5 legendary restaurants in Mumbai sharing a legacy
Delve into the savoury tales that have made these iconic eateries a must-visit for locals and tourists alike
From old Bombay homes and British-era bungalows to art deco buildings and colonial-era landmarks, several establishments across Mumbai hold a legacy in the form of their restaurants. Do you know what makes a restaurant legendary? There is a certain indefinable allure —history, heritage, and tradition galore. These restaurants, serving a slice of history with a rich heritage dating back to the post-independence era, have stood the test of time. From their architecture to their menus and ambience, these restaurants have a legacy that spans back to the post-independence era.
Khyber's legacy dates back to the 1950s, immersing visitors in the ambiance of Persian and Mughal eras. Nestled in Fort, Mumbai, Khyber exudes an enduring vintage charm. Six decades strong, this heritage restaurant has been serving North Indian food to the industry's stalwarts. A dish that has stood its ground in the expansive menu of the place is the Nalli Nihari (lamb stew), along with the most sought-after dish Paneer Korma. Embracing Mumbai's cultural diversity, the menu harmoniously blends vegetarian and non-vegetarian offerings, catering to the city's multifarious communities, truly reflective of its cultural melting pot.
Established in 1871 by Sherezad Dastur from the Zoroastrian community, the place has stood true to its soul, brimming with pride and resilience. Despite enduring the 26/11 terror attacks, the café's essence remained unshaken. To this day, you can easily spot bullet marks across the café in the bustling lanes of Colaba Causeway. Named after King Leopold of Belgium, the café offers a diverse menu of Indian and European delights—succulent lamb chops, creamy risottos, steaming curries, and fiery kebabs. The offbeat vibe of the place still welcomes locals and tourists alike.
Located in the heart of Matunga, Café Madras serves authentic South Indian dishes, snacks, and evergreen filter coffee. Gopal Kamath founded the family-run establishment approximately 80 years ago and is now run by his sons. It has earned its well-deserved spot on the list of must-visit eateries in Mumbai time and again. The rustic charm and hospitality embrace you as you sit and relish the much-loved South Indian specialties like idlis, dosas, and vadas. You will always be welcomed by a queue of customers ardently waiting outside to get a taste of the southern paradise within. Right from the filter coffee being poured into the tumbler to the crispy rava dosa making its way to your plate, every tiny detail reminds you of simpler times and days and leaves you craving more.
Kyani & Co.
Mumbai's oldest and most happening bakery is a welcoming sight for people of all ages, who recount countless memories of the 119-year-old place. The chequered table mats and hardwood panels greet you with an interior as old as time itself. Founded in 1904 by Khodram Marezban in Marine Lines, this cozy eatery once played host to luminaries like Bollywood actor Shashi Kapoor and the legendary M.F. Hussain. Whether it’s the classic Irani Chai or the Kheema Pav, the menu is a simple yet flavourful slice of paradise steeped in the city's rich heritage. The pocket-friendly prices and the delicious food have made a home in the hearts of people walking through the doors for generations.
Another gem from the good old days is the Gaylord restaurant, founded by two Delhi-based entrepreneurs, Pishori Lal Lamba and Igbal Ghai, in 1956. Located in Churchgate, the place is known for its North Indian cuisine, smorgasbord of cooking styles, and grandeur. All-time favourites include Rogan Josh, Kulhar ki Tangdi, Sabziyon ka Milan, Jodhpuri Paneer, and many more. With time, the menu has seen new additions like a wide range of sizzlers, meaty dishes like lamb stroganoff, and continental favourites like Tuscan chicken. As it has risen to the status of a fine-dining restaurant, the charm and appeal have grown, with a hint of colonialism in the architecture.
Do you know of other legendary restaurants in Mumbai? Let us know in the comments.