#MumbaiList: Concocting A Regional Storm In A Thali

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The thali system. Image by fullstopindia.com

Mumbai is a melting pot of cultures and the variety of food one can find here bears testimony to that. The city offers authentic tastes of various regions through delectable ‘Thalis’ which bring together wholesome flavors of a region on one single plate. Be it the famous Gujarati thali, spicy Konkani thali, tasty Maharashtrian thali or tempting Kerala thali, the city has it all.

A thali meal is a complete Indian meal which consists of various components that are native to a particular region. In most cases these components are served in several bowls placed on the thali but some South Indian meals are served on the plantain leaf.  There is a typical sequence that is followed while serving the food in a thali which normally starts from condiments and gradually progresses to the last item, mostly the sweet dish. A typical thali consists of pickles, pulses, vegetables, curds, rice, roti and sweet dishes along with other regional delicacies which could include curries, a meat or fish item etc.

Though the actual origin of a thali is not documented, it is believed that the thali is an ancient cultural tradition, part of the Hindu socio-geographical landscape since thousands of years. Food historians believe that this variety of eating originated in South India and slowly became popular throughout the country. The thali is said to have emerged from detailed studies of food and its effects on health during the Vedic times. The current form of the thali could be attributed to the science of Ayurveda.

Now that you know what a Thali is all about, we give you a glimpse of some of the most popular thalis available in Mumbai and where you can find them.

Gujarati thali at Shree Thaker Bhojnalaya. Image by btchnktchn.wordpress.com
Gujarati thali at Shree Thaker Bhojnalaya. Image by btchnktchn.wordpress.com

Gujarati Thali At Shree Thaker Bhojanalay – If you are looking for an authentic Gujarati meal, this is the place to visit. Located at Girgaum, Shree Thaker Bhojanalay was established in 1945 and has since become synonymous with Gujarati meals. The ambiance is clean and hygienic with the waiters always smiling. The thali starts with condiments including chutneys and pickles and moves on to farsans (snacks) which are vital to a Gujarati meal. This is followed by four to five preparations of vegetables which are changed on a daily basis. The Indian breads too are rotated as per the day. You can also choose from plain rice or pulao.

Accompanying these delicacies is the mouth-watering dal and Gujarati kadhi along with curd and buttermilk. And no Gujarati meal is complete without sweets so indulge in the delicious aamras, shrikhand, basundi, kesar jalebi and other dishes depending on the day (and season) you visit. They have seasonal specialties, so don’t forget to relish the aamras this summer or enjoy the Undhiyu in winter.

Price – Rs.250 on all days, except for Sundays, when it is priced at Rs.350
Timing – 11:30 AM to 3:30 PM, 7:30 PM to 10:30 PM
Where – Building No. 31, Purushottam Niwas, Dadiseth Agiyari Lane, Kalbadevi
Contact – 022 22011232

Rajasthani Thali at Chetana. Image by sundarivenkatraman.blogspot.in
Rajasthani Thali at Chetana. Image by sundarivenkatraman.blogspot.in

Rajasthani Thali At Chetana – Renowned for its genuine Rajasthani cuisine, Chetana is located at Fort. It started as a sandwich joint in 1946 but has grown into a complete fine dining restaurant. Customers swear by their Dal Bati, need we say any more!  A regular thali, available on all days, consists of buttermilk or Jaljeera, two kinds of farsan, two vegetables, kathol (a preparation of pulses), three varieties of Indian bread, dal and kadhi. You are also served rice and khichdi in addition to various accompaniments and an assortment of desserts to finish this delicious meal.

Chetana also has other varieties of thalis like the ‘deluxe thali’ which offers more desserts and is available only during dinner time, a ‘Jain thali’ and also a Chetana sattvik thali. Diet conscious people can rejoice as this thali starts with a fresh salad course, then a vegetable soup followed by a thali meal cooked using no oil and no dairy products. The rotis are made from Jowar and Bajra. They prepare special thalis on festivals and also have a buffet system and a la carte menu during dinner time.

Price- Rs.300 onwards
Timing – 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM, 7:00 PM to 11:00 PM
Where – 34 K. Dubash Marg, Kala Ghoda, Fort
Contact – 022 22844968

A Maharashtrian Thali. Image by thecookscottage.com
A Maharashtrian Thali. Image by thecookscottage.com

Maharashtrian Thali At Sujata Upahar Gruh – Earlier known as B. Tambe Upahar Gruh, this place has been around since ages. It is a name to reckon with when you think about traditional Maharashtrian cuisine. Though it was renamed in 2011, it continues to appease the taste buds of patrons like it has been doing over the years. Situated at Girgaum, Sujata Upahar Gruh is light on the pocket as well. You can try their special thali which comprises 6 puris, 3 chapattis, 2 bhakris, rice, varan (cooked tur dal), aamti (a soup like dal/curry), vegetable, usal, a sweet dish, farsans and other accompaniments. If this magnificent spread seems a bit too much for your tummy, you could try the mini thali which includes 2 chapatis, 1 bhakri, 4 puris and the other dishes without any sweet dish or farsan. The place is clearly a hit amongst patrons owing to its legacy and the homemade style of cooking. You must try their specialties like kothambir vadi, modaks, aam panna and sol kadhi.

Price– Rs.60 onwards
Timing – 8:30 AM to 10:00 PM
Where – 277, Mapla House, J.S.S. Road, Thakurdwar, Girgaum
Contact – 022 23864223

Fish Thali at Purepur Kolhapur. Image by mehtakyakehta.com
Fish Thali at Purepur Kolhapur. Image by mehtakyakehta.com

Kolhapuri Thali At Purepur KolhapurAs the name suggests, Purepur Kolhapur offers the true taste of Kolhapur. This restaurant situated at Vile Parle serves food that is smoldering in the true sense. But that doesn’t compromise on the flavors in any way. They are famous for their non- vegetarian taats (thalis) which include chicken rassa taat, chicken fry taat, mutton masala taat, egg taat and the list is huge. Even the vegetarian thalis are known to be good. Using traditional Kolhapuri masala every dish in the thali is lent a distinct taste. A thali essentially includes a pandhara rassa (white gravy made with coconut milk) and tambda rassa (red spicy gravy), bhakris and rice alongwith accompaniments. The vegetarian thali includes varan, amti, usal, vegetable, bhakri and rice alongwith papad and pickle. They also serve a special fish thali (Pomfret or Surmai) on specific days of the week and if it’s your lucky day you could also try the country chicken (Gavran Kombdi) thali.  They also have branches at Dadar and Thane.

Price – Rs. 150 onwards
Timing – 11:30 AM to 3:30 PM, 7 PM to 11:30 PM
Where– Shop No. 1&2, Aditya Apts., Parleshwar Road, Vile Parle East
Contact– 022 26136181

Surmai Thali at Sadichha. Image by rajeevmahajan.com
Surmai Thali at Sadichha. Image by rajeevmahajan.com

Malwani Thali At SadichhaThis quaint joint is located opposite MIG club in Kala Nagar. Famous amongst the malwani community for its delicious food, Sadiccha is another of Mumbai’s successful family run ventures. Their seafood thalis are a thriving factor and are immensely popular with patrons who vouch for the quality and taste of the produce.  So if you are a seafood fan, this is your haven. The small place with basic décor offers crab thali, teesrya (Clams) thali, prawns thali and every possible variety of fish through the scrumptious fish thalis.  The thalis include sol kadhi, rice, chapattis, a spicy chutney and gravy along with the non-vegetarian dish. If seafood is not really your thing, you could also relish the mutton sukkhe or mutton liver thali or the kombi vade (a form of puri with chicken curry).

Price- Rs.100 onwards
Timing – 11:30 AM to 3:30 PM, 7:30 PM to 11:00 PM
Where- B-5 Gandhi Nagar, Near Sai Baba Temple, Bandra East
Contact – 022 26510175

Thali at Highway Gomatank. Image by foodspotting.com
Thali at Highway Gomatank. Image by foodspotting.com

Goan Thali/ Konkani Thali At Highway GomantakIf you are a foodie or even if you aren’t one, this is one place which is hard to miss. Highway Gomantak is Shashikala Potnis’ baby and she personally overlooks the operations of this place. What started as a 30 seater has now become over a 120 seater hustling joint in Bandra East. Seldom will you find the entrance without a queue of people waiting to get a seat at this place serving alluring homely goan food. Though the ambiance is not fancy, it is clean and simplistic making it apt to enjoy the lovely meals. They have over 30 varieties of thalis and each outdoes the other. The thalis come with thecha, sol kadhi, chapatti/bhakri, rice, a konkan-style light yellow and the choice of non vegetarian dish set in red or brown gravy. Their fried bombil and prawns are worth drooling over. The chicken sukke thali is also worthy of a try. The vegetarian thali is just about average. Highway Gomantak has several foodie awards in its kitty and once you try the food here you will know the reason why.

Price –Rs. 130 onwards
Timing – 11:30 AM to 3:30 PM, 7:30 PM to 11:00 PM
Where- 44/2179, Gandhi Nagar, Highway Service Road, Bandra East
Contact – 022 26409692

Punjabi meal at B Bhagat Tarachand. Image by bhagattarachand.com
Punjabi meal at B Bhagat Tarachand. Image by bhagattarachand.com

Punjabi Thali At B Bhagat TarachandWith a history of over 100 years, B Bhagat Tarachand is one of the best places to experience Punjabi food.  They have  branches in several locations but the one at Zaveri Bazaar is where the tradition was reborn post partition. A meal at Bhagat Tarachand needs to start with the Kutchi Beer (masala buttermilk served in beer bottles) which is refreshing and healthy.  In addition to an extensive a la carte menu, they offer two types of thali, a regular thali and a special one. The special thali consists of three chapatis, one paneer dish, one vegetable, dal fry, raita, jeera rice, pulao and a sweet preparation. This isn’t a place for those counting calories as you will be treated to pure ghee preparations. Don’t forget to try their moong dal sheera, it is sinful. They also have branches in Vashi, Malad (Inorbit Mall) and Pydhonie. B Bhagat Tarachand also serves Sindhi cuisine.

Price – Rs. 170 onwards
Timing– 9:00 AM to 11:00 PM
Where – Mumbadevi Commercial Centre, 69/75 Zaveri Bazaar, Kalbadevi
Contact –022 22425483

A banana leaf thali. Image by indofoodiee.blogspot
A banana leaf thali. Image by indofoodiee.blogspot

South Indian Thali At Ramanayak Udipi Shri Krishna Boarding – Looking for a wholesome South Indian vegetarian meal? Your search ends at Ramanayak. This place is not just an eating joint but an institution by itself. Simplistic but clean, they don’t have flashy interiors or an overwhelming ambiance. But when you get to taste the best of South Indian fare, such things do not matter. They have two sections – one for a limited thali served in a steel plate and the other for the unlimited thali served on the traditional banana leaf. We recommend the banana leaf as it adds a classic touch to the  eating experience. The thali consists of three vegetable preparations (a combination of dry and gravy veggies), sambar, rasam, curd, buttermilk, rice and chapattis. Those with a sweet tooth can savor their sweet dishes which include sheera, payasam, gulab jamun or something special if you happen to visit on a special day. The food served in the limited and unlimited section is the same except for the quantities offered and the pricing. However, even after several years of famed existence their prices continue to be extremely affordable.

Timing – 10:30 AM to 3:00 PM, 7:00 PM to 10:00 PM
Price – Rs. 60 onwards
Where – 1st Floor, LBS Market Bldg, Near Matunga Central Rly Station, Matunga
Contact – 022 24142422

Thali at Modern Lunch Home. Image by buzzintown.com
Thali at Modern Lunch Home. Image by buzzintown.com

Manglorean Thali At Modern Lunch Home – Located in Sion, very close to the station, is Modern lunch home. They offer Mangalorean coastal fare at pocket-friendly rates. It is a small place with 7 to 8 tables but their thalis are simply delicious. Cooked in a traditional coconut gravy alongwith authentic spices, the dishes elicit the taste of the coasts of Mangalore in Karnataka. The seafood thalis offer a variety of fish (Pomfret, Surmai, Bombil, Bangda), Crab and Prawns. You can also enjoy the chicken or mutton thalis which are equally good. The thali generally includes a fried/masala fish or chicken or mutton alongwith a vegetable, rice, chapatis and a plain curry which is delicious. They also have a fish or chicken thali with dosa. You cannot afford to miss their neer dosa, a Mangalorean specialty best eaten with a thick masala based dish.

Price- Rs. 120 onwards
Timing- 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM, 7:00 PM to 11:30 PM
Where- Harakh Niwas, Near Railway Station, Sion
Contact-022 24097942

So if you’re in the mood to experiment with the cuisine of a new region, you know where to head! Any mouth-watering thali places you would like to add? Write in to us at [email protected] or comment below.

Post By Esha Verma (33 Posts)

Writing is a passion I discovered a little late. But better late than never. When not penning my thoughts, you'll find me sniffing around for good food - trying out every new restaurant in town is a hobby. I swear by Hindi films and when doing nothing of the above you'll find me troubling my pet pooch.

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Esha Verma

Esha Verma
Writing is a passion I discovered a little late. But better late than never. When not penning my thoughts, you'll find me sniffing around for good food - trying out every new restaurant in town is a hobby. I swear by Hindi films and when doing nothing of the above you'll find me troubling my pet pooch.
  • Asha Bhardwaj

    Very nice info about THALISOf different Religion

  • Aisha Kazi

    Thanks that was very helpful, specially when we are cherishing it. Thanks for the detail information.