Touted as the ‘Queen of the Suburbs’, ever wondered where Bandra gets its name? It’s possibly from Persian in which 'bandar' means 'port'. Once a clutch of hamlets owned by the fishing community, Bandra has evolved into a thriving suburb that’s home to Goan-Portuguese bungalows, beautiful churches, promenades to walk by the sea, cheap and expensive bars and restaurants, and so much more. To us, this swanky suburb is the definition of the maximum city. Any time you think Bandra may have exhausted the number of restaurants, bars, or shops it can hold, 'pop' opens another one. The suburb is hard to keep up with, but you can never get tired of it. While there’s a lot more you can do, eat or shop in Bandra beyond this list, here’s what you must do if you ever find yourself in this part of Mumbai.
Eat, Drink & Shop: Here’s Everything You Can Do In Bandra
Where To Shop
Hill Road Market
In Mumbai, we live and breathe street shopping. And there’s no better place than Hill Road. Whether you’re looking for a pair of jeans, the trendiest dresses or blouses, or jewellery—you’ll find it all here. The entire street springs to life at noon and stays busy until shops begin to shut around 9 PM. You could shop all day here; just make sure you have a knack for bargaining.
While you may find what you need on the streets, there are still several shops like Sagar for bags and shoes, Miniso for cute knick-knacks, Fendi Boutique for dresses, and more.
Linking Road Market
Yet another street market, Linking Road market, has existed long before vendors took over Hill Road. Offering a similar shopping experience as Hill Road, we recommend covering both streets to ensure you have everything you need for your wardrobe. You can easily conduct a haul here for shoes, kurtis, tops and what not.
Just off Linking Road, you can walk along Waterfield Road and shop for gowns! What’s Up? has been around for what seems like eons and stitches up gowns you’d often see celebrities wear on the red carpet. If there’s an outfit you need that a celebrity wore, chances are What’s Up? will have it. The little boutique will customise or alter dresses, gowns and jumpsuits for you. A dress here can easily cost you INR 3,000 upwards.
Timings: 11.30 AM to 10 PM
Located on Hill Road, Cheap Jack is a trove for gifting and packing gifts. While the best time to visit this shop is definitely Christmas, you can shop for several knick-knacks, wrapping papers, ribbons, gift boxes and more. Their racks are also lined with mason jars, colourful water bottles and whatnot. Shopping here will cost you upwards of INR 500.
Timings: 10 AM to 9 PM
The Mumbai outpost of Delhi’s The Shop fits right into the Pali Village neighbourhood. Racks full of boho-chic clothing for women adorn the store, and you’ll get sustainable home decor and lots and lots of crockery too. You can pick up a stole as a souvenir or bed linen for your home from this swanky concept store. Shopping here will cost you upwards of INR 500.
Timings: 11 AM to 9 PM
While you can shop for Freedom Tree’s home decor on LBB, you can also step into their studio in Bandra. Located on 28th Road, the store’s lifestyle products sit around, and you can shop for their vibrant furnishings, planters, top-notch ceramic collection, and more. Their range begins at INR 500, and we recommend picking up something as a souvenir.
Timings: 11 AM to 8 PM
The bookstore calls itself Mumbai’s first large-format boutique bookstore. And, because of the lack of space in most bookstores in the city, we can’t help but agree that it’s one of the few larger ones. Neat aisles carry an array of titles, with dedicated sections for poetry and comic books too. You can sit here and dive deep into a few pages over some coffee, as there’s an outpost of Di Bella too.
Timings: 10 AM to 8 PM
Where To Eat
A legendary dive bar in the neighbourhood, we believe that this is where the spirit of Bandra comes together. Soul Fry is a laid-back space offering Goan food and cheap drinks. You’ll mostly spot locals and those few who still remember to stop by here, but that doesn’t guarantee that the space won’t be full. We recommend making the trip here for some Fish Ambotik, Chicken Cafreal, Sol Kadhi, and some fish fry.
Meal For Two: INR 1,200 approx.
The coffee shop that’s always packed to 100% capacity. Honestly, we don’t know a better way to describe the space, but Subko has been making much noise ever since it opened doors in 2020. Offering speciality coffee, baked goods, and some bites, Subko is housed on the lower floor of Mary Lodge, an old Goan bungalow in Bandra village. We recommend digging into their chorizo and cheese sourdough, espresso croissant and, of course, getting a cup of coffee.
Meal for Two: INR 800 approx.
A1 Bakery, Hearsch Bakery and American Express Bakery
While these are three separate bakeries, we couldn’t help but club them together because a visit to all of them is quite likely in one trip. Located across from each other, we think these bakeries are the Holy Trinity of Bandra bakeries. Existing since the Raj, American Express dishes out delicious lemon tarts and sandwiches, while A1 (opens at 7 AM) offers chicken pan rolls, chicken croissants, veggie puffs, cutlets and more. Across the street, Hearsch Bakery is where you must order the Chicken Mayo Roll, Chicken Croissant and Ginger Lime Juice.
Price: Eating at all the three bakeries will cost you INR 500 approx.
The Little Easy
While the neighbourhood is dotted with bars pouring several spirits and stirring up several cocktails, The Little Easy is worth stepping into because it has something for everyone. With great happy hours, craft beer, live sports screening, a private dining area, and even a Sunday brunch menu, why would you not want to step into this speakeasy? They mostly offer burgers, finger food and continental dishes to eat. We recommend their naan bombs, which are a hit here.
Meal for Two: INR 2,000 approx.
There are several other legendary and new spots you can check out. For breakfast, there’s of course, Salt Water Cafe and Bombay Coffee House. To drink on a budget, head to Yatch or Janta. You can also stop at Carter Road Social or Drifter’s Tap Station. For a pan-Asian buffet, there's Global Fusion, or you can chow down on many plates at Foo’s Bandra outpost too. Then there’s the legendary Toto's Garage and Pali Village Cafe, among many others.
Things To Do
Experience Heritage At Bandra Fort And Mount Mary Church
The Basilica of Our Lady of the Mount, commonly called Mount Mary Church, is a Roman Catholic church that people frequent regardless of their beliefs. It sits on a hill overlooking the sea, and you can get a peaceful view from here. In 1570, when it was first built, it was a small chapel fashioned out of mud. Today, after having been rebuilt several times, it stands tall with Gothic arches and pillars of Malad stone dating back to 1904, and has fibreglass murals of the life of Mary on its blue interiors.
You can walk along the Bandstand Promenade and head to Bandra Fort right after. Built by the Portuguese as a watchtower, Castella de Aguada, Portuguese for 'Fort at the Waterpoint', which is now commonly called Bandra Fort. Most of it was destroyed by the British, lest it fall into the hands of the Marathas. Today, its stone walls and ruins are where you can sit and catch the sunset while looking out at the magnificent Bandra-Worli Sea Link and catching some views of Mahim Bay.
Catch A Stand-up Comedy Show At The J Spot
A small venue near Bandra Talao, The J Spot hosts comedy gigs on the regular. Simply scan for a show on Bookmyshow and book yourself a ticket to catch a local comic trying out new material. You’ll spot many big and small comics performing here, the likes of Karunesh Talwar, Aditi Mittal and Navin Noronha, among others.
Explore Villages Within The City With Stroll Around Ranwar Village
An old fishing village, Ranwar Village, is right off Hill Road. Heritage Goan-Portuguese bungalows dot the tiny lanes, despite some buildings mushrooming here. The village is mostly home to several expats and creative types, tiny bakeries, graffiti on peeling walls, and more. Walk around and take in the sights of gorgeous old bungalows, grab Goan pao and marzipan at the bakeries, and explore the tiny alleys.
Enjoy A Weekend Full Of Local Art & Community At The Steps
A community space, The Steps, or rather the Mount Mary Steps, has recently transformed into a venue where the community comes together every weekend for a festival. The programme usually includes performances by local artists, including musicians and dancers. Several activities for kids are hosted, and you can check out art installations too.
Walk Along The Carter Road Promenade
What else is there to do in Bandra if not walk along Carter Road and people-watch? Aunties in floral dresses, a celebrity out for a jog, and many dogs are what you’ll spot here. Go here for the views of the sea and the remaining few mangroves along the coast. You can simply sit here, enjoy the breeze, and play a game of chess on the tables laid out. There’s also a small skate park for kids and a dog park where you can take your pet.
Catch A Film At Mumbai’s Oldest Multiplex, G7
Back in the day, it was believed that if a show was housefull at G7, it’s quite likely that the film would do well at the box office. Whether that remains true or not, catching a film on a screen at G7, Mumbai’s oldest multiplex, is a Mumbai experience no one should miss. The tickets are still cheap, the seats are a bit rickety, the 7 theatres inside have fans (switched off once the movie starts) and air conditioning, and the snacks are old-school (popcorn, samosas, fryums, and chutney sandwiches) and pocket-friendly. What’s not to love?