Luxe restaurants, secret spots and local favourites: This list has it all.

The Pantry

The Pantry via Facebook


Smack in the middle of Mumbai’s art district in Kala Ghoda, The Pantry offers up a wide selection of sandwiches, quiches, pies and salads made with fresh, local produce. The ambience is cheery, with large glass windows and lace curtains, along with kitchen odds and ends, that all contribute to the intimate feel of eating in someone’s home. Vegetarians, sample the spinach and ricotta quiche. Meat lovers, make room for the super-cheesy croque-monsieur.

Yeshwant Chambers, Military Square Lane, near Trishna, Kala Ghoda, Fort

The Table

The Table via Facebook


Voted by food critics as the best restaurant in India at the TimeOut Food Awards in 2014, The Table has grown into a fine-dining favourite amongst locals. Sip a Colaba Cosmo, named after the city’s beloved shopping district, or gorge on the butter-poached suckling goat, served in a ragout of five lentils with butternut squash puree and pomegranate jus.

Kalapesi Trust Building, near Hotel Suba Palace, CS Maharishi Marg, Colaba

Gajalee

Gajalee via Website


A must-try for all seafood lovers, Gajalee offers the best of coastal cuisine from Maharashtra. While the restaurant has several branches across the city, your best bet would be to go to the first outpost in Vile Parle East for melt-in-your-mouth fried bombil (Bombay duck), prawn biryani and the succulent tandoori crab.

Kadamgiri Complex, Hanuman Road, Vile Parle East

Ellipsis

Ellipsis via Facebook


Local foodies have mourned the departure of chef Kel from Ellipsis, but that hasn’t stopped them from travelling to South Mumbai every Sunday for brunch. Go there for the pork belly buns and the signature animal burger. You’re welcome!

Amarchand Mansion, 16 Madame Cama Road, Colaba

Fatty Bao

The Fatty Bao via Facebook


Run by the talented chef Manu Chandra (formerly of Olive restaurant in Bangalore), Fatty Bao is an Asian funhouse that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Regulars swear by the Fatty Bao PB&J (pork belly with miso mustard jam) and the Chasu Ramen, but don’t be afraid to sample the asparagus and litchi dim sum, either. Slurp’s up!

Ground floor, Summerville, Junction of 14th and 33rd Road, Linking Road, Bandra West

Hotel Deluxe

Photo by Leo Fung


Popular with office dwellers in the area, Deluxe serves simple, homey and authentic Keralite food, which is tough to find in the city. While you’re there, try the egg roast with malabar paratha, fried karimeen (a fish found in Kerala waters) and the fiery chicken Chettinad. Don’t be bothered by all the people standing around: The restaurant does brisk business and allows patrons to wait near tables that are finishing up a meal.

28, SBS Road, Pitha Street, near Hitkari House, Fort

Aaswad

Aaswad via Facebook


Walk into Aaswad and you’ll immediately realise that it’s one of those places that makes no false promises. White Formica tables and plastic art may make up the restaurant’s décor, but the food is worth the assault on your eyes. Specializing in genuine vegetarian Maharashtrian cuisine, Aaswad’s best offerings are the bharli vangi (a stuffed eggplant preparation), kothimbir vadi (coriander fritters) and the pithale bhaji bhakri (a chickpea-and-onion gravy).

LJ Road, Shivaji Park, Gadkari Chowk, Dadar Shivaji Park

Masala Library

Masala Library via Website


The first restaurant in the city to fully embrace molecular gastronomy, Masala Library employs a battalion of chefs to make sure that your senses are teased and pleasantly confused during your meal. Sample the braised mutton chamo, jalebi caviar and paan-flavoured candy floss while you’re there.
 
Ground floor, First International Financial Centre, Bandra Kurla Complex

Heng Bok

Heng Bok via Facebook


The city’s only Korean restaurant, Heng Bok ensures you have a truly authentic experience, complete with pork belly grills, barbeques and even Jinro soju to give you all the Korean feels. It’s always packed with Korean expats, who vouch for the service and food.

11/1, Kalpak Corner Building, near Notan Heights, Turner Road, Bandra Talao, Bandra West

La Folie Patisserie 

La Folie Pâtisserie via Facebook


No list is complete without a dessert recommendation. Chef Sanjana’s too-pretty-to-eat treats are visual and gastronomical delights. We say go big or go home: Try the Rouge Velour, the airy truffles and gorgeous macarons. After going big, you’ll go home satisfied.

16, Commerce House, next to Trishna Restaurant, Rope Walk Lane, Kala Ghoda, Fort


By Smitha Menon

Smitha Menon is a journalist based in Mumbai who writes extensively on food and the local culture scene for a range of nationwide and hyper local publications. Follow her on Twitter.