Maharashtra: Best Late-Night Food Stops in Mumbai

Maharashtra: Best Late-Night Food Stops in Mumbai

Mumbai is a great city to be hungry in, after hours. Here is a list of some of the late night eating places

Lesley A. Esteves
November 19 , 2014
13 Min Read

Mumbai’s streets are very generous to people who need a late-night bite —  partygoers famished after a night of dancing, officegoers starving after another long night at work, Mumbaikars wanting the luxury of a drive on empty roads for a late dinner, preferably without leaving the car. For insomniacs with an appetite, this city has a big heart indeed.

This is a list of the places I know, and of course it isn’t comprehensive — the city is just too huge. These are also ‘street’ places, not restaurants, where you should be able to sit at a makeshift street table or in your car, or stand, hence no Zaffran, no Sarvi or Shalimar. Also, some of the closing hours mentioned are ‘official’ closing hours. Many stay open much later, or till the cops come by and shut them down. And if I haven’t named names or provided phone numbers for some in this story, it’s for those who manage to stay under the hafta radar.



One of these men who’ll remain nameless sits at a bus stop bang opposite Juhu’s famous Amar Juice Centre. He sells superb tawa pulau parcels till long after Amar has packed up. You’ll find him there as late as 4am, but it’s easy to miss him. Look for the guy who seems to be waiting for a bus, with a huge bag beside him. His spicier, redder pulau is perfect to fill that hole in your tummy which comes from a very late night out. At Rs 70, it is a little steep but worth it when you’re six vodkas down. Your vodkas may have been imbibed at a nightclub in Juhu itself, or Bandra, or way south in Bombay proper. I am nostalgic about that ‘Bombay’, and that’s where I’ll begin.

There are four great pleasures of a late-night road trip from North Bombay’s Yari Road to South Bombay’s Bohri Mohalla; the smooth drive on traffic-free roads, the rapid shifts in urban scenery as you pass through the many mini-universes in this massive metropolis; the dinner that awaits you. Best of all, the trip down the narrower streets around Null Bazaar-Bhendi Bazaar affords you a view of ways of life in Bombay that are pretty much unchanged. Where the day begins with paya and ends with a crisp khameri roti and pichhouta. The skyscrapers recede once you reach Tardeo Junction, and up you go along Pathe Bapurao Marg en route to Maulana Shaukat Ali Road, aka Grant Road, into an older Mumbai.

Continue straight past the Grant Road crossing to emerge on Sandhurst Road, and enter Bohri Mohalla from the Null Bazaar Municipal Market side, along Tank Street. The age-old bara handi eateries of Gujar Street here are a right turn after the Raudat Tahera mosque. But I’m in the mohalla at midnight and, at this hour, the handis are firmly closed. Instead I head for the parallel street, Khara Tank. Indian Hotel (Shop No 1/2, Khara Tank Street, next to Taj Ice Cream, Bohri Mohalla; 022-23460687) is one of Mumbai’s best late-night experiences. Grab a stool on the street and watch them slide across your order of baida rotis, mutton and chicken rolls and my favourite naan chaap, aka naan sandwich, onto the hot tawa. I could’ve eaten a dozen of these small bun-sized naan chaaps stuffed with bhuna gosht and aloo hot off the tawa if I hadn’t first sampled the dessert at Taj. Indian is open officially till midnight, and later depending on the crowd. The venerable Taj Ice Cream (36/40, Khara Tank Street, opposite Imdadiya Bakery; 9769566990), next door, has been making Mumbai’s best sitaphal, litchi, banana and other handmade fruit-based Sancha ice cream for over a century. It beats Natural’s by a mile. Taj shuts at midnight.


A few steps east (towards JJ flyover) from Indian Hotel is Husainiyah Street, aka Pakmodia Street. Turn left and walk down past the Musafirkhana to the corner with Grant Road, where you’ll find the bright and busy Delhi Zaika (4 Pakmodia Street, off Maulana Shaukat Ali Road, near JJ Hospital; 64465790, 9773637626) serving super tangri kebabs, murg burra kebabs and the very same kind of deep-fried chicken which formed the plot point for Delhi Belly. The must-try here are the three kinds of Dilli ki nihari — straight up; with butter; and a bheja nihari—all made by a man from Matia Mahal no less, the legendary Karim Hotel area of Old Delhi. The nihari is a darker and spicier gravy than the Bohri nihari you get at the Valibhai Payawala bara handi nearby. Not better, just different. The nihari at Delhi Zaika is officially available till 1am, but you’ll be lucky if there’s any left beyond midnight. Delhi Zaika’s other offerings are available unofficially till nearly 2am. If you are in the area even later, head south towards Grant Road’s Do Tanki corner, where the seekhs at Nawab’s Seekh Kebabs (M.S. Ali Road, corner with Maulana Azad (Duncan) Road; 23891060, 9769665669, 8767303797) are fresh, the parathas deep-fried and delicious, the pudina and onions generous and all of it available till almost breakfast time, or 5am. Another half-hour and you can chase down dinner with a paya breakfast back at Valibhai on Gujar Street.


At Minara Masjid, further south and on the other side of Mohammed Ali Road from Bohri Mohalla, you don’t need to think. There are so many places open late in the vicinity of the great mosque. Janata Hotel (162 Fancy Mahal Building, opposite Minara Masjid, Ibrahim Merchant Street; 9833786002, 9820463533), hidden behind the dried fig and aam papad guys and their own massive tawa, has some of the best bheja and kaleji I have ever eaten in Mumbai and I would recommend it at any hour of the day. The bheja is absolutely fresh and you can watch it being cooked from scratch on the streetside tawa; then devour it with pav in the family room upstairs. Janata is open till 4am. Take the immediate left from Janata Hotel towards Mochi Chawl, and Marhaba Fast Food Centre (69A Memonwada Road) on your right is another great stop for a great variety of naan sandwiches, available officially till 12.30am and actually much later. Their bhuna gosht is fantastic. The Tawa Fast Food and Chinese (Jaffer Building, 67A Memonwada Road) next to Marhaba is worth visiting during Ramazan for its speciality teetar and bater. At other times, stick to the tikkas and kaleji masala and avoid the Chinese, except for the fried lollipops. Open till 3am.


For vegetarian dining, head west to Chowpatty. Turn left after Sukh Sagar and drive to Bachelorr’s (45 Sattar Sea View Extension, Chowpatty Seaface; 23682211, 23688889), the last shop in the Café Ideal-Cream Centre line. Here, till 1.30am, you’ll get veg toasted sandwiches, pizza, pav bhaji and pizza rolly polly. But what most people come to Bachelorr’s for is the ice cream, shakes, fruit cream and fresh juices. It’s the place to try green chilli ice cream. The blackcurrant ice cream here is the best-seller, which is why you’ll never find it later than 11pm. Instead try the fresh kiwi with cream, a lovely mix of tart and sweet flavours. A short drive away is the pure veg Bharat Juice and Snacks (opposite Bharti Vidya Bhawan, 2nd Sumer Heights, K.M. Munshi Marg, Girgaum; 24790154, 23689072), where crisp hot Mysore masala dosa and cool chikoo with cream brought to your car window are the things to have. They also have rolls, toasted sandwiches, six kinds of pav bhaji and Chinese. I tried a Kabuli anar juice here without masala and glucose that was unforgettable. They also have generous seating space within and are open till 1am.

The road running east from Mahim Dargah to Lady Jamsetji Road has a couple of roadside grills open late into the night even on week nights. Many more stay open very late Friday through Sunday. It’s been a while since I’ve eaten the kebabs there, though, and can only guarantee that if you’re this side of Bombay late, you won’t leave hungry.

Back in Bandra, turn right opposite Lucky’s towards Bandra Station West. Just where the road curves past the Bus Depot to the masjid stand the three ‘jewels’ of Bandra Station by night — Yaadgaar (9820078116, 9987784786), Gul and Danish. Gul makes only seekh kebabs with hot rotis off the tawa, Danish has a super-soft mutton fry and Yaadgaar does a fantastic khiri masala. They don’t deliver and don’t offer an ambience of any sort, so right till 1.30-2am drivers pull up in swish cars to collect bheja and kaleji masala packages. A taste of Yaadgaar’s bheja masala and you’ll be transported right back to Minara Masjid.


Further north up Linking Road, turn right at the Khar Telephone Exchange and try the offerings of the jovial chef at Amritsar da Dhaba (opp Sheetal Bukhara, off Linking Road, Khar West; 26041028). The packed tables even at this late hour are telling. The most popular items here seem to be the chicken tikka masala and butter chicken, but the kaleji was very good too. The pota (petha) is for those who enjoy pota. They also have paya, bheja and gurda kapura on the menu, and they fry and steam all of it on the huge tawa with a large dose of Amritsari pride. Open till 12.30am.

For variety in the suburbs, there’s little to beat Juhu Beach, whose stalls stay open every night until 1.30am. The stall owners here are a well-entrenched mafia, so there is little to set each place apart in terms of variety or quality, despite the claims to Jaipuria or Surti traditions. But you can’t go wrong with a ragda pattice, dahi puri or sev batata puri. I like the A-1 Bhel Puri stand, which adds murmura to the spicy juices left after you’ve eaten the sev puri. In the upcoming kairi season, the superb mango chaat will make its annual reappearance. There’s a South Indian stall on the Ramada Inn side which has very crisp dosas. The pav bhaji mafia occupies the stalls along the beachfront. Of these, my learned friends tell me Sai Darbar is the best by far. And of course you haven’t been to Juhu Beach unless you’ve tried a dry fruit-, milk maid-, honey-, ice cream- or dish-gola.

Just up north from Juhu Beach, turn right and head to Cooper Hospital via Mithibhai College. You’ll know you’ve reached when you see crowds occupy half the road, eating massive grilled sandwiches, dosas, pulau, pav bhaji, Indi-Chinese and all the veg works. This is Amar Juice Centre (Shop No. 3, R.N. Cooper Hospital, Gulmohar Road, Vile Parle West; 26247917), which along with some neighbouring street vendors has for decades been the last stop of the night for crowds heading home late towards Andheri, all the way up to Malad. Its official closing time is 1am, but long experience says otherwise. By the time you roll down your car window here, a menu card is being handed out. Two of the best things I’ve eaten here are the grilled veg cheese many-layered sandwich and the bright red masala pav.

There are several pav bhaji and bhurji pav guys near Amar but I owe loyalty of years to Khursheed. Even though he’s been chased out of his age-old spot near the main Cooper Gate, he’s still going strong. His egg bhurji still drips butter and never fails to hit the spot. He’s on the main road towards Mithibai, just before you reach Amar.


Continuing on to Juhu Circle, turn right towards Oshiwara and shortly you’ll come to Mumbai Tawa (opp. The Club, Cosmopolitan Education Society Road, D.N. Nagar; 26300777/999), a new landmark in Four Bungalows. The food at this barely two-month-old place is fantastic. It’s also far cleaner than your usual roadside places so I tried the freshly cooked spicy tawa jhinga and I’ll definitely be back for more. They offer streetside table and drive-in meals till 1am, and parcel meals with shutters down until 1.30am. But there is still nothing in Andheri to beat Hangla’s (P. Tandon Marg, opposite Royal Accord, Lokhandwala Circle; 7738364223) street Kolkata double mutton, double egg roll after a late-night movie at Infiniti. They also do good chops and mutton rezala here. Open till 1.30am.

For those coming in on a late local, the streets around Andheri Station on the west side offer a rich haul. Step out from Platform 1 and you’ll find even the McDonald’s here stays open and busy till 1am. Before McDonald’s, on the narrow lane going right towards the mosque, is a superb bhurji pav stand serving maska pav with piping hot eggs as late as 2am.

And beyond all these are Mumbai’s fallback options, the cycle guys who exemplify the industriousness of this great city. When even that brilliant pulau boy in the bus stand opposite Amar has headed home, you can count on the cycle guys for hot tea, coffee and Bournvita up to 5am. You will find them all over the city anytime after midnight. Just look for a man with a big pavwalla bag and a cycle going nowhere. His cigarettes are at a premium and he may not have your brand, but he’s your only hope till Mumbai’s first shutters start rolling up.


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