Eating Out
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Fishy Tales

I started off disliking fish. I hated picking bones. I still remember taking a trip to Goa with my office colleagues in 1998, when I avoided the delicious fish preparations and ate chicken instead. They all thought I was crazy. I probably was!

I am not sure at what point it changed, but I am glad it did.

I love fish now. And I try and experiment with recipes whenever I get a chance. And eat out at fish places whenever I can find willing company (this is where I miss little sis!).

Thankfully, Mumbai has a lot to offer to the fish lover.

Here are a few of my favourite places.

1. Unnamed place next to Highway Gomantak (I think it was called Hotel Sheetal)
This is a really no-frills place next to the more illustrious Highway Gomantak in Bandra (if you are going from Andheri, it’s on the service road to the left). It’s smaller than Highway Gomantak, but I found the food more delicious here. I am not sure if it still open, since it’s been a while since I visited. The fish fry is amazing. Large and generous pieces fried crisp and golden. I remember going there once for dinner with office friends and they just went on and on and on. I don’t think they left out anything from the menu! And the prices were down-to-earth too.

2. Highway Gomantak
This one is more well-known and I was relatively satisfied when I sampled their cuisine. Can’t remember what exactly I ate though! Usually very crowded. I haven’t visited it for over a year now.

3. Sayyba
Located opposite the Bandra Masjid, you can almost miss it if you’re not paying attention. Drop in for some delicious Gomantak cuisine. I usually go for fish fry and prawn curry, both lip-smacking. I also find the chicken dishes in these places rather tasty, so if you’re really hungry, it’s recommended! Reasonable prices too.

4. Gajalee
Slightly more expensive, but the food is to die for. One of my favourite fish places in Mumbai. Whether it is the crab tandoori, the stuffed bomdil or the prawns masala, you won’t be disappointed. The teesriya kothimbir masala is another of my favourites. I only wish it was closer home! On hot days, sit inside in the AC section. And there’s usually a huge queue during weekend, so be prepared for the wait. The prices are higher inside but it’s more comfortable, especially if you want to enjoy a long meal. And don’t forget the soul curry! This one is located at Hanuman Road, Vile Parle (E). There is also a branch at Andheri (E) but having eaten at both, this one is recommended.

5. Apoorva
When I first started working in Mumbai, this was the fish place closest to our office in Fort. Late evenings at work would usually end with dinner here. I especially remember the soft delicious neer dosas, the stew (both veggie and chicken) and the bomdil fry! Even their fried fish is delicious. If you’re in that area, do drop in. The prices are on the higher side and I definitely know where all my money went during those days! Located at Fort, somewhere in a galli, after Bombay Store.

One that didn’t live up to expectations: Mahesh Lunch Home, Juhu
Maybe it was what we ordered. But we came away, quite unimpressed by the food. The prawn was mediocre, the surmai fry was ordinary and even the cocum water was not very good. And we paid a big bill for all of it. After all the hype, I felt it was a bit of a letdown. So I made it up to my mum-in-law by taking her to my favourite fish place Apoorva a few days later!

One I’ve been to only once but remember having good fish: Sindhudurg
I’ve only been to this eatery once, and a long long time ago. But I remember being quite impressed with the food. The prices are reasonable too. If you’re in the Dadar area, this one is worth trying.

One I’ve heard a lot about: Anant Ashram
My colleagues used to sing praises about this humble eatery in Girgaum. This was when we were working in Kemps Corner. I never made it at that time (plus I wasn’t fond of this particular creature at that time!). I’ve heard heaps about the food though. Fish thalli, crab, teesriya. Whatever takes your fancy and apparently you can eat yourself silly for about 70-80 bucks. What are you waiting for?!

Another one I’ve heard a lot about: Goa Portugesa, Mahim
I’ve got rather conflicting reports about this particular eating place. With a name like that, I would think the food would be something out of Goa. But I guess I’ll have to wait till I can taste the fare myself before I can form an opinion.

Another one that I don’t think exists anymore: Only Fish, Tardeo
Bengalis know how to cook their fish. But unfortunately, I haven’t had a chance to check out this bong eatery, since it is rather out of the way. I love fish, but I can’t imagine travelling so far to taste it! Unless you’re treating and letting me stay in your house afterwards. I am not even sure if it still exists. If I am not mistaken, it got renamed/rechristened but I can’t quite remember!

Then there’s the Dadar Gomantak. After hearing a lot about it, I decided to drop in when my mom had come over and we were shopping in Dadar. Even she was curious about it. But when we saw the mile long queue outside. we decided to give it a miss!

Any other fish place you’d recommend?

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