Mumbai's Heartiest Local Breakfasts, From Misal Pav To Akuri

Mumbai's Heartiest Local Breakfasts, From Misal Pav To Akuri

There’s something about breakfast. No other meal is quite as satisfying, and none are quite as important either. Think of it as the culinary version of setting the tone for the rest of your day, which is convenient considering that literally every breakfast item that’s ever been invented is irresistibly delicious across the board.

I mean, where else can waffles, dosas, truffled scrambled eggs and kheema ghotala all exist within the same parameters?

We’ve brought you enough breakfast-related pieces in the past for you to believe it’s the only meal we eat. These include our guides to Bombay, Delhi and Bangalore’s best morning meals. But just when you thought there was nothing more to learn, we decided to make things just a little more specialised and further customise our hunt for the city’s best breakfasts--in other words, we’re going local.

Whipping up a tasty eggs benedict or fluffy pancakes is one thing, and plenty of restaurants do it well. But finding Bombay’s best misal pav, masala dosa or akuri (no surprises here but Iranian bakeries, South Indian stalls and Maharashtrian joints make up a majority of this compilation) is much harder.

For every restaurant serving international food, there’s a handful specialising in local cuisine and it’s usually extraordinarily cheap by this city’s standards too. There’s a lot of internal competition and much to try out, but luckily for whoever’s reading, we’re nothing if not gluttons. Scroll on for a jotted down version our favourite places in the city that serve up some delicious local breakfasts. Dig in.

I. Arya Bhavan, Matunga

Arya Bhavan is the ‘Happy Ending’ to the story of Mr. Muthuswamy, who graduated from supplying milk in the Matunga Labour Camp in the Dharavi Area to selling idlis and dosas at Dharavi. Today, it’s one of the city’s best places to find authentic South Indian fare.

What you’re getting: Onion tomato uttapam, brahmin idli, spring dosa.

Cost: Approximately Rs. 350 for two.

Uttapam at Arya Bhavan
Uttapam at Arya BhavanZomato

II. Aswad, Dadar

Aswad is a 30-year-old eatery at Dadar that serves up delicious Maharashtrian food all day long. In fact, last year, they won the world’s tastiest vegetarian dish award at the Foodie Hub Awards for a dish that is as intrinsically Maharashtrian as it gets.

What you’re getting: The dish that won them the award, of course—their missal pav. What better way to start a Mumbai morning?

Cost: Approximately Rs. 200 for two.

Misal pav at Aswad
Misal pav at Aswad

III. B. Merwan, Grant Road

As far as iconic Irani bakeries go, B. Merwan & Co. is as illustrious as it can get. Though it briefly shut shop a few years ago, it’s back in all its glory and die-hard fans have been rejoicing ever since it reopened. Like all Irani joints, there’s plenty on the menu to make a fuss over, but B. Merwan & Co. is famous for the one thing they do better than anyone else. And you already know what it is.

What you’re getting: The mawa cake. There’s really no room for argument here. It’s dense, buttery and crumbly. Just the way we like it.

Cost: Approximately Rs. 100 for two.

Mawa cake at B. Merwan
Mawa cake at B. Merwan

IV. Bhagwati Veg Restaurant, Kandivali West

Bhagwati is a cute little Udupi restaurant. Don’t come here expecting anything fancy. It’s simple, yet charming, and serves up some great grub. Visit during the week if you can because it’s crazy chaos on the weekend.

What you’re getting: The pav bhaji. It’s what made them famous. Also try the Mysore masala dosa.

Cost: Approximately Rs. 550 for two.

V. Cafe Madras, Matunga East

For a long time, Cafe Madras was our go-to when leaving the city super early in the morning for a weekend getaway. We’d make a quick pit-stop, fill up on the best south Indian breakfast fare the city has to offer and then wash it all down with as much traditional filter coffee as we could manage without suffering from serious over-caffeination.

Whether it’s their perfectly crisp dosas—rava, sada or stuffed with various versions of masalas—or their multiple versions of Idli Vada, everything comes accompanied with the most delectable home-made butter (white, if you’re smart enough to demand it) and of course, that mulga podi deserves a paragraph all unto itself.

The place is always packed but there’s never a waiting of more than 10 minutes because no one comes here for a long, leisurely culinary experience. This place is pure efficiency in deliciousness, all the way through, and they want you out in under 20 minutes. Not that time spent is, in anyway, correlated to your satisfaction levels.

What you’re getting: Savour the Idli with home-made butter and Mulga Podi (more popularly known as gunpowder chutney) or eat your way through delectable Tuppa Dosa and Pesarattu Dosa, all accompanied with hearty servings of spicy Sambhar. None of that sweetened, Shiv/Sai/Shree Sagar-y nonsense for these guys.

Cost: Approximately Rs. 450 for two people.

Idli at Madras Cafe
Idli at Madras

VI. Good Luck Cafe, Bandra

Been up all night, and still feeling a little drunk? We’re walking proof that this old Irani joint, bang opposite Mehboob Studio in Bandra, can cure all hangover ailments with a portion of their kheema ghotala with buttery pav. Orders here come within minutes and we suggest coercing them into putting a ripe slice of cheese right on top of the chilli-doused minced meat and letting it melt right into all that goodness. Wash it all down with multiple cups of masala choice of course. And keep your sunglasses on because no one cares who you are or where you’ve come from.

What you’re getting: Duh, The kheema ghotala. You’d never even notice that beef was banned.

Cost: Approximately Rs. 550 for two people

Kheema Gotala at Good Luck Cafe
Kheema Gotala at Good Luck CafeZomato

VII. Hotel Ramashray, Matunga

This is thankfully one of the badly-kept secrets of the area that used to be called the mini-Madras of Mumbai – and they really are all about the business. The spartan eatery starts dishing up their scrumptious fare bright and early at 6 am. Finding a seat here can be a task, which only points to how popular and beloved their delicious food is—and it’s pocket-friendly too.

What you’re getting: Kadi idli, Mysore sada, rasam vada

Cost: Approximately Rs. 200 for two. 

VIII. Jimmy Boy, Fort

No life stirs here before 11 a.m. so there’s no sense in rushing to get here either. Sleep in, forget to brush your teeth and make your way over to the most heritage-rich part of town to order up a serving of salli per edu. An absolutely divine combination of fried potato straws with eggs, Parsi style, which you’ll undoubtedly follow up with some Bun Maska for a taste of the creamy, Irani chai, this might just be one of our top 3 picks on this list. We hate playing favourites but you won’t blame us when you get here.

What you’re getting: First, the salli per edu. Then, anything else you want

Cost: Approximately Rs. 800 for two people.

Sali per edu at Jimmy Boy
Sali per edu at Jimmy Boy

IX. Koolar & Co., Matunga

Another joint decked out in the traditional Irani café way with ebony chairs and chequered tablecloths, this Matunga mainstay has always been popular. And that’s saying something, considering that Matunga is known more for its vegetarian juggernauts such as Café Madras and Café Mysore.

What you’re getting: Khari biscuit and chai, and the house special five-egg Wrestler’s Omelette, which is studded with freshly chopped onions, green chillies and coriander.

Cost: Rs. Approximately Rs. 350 for two.

Wrestler's Omelette at Koolar & Co
Wrestler's Omelette at Koolar & CoZomato

X. Kyani & Co., Dhobi Talao

No matter how many fast food chains and swanky joints make their way into Mumbai’s enticing market, no true local would ever trade up the charm of the quaint Irani cafe culture. Kyani & Co. happens to be one of the oldest Irani joints in the city and despite its ambience being reminiscent of a dilapidated, worn-and-torn building, they’ve been churning out some of the best food we’ve ever eaten for many generations now.

Cheap, delicious and one-of-a-kind, its visitors vary right from a billionaire chowing down on khari biscuits and chai for old time’s sake, to the hoards of college goers from nearby schools. Our pick of the menu here is definitely an uncommon choice, one we’re sure very few have dared to test out, but we can guarantee that it’s amongst the best French Toast we’ve ever had.

You heard right—french toast for everyone. You should know that a lot of people insist the quality here has dropped so it’s best not to be too experimental and stick to the staples we’ve suggested.

What you’re getting: The French Toast is just slightly sweet, with a hint of ginger and incredibly soft. We’ve gotten through many a lecture at Xavier’s because of it, and we’ve bunked many for it too

Cost: Approximately Rs. 300 for two people.

French toast (representational image).
French toast (representational image)

Though open early, it doesn’t necessarily seem like the kind of place that understands breakfast and that’s probably the best part about it. Their breakfast just sees them doing what they do best—offering mutton kheema, bhaji gosht and mutton roast as though it’s perfectly reasonable to eat these things first thing in the morning, and our question is—why not?

You may have to share a table with other keen early-risers, but trust us, the kheema pav is worth it. The kheema comes out of the kitchen piping hot.

What you’re getting: The Kheema pav. It’s sweet and spicy and the pav is soft and fresh. Squeeze some lime on to the meat, dunk in with a piece of bread and chow down.

Cost: Approximately Rs. 450 for two.

Kheema at Olympia
Kheema at OlympiaZomato

XII. Panshikar Aahaar, Girgaum

Panshikar Aahaar is Girgaum’s answer to honest-to-good Maharashtrian food. A nice, neat, small eatery, Panshikar Aahaar has a bunch of stuff on their menu that comes highly recommended.

What you’re getting: Misal pav, kothimbir wadi, upma and batata wada.

Cost: Approximately Rs. 250 for two.

XIII. Prakash, Dadar

Situated in the most state-proud part of the city, Prakash has become one of our favourite joints for real, authentic Mahrashtrian breakfasts, which can otherwise be translated into vadas, vadas, and more vadas. And we’ll throw in some Batata Pohe for good measure.

It doesn’t look too promising from the outside, and enjoys a relatively low-key crowd, but the people who’ve discovered their batata vadas swear by its reputation. Crispy and fresh on the outside with a hot, moist interior, make sure you slather it in plenty of hara chutney (only if you can handle spice) and rest assured, you’ll eat about 6 more before you’re done. The flavours here are some of the best we’ve tasted and we’re sure you’ll agree.

What you’re getting: Batata vada

Cost: Approximately Rs. 150 for two.

Batata vada at Prakash
Batata vada at

XIV. Sai Veg World, Goregaon East

Sai Veg World is located near Goregaon station and is perpetually packed—both because of its location and thanks to its amazing food. Trust us, you won’t miss the exclusion of meat at this restaurant.

What you’re getting: Tomato onion uttapam, plain dosa, and the masala dosa.

Cost: Approximately Rs. 600 for two

XV. Sassanian, Dhobi Talao

This Irani café at Dhobi Talao is more of an institution than a mere eatery. It has seen many generations of hungry Parsis walk through its timber doorframes. If they’re here for lunch, they eat dhansak. But if they’re here for breakfast, it’s not dhansak that’s drawn them through the doorway.

What you’re getting: The akuri, brun maska and irani chai, khari biscuit and mutton cutlets.

Cost: Approximately Rs. 250 for two.

Akuri (representational image only)
Akuri (representational image only)

XVI. Vig, Chembur

Vig is a super popular Sindhi eatery in Chembur that’s known for its breakfast. Service is quick and no-fuss and the food is delicious. As far as Sindhi restaurants in the city go, this is one of the best and people come from all over the sample the food.

What you’re getting: Breakfast daal pakwaan, chhole bhature and thin crust kulcha.

Cost: Approximately Rs. 250 for two.

XVII. Vinay Health Home, Charni Road

Vinay Health Home at Charni Road has been dishing out Maharashtrian cuisine for years and is popular across the board. Everyone from college kids to those with offices in the area frequent the restaurant. It’s simple and its food is good. What more could you ask for?

What you’re getting: The usal pav.

Cost: Approximately Rs. 300 for two.

XVIII. Yaadgar, Bandra

Yaadgar sits right outside Bandra Station and is pretty unremarkable as far as ambiance goes so don’t expect anything special—in fact, don’t expect anything at all. If you’re the kind that can scarf down a plateful of masala chicken early in the morning and find that the idea of some north Indian food and a cup of tea excites you, look no further.

What you’re getting: Chicken bhuna and a couple of rotis to sop up the gravy

Cost: Approximately Rs. 200 for two

Research: Nida Razack