Off-Duty Chef: Vicky Ratnani Picks His Go-To Mumbai Spots

Where do chefs eat when they clock out? In our special series, Off-Duty Chef, we ask some of the most popular chefs about their favourite food spots in and around their cities. From their go-to street food haunts and their childhood favourites to their work lunches and post-work hangs, the series will offer you a glimpse of where your favourite chefs eat, drink and hang out when they’re not feeding others!

You may know celebrity Chef Vicky Ratnani for coming up with the most indulgent burgers for his brand Speak Burgers, or for the ingenious recipes which he shares with his followers. The chef is best known for making the most of local produce by incorporating them into contemporary recipes and fusion dishes. 

And if you have a taste for regional comfort food, Chef Ratnani’s YouTube page is the best place to look. From sai bhaji and koki to Assamese aloo pitika, he’s made it all! But where does the chef go on his days off, to grab a quick cup of coffee or a late breakfast? Let’s find out!

Your top breakfast spots in Mumbai?

“That would be Cafe Boojee Bandra, Cafe Madras (in Matunga), Mag St Colaba,” Ratnani shares. Bandra’s Boojee Cafe owned by chef and barista Rajdeep Singh, started out as a tiny seater outlet on Perry Cross Road in 2019. However, the brand currently has three Cafe outlets on Perry Cross Road, and one Espresso Bar in Ranwar. 

Ratnani’s second favourite Cafe Madras is a beloved Udipi restaurant that’s over 80 years old and serves some delicious Ragi Masala Dosa, Pessarattu Dosa and Bisibile Bhaat. Mag St. founded by Gauri Devidayal and Jay Yousuf (who also co-founded Nariman Point’s The Table), is also emerging as a steady favourite for connoisseurs and sells some of the best lobster rolls and pho in Mumbai!

Where do you enjoy modern diner or contemporary cafe experiences in Mumbai?

“I like La loca Maria, Americano, O Pedro, Mizu, Seefah,” he says. Chowpatty’s modern Spanish diner La loca Maria is a swanky, 75-seater space which is helmed by Chef Manuel Olveira & his wife Mickee Tuljapurkar and has some of the prettiest archways in Mumbai! The best things you can try there are the Gambas al Ajillo, Sous vide Chicken and the juicy 24-hour slow-cooked Pork Ribs.

Chef Alex Sanchez’s Americano celebrates its fifth anniversary this year and was ranked no 61 in The World’s 50 Best Restaurants List, while O Pedro is a widely popular Goan-inspired spin-off of Bombay Canteen and offers some of the best coastal delicacies.

What's your go-to food on a day off?

Rajma Chawal

Any beloved street food joints you frequently visit?

Vada Pao at Ashok’s, Pani Puri & Chaat at Super Sweets in Andheri

You curated the food menu at Bira 91’s first Taproom. Tell us about how you went about it

“The brand is well-known for its limited-release flavours that are significant to taprooms, with all the research put in by the innovation brewing team, we have made use of a diverse category of global and Indian flavours in the menu that compliments very well with the new age flavours. I recommend the Millet Tikki Chaat and Burgers from our Burgerverse!

What are your thoughts on Mumbai's current food scene trajectory? Is it evolving positively in terms of cuisines, pricing, and menus?

Mumbai is exploding with food! With cutting-edge innovation, and competitive prices. Great restaurants and bars that are chef-driven and quality-focused. Mixology and craft spirits and brews are ever-growing creating a great fabric of F&B and innovation.