10 Hidden Food Gems Around Mumbai To Eat Like A Local

Mumbai City Food Guide: Ask a Mumbaikar for a food or restaurant recommendation, and they will probably furnish names of beloved family restaurants, hole-in-the-wall cafes, favourite haunts during work breaks and/or a heritage establishment that have been around for decades (if not a century). Visiting food joints that are true favourites of locals is a fantastic way to explore a city and learn more about the culture in an immersive way. To that end, we have curated a list of must-try spots that go beyond the regularly popular suggestions and award-winning restaurants. Some of these eating joints are locally well-known but may not often make it to mainstream lists. Others may simply be located in neighbourhoods that may be slightly out of the way from the usual tourist routes.
Also Read: 10 Best Vegetarian Restaurants In Mumbai You Must Try

City Guide: 10 Hidden Food Gems Around Mumbai To Eat Like A Local

1. Mama Kane, Dadar

Unless you are specifically looking for it, Mama Kane just might elude you. It is located right next to Dadar station (West), among the lanes that also function as a busy market. This heritage Maharashtrian restaurant offers a range of traditional and budget-friendly delights, such as batata vada, sabudana vada, varan bhaat and thalipeeth.
Where: 222 Smruti Kunj, Senapati Bapat Marg, Dadar West, Mumbai.

2. Poornima, Fort

You will often find Poornima in Fort packed with office crowds during peak hours. Their famed South Indian thali is a budget-friendly feast, but they also boast a wider selection of dishes you can relish for a complete meal or a quick snack. While some of the best South Indian food can be found in and around Matunga Central, spots like Poornima are also popular among locals due to its location in South Mumbai.
Where: Raja Bahadur Compound Building Number 5, Muddanna Shetty Marg, Bldg no- 29-41, Shop no-4, G-f, Tamarind Lane, Fort, Mumbai.

3. Pancham Puriwala, Fort

The Fort area of Mumbai has a lot to offer in terms of eating out, from street food to luxurious award-winning restaurants. Amid all the bustle and bylanes, you might just miss one of the oldest eating joints in the city – if you didn’t know about it. We are talking about none other than Pancham Puriwala, which began as a small food stall in the 1840s. It has since evolved into a slightly larger establishment but maintains its humble North Indian roots. Check out the different types of puris, aloo bhaji, pumpkin sabzi, thalis, chole bhature and other treats available at this spot near the iconic CSMT (Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus).
Where: 10, Perin Nariman St, Bora Bazar Precinct, Ballard Estate, Fort, Mumbai.

Also Read: Top 10 Breakfast Places In Mumbai You Must Visit

4. Bayview Cafe, Colaba

Want to enjoy a meal with a stunning sea view without burning a hole in your pocket? Bayview Cafe in Colaba is your answer. Most of the best bars and restaurants boasting views of the Arabian Sea and Mumbai skyline are relatively expensive. Bayview not only presents a relatively affordable option but also a dependable one. The menu features classic Indian and Continental favourites. If you’re seated in the outer dining area, you can also catch a glimpse of The Gateway Of India.
Where: Hotel Harbour View rooftop, 25, PJ Ramchandani Marg, opposite Radio Club, Apollo Bandar, Colaba, Mumbai.

5. VIG Refreshments, Chembur

Mumbai is worth exploring beyond the popular tourist neighbourhoods of South Mumbai, Lower Parel, Bandra, Dadar, Juhu, etc. You can discover many hidden gems in the suburbs, which just might entice you to return again and again. One such must-visit locality is Chembur, which has several beloved haunts for Sindhi and Punjabi food. One of the most famous Sindhi restaurants here is VIG Refreshments, which has been courting locals with its lip-smacking, pocket-friendly fare for over 7 decades. Don’t miss the dal pakwan and pattice here.
Where: Camp East, Chembur Colony, Chembur, Mumbai.

6. Sarvi Restaurant, Nagpada

This restaurant is said to have been a favourite of the celebrated Urdu writer Saadat Hasan Manto. It has modest decor, simple furniture, and no-frills service that creates a unique old-world charm. Seekh kebabs are a must-try here, as are other indulgently flavoured meaty specialities like tongue masala fry or brain (bheja) plain fry.
Where: 184, Police Station, 192, Dimtimkar Road, Dalal Estate, Nagpada, Mumbai.

7. Saayba Hotel, Bandra

Mumbai has several restaurants that have been delighting locals with flavourful Malvani fare for several years. Saayba in Bandra West is one of them. Just a 10-minute walk from the station, this establishment serves home-style Malvani and Maharashtrian food in a simple but air-conditioned space. We highly recommend their Xacuti with Vade, Fish Thali, Chicken Pulao and Sol Kadhi. Although it specialises in coastal treats, its vegetarian options are also yummy – try the Veg Thali for a complete, satisfying meal.
Where: Shop No 1 & 2, Zarina CHS, Swami Vivekananda Rd, Bandra West, Mumbai.

Also Read: 12 Pocket-Friendly Restaurants In Mumbai To Explore The City On A Budget

8. Cafe Andora, Bandra

When in doubt about where to get delicious food on a budget, you can frequently rely on local college students’ recommendations. If you ask those in Bandra West, there are high chances you’ll be directed off the busy Hill Road to a quiet lane that houses Cafe Andora. This small eating joint near St. Andrew’s College has scrumptious baked treats, snacks and packed meals. It functions via self-service and is a great spot for a quick break for tea and coffee with bite-sized foods.
Where: 10, St Dominic Road, Bandra West, Mumbai.

9. Maasli, Worli

This is one of the relatively newer restaurants on this list since it opened only towards the end of 2022. Maasli has quickly become a go-to spot for seafood lovers and those wanting to taste a niche cuisine. The restaurant spotlights recipes from the Gaud Saraswat Brahmin (GSB) community. Some of the signature delicacies include mori ghee roast, bangda tirfal curry, batata kaap, prawns fry and gulacha kharwas.
Where: 31a, Ambalal Chawl, Dr Annie Besant Road, Worli Naka, Bhim Nagar, Worli, Mumbai.

10. Kari Apla, Khar

This is the most recently opened restaurant on this list, as it was established in late 2023. The Khar-Bandra West belt has always been an active and attractive hub for food ventures of different kinds. Apart from the old bakeries, celebrity-frequented bars and fashionable cafes, take time out to visit Kari Apla for comfort food with personal histories. This cosy restaurant is run by chef-couple Ebaani Tewari and Mathew Varghese, who have curated a menu highlighting coastal flavours from places they grew up and worked in. Sit on the inside counter and engage in a conversation with the chefs, or feast on the aromatic plates with a small group outside (More details here).
Where: Kari Apla, Shop no. 5, Mangal Bhavna, Khar Pali Road, Khar West, Mumbai.

As a Mumbaikar, do you have a go-to restaurant that you think more people should know about? Let us know in the comments below. 

Also Read: City Guide: Best Bars In Mumbai For Amazing Drinks And Unique Experiences

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