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8 Best Vada Pav Spots in Mumbai For That Authentic Taste; Bookmark Now!

'Vada pav', the beloved Indian snack, never fails to evoke nostalgia and emotional connections. Mumbai boasts iconic spots like Aram, Ashok Vaidya Vada Pav, Swati Snacks, and more, each offering unique renditions of this culinary classic.

8 Best Vada Pav Spots in Mumbai For That Authentic Taste; Bookmark Now!

This desi snack has found its ranks among the ‘best sandwiches in the world’, is the monsoon season’s perfect companion, a quick fix for a bad day, and one of the best time machines ever made — it immediately transports you back to your college days.

Let’s face it: the emotional implications of the vada pav are many. And this deep-fried potato dumpling hugged by a bread bun deserves the adulation.

Everyone has a vada pav story. After all, it is a culinary narrative that connects Indians across the world. And no matter how many luxurious cuisines we tick off our bucket lists, truth be told, we’re coming home to a vada pav.

And it’s almost a sacrilege to speak of this iconic snack without mentioning the city where it was born — Mumbai. 

Here’s a list of vada pav spots in the city to dash to when you crave your old, familiar friend.

1. Aram

For Mumbaikars, Aram’s vada pav is an all too familiar flavour. One of the oldest vada pav haunts in the city, it is located right outside Mumbai’s iconic CST Station and nostalgia reverberates through the walls. Customers recommend the cheese rendition, the butter cheese grill vada pav, and the butter cheese grill kothimbir wadi pav.

In an interview with Condé Nast, archaeologist and culinary anthropologist Dr Kurush Dalal, said, “For the quintessential vada pav, I would say a good spot to get one is Aram. They’ve always been known for their ‘big’ vada pavs owing to the generous size of the fried potato patties. So, it’s truly value for money. The vadas always come out piping hot and fresh.”

2. Ashok Vaidya Vada Pav

The vada pav is a quintessential Mumbai snack
The vada pav is a quintessential Mumbai snack, Picture source: The Better India

How can we pen a story about vada pav without an ode to the man who invented it? A gentleman Ashok Vaidya is said to have come up with the snack during the 1960s at a stall right outside of Dadar Station. It wasn’t planned!

One day, in an attempt to innovate, Ashok put the vada into a pav with a side of garlic chutney. Voila! History was created. Today it is Ashok’s younger son Narendra Vaidya who carries on the legacy. The sizzle of vadas is a comforting sound to all the patrons who still stop by this legendary outlet.

3. Parla Vada Pav Samrat

“Unpretentious” is the word that has been used to describe this eatery in the Vile Parle area of Mumbai. It’s been more than three decades now that the spot has been creating magic with their makes.

In an interview with Knocksense, owner Ajeet recalled, “My father Mancharaam started selling vada pav out of a hath gaadi (handcart) right here on the side of this chowk (open market). After five years of selling on the street, he decided to take a leap and opened a permanent shop at the spot where we are now.” Ajeet has inherited the knowledge well. The queue of customers outside the eatery is proof.

Fun fact: With cheese tumbling out of the vada, the cheese vada pav is a crowd-puller.

4. Shankar Vada Pav

When celebrity Ranveer Singh, Australian celebrity chef Sarah Todd, and food journalist Kunal Vijaykar concede on how amazing the vada pav at this eatery is, we aren’t going to challenge this. Started in 1975 by a mill worker Shankar who doled out vada pavs from his hand cart, the cooking here is intuitive, with recipes being improvised to suit the palates of customers.

If hearsay is to be believed, the outlet still maintains its menu of vada pav, moong dal bhajias (a fried snack made of lentils), mirchi bhajias (fritters made with chillies) to date. Despite the limited fare, the food is indulgent.

5. Gajanan Vada Pav

The vada pav from Gajanan comes recommended by Amitabh Bachchan,
The vada pav from Gajanan comes recommended by Amitabh Bachchan, Picture source: The Better India

The vada pav here is a classic, a tale that has been spinning since 1978 when the outlet was started. With a side of chutney — that the family says is a time-tested recipe which cannot be replicated — the snack holds a certain magic. An article in DNA mentioned that the outlet uses 100 kilos of potatoes every day and about 200-250 ladis (a block of bread buns).

It also highlights how the vada pav shop is an extension of a farsan (snack) shop idea that that family had started. And a fan of the outlet is none other than Amitabh Bachchan himself, who recommended the place to a contestant on the sets of the reality game show ‘Kaun Banega Crorepati’.

6. Shivaji Park Vada Pav

The vada pav and garlic chutney create a beautiful symphony. The duo has found favour in Sachin Tendulkar. As he shared in an interview with Curly Tales, it was an integral part of his growing-up years. “After hours of practising on the field, I used to have vada pav from the canteen and would eat four to five of them every day.”

The years haven’t diminished the love it seems. In an interview with a Marathi portal in 2011, Tendulkar reiterated, “I and my son (Arjun) love to eat vada-pav at Shivaji Park Gymkhana and there is nothing that can beat this snack, laced with chutney.”

7. Swati Snacks

In the belly of Mumbai’s Tardeo lies an eatery that has stuck to one philosophy: home food is the best food. Minakshi Jhaveri, a single mother started Swati Snacks without any prior business acumen, serving four items — sev puri, bhel puri, ragda pattice and pani puri — priced at four aanas (a currency unit used in British India). But with this simple formula, she created history and a multi-crore brand.

Her son Anand once shared with The Better India, “My mother treated all her customers the way she would guests who visit our home. For a guest, who is equivalent to God, you will prepare the food with the best intentions and a positive attitude, which automatically reflects in the taste. While growing up, I watched her spend that extra hour just so she could inspect the ingredients multiple times, or even walk kilometres to procure fresh ingredients like coriander. That dedication and care is what we have inherited from her.”

The guest list has seen the likes of legendary painter M F Husain and tabla maestro Zakir Hussain. In a 2020 article by Bloomberg, Michelin star chef Ravinder Bhogal of Jikoni in London hailed the eatery for its vada pav.

The most recent addition to this list was Apple CEO Tim Cook who snacked on a vada pav along with actress Madhuri Dixit while on his visit to Mumbai in April 2023.

8. Jai Maharashtra Vadapav

Located in Andheri West, the eatery serves no-nonsense vada pav that manages to hit it off with one’s taste buds almost instantly.

As celebrity chef Saransh Goila took to Facebook to share, “The aloo vada is seasoned perfectly with lots of coriander in it and is really crisp on the outside with a thick besan (chickpea flour) coating, I suspect some rice flour in the batter! The pudina chutney (mint-flavoured sauce) consistency kinda thecha is the real star and adds a lovely kick, also the garlic chutney is on point. I gobbled down three of these and yet I want one more. Probably the best lunch you can buy in Rs 15!”

Edited by Pranita Bhat

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