As veterans of Mumbai’s famously unsanitary street food scene, people often ask us for our professional opinion on the best vada pav in Mumbai. Sure, Mumbai has vada pavs on every corner, some greater that others. However, we’ve narrowed that list down to our three favourites, because we’re obsessive drunks, and this is the kind of thing we like to do with our time and intellect. So here’s a nuanced report on our three favourite vada pavs in the city (from the top 14 most popular places we reviewed) and what we think makes them so special.
Note: We’ve disqualified Ashok Vada Pava near Kirti College because the additional fried batter scraps they add to the vada counts as an illegal performance enhancement.
Maharashtra Vada Pav, Pali Naka
There are many small stores who try and lay claim to the rich legacy of Maharashtra, but few are worth a second thought. Maharashtra Vada Pav Centre however, is something we’ve found ourselves thinking about a lot lately, because its produce is simply phenomenal. More specifically; the vada, and its overwhelmingly flavourful, delicious blend of spices. Once the pandemic ends and the safety microchips have been inserted into our brains, this is without a doubt the first vada pav establishment we plan on visiting. Also, it’s just 15 steps away from a bar.
Graduate Vada Pav, Byculla
While it pains us to acknowledge the East, there isn’t enough editorial power that would allow us to deny Graduate Vada Pav their rightful place as one of Mumbai’s finest vada pav stalls. It takes a fairly simple concept of a potato deep fried in batter and adds its own twist; a delicious, melt-in-your-mouth creamy centre. Is it necessarily the most satisfying vada pav you’ll ever have? Arguably not, but does it stand out as something truly novel that makes for an unforgettable experience? To that we’d say yes.
Nitin Vada Pav, Borivali IC Colony
We only ever discovered Nitin Vada Pav in Borivali by accident when searching for our friend who was taken by a leopard, but in retrospect, it was an encounter we’ll cherish for years to come. Never before, had we experienced a vada quite as perfectly crisp, nor as remotely satisfying. Some say it was the thin, yet crisp coating, others say it was the buttery filling, still more say Borivali doesn’t exist; but regardless, Nitin Vada Pav opposite IC Church in Borvali is an institution worthy of a more conveniently located suburb.
These are our favourites of the most popular vada pavs we tried in the city. If you think you know of a vada pav that’s better and deserves to be on this list, message us about it Instagram, or reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org