One of the highly-recommended Italian restaurants by both my parents and my friends was Pizza By The Bay. For me, it was the perfect stop after all the Indian food I had been feasting on in Mumbai and a fun wedding in Goa.
One of the cherished restaurants in South Mumbai, Pizza By The Bay started out in 1968 as Talk Of The Town, offering a combination of live music with good food and drinks for over 28 years. Then, in 1994, the restaurant evolved to The Pizzeria and Jazz By The Bay till in 2011, when it combined the best of The Pizzeria and Jazz By The Bay to create Pizza By The Bay!
Open from 7AM to 1:30AM, the bright, casual all-day dining restaurant is not only famous for its mouth-watering pizzas, pasta, risottos and everything Italian, but also for its salad buffet that has become popular amongst patrons. With the introduction of a breakfast menu, Pizza By The Bay has become a stand-out morning destination for breakfast.
We visited the restaurant for dinner with my cousins and a family friend, when we were staying at The Taj Mahal Palace, from which the restaurant was a mere ten-minute drive (15 with traffic). Located just opposite Marine Drive, this classic monochrome-themed restaurant with art deco style interiors is both a mix of fine dining and casual seating. The balcony shares gorgeous views of the Arabian Sea, while the urbane interiors create a soothing mood.The Pizza By The Bay menu is composed of breakfast options, soups, salads, starters, pasta and risotto, pizzas including classic and must-try pizza options, flambéed pizzas and healthy nine-grain pizzas, and dessert.
The drinks menu has a range of hot and cold beverages, including wines and cocktails. I decided to order a Guava Mary, a guava juice with a spicy mix that really was just a Bloody Mary mocktail that replaced the vodka and tomato juice with guava juice. It was delicious but I think an alcoholic version of the Guava Mary would make it even better.For starters, we ordered a Bruschetta a la Pizzeria, garlic rusks topped with slow roasted tomatoes with basil and fresh mozzarella. Tangy and refreshing, I loved the creaminess of the fresh mozzarella added to the light dish. Of course, we had to order potatoes at an Italian restaurant and instead of the classic French fries, we ordered Paprika Potatoes, golden fried potato wedges dressed in garlic, chilli flakes and herbs. These were well-seasoned with a crispy, crunchy exterior with a soft, fluffy interior that went incredibly well with the creamy dip served alongside.For mains, Dad stuck to his usual order of Penne Arrabbiata – a classic that you really can’t go wrong with. Mom and Diva decided to share the Risotto Spinata, a spinach and feta risotto with fresh herbs. Served with garlic bread, the risotto was rich, velvety and full of flavor. I really enjoyed it.My cousins and I opted to get pizza. One of the popular options is the Bombay Pizza topped with Bombay spice masala.
While they got a Veg Supremo, with spring onion, tomato, jalapeno, baby corn and olives that arrived rather late, I opted for a Flaming Margherita. The pizza, topped with buffalo mozzarella, tomato and basil, arrived on the table and the server then heated up a shot of vodka till it was flaming and poured it all over the pizza. Once the alcohol cooked off, I tried a slice.
Steeped in vodka, the pizza’s high-quality ingredients were easily noticeable. The flambéed vodka, if anything, gave it a sharp tang but Diva got a slice where the alcohol hadn’t burned off and it was quite unpleasant. The Flaming Margherita is now ticked off my food bucket list!After gorging on all the delectable food, I was intrigued by the dessert menu and also tempted to order but I couldn’t just possible eat anymore, and neither could anyone else. And so, we walked out, crossed the road and strolled along Marine Drive.
But really, Pizza By The Bay is one of those iconic Bombay dining institutions that you must visit for not just good food and drink, but for a soothing ambiance and pleasant service. With suave interiors, relaxing ambiance and sea views…what could be a better place to savor a classic Italian pizza.
Photos by Hitesh Shah