A local’s guide to the best Irani Cafes in Mumbai

The city of Mumbai, steeped in an enchanting blend of cultures, has long been a cultural hotpot and a melting pot of diversity. Its distinctive charm radiates from every corner – the pulsating local trains, the crowded yet harmonious chawls, the towering skyscrapers, and the posh localities all amalgamate to shape the consciousness we associate with the city. Yet, an essential part of this cosmopolitan mosaic is the legacy of its age-old Irani cafes in Mumbai. 

These charming spots, deeply embedded in Mumbai’s cultural fabric, have a rich history spanning over a century. Irani cafe Mumbai’s history is quite fascinating. Set up by Zoroastrian Irani immigrants in the 20th century, fleeing the shadows of religious persecution in West and Central Asia, these cafes became a hub for the famous Irani Chai and Bun Maska. Although their numbers have been dwindling, the Irani cafes remain the city’s beating heart, resonating with the spirit of Mumbai.

Best Irani cafes in Mumbai

Exploring Mumbai’s Irani cafe heritage with Aisha

Aisha Ray Fasal (aisharay_vlogs), a local food enthusiast, chose Savaari as her travel companion for her gastronomic quest through the city of dreams, Mumbai. Her mission: to seek out the finest Irani cafe in the city, an experience that goes beyond just tasting the food – it’s about immersing oneself in the culture, ambience, and history that these eateries encapsulate. As she embarked on her journey, she left no stone unturned, visiting numerous well-known and hidden gems. In line with Aisha’s, our mission is to share her findings with you, enabling you to discover some of the best Irani cafes in Mumbai. 

Food blogger Aisha Ray Fasal exploring Irani cafes in Mumbai
Food blogger Aisha Ray Fasal (aisharay_vlogs)

The verdict of a local food blogger, particularly one with Aisha’s distinguished palate, is a great compass to navigate the vibrant food scene in Mumbai. So, next time you’re planning an exploration of the city, make sure to carve out time for a visit to at least one of these vintage Irani cafes in Mumbai to soak up the unique Irani hospitality. Or, better yet, book a car rental in Mumbai and indulge in a fascinating cafe-hopping adventure!

Merwan and Co., Grant Road

Merwan and Co. grace Mumbai’s food scene from a prime spot opposite the eastern exit of Grant Road Railway Station. Since 1914, this café experiences peak activity during the morning rush. The quick service and ample seating help keep wait times to a minimum. Various treats, from Bun Maska and Irani chai to double omelettes, burji, cakes, and puddings, grace their menu. The rustic décor harks back to traditional Irani cafes, and though service is lightning-quick, you’ll need cash for payment. Ayesha was particularly enamoured by their famous mawa cake and patties, which she felt represented the finesse of Irani culinary tradition.

Location: Shop No. 1, Merwan & Co B, Alibhai Premji Rd, opp. Grant Road Railway Station, Pannalal Terrace, Grant Road East, Bharat Nagar, Grant Road

Cost for two: INR 100

Opening hours: Open daily, 7 am–6 pm

Kyani Bakery and Co., Marine Lines

Stepping into the historic Kyani Bakery and Co. is like stepping back in time. Located in Marine Lines, it’s one of the oldest Irani cafes in Mumbai, renowned for its towering wooden ceilings and quintessential chairs. Known for its famous wine cake, the cafe also whips up tantalizing delights like chicken rolls and a plethora of kheema dishes. Ayesha opted for the cafe’s signature chicken dansak and sali boti, a delectable medley of tender meat cooked in a rich, flavoursome gravy served with crispy fried potatoes on top.

Irani cafes in Mumbai, Kyani and co
Image credit: Youth Inc Magazine

Location: Jer Mahal Estate, 657, Jagannath Shankar Seth Rd, opp. Metro Inox Theatre, Dhobi Talao, Marine Lines, Mumbai

Cost for two: INR 300

Opening hours: Open daily, 7am – 7pm

Ideal Corner, Fort

For a taste of authentic Parsi cuisine, Ideal Corner, nestled in the bustling heart of the city, is your go-to destination. With its daily-changing menu of fresh, homemade dishes, the restaurant is a foodie’s paradise. It is famous for its mutton sali boti and dhansak and offers an impressive vegetarian selection. Ayesha was particularly taken with the laganu custard and chocolate mousse, the perfect sweet endings to a hearty meal. Note that the restaurant only accepts cash payments. Whenever you book a Savaari taxi in Mumbai, make sure to stop by Ideal corner.

Veg dhansak - Iranian food in Mumbai
Veg dhansak

Location: 12/F/G Hornby View Building Rustom Sidhwa Marg Near Fort fire brigade, near post office, Mumbai

Cost for two: INR 550

Opening hours: Tue – Sunday, 9 am–6 pm, Mon, closed

Cafe Irani Chaii, Mahim 

Despite being a recent addition to Irani cafes in Mumbai scene, Cafe Irani Chaii has quickly carved a niche. Its Parsi cuisine, complete with checkered tablecloths and mirrored walls, has captured the hearts of locals. The highlights include kheema pav, Bun Maska, Akuri, and Dhansak.

Location: Rosary Building, Mia Mohd Chhotani Rd, Geeta Nagar, Mahim West, Mahim, Mumbai

Cost for two: INR 400

Opening hours: Open daily, 8am – 11 pm

Stadium Cafe, Churchgate

Positioned just outside The Brabourne Stadium, the Stadium Cafe offers a unique blend of cricket history and Irani cafe culture. The go-to spot here is Irani tea paired with muffins, ideally savoured before a sunset stroll on the nearby Marine Drive.

Location: Railway Station, Stadium, 76, Veer Nariman Rd, near Churchgate, Churchgate, Mumbai

Cost for two: INR 500

Opening hours: Open daily, 8 am–11 pm

Sassanian & Co., Dhobi Talao

A stalwart of the Mumbai cafe scene, Sassanian & Co. has been a crowd-pleaser since 1913. Famous for its Kheema Pav, the cafe serves many authentic Iranian dishes such as Bun Maska, Irani Chai, Mawa Cakes & Dhansak. The Keema pav here is an absolute must-try. Don’t forget to carry cash, as they don’t accept cards.

Bun maska - Iranian cafes in Mumbai

Location: Metro, 98, Marine View, 1st Marine St, Cross Road, Dhobi Talao, Mumbai

Cost for two: INR 400

Opening hours: Open daily, 7 am–10 pm, Sat, Mon – 7 am – 8:30 pm

Cafe Excelsior, Fort

Nestled amidst the historic buildings of the Fort Area, the 97-year-old Cafe Excelsior is a delightful portal into Mumbai’s past. The cafe is best known for its mutton burgers while dishing Lebanese cuisine and desserts.

Location: Kitab Mahal, 23, AK Nayak Marg, opp. Excelsior Cinema, Azad Maidan, Fort, Mumbai

Cost for two: INR 800

Opening hours: Open daily, 8 am–9 pm

Jimmy Boy, Fort

A harmonious blend of Parsi and Irani influences, Jimmy Boy in Mumbai’s Fort Area stands out with its eclectic menu. From the quirky Sali per edu to the mouthwatering margi na farce and mutton gravy cutlet, the cafe is a testament to the culinary brilliance of these two intertwined cultures.

Location: 11, Vikas Building, Bank Street, Near, Horniman Circle, Fort, Mumbai

Cost for two: INR 800

Opening hours: Open daily, 8 am–10:45 pm

Yazdani Restaurant & Bakery 

Since its establishment in 1950, Yazdani Restaurant & Bakery has been serving a variety of Irani-styled pastries and cakes. Known for its delicious Irani chai, bun maska, and mawa cakes, this place also has fantastic apple pie post-3 PM. Though the prices are slightly high, it’s worth visiting during Christmas week to taste their special plum cake.

Yazdani Iranian cafe in Mumbai

Location: 11A, Cawasji Patel Rd, Kala Ghoda, Fort, Mumbai

Cost for two: INR 200

Opening hours: Open daily, 7 am – 7 pm

Cafe Military, Fort

Likely the only vintage Irani café in Mumbai serving beer, Cafe Military offers more than just tasty food – it offers a welcoming environment, mainly due to its friendly owners. The mouth-watering akoori (a type of scrambled egg) is a must-try, alongside dishes like kheema ghotala, mutton dhansak, and caramel custard.

Location: Alli Chambers, Nagindas Master Rd, Fort, Mumbai

Cost for two: INR 500

Opening hours: Mon-Sat, 10 am–9 pm, Sun, closed

Cafe Gulshan, Matunga East

A hit among locals and students in Matunga, Central Mumbai, Cafe Gulshan remains a beacon of authenticity amidst a sea of newer cafes. Their reputation as an authentic Irani café remains untarnished, ensuring their popularity in the neighbourhood.

Location: Balkrishna Niwas, 265, Lakhamsi Napoo Rd, next to Welingkar, Matunga East, Mumbai

Cost for two: INR 400

Opening hours: Open daily, 8:30 am–11 pm

Britannia & Co. Restaurant, Fort

Britannia and co.

Nestled in Ballard Estate is Britannia & Co. Restaurant, an iconic Parsi establishment since 1923. The nostalgic ambience is curated with checkered tablecloths, vintage decors, high ceilings, and old wooden chairs. The Berry Pulao is a crowd favourite, but the courteous and attentive staff contribute to the dining experience.

Location: Ballard Estate, Fort, Mumbai

Cost for two: INR 1000

Opening hours: Mon – Sat, 12pm-4pm, Sunday, closed


For those craving a contemporary touch, SodaBottleOpenerWala is an excellent choice. This modern-day Irani restaurant chain operates across several cities in India, including branches at BKC and Lower Parel in Mumbai. With a mission to revive the disappearing legacy of Irani cafes, the restaurants boast a retro ambience and a chock-full of traditional Parsi dishes. While food prices are higher due to their commercial locations, the experience is worth it.

Location: The Capital, 02, G Block Rd, G Block BKC, Bandra Kurla Complex, Bandra East, Mumbai

Cost for two: INR 1600

Opening hours: Open daily, 12pm-1:30 am

The cultural preservation and evolution of Irani cafés in Mumbai

These establishments have become more than just eating spots; they’re nostalgic reminders of Iran left behind by Zoroastrian Iranians, intertwined with the vibrant, cosmopolitan culture they have embraced in their new homeland, India. The sociocultural significance of these cafes, their inclusivity, and their deep-rooted association with Mumbai’s heritage is what has kept them relevant.

Originally, Irani cafes in Mumbai served traditional Persian dishes like berry pulao, keema pav, dhansak, and sali boti, catering to the nostalgic palate of the Iranian diaspora. Over the years, however, their menus have evolved to incorporate the tastes of their adopted home, resulting in a delightful fusion of Persian and Indian cuisines. For instance, the Bun Maska and Irani chai, a delicious amalgamation of Persian and Indian flavours, is a staple that has earned its place in Mumbai’s culinary landscape. This iconic combo of a soft bun slathered with butter, dunked in sweet, milky tea is a treat Mumbaikars relish irrespective of time or occasion.

Parsi cafes in India

Irani cafes in Mumbai have also adapted to the changing preferences and dietary needs of the populace. Many now offer vegetarian versions of traditional meat-based dishes, aligning with the vegetarian preference of a significant population in Mumbai. Moreover, the clientele of these cafes is diverse, reflecting the cosmopolitan nature of Mumbai. They have welcomed everyone, from office-goers looking for a quick breakfast to writers seeking inspiration in a quiet corner, and families enjoying a Sunday brunch.

The cafes have also participated in Mumbai’s cultural and social life. Over the years, these cafes have played host to book readings, poetry sessions, and even Bollywood film shoots, becoming part and parcel of Mumbai’s cultural landscape.

Why go Irani cafe hopping in Mumbai?

Reflecting on Aisha’s gastronomic journey, one thing becomes apparent: Mumbai has no ‘best’ Irani cafe. Each restaurant, be it Merwan and Co., Cafe Military, Britannia & Co., or SodaBottleOpenerWala, is a world in itself, unique in its essence, and filled with diverse flavours that are impossible to compare. Each establishment is steeped in history, bringing to life the enticing cuisine and the rich cultural tapestry of the Zoroastrian Iranian migrants who brought their love for food to the shores of Mumbai.

Irani cafes in Mumbai aren’t merely eateries; they are stories etched in the bricks and beams of the city, narrating tales of a bygone era, of cultures blending, of culinary traditions, seeping into the local palate. These Irani cafes provide a vivid snapshot of the country’s diverse demography, reflecting India’s incredible cultural melting pot. They are an authentic testament to Mumbai’s innate ability to welcome and celebrate diversity as they thrive and preserve their culinary heritage.

Embark on your exploration of these culinary landmarks by downloading the Savaari app. With Savaari as your trusted travel companion, let the city of dreams guide you through an unforgettable Irani cafe-hopping experience. Let the aroma of Irani chai lure you in while a plate of buttery pav awaits to delight your taste buds. Dive into this timeless heritage, one sip, one bite at a time. After all, there’s no better way to understand a city than through its food, and Mumbai, with its treasure trove of Irani cafes, is a culinary adventure waiting to be savoured.

Last Updated on January 17, 2024 by Swati Deol

A quick summary
A local's guide to the best Irani cafes in Mumbai
Article Name
A local's guide to the best Irani cafes in Mumbai
Discover the soul of Irani Cafes in Mumbai with our local's guide. Indulge in authentic chai, bun maska, and a nostalgic ambience.
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About the author

Shabari, a modern-day wanderer, seeks out the hidden stories within the world's serene landscapes and vibrant cultures. She views each person as a living, breathing tale, a unique signature in the grand narrative of existence. With an insatiable curiosity for local customs and traditions, Shabari explores the rich drapery of humanity wherever her journey leads. Her passion is to unravel the secrets of tranquil temples, scale majestic mountains, and share the ancient wisdom they hold. Join Shabari on her quest for solace amidst the world's quiet corners and let her writing transport you to the heart of these captivating adventures.

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