The LL bucket list: Here are 10 restaurants we can’t wait to dine at once the lockdown ends

The looming Coronavirus pandemic has for sure brought life around us to a complete standstill. With nowhere to go and not much to do, most of us are left to our own devices, dreaming the kind of life we’ll have once the pandemic is over. 

These days away from our favorite restaurants and delivery kitchen have made us realize that good food is something we just can’t take for granted. While we dream of the lip-smacking food, incredible ambiance and the joys of dining out, we chalk out a list of restaurants we just can’t wait to dine at once the lockdown ends.

Yauatcha:
Yautacha, ever since its opening in 2011 has quickly made its mark as one of the best Cantonese offerings in the city. Major missing the different variants of delectable dumplings, from the Truffle Edamame Dumpling with its edamame-smooth, luscious aftertaste to the Crispy prawn dumpling which is everything crunchy, delish and chewy. Go for the Three Style Mushroom Cheung Fun, served with blended three exotic mushrooms, earthy with a rich umami flavor, one of our Yauatcha favorites. The Chicken Clay Pot with Szechuan peppercorn blended beautifully with Lotus Leaf Wrapped Fried Rice with shiitake mushroom and edamame is another tango of tastes. And the Raspberry Delice shaped like a rose with the goodness of raspberry dark chocolate mousse, lychee panna cotta insert, hazelnut brownie, raspberry and lychee ripple ice cream is the piece de resistance which is the stuff of dessert decadence.

Where: Yauatcha Raheja Towers, Bandra Kurla Complex, Mumbai
Phone: +91 9222222800

Tamak :
While there is a deluge of restaurants trying to serve Papri chaat spheres or rasam foams, food that is unoriginal, pretentious and overpriced,Tamak helmed by Chef Vikram Arora lets you enjoy North-Indian food in a contemporary manner, minus the exorbitance. My pick is the incredible kulcha made with truffle essence, mushroom, cheese, parmesan, chives and sea salt, melt-in-the-mouth scrumptious. While many could have tried doing kulchas, it takes someone with the culinary mastery of Chef Vikram to do an experimental kulcha and own it. 

The Lucknowi Tokri chaat (potato baskets filled with sprouts, nuts, yoghurt, and imli ki chutney, garnished with pomegranate seeds) is everything crispy, crunchy and the God of all Tokri chaats.

The Nihari Gosht, the symphony of slow-cooked mutton with home pounded spices, ginger chili, ginger, lime, and Tamak’s Dal Tarka with just the right amount of desi ghee are the showstoppers. Lastly, we can’t wait to go back for the swoon-worthy Jalebi Rabri and Shahi Tukda. There’s a reason this one soars very high on our list. 

Where: Tamak Ahiya Apartments, 6, Corner Of 16th Road & Main Avenue, Santacruz West, Western Suburbs, 400052
Phone: +91 9212340202

Nara Thai:
With flavors that exude depth and seriousness, Nara Thai beautifully displays the vibrant exquisiteness of age-old Thai cuisine. From the delicately-flavored Tom Yum soup to the chewy bright, royal blue Butterfly Pea Rice, Nara Thai packs in exquisite culinary surprises. The Pla Neung Ma Nao steamed John Dory with spicy chili lime sauce which has such a medley of beautiful flavors that it’s still imprinted in my palate. The best part has to be that the flavors aren’t tailor-made for the Indian palate and are as authentic as you’ll like it.

Where: Nara Thai Ground Floor, Raheja Towers, Opposite SIDBI, Bandra-Kurla Complex, Mumbai 400051
Phone: 022 61378080

Ishaara:
We love how Ishaara effortlessly serves nuances of regional cuisine with some interesting modern twists. Been missing the exquisitely-done Sweet Potato Brulee chaat which is brûléed until it develops a crispy sugar coating. Also the succulent kebabs-from the Paneer Dori Kebab unwrapped slowly like a surprise that is as soft as cotton and as sumptuous as it can get to the Tandoor Broccoli that comes served with a cold crème Fraiche dip giving the delish kebab a brilliant modern spin, we cannot wait to go back for these. The Dal Haveli and Sufiyani Chicken Biryani-both cooked with perfection and are blockbuster dishes we love. We also love the ravishing Flourless Chocolate Brownie here and the amazing staff that is both sensitive and sharp, making the culinary experience an amazing one!

Where: Ishaara 3rd Floor, No 462, Palladium Mall, High Street Phoenix, Tulsi Pipe Rd, Lower Parel, Mumbai
Phone: 08657531988/08657531989

Dirty Buns:
This one brings with it some novel flavors, sophisticated interiors, and familiar good vibes- comfort, cheat food, and lets you be as messy as you can be. Been a fan-girl of Chef Boo’s mac and cheese, which is bursting with flavors in each bite. The Mac and cheese in the crease of a puffy bun is a hero of a dish. We also just can’t get enough of the insanely delicious lobster roll (a gritty mixture of giardiniera and a handful of crispy onions). We heartily recommend adding a wonderful hint of warm garlic butter that sends it over the edge. After you’ve had the rolls and baos, you cannot miss the Dirty Boo that is an all-in-one dessert featuring waffle, churros, vanilla ice cream, chocolate, donut, and whipped cream. It has left us hooked for life.

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Where: Lower Parel and Breach Candy
Phone: +91 22 2497 8910

Foo- Asian Tapas:
This one whips up some mean Asian food. The space with its faux cherry blossom trees itself peps you up. I’m dreaming of the Nikkei avocado uramaki where buttery cubes of avocado come garnished with avocado carpaccio and powdered parmesan. The Nikkei-style mushroom gyoza and the wasabi edamame dumplings are other stunners of dishes. Another pick-the Foo Butter Japanese Fried Blue Rice plated and flavored rather beautifully is sure to tickle your palate as it manages to make even subtle flavors stand strong. Ahh, and the sinful, luscious black sesame cheesecake that comprises a gilded confection of chocolate, cream, and nuts. We’re coming back for ya!

Where: BKC, Lower Parel and Churchgate
Phone: +91 8657407778

The Butler and The Bayleaf:
A piano, a patio which is a mix of chairs and sofas and a presence of plants, we miss the old British Gymkhana vibes this one gives us. It easily tops the list of the most Instagram-worthy restaurants in the city. The Butler and The Bayleaf just aces Indian food! The Mushroom Galouti with Varki Paratha and Mini Chole Bhature is the flavor bomb of dishes we never want to share. So is the Sukhi Arbi and the melt-in-the-mouth affair that is the Kakori kebab. For mains, everything from the Dal Makhni to Butter Chicken and fragrant biryanis tantalizing tease your taste-buds.  The showstopper is the incredible-Death by halwai that comprises angoori gulab jamun with kulfi and rabdi. It has truly served us food coma and plenty of reasons to go back!

Where: Kings International Hotel 1st Floor, 5 Juhu Tara Road, Opposite St. Joseph’s Church, Juhu, Mumbai.                                                           
Phone: ‭091675 70591‬

Keiba:
We love dim-sums, sushis, desserts, and almost everything here. The space with booths lined up along a glass wall, the other side of which are stables for all the resident horses of the racecourse is gorgeous. The outside area is decorated with faux Sakura flowers acting as a canopy for cute little booths and bar stools below. They have an entire section of their menu dedicated to dim-sums and sushi. Keiba serves fabulousness with the mind-blowing edamame sushi, asparagus and cheese dumplings, and chicken gyozas with microgreens. Don’t miss the scrumptious noodles, curries, and the irresistible Cheesecake we want to go back for. This one is a feast for all the senses.

Address: Royal Western India Turf Club, Mahalakshmi, Mumbai, Maharashtra
Phone: +91 74000 66610

Hotel ShangHigh:
The newly-opened restaurant at Kamala Mills offers retro-Chinese food and high-energy performances- a stunning combination. The restaurant whips up deliciousness with the Smoked Duck Breast Salad with Hoisin Mango Vinaigrette Dressing and Shanghai Clear Mushroom Broth Soup. Apart from that, we would most definitely go back for the awesomeness that is their Asparagus, Corn & Palm Heart Dumpling; Jiucai & Ginger Prawn tapas; and mains like Braised Chicken Breast, Dried Chili & Tausi Sauce. Along with a sinful White Chocolate Brownie, great music, and performances to keep us regaled, we can’t wait to devour it all once the lockdown comes to an end. 

Where: Ground Floor – 11, Oasis City, Kamala Mills – Entrance #2, Lower Parel, Mumbai
Phone: +91 77188 82923 / 24 || +91 22 49716931 / 32

Gustoso:
If there’s one Italian restaurant that doesn’t fail to live up to our expectations and in fact raises the bar higher, it’s Gustoso. The pizzas pass the good pizza test with flying colors. We heartily recommend the Burratina Pizza which was a goodness of creamy burrata, San Marzano tomato sauce, Kalamata olives, and garlic. Their Lasagne Di Pollo and Gnocchi Gustosi, homemade spinach and potato gnocchi in gorgonzola cream sauce is delicately-flavored dishes, proving its gold standards in Italian food. And the tiramisu here, it’s the real deal! Can’t wait to indulge in some Italian extravaganza here.

Where: Kemp’s Corner and Bandra
Phone: +91 7045000020/ 022 23822584