Mumbai is a city of contrasts—here, the country’s most expensive real estate jostle for space with Asia’s largest slum, Dharavi, and colonial-era structures rub shoulders with glitzy nightclubs. Home to the Hindi film industry, Bollywood, Mumbai is India’s answer to New York City—larger-than-life icons influence the life of every Mumbaikar and glamorous fashion weeks set the biggest trends in the country. A gorgeous shoreline, an alluring dining and partying culture, and a soaring GDP bring dreamers to this city of million possibilities. With a population of about 18 million people and growing, the country’s financial and entertainment capital is hard to miss. Here’s a quick spin of the Millennium City and all that’s there to try. By Pallavi Mehra
Mumbai aka the ‘Maximum City’ is home to India’s finest restaurants and nightclubs, heritage buildings and skyscrapers, art districts and Gothic corridors.
Colonial-era architecture and design welcome visitors in South Mumbai. Start your heritage tour by visiting Gateway of India, Mumbai’s most iconic monument. Just around the corner is the majestic Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, the country’s first harbour landmark. Thereafter, visit Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, to study Victorian Gothic Revival architecture. Then, make your way to the seaside promenade Marine Drive, and drive along Chowpatty Beach to Haji Ali Dargah, a popular mosque on an islet.
The Kala Ghoda district in South Mumbai is the city’s eclectic art corner. Begin your art trail with the city’s biggest museum, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya to study Indo-Saracenic architecture. Next up, walk across the road to the National Gallery of Modern Art and Jehangir Art Gallery to be a part of live exhibitions. Kala Ghoda also boasts of many smaller art institutions, such as Moksh Art Gallery and Institute of Contemporary Indian Art.
Inside The Lanes
Mahalaxmi Dhobi Ghat is Mumbai’s 140-year-old open-air and human-powered laundromat. Here, hundreds of washer men wash thousands of clothes every day in 1,026 open-air troughs. To capture the best frames, walk over to the bridge across the railway tracks near Mahalaxmi train station. While you’re here, try the South Indian delicacy, dosa, at the neighbouring Dakshinayan South Indian Restaurant.
From trendy rooftop lounges to Japanese izakayas, upscale Indian-fusion restaurants to iconic international eateries—Mumbai has a dining destination for every mood.
The award-winning ITC Dum Pukht has an old-world charm, and offers scrumptious cuisine of the Awadhi Nawabs—the former royals of Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh. The signature dishes of biryani, kakori kebab, and shahi nehari are slow-cooked for hours for an authentic taste and aroma.
Founded over 50 years ago, Swati Snacks is a popular restaurant serving Indian regional cuisine and Mumbai’s street food in a lovely setting. Try the famous panki chatni, sev puri and dal dhokli at any of their two locations in the city.
All The Way From Japan
Wasabi by Morimoto at Taj Mahal Palace Mumbai is an institution in itself. White fish carpaccio, black cod miso, and wasabi crème brulee are top performers.
Located in Marine Drive, Vetro and Enoteca at The Oberoi, Mumbai is where Italian food-lovers and wine connoisseurs meet for exquisite meals. Pizza ‘tartufo,’ lamb pappardelle, and gnocchi with burrata are highly recommended.
Among the most awaited restaurant openings this year, Ministry of Crab (MOC)’s Mumbai outlet serves the best seafood in the city. The menu includes classic dishes like avocado crab salad, clay pot prawn curry, and garlic chilli crab.
MIX ‘N’ MATCH
Vibrant street markets and glitzy malls feature in every Mumbai fashionista’s style guide.
The tiny shops in Colaba Causeway in the heart of South Mumbai sell everything—from silver jewellery to shawls and cheap souvenirs. Shop for chunky earrings or Kolhapuri chappals from the stall outside Leopold Café. The Bombay Store on Linking Road in Bandra is the best place to shop artifacts and accessories.
Palladium Mall in Lower Parel showcases the affluent side of Mumbai’s fashion world. From international luxury brands such as Jimmy Choo and Gucci, to boutique Indian labels such as Anita Dongre, Amrapali Jewels, and Masaba—find everything under one roof.