A land of royalty and royal heritage of the Nizams Hyderabad has a lot more to it than the Charminar, Golconda Fort, and exquisite pearls. Despite the technology revolution that defines modern-day Hyderabad, there is still the underlying air of royalty which you can still experience in its rich flavors.
As you snake through the streets and alleys, you can expect to be engulfed by the aromatic smoke of haleem, kebabs, and crispy dosas, juxtaposed with the cool and refreshing local beverages and the city’s favorite watermelon ice cream. But the star of the show here is the flavorful Biryani which is quintessential to Hyderabad’s culture (food or otherwise) and is almost synonymous to its reputation.
If you are traveling to Hyderabad for business or pleasure, first time ever or returning, leaving the city without at least one serving of the classic Biryani is sacrilege! And to make it easier, we list down the best places to sample and savor the traditional flavors of this royal land. if you want to take a properly planned ‘Biryani Tour’, then book a Hyderabad cab with an expert driver who would know the nooks and corners where you plan to go.
A little history of Hyderabadi Biryani
Before you start your Biryani trail, here’s a little trivia to raise your appetite. This aromatic rice dish overloaded with meat and traditional spices took roots in the royal kitchen of the Nizams when the chefs discovered a completely new flavor and dish by blending Mughlai and Iranian recipes. Unlike Awadhi, Thalassery, Bombay or Calcutta Biryani, the one in Hyderabad is served with accompaniments like the hot and spicy Mirchi Ka Salan (green pepper curry), refreshing Dahi chutney, and sometimes the Baghaar-e-Baingan (roasted and stir-fried eggplants in gravy). Most often than not, you will find two variations of Hyderabad Biryani- Kachhi (where raw meat is cooked low and slow along with rice) and Pakki (where the meat is cooked separately and mixed later with rice).
Where to find the best
Paradise, Paradise Circle, Secunderabad
Satiating the taste buds of Hyderabad since 1953, Paradise is the ultimate biryani destination in the city. Spread across several outlets within Hyderabad, this classic place serves a wide variety of biryanis, kebabs, and curries. The hungry crowd thronging here every day of the week is a standing testament to its popularity.
Nizam Club, Saifabad
One of the oldest club in Hyderabad, this lounge-cum-dining place is a gem of all biryani places in the city. A favorite of the elite foodies, this plush club not only offers great food but also lets you enjoy your meal amidst an incredible ambiance.
Café Bahar, Basheer Bagh
Known for their taste and pocket-friendly food, Café Bahar in Basheer Bagh is just the right place for sampling the best Hyderabadi Biryani in town. Dig into their traditional recipes of aromatic biryanis loaded with juicy chunks of meat. Apart from this, the eatery also takes pride in serving the most authentic Hyderabadi food.
Jewel of Nizam, Gandipet
When you are in the land of the royals, you must enjoy their favorite in the way royals would. A place of uber-luxury, this fine-dining restaurant was inspired by the grandeur of the Nizams. From its rich interiors and the classic ambiance to the decadent food, this place is indeed the crown jewel of Hyderabad’s biryani heritage. If you want to feel and be treated like royalty, then an elaborate dining affair here is something you cannot miss.
Grand Hotel, Abids
A legendary eatery of the city, Grand Hotel serves a wide array of biryanis in Hyderabad. Although the ambiance might not be as awe-inspiring as some of the finest ones, you can expect nothing but the best when it comes to food. The best part of Grand Hotel is that it is open till late at night so you can satiate your cravings at any hour of the day!
If you want to sample the real taste of Andhra cuisine, including the famous Hyderabadi biryani, then this is the restaurant you want to be at. A chain restaurant by definition, Kritunga spreads its flavors across the city through its 10 outlets. Also, the biryanis they serve comes with a twist, as they add their own ‘special touch’ to the classic recipes.
Shah Ghouse Café, T olichowki
A name synonymous with Biryani in Hyderabad, this ‘café’ is not just a café, but one of the oldest and most popular eateries with its influence spread across its various outlets at different parts of the city. If you are visiting with friends and large groups, then Shah Ghouse and their generous servings of steaming and aromatic biryanis are what you will need.
And after you are high on Hyderabad’s flavors, then a trip to its sister city Warangal is also something to add to your food trail. Book a reliable cab from Hyderabad to Warangal so you can taste the best of Nizami biryani of Warangal at the Khursheed Hotel. Bon Appetit!