This article is dedicated to the brave fisher folk who risk their lives every day tricking people’s mothers into paying a 1000 bucks for a pomfret.
Mumbai has been a fishing village since long before we’ve had Bollywood, vada pavs and roads, in fact we still don’t have roads so much as hastily assembled dirt tracks; but what we’ve had all along is some of the best seafood this country has to offer.
I have two rules when it comes to seafood, it has to be tasty and it has to not give me food poisoning, reasonable conditions from a reasonable man. After extensive experience in the field of travelling around the city and spending other people’s money on food, I have come up with a list of some of the better seafood places in Mumbai and some of their tastiest dishes.
I. Modern Lunch Home, near Sion Station, Sion
TBR’s Pick: Shimpli Sukka (Rs. 200)
Modern is possibly the most unanimously acclaimed cheap seafood restaurant in the city. Any list of this sort that doesn’t include Modern is a farce written by people who’ve ripped off personal blogs instead of putting their money where their mouth is (I’m looking at you Homegrown). Even by Modern’s standards the Shimpli Sukka (shellfish) is incredible and can go toe to toe with any food made by mortals. It’s generally a bit crowded so be prepared to stand outside for a bit; still, it’ll be worth your while.
II. Sion Lunch Home, near Modern Lunch Home, Sion
TBR’s Pick: Bombil Fry (Rs. 170)
Sion Lunch Home has always been somehow overshadowed by Modern, but it’s every bit as good, and in my opinion slightly better. I can say without a shadow of a doubt that Sion’s Bombil Fry is the some of the best Bombil I’ve had. The bombil they use are big but somehow still as crunchy as a wafer. I wouldn’t normally bring up restaurant staff, but as far as hospitality skills go Sion Lunch Home’s team of waiters are just about the most friendly, courteous people we’ve met.
III. Gomantak, opposite McDonald’s, Dadar West
TBR’s Pick: Crab Masala (Rs.175)
As far as authentic Malvani food goes Gomantak rules the roost. I generally try to avoid all physical contact with Dadar as much as I can help it, but Gomantak gives me a good reason not to. This is probably the cheapest restaurant on the list but by no means do they compromise on quality, if anything the crabs they served us were among the more impressive specimens. Their Crab Masala was superb, if not for the actual masala, for the sheer quality and sweetness of the crab we got.
IV. Canara Lunch Home, near Cafe Excelsior, Fort
TBR’s Pick: Crab Masala (Rs. 180)
Canara might be an unassuming bar, but when it comes to coastal cuisine it still handily beats most serious restaurants; which just goes to show you how deeply entrenched the idea of good seafood is in the people of Mumbai. Their Crab Masala is awesome, and tied with Gomantak’s as being the best cheap crab in the city, though I’d say Canara’s tastes better while Gomantak uses better crabs. I would definitely pick Canara over any other restaurant on this list for one simple reason; booze.
V. Aradhana Coastal Delight, near Khar Station, Khar West
TBR’s Pick: Sukat Chutney (Free :D)
Aradhana Coastal Delight isn’t particularly cheap nor is its food exceptional; but it deserves to be on this list for one (and only one) reason, its Sukat Chutney. Sukat Chutney is a traditional Maharashtran side dish served in thalis. It’s made of tiny dried shrimp and coconut and is a mix of spicy and sour. If you ever plan to go to Aradhana make sure you order the cheapest thali on the menu and fill up on their unlimited Sukat Chutney servings. I don’t need drugs to get high, just Sukat Chutney.
VI. Pratap Lunch Home, Fort
TBR’s Pick: Marvai Sukka (Rs. 200)
The position for restaurant with the best shellfish sukka has always been hotly contested, but despite their repulsive Bombil Fry, Pratap somehow managed to come up on top. Their Marvai Sukka was really spicy but still very delicious with an overwhelming taste of coconut and mustard. Their Squid Gassi wasn’t all that bad either. But seriously, the Bombil is terrible enough to physically harm you (metaphorically speaking), please never eat it, unless you’re a BuzzFeed writer.
When they aren’t having deep conversations or being great with children, Rohan & Andrew roll up their advertising degrees into a straw and use it to drink cheap beer at sidey bars. Although they’ve lived in Mumbai all their lives, they’re only just starting to discover all that this great city has to offer. Join them at The Bombay Report, on their relentless journey to find ways to get wasted and eat delicious food, all for the price of a large meal at McDonalds.