Having been in Mumbai for just 3 months, there are only a few things I can list out that I love about the city. While the sea tops the list, a close second is a buttery gift that this city has given to the mankind. Mumbai’s iconic local dish, the Pav Bhaji is perhaps the only vegetarian dish that I have lost my heart to. Here and perhaps in the rest of the country, Pav Bhaji is a classless affair. A humble food stall or a classy restaurant, these delectable dishes make it to the list of almost all menus as their popularity cuts across demographics — the haves and the have-nots, the unknowns and the famous, the young and the old — all bonded by a shared appreciation for some hot pav and the accompanying bhaji.
While the stalls on the buzzing Juhu beach perhaps serve the best pav bhaji in Mumbai, there are a lot more eateries across the city that really pack a lip-smacking punch. So we went ahead and compiled a list of the very best Pav Bhajis in Mumbai that will leave you wanting for more.
Pav Bhaji in Mumbai is synonymous to Sardars. Arguably among the best in the city, Sardar has the fluffiest pavs that are famous for being topped with dollops of beautiful butter. The bhaji, thick and eclectic is brown in colour (courtesy a super secret spice they use ) but is moderately spiced, not too fiery and comes with another floating slab of buttery goodness. If you are lover of cheese, then go for their unparalleled cheese Pav Bhaji that is served with mounds of shredded cheese. Gulp it down with some fresh fruit juice served here to perfectly balance out all that spice. The place is always swarmed with customers but fighting your way in for those fresh-off-the-tava pavs is completely worth it.
Cost : Not bad at all for the amount of butter you get to devour. Priced at INR 350 for two.
II. Maruti Pav Bhaji
Where: Angelina Building, Vile Parle West
Looking to spice up your lives? Then look no further. Maruti’s Pav Bhaji, the spiciest in the city, not only makes your mouth water but also induces crocodile tears from the eyes. Located in Vile Parle, Maruti’s tastes unlike anything else you’d have had before. Their main ingredient is the black pepper that lends it the dark, blackish colour and the unique taste that goes perfectly well with their soft pavs soaked in butter. The place opens at 7 PM and attracts a large crowd every evening. It does not have a concrete closing time. Please keep in mind that Maruti’s Pav Bhaji is not for the faint-hearted — they are loaded with green chillies, chilli powder, garam masala and just the right amount of salt and freshly chopped onions.
Cost: At INR 70, it does not get better than this.
III. Amar Juice Centre
Where: RN Cooper Hospital Compound, Vile Parle West
If you are someone like me who has the most random food cravings post midnight or can never ever afford the ridiculously expensive food at clubs during a party, then head to Amar Juice Centre for your fix of a midnight snack. Located very close to Mithibai college, this fast food eatery serves food till 3 AM. Popularly known for their scrumptious, buttery Pav Bhaji, their specialty are the grilled pavs that add an extra layer of crunch to your meal. Their Bhaji masala has a different flavour to it, perhaps because of the abundance of garam masala in it. However, if you are looking for something less messier and slightly less spicy, we recommend trying their Masala Pav stuffed with a generous serving of Bhaji drizzled with onions. The pav bhajis at Amar Juice Center are heavy and mouthful and are guaranteed to satiate all those cravings to put you to a good night’s sleep.
Cost : Decently priced at INR 150 for Pav Bhaji at that hour of the night.
Where: Matunga East
One of the city most iconic joints, the place may be swarmed with endless college students but it’s still worth the effort to sample one of their divinely soft and utterly butterly masala pavs — which has given DP’s the cult status it enjoys. The inner filling is moist and flavourful, while the outer crunchy pav gives it a great bite. Do not forget to squeeze the lemon— to make the experience all the more lip-smacking.
Cost: Ranging between INR 135 to 145, you get a pretty good deal.
Where: Mumbai CST Area
Did you know that Mumbai’s most iconic Pav Bhaji is prepared at a little stall, right opposite the CST? Even though it is surrounded by a mob of people, the place is hard to miss, courtesy of the mouth-watering aroma of the butter and the bhaji it gives out. Cannon Pav Bhaji serves their flavourful and moderately spiced Pav Bhaji in two varieties – the regular one with a slab of creamy, tempting Amul butter floating on the bhaji and the other one garnished with oodles of cheese, which is their specialty. If you’re in the mood for something different then finish the full plate helping of Bhaji with their popular Kadak Pav which is a scrumptious and crunchy. Round off your pav-er packed meal with some Masala Chaas and their thick lassi.
Cost: Worth it at INR 200 for two.
Where: Haji Ali
When a tiny stall’s clientele includes people like the Ambanis, there has go to be something special about it.The tiny Pav Bhaji Stall outside Heera Panna Mall is known for their eclectic bhaji, the various flavours that linger on your taste bud for a long time. They apparently use a secret spice that no one knows about. Soli is also popular for the amount of butter they use on their pavs —the guy who makes them will actually respond with a snide comment if you ask him not to dip the pavs in the butter. Go here for the spice and the butter and for the legendary status it has acquired. It is open from 7.30 PM till midnight.
Cost: INR 200 for two.
It is rare that we recommend an all-vegetarian place on our lists but Sukhsagar is an exception because of its status and their delectable pav bhaji. The bhaji is served piping hot with 4 crispy pavs on the side within ten minutes of the order and the butter on it melts right into the mouth as soon as you take a bite. Try their special cheese pav bhaji to savour the delightful combination of thick, sour and spicy vegetable gravy drizzled with dollops of melted cheese. We’ve also heard lots of great things about their masala Pav with the butter melted tenderly between the pavs stuffed with bhaji and a few crispy green chillies thrown into the mix as well.
Cost: Only INR 11O for all that sukh!
This cool eatery in Kandivali is perhaps the best in suburbs. With just the right amount of spices in the bhaji and fluffy pavs ladled in butter, it is light and absolutely lip-smacking. They are most popularly known for their slightly sour and zesty red garlic chutney which is served along side the bhaji that is said to add a whole new flavour to the Pav Bhaji experience. Bhagwati’s Pav Bhaji is perfect for that midnight snack as the place is open till 1 AM.
Cost: May sound a little bizarre at INR 500 for two, but wait till you try the red garlic chutney!
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