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No-frills, with open-air seating, scrumptious Indian food, dirt-cheap prices and warm service, the dhaba occupies a unique space in the Indian culinary world. Almost always serving buttery Punjabi food, these modest eateries dot the sides of highways across the country. Luckily for Mumbaikars, the city has many outstanding dhabas so you don’t really have to come up with an excuse to make a road trip to Pune to dig into some aloo paranthas and butter chicken. Here is our guide to the best dhabas in Mumbai.
This modest dhaba in Andheri Lokhandwala prides itself on serving healthy comfort food. The all vegetarian dhaba is most known for its varieties of wholesome paranthas. Try the stuffed paranthas or the classic aloo paranthas, or opt for the staple sarson ka saag paired with a buttery whole wheat roti. Costing barely Rs 150 (US$2.30) per meal, the delicious food at Guru da Dhaba is also extremely well priced.
Swami Samarth Nagar, Lokhandwala Complex, Andheri West, Mumbai, +91 022 2632 0440
Located near the Dadar local train station, Pritam da Dhaba is quite large and is warmly decorated, with pleasing outdoor seating. The buttery rotis here will erase any apprehension you may have for carbs, and repeat customers swear by the paneer and chicken tikkas. For desert, you can’t go wrong with the gulab jamuns.
This tiny place in Kandivali is the quintessential dhaba: basic yet refreshing outdoor seating, efficient yet friendly service and mouthwatering food are among the many highlights here. Their paranthas are all exceptionally delicious, but the paneer and aloo paranthas are particularly worth trying. They serve only vegetarian food, but no meat-lover is going to be complaining once they’ve had Lucky Singh’s paneer tikka masala or dal makhani.
Shop No.11, Sector 8, Kandiwali West, Mumbai, +91 081086 00123
To experience highway-style dhaba food, head to this renowned yet modest eatery in Mira Road. The chicken tikka biryani and tandoori are exceptionally popular and worth trying. Dara’s Dhaba also ventures a little beyond standard dhaba food, offering a range of soups, sandwiches and seafood. If you are looking for Punjabi/North Indian food that blows your mind, you are in for a treat here.
National Highway 8, Ghodbunder Road, Kashimira, Post Mira, Thane, +91 022 3965 3032
This quintessential Punjabi dhaba in Bhandup will delight vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike with its wide variety. The paranthas are exceptionally fluffy and buttery, and come stuffed with items like keema and paneer. Go for the typical butter chicken or paneer tikka masala for the most satisfying comfort dhaba food experience.
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This small dhaba in Sion is nothing short of paradise for meat lovers. They serve a variety of hearty Punjabi non-vegetarian dishes, from their famous Paya Soup to one of Mumbai’s favorite snacks, Keema Pav. Service is quick and the décor couldn’t be simpler. The space is quite tiny so prepare to wait a bit if you’re visiting during peak lunch hours.