Until recently, the heritage district of Kala Ghoda, in Mumbai’s Fort neighborhood, was the sleepy refuge of writers and publishers lunching at budget Parsi inns. Today, however, a cosmopolitan crowd of fashion-conscious gallerists and musicians sits among them, sipping ethically traded espresso.
Chemould Prescott Road: The 1963 opening marks it as one of Mumbai’s oldest galleries, but with a new space and a roster of headline-making contemporary artists, it still feels fresh. At Queens Mansion, 3rd fl., G. Talwatkar Marg; gallerychemould.com.
National Gallery of Modern Art: NGMA’s incisive program of modern Indian art may well be, as one renowned Indian curator conceded, the best in the country. At Mahatma Ghandi Rd. and Madame Cama Rd.; ngmaindia.gov.in.
Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (CSMVS): The real treasure of the former Prince of Wales museum’s vast collection is a trove of miniature paintings depicting gracious gardens (e.g., The Gardener and the Bear, circa 1575, right), bathing beauties and the mischievous young gods who steal their clothes. At 159–161 Mahatma Gandhi Rd.; csmvs.in.
David Sassoon Library and Reading Room The Neo-Gothic library would feel like Cambridge, England, if not for the tiled terrace and wicker deck chairs overlooking city traffic. At 152 Mahatma Ghandi Rd.; 91-22/2284-3703 to arrange entry; davidsassoonlibrary.com.
The Rhythm House: Now one of the last remaining music stores in Mumbai, it continues blithely selling CDs and DVDs from behind its iconic façade as though the digital revolution had never happened. At 40 K. Dubash Marg; rhythmhouse.in.
The Pantry: The Western-style café opened last year, and it’s the kind of elegant, light-filled eatery whose clientele wears Céline pumps even during monsoon. At Military Square Ln.; 91-22/2267-8901.
Trishna: In the tradition of Mumbaikar seafood, Trishna has been turning out fresh, flawlessly browned squid, tiger prawns and garlicky king crab for more than 20 years. At Sai Baba Marg; 91-22/2270-3213.
Sabyasachi (pictured): Above the Kolkata designer’s Mumbai outpost is a store devoted to his more avant-garde line, for which traditional techniques are applied to swinging cocktail dresses ($350) and luxuriantly embellished jackets (price upon request). At 48 V. B. Ghandi Marg, 3rd fl.; sabyasachi.com.
Filter: The narrow design shop curates a cultural amalgam that includes limited-edition photographs and objects; chic magazines; and Yoko Ono’s 1964 concept book, Grapefruit. At 43 V. B. Ghandi Marg; filtershop.in.