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Critic's Review

Updated 27 minutes ago

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Spanish Tapas and wine barnnI can’t stop smiling. I bond with my buddies over three meals and we do what a Spanish tapas bar intends one to do: Sample some of the Spanish cured meats and cheeses, nibble on the small plates with long unpronounceable names and sip on many an affordable wine. I let my appetite wander while my feet dangle on the bar stool. That's the tapas spirit, and in Mumbai's three month old Vinoteca it's found a Spanish home.

Located in Sunville on Worlis arterial road, this casual, neighbourhood Tapas and Wine bar surprises, disappoints and then seduces by turns. Lacklustre food marks my first lunch with my two warm-hearted buddies (Vidya Gajapatiraju Singh, the princess of Vizianagaram and bubbly Bela Dalal). A raucous dinner (packed with Spaniards) is exuberant with flavor and fun and then the lunch with the talented performer, singer and now much in demand motivational speaker Raageshwari (please see photo) has us both bonded and delighted with the food and pricing too.

Decor

Its tiny, has an alfresco wrap around bar and the centerpiece is made of 300 Sula Riesling wine bottles that light up the bar. Ritu Nanda and Elsie Nanji have even managed to nudge in a sofa seating in to the burgundy walled and wood floored Tapas and wine bar. A happy cozy vibe infuses it. We could've done without that large TV screen.

Food

Never mind the long names of the small plates, never mind that some of the dishes are not true blue Spanish. I'm just back from Madrid and Im delighted to find that the flavors of Spain, garlic and olive oil, the deft use of pine nuts and figs enliven the fare with taste and texture. Go for the VFM lunch, Rs.500-550 for a three course veg or non veg meal with a glass of wine. Go for the quinoa salad with walnuts, while the lambburger is moist and succulent, it's the aubergine bristling with the vigorous flavors of the Mediteranean that delights. Ask for the Tabla (platter with salami and Serrano ham and Chorizo with dill hummus) you can request for half a Tabla too.

Though the young Spanish chef Silvia Grimaldo has returned to Spain on vacation, the kitchen continues to serve up her specialties, batter fried calamari and grilled kingfish which are competent as are the moist meaty Albondigas and the robust Chicken Chillindron. In addition to Sula's entire range of wines, labels from Spain, France,Chile, Italy and more are served by the glass too. Ask for the fruity signature sangria,(made from Grimaldo's family recipe) and a dry martini-infused hot chocolate spiced with chilli. An exciting wine flite has been introduced too.

Minus Points

Skip the stodgy chicken croquette, the asparagus mushroom salad. Even more disappointing? They actually served smoked salmon which was well past its best before date. Patata Bravas (spicy fried potatoes) failed to delight. A selection of wine-infused sorbets and gelatos as well as chocolate truffles are a refreshing finale, though the coffee and lemon tarts are not. Slow service, soggy desserts failed to dampen our relaxed, neighborhood bar experience.

My Point

Finally, Rajeev Sula Samant's brilliantly located brand new tiny tapas and wine bar is all about low-impact pleasure rather than high-wattage excitement or gourmet fare. It has an unlabored panache that makes an evening go down very easy and very cosy. Its casual, relaxed ambiance, VFM lunch, moderate pricing, wines by the glass, grazing menu, lift what might otherwise be just another neighborhood charmer into a loftier league.

Critic Review

Nightlife Review

Buzz: 3/5| Décor: 3.5/5

This tiny tapas and wine bar is all about low-impact pleasure rather than high-wattage excitement or gourmet fare. Rajiv Sula Samant’s Spanish tapas bar’s casual, relaxed ambience, VFM lunch, moderate pricing, wines by the glass, grazing menu, lift what might otherwise be just another neighbourhood charmer into a loftier league. It’s tiny, has an alfresco wrap around bar and the centerpiece is made of 300 Sula Riesling wine bottles that light up the bar. Ritu Nanda and Elsie Nanji have even managed to nudge in a sofa seating in to the burgundy-walled and wood-floored tapas and wine bar. A must try is the Sangria made with Silvia’s Sparkling Wine, equally popular is the Cointreau Side Car, whiskies and Single Malts. The food is enlivened with flavours of Spain, garlic and olive oil and the deft use of pine nuts and figs. With your drinks, ask for the Tabla (platter with salami and serrano ham and chorizo with dill hummus), moist meaty Albondigas and the robust Chicken Chillindron. Ask for the new menu’s Tuna Tartare with Guacamole and refreshing watermelon. Go for the Quinoa Salad with Walnuts, while the Lamb Burger is moist and succulent, it’s the aubergine bristling with the vigorous flavours of the Mediteranean that delights. The fitting finale in a wine bar? A selection of wine-infused sorbets and gelatos... gelato with wine (Blush, Cab Shiraz), wine-flavoured Chenin Blanc Choc Mousse. Outstanding, bespoke Chocolate Truffles from Zeba Kohli’s Fantasie Fine concludes the meal on a high note.

Updated yesterday

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  • Decor
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On Sunday's at Natraj you can get Khichdi, Kadi Pakoda and our favourite Puran Poli! Lalit Thakkar's Malad outpost has been drawing in many thali lovers over the years. Gleaming steel thali plates heaped with good Gujarati fare like Dal-Shaak and Rotla Farsaan for Rs.150 on weekdays and Rs.200 on Sundays (the Special Thali consists of two types of farsaan, one mixed and three regular vegetables, Undhya when in season, pulao, rice, papad, chutney and 2-3 options for sweets from which you choose one). Those in the know order the Bhakris, which are very good here, and on Saturday evenings, the Kathya Vadis.

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