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Mumbai: 5 places to eat just outside your hotel
Coffee shop? No way. There’s life -- and food -- just beyond the lobby
There is life beyond the restaurants and coffee shops at the end of your hotel elevator.
A walk or short ride away we pick five busy restaurants in three bustling neighborhoods in Mumbai -- where locals go, every night of the week.
This is how you get there.
Area: Andheri and Juhu
Hotels: Svenska and JW Marriott
Celebrity chef Jiggs Kalra’s eatery Punjab Grill makes the most aromatic black lentils in the city (brewed for more than 24 hours) along with the Tandoori duck and fish tikkas and mutton kebabs.
In fact just order the "non-veg" platter and some butter naans.
The digestive betel nut “paan shots” are best tried and not described.
More on CNNGo: Digestif paan shot at Punjab Grill
Not too far from Punjab Grill in the Juhu beach vicinity is the big daddy of sea food: Mahesh Lunch Home.
Thankfully its dishy crabs get more attention than the locals (of all stripes) waiting to get their table at this four-decade-old, family-run award-winning eatery.
Be sure to go by owner Mahendra’s recommendations on the assorted coastal menu and, yes, they are sensitive to the spice factor, you just need to say so.
Following the curve of the beach road, Banana Leaf beckons giving South Indian food a chance beyond the muggy Udipi hole in the wall.
Banana Leaf's curried rasam sets the pace for Chettinad flavors to follow. Perfect for Sunday noon.
Funny name, but Fat Cat Kitchen & Bar is new, tiny, shiny and gaining popularity as an after-office supper spot for its sage-scented old-school lasagna and long list of tapas.
The succulent mutton pillaf with liberal helpings of saffron and spices is worth going off the beaten track to find this cozy Andheri restaurant.
Koyla stands for biryani. Great ambiance saves you having to buy a plane ticket to the city of biryani’s birth, Hyderabad.
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Banana Leaf, Shubham Society, Vikram Petrol Pump, Juhu Versova Link Road, Andheri (W);+91 99304 88080
Mahesh Lunch Home, Kings Apartment, Juhu Tara Road, next to Juhu Centaur;+91 (0)22 6695 5559/54; www.maheshlunchhome.com
Koyla, Paramount, 2/F, New Link Road, Oshiwara, Andheri (W);+91 (0)98 9240 3222
Punjab Grill, Juhu Shopping Centre, Gulmohar Park Society, Gulmohar Road, opposite Sujoy Hospital, Juhu; +91 (0)22 42433 100/101; www.punjabgrill.in
Fat Cat Kitchen & Bar, Bharat Ark, Veera Desai Road, next to ICICI Bank, Andheri West;+91 22 26732 040/47; www.visitfatcat.com
Hotels: Taj Land’s End and Trident BKC
With its new location parallel to Linking Road, Café Goa lets the beach town flavors come alive with dim lighting, fenni mojitos and fire-breathing chicken xacutis and vindaloo curries from the owner's grandmother’s recipe book.
The Portuguese-style tenderloin steaks are a try and after that go for a beer at Elbo Room next door to see typical Bandra people just hanging out.
More on CNNGo: Elbo Room bar is one of Mumbai's coziest
There's a good chance someone has already recommended Salt Water Café to you.
Now here's what you eat if you land up there: melon carpaccio with feta cheese, Brazilian steak, the burgers and the beef and salmon carpaccio.
There's a rooftop terrace too, which you wouldn't think to look for beyond the first-floor bar area.
As plush as its London cousin, and semi-formal is Hakkasan -- one of the most expensive tables in the city.
Chilean sea bass with Chinese honey and stir-fried lobster with black bean sauce rule. So do the Edamame dim sums.
Not to miss -- Moshe’s, run by an affable chef named Moshe Shek.
In its wooden living room order the cheesecake that Madonna raved about.
Main course staples include fondue and grilled pear crostini laden with goat cheese, olive tapenade with apple salad by the side.
Refreshingly easy is its vibe, with a variety of organic menu options that go well with the warm wooden decor.
It's hard to pull off crumbly cool decor and a wine-only menu, but Suren Joshi and Mishali Sanghani, who own and run Pali Village Café have done it well.
Peeling walls, old fans, fold-able, rusty steel chairs, empty cages and paper menus define one of the most popular new restaurants this side of the Sealink.
Bandra’s creative and Bollywood lot sip on melon Sula sangria and eat wafer-thin pizza and pannacotta to the soundtrack of Vicky Cristina Barcelona.
(Inputs for Pali Village Café by Kanika Parab and Mansi Poddar)
Hakkasan, Krystal, Waterfield Road, Bandra (W); +91 (0)22 2644 4444/4445; www.hakkasan.com/mumbai
Café Goa, Prabhat Kunj, 24th Road, In The Lane Behind KFC, Khar West; +91 (0)22 2648 3136
Salt Water Café, Rose Minar Annexe, 87, Chapel Road, Bandra (W); +91 (0)22 2643 4441; www.saltwatercafe.in
Moshe’s, 133 Hill Road, above Nature’s Basket, Bandra (W); +91(0)22 2642 5555
Pali Village Café, next to Janata Bar and Restaurant, Pali Naka, Bandra (W; +91 (0)22 2605 0401
Hotels: Taj Mahal Palace and Trident
Within a two-kilometer radius of the top-notch Sobo hotels are more than enough eating options.
Start with the charming Indigo Deli for breakfast, brunch or lunch. Its rotating list of daily specials, wine cellar and ambiance attracts an attractive mix of locals and tourists.
Grilled pork chops with cinnamon-scented apple, buttered broccoli, a bacon and chive muffin and a killer beef cheese burger with bacon with are a testimony to chef/owner Rahul Akerkar’s food craft.
Across the street is a bakery and café with a Belgian lineage, called Le Pain Quotidien (LPQ).
Honest prices, real food and a wooden setting distinguish the chain all over the world.
LPQ's tartine menu with versions of vegetable ragout -- grilled veggies plus Gruyere and its roasted cousins -- are yum.
South Mumbai's restaurant row, the little stretch of road from Regal cinema roundabout towards the Taj on which Indigo Deli and LPQ are, recently inducted another culinary highlight called The Table.
Owners Jay Yousuf and Gauri Devidayal turned to San Francisco for food inspiration, hiring executive chef Alex Sanchez to create a series of small and large plates.
Popular small plates include the Gruyère cheese puffs, the white asparagus with a Hollandaise glaze, the zucchini spaghetti, and anything chicken.
Everybody knows Café Mondegar or Mondy’s, as its more popularly referred to.
Call it a dive bar. Call it an institution. When in Colaba, pay your respect to its chicken lollipops, juke box and best beer on the tap at this legendary Mumbai grub pub.
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Run by the Yezdagardi family Mondy's has been a part of many movies, books and photo memories on Facebook.
The khow suey at Joss is therapeutic after a long working day. But their Burmese “meal in the bowl" requires a reservation, given its popularity. Their sushi offerings are worth a try too.
(Inputs for The Table by Kanika Parab and Mansi Poddar)
Indigo Deli, Pheroze Building, Chattrapati Shivaji Maharishi Marg, Apollo Bunder; +91 (0)22 6655 1010; www.indigodeli.com
Le Pain Quotidien, Dhanraj Mahal, CSM Road, opp. Indigo Deli, Apollo Bunder, Colaba;+91 (0)22 6615 0202; www.lepainquotidien.in
Café Mondegar, Cafe Mondegar, Metro House, 5-A Shahid Bhagat Singh Road, Colaba;+91 (0)22 2202 0591
Joss, 30, Kalaghoda, opp. Jehangir Art Gallery, Kala Ghoda;+91 (0)22 6635 6908; www.jossrestaurant.com
The Table, Kalash Peshi Building, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Marg, Apollo Bunder; +91 (0)22 2282 5000
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