Not famous for its food, Mumbai does have a few places where you can dine out. I have tried compiling a list of traditional places, not mentioning the countless places that keep opening and shutting down.
Baghdadi on Colaba Causeway is awesome for Afghani/Mughal kind of food. The thing to try here is Chicken Masal with Roti. Do try the Caramel Custard for dessert. Try dinner.
Next to Baghdadi is Bade Mian. Stays open till late in the night, try their various dishes, though its eat on the street fare. Dinner.
Cafe Mondegar on Colaba Causeway is a good place to get drunk and has nice Bombay style Pub grub. It’s one of the iconic places here and the walls are painted in illustrations by the renowned artist Mario Miranda. A must visit place in Mumbai. Open for breakfast till dinner.
Leopold Cafe is another iconic pub here, and a must try. Similar pub food as Cafe Mondegar.
Churchill on the Colaba Causeway is an old joint that serves a concoction of European food. Its tiny, food has a unique lovely taste, but they don’t accept credit cards. Probably one of the few places in Mumbai that serve Hungarian Goulash.
A litle ahead and opposite to Churchill is Theobroma. An iconic Patisserie, you must come here for their amazing desserts and pack some home.
At Fort near Metro Cinema is Cafe Excelsior. Their Biryani is fabulous and so is their mutton cutlet gravy.
Again in Fort, look for Camera Gully. In one of the offshoots, look for Gunbow Street. Ideal Corner is a tiny cozy, but old joint serving Parsi food. Another must have for Mumbai. Try the Dhansak, Salli Boti or Mutton Cutlet with Gravy. Lunch only.
Cafe Military on Ali Chamber Road is another great place to try Parsi Food in Mumbai. Lunch only.
At Tardeo, look for Swati Snacks for delicious Gujarati vegetarian food, mostly snacky, but amazing.
Brittania & Co. on Ballard Estate neat Custom House is an ionic place for Parsi Food. Their Berry Pulao is famous, but you should also try their other Parsi dishes. Open only for lunch.
On Girgaum Chopati, near Wilson College, try Crystal for their food. A very home made taste, its one of the best Punjabi tastes you would find in Mumbai. And very light on the pocket.
At King’s Circle in Dadar East is Madras Cafe. Perhaps the best filter coffee in Mumbai. And their sambar and everything else is drool worthy.
Coming up North in Mahim, do try Malayali food at Sneha, opposite Paradise Cinema. Their famous Malayali Thali, Beef Fry with Paratha and Fish dishes are very famous. Do ask for dessert of the day, you will love it.
Fresh Catch on PN Kotnis Road, Mahim, is good for a Mangalorian/Goan coastal cuisine.
In Chakala, Just Kerala is supposed to have an excellent Malabar Biryani and a Sadhya on Sunday noons on banana leaves!
Goa Purtuguesa is good too, for Goan food, and is nearby. So is Diva Maharashtra, by the owners of Goa Portuguesa and serves Maharshtrian food.
Not far from Mahim is Bandra. In Bandra East, try Highway Gomantak for authentic Maharashtrian Coastal cuisine. Their Stuffed Bangda Fry is amazing, and do try their Wadas and Rotis made from Rice Flour. They have an elaborate menu, so choose what suits you, it’s generally all good. And they don’t accept credit cards.
In Bandra West, you must have a chai with bun maska at Cafe Goodluck near Mehboob Studio. You must also have their Keema Pao (minced meat with local buns) and Keema Ghotala Pao (Minced meat mashed with eggs served with local buns).
On Hill Road, Opposite Holy Family Hospital, Bandra West, do try the Shami Kebabs, Chicken and Mutton Cutlets, Burgers, Cinnamon Rolls and stuff at A1 Bakery.
On Linking Road, Bandra West, right above Shoppers’ Stop, is Kofuku. Very good Japanese but kind of noisy.
In Pali Naka, Bandra West, try Jai Hind for their Maharashtrian Coastal Food. Their Neer Dosa with Prawn Gassi is recommened. Nearby, Pali Village Cafe (continental) and Pali Bhavan Cafe (modern Indian) are both excellent.
In the Pali Hill Market lane, try Soul Fry for pub food, drinks and Goan/Coastal food.
If you feel like something small, head to The Bagel Shop. on the crossing of Pali Mala Road and Shirley Rajan Road. A fabulous hang out place with coffee, free wifi and bagels.
Near Bandra Station is National Dhaba. They have one of the best Punjabi cuisine in Mumbai. Its a simple place, no air-conditioning and no cold drinks. But good food, low on oil and masalas. Have their Sookhi Dal, Aloo Mattar, Kali Dal with Rajma, Chicken Liver Masala etc. Its all awesome. These are the only guys I know of in Mumbai who make Makke Di Roti the way its supposed to be made. Almost.
On SV Road Khar West, look for Tasty Corner. A clean, hole in the wall shop that sells the best piping hot kebabs in this part of town. No place to sit though.
In Juhu Scheme, near the FabIndia is Goa Bhavan. Limited menu but delicious and authentic Goan thali. Simple ambience but not entirely cheap food.
In Oshiwara West, near Shreeji’s try Bengali food at Bhojahori Manna. Also, at Lokhandwala (in Shastri Nagar lanes), Oh Calcutta is very very good for Bengali (though expensive). Inside the Lokhandwala Market is Guru Da Dhaba. Very good Punjabi food. All vegetarian but dishes like Arbi Masala will blow you out!
In Malad West, near Orlem Church, try Mango for amazing roof top simple dining with amazing Goan food. Its amazing. (There, I said but thrice).
Raju Malvani corner at Dadar, Sushegaad Gomantak at Mahim… Sayba Gomantak at Bandra, Merwan And Co. at Grant Road Fountain Inn at Fountain! Lings Pavilion at Colaba.
These are only some places that capture a very small essence of eating out in Mumbai. We haven’t had the chance to explore the east of Mumbai too well. But as we do, we shall update this post.