The 2 words which are closely identified with Hyderabad are Charminar and Biryani. For a food lover, any visit to this City of Pearls will not be complete unless he tries out the famed Hyderabadi Biryani from multiple places in the city. Often on the way back, he will carry a packet or 2 for his friends and relatives. The locals, of course, thrive on the rice and meat dish, they can have it for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Every locality in the city has its favourite biryani place which is always jam-packed. However, some cafes and restaurants have fans for their biryani from across the city. Many of these have an economically priced mini/single biryani at very affordable prices enough for consumption by one person. Here are some of my favourite pocket-friendly places (a full biryani in these places costs below Rs 300) which are acclaimed locally (and some nationally) for the quality of their biryani. The names are in no particular order
Shadab has staunch supporters among Hyderabadis who swear by its biryani.
The biryani here is a delicately balanced preparation with some excellent quality mutton pieces. Though true to Hyderabadi palate it has a fair amount of spices, it is not fiery. They also have a boneless version of their Mutton Biryani.
Location: Around 15 branches all over the city
The restaurant chain has iconic status all over the country for Hyderabadi Biryani, and often, travellers to Hyderabad will not go back without trying out this place.
Though there are murmurs from some locals regarding a drop in its quality, I must admit that I have had some of my best experiences here. They are also the most process-oriented of all the biryani restaurants in the city.
This Hyderabadi Biryani is not for the faint-hearted. They pack their biryani with spices, but still, it is extremely tasty with an ideal amount of moisture in it. The place has become a firm local favourite over the last few years
This place was opened a few years ago by the owners of the famous Punjagutta Mutton Shop. Needless to say that the quality of mutton here is always the best. The biryani here is delicious, though a tad greasier than other places.
They serve a slightly different version of Hyderabadi Biryani, which is a little closer to the ones you get at Hyderabadi homes. The biryani has the ideal amount of moisture and the perfectly cooked rice combined with the masala here is so good that you can lap it up even without the Mirchi Ka Salan. They do not have any branches, the Bahar Cafés that you find all over the city belongs to a different owner.
Location: RTC X Roads
This is a restaurant loved for its biryani, though be careful of many other outlets all over the city with names like “Green Bawarchi”, “Golden Bawarchi”, “New Bawarchi” and so on. This place is known for the quality of masala in their biryani which is at its spicy best. This is one of the most consistent places in this list.
Location: Masab Tank
Unlike the other restaurants on this list, this place is only a few years old. It is run by the members of the Shah Alam Khan family, who are known for their expertise and knowledge of Hyderabadi cuisine. The biryani here is prepared in the traditional way, and this place has made a name for itself.
A passionate food and travel enthusiast, Sabyasachi is quite popular in the food and beverages circles of Hyderabad, the city he has made his home for the last twenty-five years. As a much-travelled sales person, Sabyasachi has been exposed to many international cuisines as well as regional food from remote corners of India. He blogs about his food and travel experiences at Foodaholix, and is a frequent contributor of food-related articles to the print media.