Irani cafes are unique to the cities of Mumbai and Pune and have developed over the years from being quaint provision stores and bakeries to their present day image of the most-loved cafes. The most popular and thrifty option on the menu at these cafes is the bun-maska (pav with butter) and Irani chai. These cafes were set up by Persian migrants that crossed the border and entered India over 150 years ago.
While there were over a dozen Irani cafes in the city in the past, today only a handful remain that carry their legacy into the present day. Ensure to visit at least one of these cafes on your next Mumbai darshan to enjoy some Irani hospitality. Or simply rent a car in Mumbai and go cafe hopping!
Kyani Bakery and Co.
One of the oldest Irani cafes in Marine Lines this place features tall wooden ceilings and the signature chairs that have protected the charm of the place. Kyani cafe is famous for its wine cake but it also offers other delicious options like the chicken roll and a variety of kheema dishes.
Located outside The Brabourne Stadium, Mumbai’s first international cricket stadium, this cafe is only a short distance from the Churchgate station. People often come here to enjoy an Irani tea with a combination of muffins before they head out to watch the sunset at the Marine Drive.
Cafe Excelsior is scenically situated amidst historic buildings in the Fort Area. This 97-year-old cafe is the perfect place to witness the bygone charm of the city along with a delicious bite of the famous mutton burgers. The cafe also serves delectable Lebanese cuisine and desserts.
Merwan and Co.
Located on the eastern side of the Grant Road Station, this cafe is popular among many office and retired mill workers who come here for an affordable snack. The ambiance of this cafe is a nod to the 70’s when Irani cafes were famous in Bollywood movies. This cafe is famous for its buttery bun maska, mawa cake, bhurji pav, and the Irani tea.
This is a Parsi-Irani cafe that merges the best of two cultures and cuisines. Located in the Fort Area of Mumbai, this cafe is famous for its unconventional menu which includes dishes like Sali per edu, margi na farcha and mutton gravy cutlet.
Presumably, the only Irani cafe that serves beer in Mumbai, this place is made jovial by its ambiance as well as its amicable owners. The divine scrambled egg called akoori served here is a must have along with order class dishes like the kheema ghotala, mutton dhansak, and the caramel custard.
Popular with students and the locals of the neighbourhood, this cafe has managed to maintain its legacy in Central Mumbai, in Matunga. Although surrounded by newer cafes, this place has continued to stay on the map due to the authentic Irani cafe experience that it provides to the customers.
Irani cafes are a reflection of the culture of the migrants and further provide a picture of the diversified demography of the country. Hop on Pune to Mumbai cabs to enjoy the legacy of these Irani cafes and enjoy a piping hot Irani tea and some buttery pav to go along with it.