binoo John’s Entry from Backside Only) which your bookshops will have. Also, some popular books like Maximum City, which are always in circulation, may take longer to arrive.
   
Book movie, play or    concert tickets    

www.bookmyshow.com
Unlike some ventures of the Network18 stable, this one doesn’t seem like a strategic investment. In fact it is promoted by Bigtree Entertainment, an info-solutions provider. Good for us, we thought, since almost all the multiplex websites require boring registrations and bug you with emails forever.

UPSIDE: The portal also offers play and concert tickets. It is really simple now to make it to a play at Prithvi or Anoushka Shankar live. And we don’t even mind the extra charge. DOWNSIDE: We decided to test-drive Jodhaa Akbar and found that there were hardly any Fame cinemas on the list. Also, the site only accepted payments through credit card and not direct net-banking. However, it hurt most when they levied a Rs 15 ‘con’venience charge on each ticket. Why on earth should we pay that if the multiplex helplines were ready to book tickets via a phone call?
   
Book bus tickets    

www.redbus.in
This one, too, has an interesting history: it was born out of the frustration of a bunch of Bangalore-based IT professionals who always suffered before travelling due to overbooking and unpredictable schedules. Today, they’ve quit their well-paying jobs and their portal boasts of a tie-up with over 250 operators across India’s smallest towns.

UPSIDE: We pretended we wanted to head to Goa overnight, logged on and printed an e-ticket in no time. We also tried the delivery, which lived up to promise and was cheaper than it’s competitor. As for cancellations, they can be done online, 24 hours before departure. What’s most impressive? You can select the boarding point nearest to you after looking up the route online.
DOWNSIDE: If only they would let us select the movie to be shown en route! We won’t have to watch films like Partner.

No good!

www.ticketvala.com
We checked out another site – which lets you rents cars and book hotel rooms too, but found it’s not half as good.Ticketvala’s site promises more and delivers less (we’re still waiting for a call for a request we made last week). It charges more for delivery and cancels tickets only 36 hours before departure.

   
Grab a DVD    

www.clixflix.com
Mumbai’s cinema lovers have never had it better. Today, we have many international fests, a classic movie club and a just-launched world cinema channel. This portal is among many side-effects of a booming entertainment industry in India. It says its powered by ‘hardcore couch potatoes’, but we found it does little to encourage the movieviewing habit.

UPSIDE: Still looking…
DOWNSIDE: On registration, we found out that its online store stocks only DVDs. We regret this sorely, since Moser Baer sells VCDs at a throwaway 28 bucks! Secondly, they didn’t deliver on a Sunday and shockingly showed up zero results when we searched for common retro movies like Anand and Guide. All this, after a security deposit of Rs 2,000! Not worth your while, we say.

Better options

www.seventymm.com
It’s one of the better-known DVD rentals and deservedly so. It offers a million things for the film buff. It has an impressive regional-language stock and lets customers keep their DVDs as long as they want.Another DVD rental site, www.cinesprite.com, is as good and cheaper.

Go retro at Pedro

Fashioned with Italian lampposts and an Austrian chess board, Pedro has unleashed life in a relatively quiet neighbourhood. While most people would avoid the S V Road, Malad west, to set up their restaurant, Pedro boldly plays host at a terrace venue.

What’s more is that Pedro has taken up the challenge of providing non-vegetarian food in a Gujarati-majority suburb, where finding even a piece of well-cooked meat is quite a task! But Pedro has more than made up for it.

The restaurant offers platters of all kind, Spanish, Mexican, Italian, Lebanese and even, an Indian one (kebabs). The Spanish platter is complete with lamb chops, sautéed prawns, potato roll and grilled chicken. Their chicken satay is a not-to-miss. Whereas the Lebanese platter has some humus with pita bread and deepfried bean sticks. Definitely, try the Lebanese platter. The lamb chops were slightly over-done, but their grilled chicken made up for it. Some fantastic accompaniments are the Capiroshka here, albeit slightly strong and the Lemon caipirinha, an interesting mold of crushed ice makes this drink perfect for the evening here.

The restaurant also allows guests to carry their own sea food – even if it’s prawns – and cooks up a scrumptious meal for them at their kitchen at a minimal cost.

A feature that’s quite a hit at this month-old place is the music and their happy hours. With retro ruling the evenings, collegians – after their call centre shifts – are seen (enjoying the huge discount – 15 per cent on alcohol and a complimentary starter) singing along and even, shaking a leg on the terrace. An enclosed section with about 50 pax, a bar, a dance floor and a DJ console sees many parties even on working nights.

Easily the best part of the evening there, was watching a few children playing chess with the live-size chess board and pawns. A picture perfect evening, truly! And well, value for money.

Dinner for two Rs 550 (inclusive of alcohol and taxes)

Pedro – The No Frill Bar

Shivam Shopping Center, Rooftop, Opposite New Era Thaetre, S V Road, Malad (west)

Tel: 28833201

South Bombay

The Flora Fountain lies at the centre of South Bombay. It is now known as Hutatma Chowk (Martyrs' square.)

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The Flora Fountain lies at the centre of South Bombay. It is now known as Hutatma Chowk (Martyrs’ square.)

South Bombay is a commonly used term, but the extent of this district is not commonly agreed upon. This article uses the term to denote the areas of Fort, Colaba, Malabar Hill, Nariman Point, Marine Lines, Kalbadevi, Pydhonie, Mahalaxmi and Tardeo.

This district contains some of the oldest parts of the city. For long, this was the city. One of the seven islands that were joined to form Bombay was called… Bombay. This is where the British started on their long quest to build the docks and the city. They built Fort St George, which no longer exists, but the area is still called “Fort”. The Fort area contains many corporate offices and most of the administrative offices of the city and state governments.

Paradoxically, this district contains one of the newest areas of the city, Nariman Point, which was built on land reclaimed between the 1940s and the 70s. This is Bombay’s downtown, where the offices of India’s topmost corporate houses are located.

Malabar Hill, the most affluent residential neighbourhood in the city is also located here. Most industrialists have their bungalows here, and here is where the official residences of Maharashtra’s chief minister and Governor are located. The other famous location is Colaba, which used to be an island by itself, till it was connected to Bombay by a causeway. This area contains a naval base.

Most of the city’s famous landmarks, including the iconic Gateway of India, Taj Mahal Hotel and Marine Drive (Queen’s Necklace) are located here.

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Get in

  • By Taxi is the best way to reach South Bombay whether you have arrived in Bombay by Air, Train or Bus. The Taxi should be able to get you straight to your hotel. It is also the terminating point for the central and western railway

See

The Gothic facade of the Chhatrapati Shivaji railway terminus, popularly known as VT (Victoria Terminus) station.

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The Gothic facade of the Chhatrapati Shivaji railway terminus, popularly known as VT (Victoria Terminus) station.

  • Gateway of India This was built in 1911 to commemorate the visit of King George V and Queen Mary to India. This arch is the most recognizable symbol of the city.
  • Elephanta Caves Elephanta Island, Mumbai  Check out these fine examples of rock sculptures dedicated to Shiva. Even though many of them have been vandalised by Portuguese invaders, their grandeur is hardly diminished. Every year around February, the Elephanta Festival  of music and dance takes place on this island in the backdrop of the sculptures. Take a ferry from the Gateway of India. The round trip costs Rs. 100 and will take 45 minutes one way.
  • Prince of Wales Museum 159-161, M.G. Road, Fort, Mumbai – 400 023. +91 22 2284 44 84, +91 22 2284 45 19 (fax: +91 22 2204 54 30 crescent@giasbm01.vsnl.net.in) [3] Now known as the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya, the Prince of Wales museum is located near The Gateway of India next to Jehangir Art Gallery. Tue-Sun 10:15am. – 5:45pm.
  • Jehangir Art Gallery M.G.Road,Mumbai 400 023 +91 22 2204 4058 Entrance Free 11am – 7pm
  • Marine Drive Chowpatty is the city’s most famous beach. Situated at one end of Marine Drive, Bombay’s most famous promenade. This is not a place to sunbathe, however. Go here to watch the crowds enjoying themselves, and have Bhel puri, as a moderately famous Hindi song asks you to. Note that Chowpatty in Marathi means “beach”. So you may hear people referring to other beaches suffixed with Chowpatty (For example “Juhu Chowpatty”). But if they say “Chowpatty” without qualification, they are referring to this place.
  • Taj Mahal Hotel [4] The landmark hotel close to the Gateway of India, along with Oberoi is one of the oldest 5-star hotels in India.
  • Flora Fountain. Known as Fountain area which is prominent hub for commercial activity of Bombay as all the Major banks are located here. You may cash your Traveller’s Cheques here. Also country’s premier stock exchange Bombay Stock Exchange(BSE) is situated here. This tall building is visible from anywhere in VT/Churchgate and makes an prominent part of the skyline of Bombay.
  • Victoria Terminus (V.T.). At the other end of Flora Fountain is Victoria Terminus, now known as Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus. It is the disembarking station for Central Railway local Trains and Long-distance trains. Adjacent to V.T. station is General Post Office, a grand building which is open 24 hours. The road further goes up to Ballard Estate where a lot of Corporate Offices and Mumbai Port is situated. The V.T. station building is a fine piece of architecture.
  • Nariman Point: Located at the other end of Marine Drive, Nariman Point is the business hub of Bombay. However with the change in economic conditions, many companies have shifted to other areas of Bombay like Parel, Worli, Bandra-Kurla Complex, Andheri-Kurla Road and Powai. The top end hotel The Hilton Tower is located here along with a number of Airlines Offices. Don’t miss out the Air-India building.
  • Cuffe Parade is one of the high-end areas where the famous World Trade Centre and Unit Trust of India offices are located. The President Hotel is located here. Navy Nagar/Army cantonment area is located here which is the southernmost boundary of Bombay.
  • Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) Hornbill House, Shaheed Bhagat Singh Road, Mumbai 400 023 +91-22 2282 1811 (fax: +91 22 22837615 bnhs@bom4.vsnl.net.in) [5] This is a massive source of information for those intersted in flora and fauna.
  • Crawford market, Bhuleshwar, Chor Bazaar These are dirty, stinky markets which are nevertheless fascinating.
  • Khau gali – translates roughly as eater’s road.

Do

  • Harbour Cruise, If you can afford it, rent the Taj’s private yatch(has 2 sun decks and 3 bedrooms) for a cruise around the Mumbai harbour. $300/hour(including drinks & meals)

Buy

  • Fashion Street, (close to Churchgate suburban station). This are actually street shops lined alongside the road starting from VSNL building. Decent stuff at good prices, bargains for clothes and accessories. Make sure that you negotiate well (prices can come down by as much as 50%). Look around the first few shops and try estimate the going price; If you decide to walk away (during a negotiation), sometimes the vendor will try hail you back; don’t go back to the same vendor, he will not discount it to the price you asked, or will sometimes humiliate you; just walk away, you find another shop with the same merchandise down the street.

You can also get a lot of branded stuff in the stores on either side of Colaba Causeway.

Eat

You can also eat from the various carts and hawkers if you feel your stomach can take it.

Budget

  • Leopold Colaba Causeway, requires no introduction and is a favourite with travellers. Serves a mix of India, Chinese, Persian and Continental Food. Also servers great breakfast round the clock; and is reknowned for it’s fresh fruit juices
  • Mondegar Colaba Causeway, has a live jukebox and functions as a bar cum restaurant. Food is a mix of Indian, Continental and Parsi
  • Britannia and Co, Sprott Road, Ballard Estate, Fort, Mumbai (next to New Custom House.), +91-22-2261-5264. 10 am to 3:30 pm. This rundown restaurant run by a partnership of geriatric brothers (by the name Kohinoor) is a South Bombay institution, having been in existence since 1923. The signature dish is berry pulav the recipe for which the Late Mrs. Kohinoor found in Teheran while she was working with Iranian Airways. The Parsi favourite dhansak is of course available and tastes great. Try the caramel custard for dessert. The waiter may con you into trying the Raspberry soda — the first sip is sweet, but the whole bottle is cloying. Rs. 180 will buy you a good lunch..
  • Swati Snacks, Tardeo. A safe way to try Indian fast food and street food.
  • Baghdadi Behind the Taj is frequented by every strata. Food is a mix of Indian and Mughlai. Don’t get put off by its looks, you go there to eat, not for the decor. No booze allowed.
  • Gokul Behind the Taj is frequented by anyone who wants a inexpensive drink served quickly
  • Martin’s Strand, Colaba Great Goan food, small and you better order quick or the stuff gets over. Not for vegetarians
  • Bade Miyan Between Taj & Colaba Causeway you eat on the road or in your car. Open till the early hours of the morning. The rolls are a favourite after a movie
  • Paradise, deep down Colaba Causeway, an old & quaint Parsi Restauraunt serving a combination of Parsi and Continental food
  • Kailash Parbat, Colaba Causeway, a basic restaurant, serving excellent Indian vegetarian food
  • Samovar, inside Jehangir Art Gallery, Kala Ghoda near Colaba Causeway, a favourite with the Bombay art community, serving veg & non veg Indian food.

Mid-range

  • Chetana Vegetarian Restaurant, Kala Ghoda, K Dubash Marg, Mumbai. Telephone: +91 22 2288 1159 . A great Gujarati and Rajasthani food restaurant. Service is OK, atmosphere decent. They also serve cocktails and beer. Rs. 450 ($10) for two.
  • Oh! Calcutta, Tulsiwadi, opp.A/C Market, Tardeo, Mumbai 400 034 (Nearest landmark is Crossroads Mall, M M Malviya Road. You have to turn left at a little lane a couple of blocks down from Crossroads.), +91-22-2496-3114 (), . A Bengali place which naturally means that it is big on seafood. But it also has a good vegetarian selection. A meal for two would come to Rs. 800..
  • Mahesh Lunch Home, 8-B Cawasji Patel Street, Mumbai – 400 001, +91-22-2287-0938, +91-22-2202-3965. The most famous seafood place in the city. Raves about its crabs. Rs. 90 upwards.
  • Gallops, Mahalaxmi Race Course, Mumbai (first entrance of the Mahalaxmi Race Course while coming from Haji Ali) Continental and Indian food restaurant, Expensive, but worth it for the ambience, service and food.
  • Rajdhani, near Crawford market serves excellent unlimited thalis. Strictly vegetarian, it has been rated as one of the best places to eat in Bombay. Rs. 250.
  • Bhagat Tara Chand, Kalbadevi. Great Indian Curry and ‘home food’. Must visit for Indian food lovers, but you have to walk a bit
  • Cafe Basilico, Colaba, off Colaba Causeway, near Strand cinema +91 22 5634 5670. This is not budget but not expensive either. Very popular with expats who live in the city. Offers non-alcoholic drinks and coolers, Mediterranean-inspired food and great dessert. Open all day. The rawas (local kind of fish) and the cheesecake is recommended.
  • Cafe Mocca, Churchgate, is a relaxed Sheesha restauraunt serving heavy snacks. Very popular for desert & coffee, its got a few branches all over now
  • Thrishna, Kala Ghoda, is famous for its seafood and patronized by locals as well as expats.
  • Jazz by the Bay, on the junction of Churchgate Road and Marine Drive. Serves a popular soup & salad buffet lunch. In the evening has live gigs and is a popular bar cum restauraunt
  • Royal China Sterling near VT, good Chinese food and a special Dim-sum Menu
  • The Bayview, Hotel Marine Plaza, 29, Marine Drive Mumbai 400 020, +91-22-2285-1212 (fax: +91-22-2282-8585), . 24 hours. This has a lunch, dinner and mid-night buffet worth trying. Also has a great view of Marine Drive and Malabar hill. Ask for the Cafe Viennoise and get extra chocolate flakes. It is not on the menu, so you have to pester the waiter for it. Rs. 222 for the midnight buffet.

Splurge

Olive Bar & Kitchen

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Olive Bar & Kitchen

  • Indigo located in a bylane of Colaba behind the Taj hotel, this is an upscale restaurant serving global food. It also has a bar that gets lively after 9pm
  • Henry Thams, Dhanraj Mahal, Colaba. A new upscale Chinese Restauraunt with a popular bar every evening.
  • Khyber Kala Ghoda, nice Indian food.
  • The Dome, Hotel Intercon, Marine Drive. Is an open air bar & snack restauraunt with a beutiful view of Bombay.
  • Golden Dragon, Hotel Taj Mahal, Colaba. The upscale Chinese choice for locals & expats.
  • Wasabi, Hotel Taj Mahal, Colaba. Brand new Japanese restauraunt.
  • Tiffin, The Oberoi, Marine Drive. A new addition to the restauraunts in The Oberoi. Very popular for lunch and inbetween meals.
  • Thai Pavillion, The President, Cuffe Parade near Colaba. A local’s favourite Thai resteraunt.
  • Olive Bar & Kitchen, Bandra, While this is not located in South Bombay it is a highly popular place with Expats & Tourists. It’s a 30 minute cab ride from any part of South Bombay. This is an upmarket, funky bar & kitchen with great ambience. Thursday night is the special night of the week there, but is also popular on other nights. But honestly you can get better food elsewhere for the price you pay to be seen there

If you know some one who is a member of the Willingdon, Bombay Gym or CCI beg her to take you there.

Drink

Sleep

Taj Mahal”(5 star) -expensive but great reviews Tel:22872711′The Oberoi (5 star)- Very lavishly renovated. Currently part of the Hilton Group. Close to Nariman Point Tel: 22041505 Ambassador (4 star) – Reasonable rates, central location. Famous for its revolving restaurant. Tel :22041131 Shalimar (3 star) – Little away from the tourist hotspots, but clean and efficient. Tel: 23631311 Diplomat (2 star) – Right behind Taj hotel, absolutely centrally located. Safe and clean but lacking major facilities. Has a noisy bar that the affluent locals frequent. Tel: 22830000 Bombay Luxury Apartments (Deluxe)- Mumbai’s first home concept hospitality. Very central, perfect for groups or family.Tel: 22845004