The financial capital of Mumbai is a melting pot and a growing food hub in India. Every nook and corner has cafes that are teeming with either professional’s meeting to discuss business, friends sitting to catch up over coffee or family members visiting nostalgic nooks for a satisfying Sunday Brunch. And while the list is endless, we have narrowed it down to those cafes that should probably be at the top of your itinerary when you visit Mumbai.
- Kala Ghoda Café
Kala Ghoda (Black Stallion) is one of the city’s more iconic areas that is buzzing with history and culture. Perhaps, this is why the café has taken on the same name, because it truly takes on these characteristics of the neighbourhood. Kala Ghoda Café is set in a 20th century barn with rustic furnishings and modern amenities. The cuisine is a mix of Continental delights as well as more of the local Parsi favourites and has a plethora of brews to choose from. It has also recently opened its own wine bar where one can enjoy both Indian and international choices. In support of culture, the café also occasionally transforms in a gallery to promote local talent, and makes for a great place to unwind with friends or a rendezvous with someone special.
Must Try: Akuri (Spicy scrambled-eggs, Parsi style), Salli Boti with Oat and Flax Roti (Parsi Mutton Curry with wheat-free bread), Champa Infusion Tea (Organic Frangipani Flower Petals served in a Pot) and Iced Mochachino
2. Café Mondegar
Standing proud since 1932, Café Mondegar derives its inspiration from retro American diners and is the first café of the city with a vintage jukebox that still booms through the establishment today. Enviously located on the ever-buzzing Colaba Causeway, it is bordered with colourful shops of jewellery, handbags, juttis and more, and is a favourite for both locals and tourists. If you happen to visit the café for breakfast, don’t be surprised to see youngsters flooding the place, dressed up in their finery from the night before – it’s a favourite pit-stop for them to refuel after a long night of hard partying. The vibe is completely relaxed, with murals of Mario Miranda plastered across all walls and classic songs playing all day long. The cuisine is a mix of American Diner picks, Indian favourites and the famous Indo-Chinese derivatives. And each of these pairs well with everyone’s favourite – a pint of good old Kingfisher beer, that the servers are ever ready to help you with a refill.
Must Try: Bacon Wrapped Prawns, Arrabiatta Penne Pasta and Mondy’s Special Steak Cheese Burger
3. Leopold Café
Yet another icon of Mumbai, Leopold Café has witnessed some of the most tragic nights of Mumbai city, one of the main targets of the 26/11 attacks. And yet, it stands tall even today! One can even see the scars of battle till today, where the storm of bullets has left its mark on the walls. But that’s about where the tragedy ends. Again, situated on the bustling Colaba Causeway, the café is just as popular as its neighbour that we spoke of above. The difference in the offerings are not miles away, but if you come here, make sure to pick from the menu of classic Indian dishes that everyone loves to chow down, with pitchers of your favourite beer. The next time you visit the city, insist on the locals to take you here!
Must Try: Cheese Chilli Toast, Hakka Mushroom and Mutton Keema Pav
Let’s move out of local history, and take a culinary trip to France in Mumbai, shall we? Suzette is an authentic French bakery, café and bistro run by French expats and chefs, who have filled their counters with scrumptious boules and loaves of bread, luscious French pastries and satiating sandwiches, all made from scratch with love and commitment in their very own kitchen. The ingredients for each of their products are meticulously chosen to give one a true taste of France. Located in the more happening suburb of Bandra, in Mumbai, this little café has had a mighty impact, with everyone from the neighbourhood making a pit stop for a coffee run or a gratifying, yet healthy meal if they are feeling peckish.
Must Try: Sourdough Bread, Croque Monsieur and all their crepes in savoury and sweet form
5. Le 15 Café
Heaf Chef and Founder of Le 15, Pooja Dhingra, erected this establishment as an effort to bring a bit of her happy place – Paris, to Mumbai. Le 15 first started out as a small patisserie serving delicious pastries, cupcakes and macarons. Today, it has its various outlets dotted all across the city, serving patisserie delights, French-inspired nibbles and great coffee. The café at every nook and corner of the city is a great place to re-energize yourself with some food and brew before you take on the rest of your busy day. Bon Appétit!
Must Try: Chilli Beetroot Fettucine Aglio A Olio, Avocado Croissant, the Marie, Justina and Julia desserts, and Pink Latte
6. Prithivi Café
Attached to the famous Prithvi Theatre that showcases plays, live performances and other cultural facets of the city, Prithvi Café is a quaint and tranquil corner in Mumbai, in the western suburb, Juhu. Splayed out in the open, this little serene place of heaven is surrounded by bamboo and greenery, and comes alive at night with paper lanterns strung along with the trees. You will find many a creative mind here, mingling to bring their vision to life and their creativity to the forefront. It is also, however, a favourite hangout spot for people of all ages, from 18 to 80.
Must Try: Irish Coffee, Cutting Chai, Brownies
7. Grandmama’s Café
In case you are feeling particularly low or homesick on your travels in Mumbai, we suggest stopping by at an outlet of Grandmama’s Café that can be found at various neighbourhoods in the city. After all, there is nothing more comforting than a meal cooked by your grandma, and these little joy-filled kitchens are an ode to grandmothers all over the world. Serving classic dishes straight from the stove of your childhood, everything at Grandmama’s Café is sure to perk you up and put you in a better mood. With quaint settings and vintage furnishings, it’s like a blanket of comfort in a hug or in a bowl! And if that wasn’t enough, they now even feature Grandpa’s Den – a little nook with plush leather seating for you to sip on 12 famous cocktails that your grandfather learnt of on his travels. Bet that visit to your grandparents’ isn’t such a bad idea now!
Must Try: Shepherd’s Pie, Mac & Cheese, Poached Avocado Toast
8. Birdsong Café
Tucked away in the nook of one of Bandra’s many convoluted lanes, lies this gem of a relaxing café that believes in a healthy and organic diet that is absolutely flavourful! With gluten-free and vegan and keto-friendly options, it has definitely become a hub for those seeking a healthier lifestyle. The beachy vibes and rustic stone walls and large windows, make you want to sit there for hours either with a companion or in your own company. They are committed to sourcing the best of local and organic ingredients and combining them to make the most delightful meals. And if you’re looking to get away from the fast-paced life of Mumbai city, this is the place to be.
Must Try: Wild Mushroom Cappuccino with almond foam, Wild Rice Risotto, Cortado Coffee and Kashmiri Kahwa (tea)
9. Taj Mahal Tea House
If like me, you like to enjoy your tea in solitude and appreciating the finer things of life, this Tea House is the place for you. Each of the tea Extracts have been handpicked by connoisseurs and combined to give a plethora of new flavours to discover. They also host tea ceremonies on select mornings for those who wish to learn the delicate aromas and nuances of these unique blends. Stop by here on an afternoon with only your favourite book as your companion, or enjoy a live music session – there is always a means to soothe your soul here.
Must Try: Assam Flaming Hue Tea, Cooling Kokum with Darjeeling Green Tea and Glacial Blue
10. Candies Café
If someone you know has been to junior college in Mumbai, then this café on our list needs no introduction. Candies is every 17-year-old Mumbaikars hangout spot, and for all working men and ladies, it is a nostalgic retreat for long conversations over coffee. Although there are three branches in Bandra, the soul of Candies remains the flagship café @ Mac Ronells – a Portuguese style villa. The three levels of this building are filled with vintage posters and unique mosaics and tiles, Moroccan lamps that make you feel like you are on a Mediterranean holiday. And most importantly, nothing beats the taste of your favourite dishes from your late teenage years.
Must Try: Chicken Steak in Mushroom Sauce, Spinach & Mushroom Cannelloni and Nougat Sundae
So, the next time you are in Mumbai and need to catch a breath before you get back to battling the hustle of the city, visit the cafes from this list and watch the world go by.