The culinary heart of aamchi Mumbai lies in its authentic Maharashtrian cuisine, found on street corners in the form of misal pav, or in restaurants as delicious Malvani fried fish. With peppery, garam masala spices, chopped onions and coconut-based curries, the best of this state’s food is rich with flavour, both vegetarian and non-vegetarian. And to top it all off, this cuisine also crafts sugary desserts and creamy drinks to accompany their mouth-watering dishes.
While Mumbai’s food map is a melting pot of Indian dishes from every corner, all food lovers must pause to appreciate the local delights of Maharashtra. And in the spirit of this state’s most scrumptious dishes, from snacks to thalis and more, we’ve compiled the best Maharashtrian food trail across the city for every budget. So gear up, Mumbai’s foodies, and let the authentic culinary experience begin.
I. Misal Pav at Aaswad
The misal pav at this 30-year-old eatery is possibly the best in town. Just last year Aaswad was felicitated for their version of the dish at the Foodie Hub Awards. Don’t just take our word for it though, pay the restaurant a visit and let the long queues outside do the talking.
Cost: Rs. 55
II. Crab Lollipop at Chaitanya
Tucked away in a narrow lane near Shivaji park is the product of Maharashtrian housewife Surekha Walke’s love for cooking, the home-style coastal restaurant Chaitanya. A visit to this seafood haven is incomplete without a plate of their delicious Crab Lollipops, complete with rich garam masala spices infused in the fresh, fleshy chunks of crab meat, served piping hot.
Cost: Rs. 220
III. Kelfulache Wade at Diva Maharashtracha
Diva Maharashtracha sits bang next to its sister restaurant Goa Portuguesa and serves up local, Maharashtrian fare with the same dedication to detail and flavour practiced by its sibling next door. Their Kelfulache Wade (a dumpling made of banana flowers, chopped onions and groundnut powder) is served with coconut chutney, and is a great way to start a meal.
Cost: Rs. 325
IV. Fish Thali at Gajalee
Gajalee is one of the city’s premier upscale seafood titans. Though we’ve picked the Vile Parle outlet, Gajalee also has branches in Lower Parel, MIDC Andheri east, Seven Bungalows Andheri west, and Juhu. And while most of their seafood offerings are delectable, they do also churn out an excellent fish thali. The fish served depends on the catch of the day and it’s accompanied by two chapatis, a curry, rice, sol kadhi, pickle, and papad.
Cost: Rs. 290
V. Sabudana Khichdi at Gokhale Uphar Gruh
Known to locals as ‘Ubha Gokhale’, it’s hard to get even standing room around this popular joint. Hot plates of delicious snacks are doled out within minutes of ordering, and the Sabudana Khichdi is the one to try.
Cost: Rs. 43
VI. Kolambi Prawn Thali at Highway Gomantak
What started as a modest 30-seater restaurant has now blossomed into a full-fledged 120-seater that’s always bustling with activity and the promise of a good, home-style meal.All thalis at Highway Gomantak come with sol kadhi, roti or bhakri, rice, a konkan-style light yellow curry and the non-vegetarian dish of choice swimming in a red or brown gravy, accompanied by thecha. If you like spice, this is a must-try.
Cost: Rs. 230
VII. Special Chicken Dry at Hotel Malvan
Authentic Malvani coastal food decorates the plates at Thane’s Hotel Malvan, famous for its seafood and Tandoori preparations. The Special Chicken Dry, a household delicacy, has succulent pieces of chicken cooked in a thick, peppery gravy, best eaten with a fresh-off-the-stove paratha.
Cost: Rs. 470
VIII. Surmai Fish Thali at Jai Hind Lunch Home
There’s something deeply satisfying about a good Maharashtrian thali, especially if it’s a surmai thali. With 3 chapattis, fried surmai, and a coconut-based gravy served with steamed rice, Jai Hind’s Surmai Fish Thali is finger-licking good.
Cost: Rs. 270
IX. Kanda Bhaji at Mama Kane’s Swatchha Upahar Griha
Mama Kane’s Swatchha Upahar Griha is a bit of a legend. While most throng the eatery for their batata vada, we found ourselves more smitten by their kanda bhaji. It arrives piping hot to the table. Ask for some of their special lasoon chutney to go with it.
Cost: Rs. 35
X. Misal Pav at Mamledar Misal
Running for five decades and counting, this family food joint is always buzzing with patrons lining up to wolf down their delicious Maharashtrian offerings. The Misal Pav in a spicy gravy with crunchy toppings, served with hot, buttery pav makes it to the top of their list of delicious snacks, and it’s pocket-friendly too.
Cost: Rs. 55
XI. Kanda Poha at Mee Marathi
Kanda Poha is a popular Maharashtrian breakfast dish, and while easy to make at home no one gets it quite as light, fluffy and tasty as Vile Parle’s Mee Marathi. Come by early because there’s always a wait.
Cost: Rs. 25
XII. Mutton Korma Special in Egg at Olympia Coffee House
While Olympia is famous for its melt-in-your-mouth bheja, many folks don’t know that their Mutton Korma Special in Egg deserves hearty praise too. Stop by for breakfast and order it for an energy boosting, spice-infused start to your day.
Cost: Rs. 70
XIII. Piyush at Panshikar
Perfect for the scorching summer heat, Panshikar’s Piyush beverage is cool and refreshing in every sip. This thick, sweet and creamy Maharashtrian drink is the best end to a meal, as delicious as a dessert but much healthier.
Cost: Rs. 40
XIV. Sabudana Wada at Prakash Shakahari Upahaar Kendra
Sabudana is lamentably the less popular cousin of the batata vada, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less delicious. This starchy snack is a deep-fried slice of heaven and the dipping chutney that accompanies it is spot on.
Cost: Rs. 50
XV. Chicken Dhangari Thali at Purepur Kolhapur
Purepur Kolhapur offers up the authentic, smouldering taste of Kolhapur without compromising on the flavours in any way, and their Chicken Dhangari thali is probably the best example of that. The thali comes with chicken rassa, half egg curry, pandhara rassa, tambada rassa, pulav, two rotis or one bhakri, curd, onion and lemon.
Cost: Rs 310
XVI. Pomfret Fry Thali at Satkar Rice Plate House
A thick, juicy and succulent piece of pomfret is fried with garam masala and spices, served with fresh rotis, steaming rice and salad in Satkar Rice Plate House’s famous Pomfret Fry Thali. Don’t forget to wash your meal down with some tangy kokam kadhi.
Cost: Rs. 310
XVII. Special Vegetarian Maharashtrian Thali at Sujata Uphar Griha ( B. Tambe)
B. Tambe is where those in Girgaon go for their fix of ‘everyday fare’. The thali includes two vegetable preparations, steamed rice, two rotis, the spicy, sweet and tangy dal-based favourite aamti, papad and curd. Daily specials in the vegetables include baingan, sukhi bhaji (a dry vegetable preparation), dalimbi (a slightly sweet coconut-based curry with bean sprouts), kaju matar, zunka (a spicy gram flour dish best served with bhakri) and hara vatana usal.
Cost: Rs. 128