In a city bursting with settlers from across the country, Mumbai’s culinary palate is as diverse as its people, with dosas and sadyas representing the south, Bengali fish thalis shouting out to the east, and one of the perennial pleasers, kebabs from the glorious north.
Delicacies from Purani Dilli dot the streets of Mumbai, served steaming hot with chutney on the side. Succulent, juicy chunks of meat are lathered in red and green masalas, grilled to perfection with a smoky flavour for good measure. And the best part is that these treats—from creamy malai tikkas to Kakori kebabs and traditional galouti—can be found all over. Buzzing roadside stalls invite light-wallet patrons with intoxicating aromas flooding the air, and chic, upmarket restaurants decorate their meat delights with a selection of chutneys, sides and more, finding a way to upgrade even this most gluttonous of experiences.
From student-friendly budget quick meals to late-night munchies and even fine dining options, these 18 places are the perfect guide to Mumbai’s best, juiciest kebabs. So for all those craving the gift of the North Indian food Gods, these are the next best thing.
I. Ayub’s, Fort
Ayub’s is one of the two late-night spots that South Mumbai’s revellers frequent. After a heavy night of drinking, a kebab and some of their roti really hit the spot. Plus, that zinger of a chutney wakes up sleepy brain cells too. We’ve drunk eaten our way through most of their menu so one wonders whether we’ve really got our facts right sometimes, but the one thing we find ourselves coming back to again and again is their mutton seekh kebab.
What you’re getting: Erm, the mutton seeekh kebab obviously. About time you try it if you haven’t already.
Cost: Rs. 180
[caption id=”attachment_51147” align=”aligncenter” width=”800”] Mutton seekh kebab (representational only). Image source: tripigator.com[/caption]
II. Bademiya, Colaba
Bademiya is the second of two late-night spots that South Mumbai’s revellers frequent. Food is brought fresh and hot to your car and the kebabs are always juicy. Try the mutton seekh kebabs alongside some of Bademiya’s signature soft roomali rotis and their deep green dipping chutney. It’s a great dish for soaking up all the alcohol you’ve no doubt just had.
What you’re getting: Just in case you’re not a huge mutton fan, their reshmi tikkas are legendary too.
Cost: Rs. 180
[caption id=”attachment_51148” align=”aligncenter” width=”800”] Bademiya. Image source: Blind Eye Production[/caption]
III. Café Noorani, Tardeo
Café Noorani needs no introduction. The sprawling restaurant at Tardeo feeds everyone and anyone in the city—from families squished three-a-bench to business honchos, college students and more. Their service is quick and their food is deliciously greasy. Quite a few of their kebabs are good, but we still find ourselves playing favourites. And it’s not fancy finger food, but it’s cooked and seasoned well.
What you’re getting: The reshmi tikka. It goes incredibly well with their butter naan and even better inside their biryani.
Cost: Rs. 220
IV. Delhi Darbar, Colaba
Colaba’s Delhi Darbar has been an institution for years and patrons swear by its flavourful biryani and sweet phirni. But before you tuck in to any of those, and if you’re a purist, you know you have to start your meal with kebabs. The meat here is always tender and cooked through perfectly and the flavour ratios are usually ideal too.
What you’re getting: At Delhi Darbar, there’s just one kebab crusader you need to bother with: the mutton shammi kebab.
Cost: Rs. 130
V. Farid Seekh Kebab Centre, Jogeshwari
Farid Seekh Kebab Centre has been serving up delicious kebabs and parathas for years—and has built up a very loyal clientele as a result, who will even go so far as to say that you won’t find kebabs like theirs anywhere, not even up north. A word of advice: leave your hygiene qualms at home.
VI. Gallops, Mahalaxmi
Gallops sits within the lush confines of the racecourse at Mahalaxmi, giving it one of the most enviable views in the city, and oozes old world charm with its heavy furniture and iron chandeliers. It’s hard to get a table here on most days (especially the weekends) so booking ahead is essential. Most of Gallops’ Indian food is stellar and their nalli nihari deserves a shoutout all of its own.
What you’re getting: As far as kebabs go, try the dori kebab. It’s a delicacy from the bylanes of Old Delhi.
Cost: Rs. 395
VII. Kakori House, Mahim
For a chain that names itself after the famous kakori kebab, Kakori House sure doesn’t disappoint. Its kebabs are juicy and melt in your mouth. Some days, we find ourselves torn between ordering a plate of kakori kebabs or galouti kebabs, but on others we give in to the glutton within and order both. We suggest you do the same.
What you’re getting: Both.
Cost: Both cost Rs. 455 each
VIII. Kareem’s, Bandra, Juhu, Oshiwara, Goregaon East
Kareem’s stays open till the wee hours, making it a hit with anyone who’s out in the middle of the night and suddenly finds their tummy rumbling. And considering they have so many locations, you’re really not too far from a 3 am food coma. Leave aside the regular chicken tikka and reshmi kebab here and instead opt for the murgh seekh gilfai. Squeeze on some lime and you’re set.
Cost: Rs. 175
IX. Kebab Corner, Mahakali, Andheri East
Kebab Corner is a hot neighbourhood favourite. Locals swear by their biryani and tandoori chicken, but since this is a piece on kebabs, the murga kalimiri kabab is what you need to order. The chicken is coated in black pepper corns and thrust into the tandoor, where the heat slowly cooks the meat while enticing the pepper to impart its rich, smoky flavour into the flesh.
Cost: Rs. 100 for half a plate and Rs. 190 for a full plate.
X. Kebabs & Kurries, ITC Grand Central, Parel
Kebabs & Curries, inside the chic ITC Grand Central Hotel at Parel, has had well-heeled kebab-loving locals and tourists flocking here for years. While many feel that the best Indian food is found at streetside stalls, a visit to K&K might just prompt a shift in perspective.
What you’re getting: Try the Mughlai malai kebab, it’s a game changer. The chicken is marinated beautifully and then grilled to perfection in the tandoor.
Cost: Rs. 1,650
XI. Lucknowee Tunday Kebab, Jogeshwari
Lucknowee Tunday Kebab at Jogeshwari is famous for one thing: the special tunday kebab. Finely minced lamb is marinated in yogurt, garam masala, grated ginger, crushed garlic, and ground cardamom along with other ingredients before being fired to perfection.
What you’re getting: It tastes so nice we’ll say it twice. The tunday kebab obviously.
Cost: Rs. 100
XII. Mogul Sarai, Bandra
Mogul Sarai near Bandra Talao is popular with those looking for a bite after midnight. The restaurant serves a variety of Mughlai and north Indian food but what people usually come here for is the murgh nizami kebab, which is cooked in cashew nuts, peanuts, sesame seeds, coconut, yogurt, and spices.
What you’re getting: You heard us the first time. The murgh nizami kebab it is.
Cost: Rs. 240
[caption id=”attachment_51150” align=”aligncenter” width=”800”] Image source: Hungryforever.com[/caption]
XIII. Neel – Tote on the Turf, Mahalaxmi
Neel – Tote on the Turf at Mahalaxmi is a gorgeous (and huge, by Mumbai standards) space with tasteful minimal décor and delicious food. It’s Indian fine dining at its best and there are a few items on the menu that standout. One in particular is the nalli shorba soup, which is rich in flavour and velvety in texture. But we won’t go on extolling it in an article on kebabs. That wouldn’t be right.
What you’re getting: Instead, we’ll tell you to try the Rampuri Seekh Kebab, which consists of intensely flavourful mutton seekh cooked tender on a sigdi.
Cost: Rs. 485
XIV. Nice Fast Food Centre, Santacruz
Nice Fast Food Centre is one of those places you’d probably just walk right by. But that would be a mistake if you’re looking for good kebabs. This no-frills eatery is only open evening onwards and serves succulent kebabs alongside other Mughlai food.
What you’re getting: Skip the usual offerings and opt for the khiri kebab. It’s tender, unusual in its flavouring, and perfectly seasoned.
Cost: Rs. 65
[caption id=”attachment_51152” align=”aligncenter” width=”800”] Representational image. Image source: GQindia[/caption]
XV. Oh My Kebab, Versova
For a taste of authentic Awadhi kebabs in Versova, there’s no better place than Oh My Kebab. It’s hard to get a galawti kebab done right, but they seem to have done it effortlessly. Stop by and see for yourself, but prepare to wait because this place is popular.
What you’re getting: Melt-in-your-mouth galawti.
[caption id=”attachment_51153” align=”aligncenter” width=”800”] Image source: wordpress[/caption]
Cost: Rs. 300
XVI. Peshawari, ITC Maratha, Andheri East
Peshawari at the ITC Maratha near Mumbai’s international airport is the local cousin of New Delhi’s famous Bukhara. While it’s known for its incredible raan, which falls right off the bone, Peshawari also makes some delicious kebabs.
What you’re getting: Top honours go to the murgh malai: creamy boneless chunks of chicken marinated in rich cream, cheese, lemon juice and coriander before being grilled in a hot tandoor.
Cost: Rs. 2100
XVII. Sarvi, Byculla
If you’re a kebab connoisseur, you’ve likely already been to Sarvi at Byculla. If not, you really can’t call yourself one. Sarvi itself is nothing to rave about, but the kebabs definitely are.
What you’re getting: Their seekh kebab is possibly the most tender to be found in the city and practically breaks apart in your hand. Eat it like the pros do: grab a bit of roti and scoop the kebab and crumbs into your mouth.
Cost: Rs. 24 per piece
XVIII. Zaffran, CST, Lower Parel and Malad West
Zaffran is probably one of the city’s most famous Indian restaurants. Not only because they stay open till ridiculously late feeding revelers, but also because their food is always on the mark.
What you’re getting: The chello kebab gets our vote. Creamy malai tikka topped with rice and a rich creamy sauce.
Cost: Rs. 495