Mumbai: Best Places to Eat During the Festival

Courtesy of Wasabi by Morimoto
White fish carpaccio at Wasabi by Morimoto in Colaba, Mumbai

The Hollywood Reporter is back with its guide of the Indian entertainment capital's must-visit restaurants.

Visitors to Mumbai are always spoiled for choices when it comes to food, and a year on from The Hollywood Reporter's last rundown of the best restaurant and bars in the city, there has been a whole host of new openings, as well as some hard-to-ignore rediscoveries. 

With another edition of the Mumbai Film Festival well underway, and THR now more familiar with the culinary rhythms of the city, we have decided to split our food and drink guide, so here first is our handy — and updated — guide to the best places to eat in India's entertainment capital during the event. 

Wasabi by Morimoto 

India's restaurants have struggled to make global or even regional best of lists in recent years, with only New Dehli's Indian Accent a consistent performer. But in both 2017 and 2018, Wasabi by Morimoto made the coveted Asia's 50 Best Restaurants list and with good reason. Widely regarded as the finest Japanese restaurant in India, Wasabi by Morimoto is the brainchild of Masaharu Morimoto (the celebrity chef of Iron Chef and Iron Chef America fame) and is the crown jewel of the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel's world-class food offerings. 

Given Wasabi's gilded reputation, eating here is not cheap by Indian standards, but an average meal for two should cost around 12,000 rupees ($170), so it may not seem outlandish considering the quality. All the ingredients are flown in from Japan, and must-try signature dishes include the white fish carpaccio, black cod miso and wasabi creme brulee.

Wasabi by Morimoto, Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, Apollo Bandar, Colaba, +91 22 6665 3366

Cecconi's 

A familiar name to the entertainment industry jet-set, Cecconi's is Soho House Mumbai's premier eatery and has quickly established itself as one of the best Italian restaurants in Mumbai. Open to non-members, the 150-seat Cecconi's is a comforting mix of modern design and lots of natural light with stunning views of the ocean and Juhu beach. Cecconi's locations the world over are famed for their pizza, and it's no different at the Mumbai outpost — but also find the time and the appetite for the gnocchi and calamari dishes. 

Soho House Mumbai opened its doors for the first time for the opening-night party at last year's Mumbai Film Festival, and the club continues to attract the creative crowd and the odd Bollywood star with its Juhu location, the beating heart of the moviemaking industry in India, as well as its proximity to the airport. Come to Cecconi's if you fancy the familiar, want to spot the great and the good or fancy some hearty Italian food. 

Cecconi's Soho House Mumbai, 16, Juhu Tara Road, Chandrabai Nagar, Santacruz West, +91 22 6213 3333

Gaylord

One of the oldest, still operating and revered Indian restaurants in Mumbai is Gaylord, which has forged its culinary reputation since 1956. In its look, Gaylord is a colonial throwback, the decor harking back to a time long forgotten with a uniformed doorman, potted palm trees, colonnades and ornate furniture and art, so the restaurant certainly attracts a crowd looking to step into a time warp. However, its popularity endures because of the food, and there are few better places in Mumbai to sample Northern Indian classics like butter chicken and fish tikka.

Given its heritage and the quality of the offerings, the most surprising thing about Gaylord is the price, with the average price for a meal for two hovering around 1,800 rupees ($25). Also housed in the same complex is the Gaylord bakery, reportedly the first stand-alone bakery in the city, and it features lots of traditional Indian sweets and desserts that are well worth sampling.  

Gaylord, Mayfair Building, Veer Nariman Road, Churchgate, +91 22 2282 1259

San-Qi

It might seem odd to suggest a pan-Asian restaurant as a must-visit place to eat, especially given the wealth of regional Indian food found in Mumbai, but San-Qi is worth the trek to the Four Seasons for its Sunday brunch, perhaps the best anywhere in the city. Introduced just this summer, the San-Qi brunch offers all-you-can eat mouthwatering dishes from India, Thailand, China and Japan. The pan-Asian offering means that there are almost too many options and should satisfy a diverse group with differing tastes and predilections. 

San-Qi itself is housed inside a roomy split-level space. The brunch is priced at 2,999 rupees ($42) for just food and an additional 1,499 rupees ($21) for the free-flowing alcohol package. 

San-Qi, Four Seasons Hotel, 1, 136, Dr E Moses Rd, Gandhi Nagar, Upper Worli, Worli, +91 22 2481 8000

Masala Kraft 

Another top-class restaurant found inside the sumptuous confines of the iconic Taj Mahal Palace Hotel is Masala Kraft, a contemporary Indian eatery that puts a modern twist on some well-known classics. Read any review of Masala Kraft and the service and the decor seem to get top billing, which are both positives, of course, but more importantly people keep coming back for the food. 

Masala Kraft tries to keep its appeal as broad as possible, so serious spice addicts might not get the highs they would elsewhere, but for those with milder palettes, the menu is welcoming and offers a wide variety. An average meal for two people should cost a bargain 4,000 rupees ($60), and make sure to try the Lahori kadai gosht and the paneer makhani. Or if you want to be adventurous, try one of many wine-paired set menus.

Masala Kraft, Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, Apollo Bandar, Colaba, +91 22 6665 3366