There’s a short supply of and a high demand for beachfront restaurants in Mumbai, explaining why this decadent dining room and lantern-lit deck getspacked on weekends even though the restaurant is far from Mumbai proper. A brief but well-curated menu by chef Gresham Fernandes with hints of molecular gastronomy adds to the draw.
We loved: Oven-roasted baby lobsters with red pepper jelly.
This cheerful 80-year-old restaurant in historic south Mumbai is one of the best spots in the city to sample Parsi cuisine (a blend of Persian and Indian) with dishes like patra ni machi (fish wrapped in leaves).
We loved: Mutton berry pulav, mutton under a rice pilaf, surrounded by kebabs and topped with crispy onion, cashews and dried berries.
Chef Giovanni Federico arrived in India as a Benetton employee, then went on to open the region’s most consistently top-notch Italian restaurant in the northern suburb of Juhu. Federico recently opened this second restaurant in the city’s Atria Mall serving the same exceptional handmade pastas.
We loved: The ravioli di magro, stuffed with spinach, egg and Grana Padano.
At their 10-year-old restaurant in a bi-level colonial bungalow in historic south Mumbai, chef Rahul Akerkar and wife Malini keep the decor simple-bare walls, sandstone floors and plain teak furniture. The food is a skilled melding of international influences, seen in dishes like seared polenta gnocchi with Madras chile butter. Indigo also has one of the best international cellars in the city.
We loved: Pan-seared rawas (Indian salmon) rubbed with aniseed.
After a seven-year hiatus, this classic restaurant was resurrected and updated a few years ago in its new home, the InterContinentalHotel, with its modern dining room overlooking Marine Drive and the Back Bay. The kebabs, once again making their way off the coals, are still great.
We loved: Minced-mutton galouti kebabs.
This almost kitschy restaurant headed by chef Amol Patil in historic south Mumbai offers hearty, occasionally inventive interpretations of North Indian clay oven-cooked meats and curries. Semi-private dining alcoves are peppered with modern Indian art.
We loved: Khyber raan, leg of mutton that’s marinated and cooked in a tandoor, then braised with onion and spices.
The unassuming but wildly popular Mahesh Lunch Home—arefurbished 30-year-old working man’s canteen—specializes in the regional cooking of Mangalore, on the southwestern coast of India. This is good honest food: fiery curries tempered with coconut milk and soft, fermented-batter breads.
We loved: Prawn curry with neer dosa (a rice-batter variation of the south Indian griddled crepe).
American star chef Michel Nischan has created India’s first organic restaurant. Pure scores on elegance, service and food. The pan-Asian-inspired menu has a healthy bent, with dishes incorporating intense flavors and organic ingredients, most of which are sourced from Bangalore, with techniques like steam cooking. Though far from historic south Mumbai, Pure is a fine option for those staying near the airport.
We loved: Seared tamari shrimp and scallops.
This laid-back spot capitalizes on Mumbai’s surprising lack of beachfront restaurants. Salt Water’s grilled seafood and meat and risottos are consistentif not inspired, but the views—of the oceanfront, the Queen’s necklace of Marine Drive, and the lights atop Malabar Hill—are stunning.
We loved: Roast duck salad with water chestnuts and sesame dressing.
This south Mumbai favorite reopened in 2007 after an eight-month hiatus with shiny Super Potato—designed interiors. Chef Ananda Solomon’s revamped menu now focuses on imported meats, seafood, and specialty vegetables like pandanus leaves, lotus roots and bamboofungus. Alongside the perfectly executed curry and noodle dishes, Solomon also works in elements of French cuisine, as seen in dishes like foie gras with sea asparagus and mango purée.
We loved: Raw mango salad with water chestnuts.
Mumbai’s coastal location means there’s no lack of excellent seafood restaurants. The grand dame of these is Trishna, a hit with both tourists and locals, for its fresh jumbo prawns, lobster and crab prepared in a variety of styles, but most famously-and simply-with butter, garlic and pepper.
We loved: Crab with butter, garlic and pepper.
This trendy restaurant outfitted in black and gold offers an epic mix of Thai and Chinese dishes (including a great selection of dim sum)—prepared respectively by chefs Kanchit Vong and Sam Wong. The expansive bay window overlooks the city’s business district. Quirky 25-year-old owner Aashiyana Shroff recently opened the buzzing Dragonfly bar next door.
We loved: Crispy rolls filled with banana and prawn; honey roasted pork.
This laid-back late-night refuge for young locals is as much a hangout as a restaurant. Young chef Chetan Sethi makes good use of the produce at nearby Crawford Market for his simply prepared menus, which focus on Mughlaiand Chinese dishes. The former win every time: There’s nothing like his chicken tikka as a late-night snack.
We loved: Chicken tikkas and lamb rogan josh prepared the traditional Kashmiri way—with loads of red chili powder, plus a blend of spices like saffron, cardamom, ginger, cumin, cinnamon and cloves.