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Mumbai

sambhar dosa indian food indiaThere are cafes, coffee shops, plenty of McDonald's franchises and quite a few Pizza Huts in Mumbai, but you've come to India -- so this is the place to stop and have a really good curry. Mumbai is a city where you can find just about any type of Indian food imaginable -- including Konkan (coastal) seafood, spicy kebabs, and South Indian favorites like dosas (rice and lentil crepes) and vadas (savory fried doughnuts). One feast not to miss is a thali, a traditional Gujarati meal encompassing a wide variety of rotis, dals, vegetables and other dishes (thalis are the silver plates on which the meal is served).

A note of warning: Steer clear of food from street vendors, as you'll probably end up with "Delhi belly" -- which is really only traveler's diarrhea but will spoil the rest of your trip.

Visiting Khyber (145, Mahatma Gandhi Road, Fort, Mumbai) is like stepping back in time, with its big wooden doors, oil lanterns and weathered wood. There's a vast menu of soups, salads and kebabs, and then you get on to curry dishes. There's seafood, chicken, lamb and plenty for vegetarians. It's a great choice for a leisurely romantic dinner.

Indigo (4 Mandlik Road, Colaba) is an uber-modern eatery in a leafy residential area that would not look out of place in London's West End. The lunch menu is simple, with soups, salads, sandwiches and main courses, while the dinner menu offers a mouth-watering array of seafood dishes, pastas and more. All are quite delicious, but this is not the place to come if you fancy a curry -- the dishes here are mostly European, with splashes of local flavor.

Rajdhani (Mumbai Central Mains, Mumbai Railway Station) is the place to enjoy a traditional vegetarian thali. Menus change daily but include dishes like sweet or spicy dal (stew made from lentils, peas or beans), aloo tikki (a boiled potato snack) and various types of rotis (bread stuffed with curries or vegetables). Servers wear traditional Rajasthani garb.

Trishna (7, Sai Baba Marg, Kala Ghoda, Fort) is the place to see and be seen in Mumbai. Inside, the decor is nothing special, but the food is. Seafood is a specialty, with king crab, lobster or jumbo prawns and various types of seafood tandoori on the menu -- but there are plenty of meat and vegetarian choices as well. Reservations are highly recommended.

Swati Snacks (248 Karai Estate, Tardeo Road, Tardeo) is about as close as a Western can get to authentic Indian dining without risking Delhi belly. The decor is fast-food cafe, but don't let that put you off. You can't make reservations, so just put your name down when you arrive and join the queue -- there is always one -- for a table. On the menu are traditional curry specialties and snacks -- pizza, falafel, patties.

Yauatcha (Raheja Tower, Bandra Kurla Complex, Mumbai) is a new arrival on Mumbai's fine dining scene, offering delicious and authentic dim sum. It's worth the high price tag for a romantic or special night out.

Gajalee (multiple locations, including the original at Kadamgiri Complex, Hanuman Road, Vile Parle East) regularly earns raves from locals who claim it offers the city's best seafood. Start with the solkadi, a mix of coconut milk and kokum (a fruit), which the restaurant calls "just the right digestive." Then follow it with spicy seafood dishes like tandoori crab or lobster in green chili sauce. Prices are moderate.

Soam (Sadguru Sadan, Ground Floor, Chowpatty), located across the street from the Babulnath temple, is an affordable place to try traditional Gujarati fare. It's an excellent bet for vegetarians.
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