While Delhi may lay claim to being home of the country’s best food joints, Mumbai is no slouch either. The City of Dreams can whip up a veritable cornucopia of delicious foods in a jiffy – and a jiffy is exactly what you need in non-stop Mumbai, because nobody has the time for a long meal in the city that never stops moving.
Luckily for us, the city has its fair share of iconic fast food joints. Each one of these rose to prominence because of a certain dish that they make better than anyone else in the city.
Pav Bhaji, Sardar Refreshments
Have you ever looked at a plate of pav bhaji and thought to yourself, ‘This could do with some more butter?’ Well, if you have, Sardar’s heard your prayers. Each plate of their iconic pav bhaji is loaded with butter for that distinctive deliciousness. And when we say loaded, we mean loaded – it isn’t uncommon for patrons to find their week’s quota of butter plopped right in the middle of a single serving. Don’t let that frighten you away – you can always cut down on the richness with the pav… which has been fried in butter.
Rice Panki, Swati Snacks
While it may have another branch now, the original Swati Snacks in Tardeo is the true holder of the legendary status that so many satisfied foodies swear by. Don’t let the fancy interiors fool you; at the heart of this place is the amazing Gujarati fast food that put it on the map. From the moment the plate laden with squares of banana leaves is placed at your table, the aroma of the rice panki lying between the squares wafts upwards and mesmerises you. And if that doesn’t tickle your fancy, go ahead and try any of the other delicious items on their menu.
Chicken Tikka Roll, Bade Miyan
Bade Miyan started off as a street stall serving the most succulent kebab rolls found in the city, but it wasn’t long before the owners had to add seating in a nearby building to accommodate the hungry hordes of office-goers that would descent upon the small stall in the afternoons. And those crowds are nothing compared to the tipsy crowd that turns up for their kebab fix in the wee hours of the morning since the eatery is open until quite late on a regular basis. The chicken tikka roll and mutton seekh rolls are the stars here, but everything else on the menu is fantastic as well.
Ice Cream, Bachelorrs
This is the iconic Mumbai eatery that has been dishing out some of the city’s favourite ice creams since the 1940s. It’s founder, Om Prakash Agarwal, had the foresight to set up the stall on Marine Drive all those years ago so patrons could enjoy a stunning sea view. Today, Bachlorr’s is famous for its ice creams, shakes, pizzas and sandwiches. If you’re looking for something truly unusual, we recommend the green chilli ice cream here. And in case you’re wondering how the name came about, that’s because Om Prakash Agarwal was a bachelor for most of his time in Mumbai.
Butter Vada Pao, Anand Stall
It may be difficult for some people to think of a vada pao as something special, but that’s only because they haven’t been to the legendary vada pao stall near Mithibhai College. On a typical day, Anand Vada Pao Stall makes and sells 500 of the delicious desi sandwiches, but that still isn’t enough to satisfy the sheer number of people who frequent the stall. We’re convinced there’s something magical in the spicy red chilli chutney that they smear all over!
Falooda, Badshah Snacks and Drinks
The original restaurant is over a 100 years old and their fare continues to be stellar even today. The Irani family that runs the restaurant is responsible for introducing Mumbai to the specialty of the shop – the Falooda, Zoroastrian Persia’s national drink. The restaurant may have an extensive menu, but let’s be real, most people know exactly what they’re having when they get here – it’s pink, has rose syrup, tapioca pearls, and it’s absolutely delicious!
Chutney Masala Pav, Amar Juice Centre
If you want the true Mumbai experience, drive up to the roadside restaurant, wait for the server to bring you your food and then enjoy their delicious chutney masala pav in the air-conditioned comfort of your car. While many regulars will passionately dispute the notion that Sardar’s pav bhaji is better than Amar’s, there’s no arguing where the best masala pav in the city is to be found. Spicy and smothered by the intense, red masala which gives it its name, this dish will be sure to win you over.
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