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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.
Eating through Mumbai often leads you inevitably to it's regional cuisine. From your cab driver to your barista, everyone will point you towards their favorite Maharashtrian food haunt but nine times out of ten, your recommendation would be ‘Gajalee', a culinary institution for Mumbaikers. This is one place, that has become synonymous to regional food in the city. People queue up for hours hoping for a table at this popular ever-busy restaurant. Their hunt for the authentic Bombay Duck often brings them to this side of the city, in front of Gajalee. Fixed firmly at Akshay Villa, 7 Bungalows, Andheri West, this restaurant is one of the finest regional establishments in Mumbai. Families and food fanatics flock to Gajalee regularly to get their hands on it's exceptional food.
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 Mangalorean influence on the menu is greatly appreciated. The owners live just above the restaurant and involve themselves closely with the kitchen, hence the amazing flavours. This sprawling ground level eatery is classically designed keeping in tune with modern aesthetics so the effect is pleasing and smart. Soft beige tones define the room, which is created with glass and glossy marble. Mood lighting further enhances the ambience, giving it an intimate yet elegant look. Modern painting adds a burst of color to the already charming room. A pile of crawling crustaceans are bought to your table for selection. The chosen one is duly cooked as per your taste. This whole affair surprisingly includes you in the cooking process in a way. Gajalee remains quite busy, book ahead.