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The original and the best Gajalee is still the one in Vile Parle. It is meant for locals (a broad definition that covers everyone from SachinTendulkar to Lata Mangeshkar to you and me) and no attempt is made to entice foreign tourists. Though the owners, who live above the restaurant, are from Mangalore, they specialise in cooking the sea food of the Maharashtra coast though, inevitably, the Mangalore influences do creep in. That said, the cuisine is authentic, with attention being paid to both fresh seafood which is flown in daily and to freshly ground masalas made to traditional recipes.
Best way to romance any city is through it’s food and in case of Mumbai you will find plenty of love gastronomically. The city holds one of the most dynamic culinary scenes across the country and houses best restaurants in the world on it’s shores but nothing comes close to the vivid flavours of it’s regional cuisine. If you are new to the city, ask a local to point you towards their favorite regional restaurant and we guarantee seven times out of ten, you will end up at ‘Gajalee’. This popular chain of regional restaurants has outlets all over Mumbai yet we always come back to the one at Udyog Sadan 2, MIDC, Andheri East, Mumbai. This is where most of the lunch crowd head to for a homely fulfilling meal.
The culinary splendor of Gajalee consists of an abundance of seafood, pulled fresh from the sea every morning. If you are big on crustaceans then Gajalee should be an obvious stop for you. It’s menu concentrates on traditional Maharashtrian food, prepared authentically. A smattering of North Indian dishes finds its way on the menu as well but stick with what they are known for i.e. Maharashtrian food. Sip on traditional Maharashtrian beverage, solkadi, while tucking into your meal. Start with, spicy prawns sukha, basa koshimbir, baby lobster tikka, stuffed pomfret, tandoori crab, oyster masala dry, clams butter pepper garlic and pudina fish tikka. To enjoy the curries break a piece of ghavne or paratha. Munch onto, mutton bhakri, pomfret tikka masala, prawns ambat tikhat, crab green chilly sauce, pomfret curry, red snapper curry, squid masala and baby lobster curry.
The seafood variety is exhaustive. Regulars usually opt for lunch boxes to save time. Gajalee does three types, pomfret, fish and chicken. In sweets you can enjoy, kulfi, caramel custard and any choice of pastry available. The staff brings live crustaceans to your table for you selection. The one chosen by you will be hence prepped and cooked. Gajalee is an institution for Mumbaikers. Interiors of the restaurant are classically furnished. There is an old-fashioned appeal to the place, which is half it’s charm. They have not made any provisions to modernize the room and are happy to keep it the way it is. Families flock to Gajalee in hopes for pure regional meal. Better book ahead as they get crazy busy on weekends.