Before the majestic Expressway was constructed, many of my childhood trips to Mumbai consisted of road trips via the old Pune-Mumbai Highway. I’m reminiscing those simpler days, when distances couldn’t be traversed so quickly, but the longer road trips did leave fonder memories.
If you, like me, are a victim of nostalgia and thinking of giving in to it, then a road trip to Mumbai isn’t complete without dining at any of the classic Dhabas on the old highway. Simple, fresh food at these places served with a heaping tablespoon of ghee, these names are popular and for all the right reasons. Check them out!
Sheetal da Dhaba
Here’s the best thing about this place – the food and the staff both haven’t changed throughout the years, I mean this in a good way. Be it their Tandoori Chicken or Paneer variants, the food in general is pretty great. What we’d suggest is their Biryani and the Cheese Garlic Naan, both surprisingly good for a Punjabi Dhaba.
Sunny da Dhaba
Who hasn’t dined at this place at least once during their commuting?! Surprisingly delicious food greets you at your pitstop as you give yourself a break from the driving. The Punjabi cuisine served here is everything you could ask for, minus the artifical colouring and stale, repeated gravys. We especially love their Butter Chicken with Kulchas!
Aaswad Dhaba & Family Restaurant
Popular for their Chindian and North Indian cuisines, this dhaba/family restaurant should definitely be on your food-pitstop list. Mutton dishes are highly recommended, including Mutton Fry and Reshmi Kebabs. Fair warning, the food does tend to get a bit greasy, but after a long day of driving, I personally don’t mind it.
Bhajan Singh da Dhaba
This dhaba serves authentic Punjabi cuisine which your Punjabi friend would approve of, tastes fresh and home-cooked. Their Chindian food isn’t bad either. You should try their Kastoori Chicken Handi, Masala Papad, Chicken Lollipops and the Dal Tadka! Get some of their Gajar ka Halwa too, and sigh in gastronomic pleasure as every bite warms your sore body.
Sidhu Punjabi Dhaba
Vegetarians, rejoice! This spot is particularly famous for their veg dishes like Palak Paneer and Pulav. A relatively humble ambience greets you when you step in, but don’t let that dissuade you from ordering the staff recommendations. Their chef sure knows how to cook some delicious recipes.
Chai Coffee Charcha
This fancy cafe almost looks out of place on the old Pune – Mumbai Highway, but worry not, if you’re in the mood for some great coffee and sandwiches, you won’t find a better place than this. Try their Tadka Maggi, or Alfredo Pasta, both of these dishes left me grinning from ear to ear in satisfaction. A perfect place to take a break and chill with your fellow travellers!
Feature image by Akshay Petkar via Instagram