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A quaint little place bang opposite Matunga station, A Ramanayak is steeped in history and serves the most delicious South-Indian meals you will ever eat.
What Is It?
A Rama Nayak is like the patron saint of Udipi restaurants in Mumbai. He started off his life in Mumbai (then Bombay) as a cook for bachelors at the Saraswat Colony in Santacruz. He eventually opened his own restaurant – A. Rama Nayak’s Udipi Shri Krishna Boarding – bang opposite Matunga station in 1942. Not much has changed in the quaint, charming place since then.
The menu hasn’t changed much since when the restaurant was first opened 75 years ago. The menu is fixed with an unlimited thaali style meal served on a banana leaf. The management encourages you to eat with your bare hands and what a lavish meal it is! You get about three servings of rice. There is rassam, dal and dahi and about three varieties of vegetables. The GSB (Gaud Saraswat Brahmin) special includes avial, six payasams for six days and powder chutney with pure ghee. This elaborate feast comes for a grand INR 225 only!
The food is not only delicious but it also wholesome. With all this talk about farm-to-table eating and the outrageous prices that come associated with it, Ramanayak is an ode to simple, fresh food at a budget. The Surti Kolam rice comes from Chandrapur, vegetables are freshly delivered every morning from Byculla market, the puris and chapatis are made from whole wheat, the pappads come from the village of Kateel. All meals are cooked twice a day so you will never be served leftovers.
Ramanayak is like a gentleman’s club dedicated to great food. There is almost always a waiting for this place. There’s no air-con, the service is excellent and the place extremely hygienic. In fact, you are encouraged to enter the kitchen and look at how clean the place is.
You have to take a token from an electronically operated indicator for your meal. There are two options – the plate meal and the full meal. There are newspapers thoughtfully kept in the waiting room. As A Ramanayak was on his death bed, he urged his to sons not to change the menu. He insisted that it was good to go for another 50 years. Keep the prices affordable and people will come.
And boy, do the people come! The weekends are packed and you normally have about an hour of waiting before you can feast!
Address: 1st Floor Lakhamsi Nappu Road | Near Matunga Central Railway Station, Matunga
Hours: 10.30am – 3pm, 7pm – 10pm
Contact: 022 24142422, 022 24143863
Cover photo image courtesy – Vibhor Gauba
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