Mumbai is sprawling, frenetic, loud and thrilling. It's overwhelming and intoxicating.
Okay, okay, just one more adjective. It's delicious.
It's easy to get frustrated and overheated, and settle in at Cafe Mondegar, Cafe Universal or Leapold's.
Don't stop in at one of those classic tourist haunts for a quick, fortifying beverage, and then seek out one of the following:
Open all night long, this joint is street food on steroids. It's packed, making for a lively atmosphere. And the budget friendly food will completely blow you away.
Also gets high marks for excellent people watching -- loads of people stop by on their way to and from the nearby clubs. Find it on Tulloch Road, a side street between Colaba Causeway and the Taj Mahal Hotel.
2. Bhel Puri at Chowpatty Beach
This puffed rice dish is Mumbai's most famous speciality. And the general consensus is that the best Bhel Puri is from the stands at Chowpatty Beach.
So go there. The stands also put out mats to dine on -- making for a great opportunity to meet and chat with locals before taking a stroll down the beach. (From where you can also then marvel at the huge Yahoo! building on the hill. Yahoo! is still around?)
3. Kailash Parbat Hindu Hotel
This one's a little tricky - there's two. If your back is to the water, go upstairs inside the one on the right. It's vegetarian only, and far superior to the one on the left side of the street, though they try to tell you it's the same kitchen. The Sindhi curry I had here was the best thing I ate during my entire trip in India.
Pick up some snacks at the counter on your way out.