When I was preparing for my MBA entrance, we used to have mock Group Discussions (GD). A teacher once told us how GD was actually an elimination round and not a selection one. So you could be the best speaker in the group but that doesn’t secure you a seat, what it actually does is save you from elimination. GD helps in eliminating a large chunk of candidates and brings the number down for the next round.
After going over a few articles and vlogs dedicated to Hyderabadi food, restaurants and cafes, I realized an elimination round was a must for my 3-day trip to be meaningful. So I decided that my visit would be limited to just the vintage restaurants that the City of Pearls have to offer. This meant narrowing the focus down to those restaurants that were vintage, famous and legendary. This also meant eliminating the highly instagrammable Beluga-esque cafes that have popped up on the high streets of Hyderabad. (Google: Beluga Jubilee Hills for context)
That being said, I am old and wise enough to understand that food is highly subjective. What works for me might not work for someone else. So I will not make the mistake of claiming that these are the best restaurants of Hyderabad or put up a “Best Biryani Ever” caption. Also, before we get on the trail, I must clarify two things,
- This was my third trip to Hyderabad so I had no intention to visit the Golcondas, Ramojis, Salar Jungs and other such local attractions
- I stayed at Royalton Hotel, Abids Road which was the best I could find in the target location (Note: My review of a hotel is significantly dependent on how good the wifi is. The wifi was extremely poor!)
So without further ado, here are the places I visited,
Day 1 – Lunch
Taj Mahal Hotel
Address – 4-1-999, Abids Road, Hyderabad – 500001
Website – https://www.tmhgroup.in
Established – 1960s
What I had – Karapodi Idly, Poori
Karapodi idly or dosa is an exclusive so a must try. Pooris are of the size of bhaturas. Thali and button idly are famous too. This is a veg restaurant and usually crowded.
Address – 120/2, Abids Road, Gun Foundry, Basheer Bagh, Hyderabad, Telangana 500001
Website – https://hameedi.in
Established – 1920s
What I had – Jouzi Halwa
I was here for a dessert. The claim is that this jouzi halwa was one of favorite dishes of the Nizam. I liked it, got it packed for home too.
Day 1 – Dinner
Café Niloufer Premium Lounge
Address – 3-5-900, Old MLA Quarters Rd, Venkata swamy Nagar, Himayatnagar, Hyderabad, Telangana 500028
Website – https://cafeniloufer.com
Established – 1978
What I had – Pizza, Brownie, Oreo shake
The café is famous for its chai and gourmet biscuits. Since I am not into chai, I got their tea powder packet for home. My original plan was to have dinner at the legendary Haiking Chinese restaurant but I was too full by the time I stepped out of here. I wasn’t really aware that Niloufer café had such an extensive menu.
Day 2 – Lunch
Café Bahar and Restaurant
Address – 3-5, 815/A, Old MLA Quarters Rd, Avanti Nagar, Himayatnagar, Hyderabad, Telangana 500029
Wiki – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cafe_Bahar
Established – 1973
What I had – Bahar Special Hyderabadi Dum Chicken Biryani
If you are wondering where is Biryani on the Hyderabad trip then here it is. For anyone who doesn’t live in Hyderabad, the general understanding is that Andhra (although Hyderabad is now in Telangana) food is very spicy and that was my expectation with the biryani too. But I am glad that I was wrong. Café Bahar is famous for its Biryani and deservingly so. It is a crowded place and if you want a table in the family section, expect waiting time. Also, the quantity of biryani is pretty high so if there are leftovers, I would suggest to get it packed for yourself or for the poor you may find outside.
Day 2 – Contd.
Address – 11-6-467, Nampally Market Rd, Devi Bagh, Bazar Ghat, New Mallepally, Hyderabad, Telangana 500001
Website – http://www.subhanbakery.com
Established – 1955 (although the products claim over 125 years of baking experience)
What I had – Dum ke Roat
The bakery is famous for its Dum ke Roat. What a delicacy! I wish there was a way to order these online. I got a packet for home too. You may also want to try the Dilpasand.
Day 2 – Dinner
Shah Ghouse Café and Restaurant
Address – Tolichowki Rd, Near RTA Office, Kakatiya Nagar, Toli Chowki, Hyderabad, Telangana 500008
Wiki – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shah_Ghouse_Cafe
Established – 1970s
What I had – Biryani, Double ka Meetha
The place is famous for its Biryani, Irani Chai and Nihari. Haleem is a Ramzan only treat. Pista House is in the vicinity too which is also famous for its Ramzan special Haleem. Just like many others on this list, Shah Ghouse too has different branches so you can plan your commute accordingly. On this branch, they have takeaway on ground floor while the dining area is on the first. I wasn’t too impressed with this one unless they have a better setting for the ‘family section’. Biryani was good, dessert was even better.
Day 3 – Lunch
Address – Khanchand Towers, Rd Number 1, opp. Hotel Taj Banjara, Banjara Hills, Hyderabad, Telangana 500004
Website – https://www.karachibakery.com
Established – 1953
What I had – Broccoli Fritters, Baked Amritsari Kulcha, Belgium Chocolate Milkshake
The famous Karachi Bakery biscuits like Fruit, Osmania or Chai ones can be ordered on Amazon. They have several outlets in Hyderabad but I wanted to visit their largest one located in Banjara Hills. There are loads of store exclusive items from gluten free to sugar free to vegan biscuits. They also offer Indian sweets, Turkish Baklava in different flavors, chocolates, dry fruits and even namkeens. I got a box of Baklava and chocolate cookies for home. I had originally planned to visit the nearby Paradise Biryani (Masab Tank) outlet but dropped the idea in the favor of the in-house café specials. The café that this outlet houses offers only vegetarian items
Day 3 – Char Minar area and Dinner
Khadeem Munshi Naan
Address – Purani Haveli Rd, Zehra Nagar Colony, Purani Haveli, Pathar Gatti, Hyderabad, Telangana 500002
More Info – https://www.travelandleisureindia.in/dining/munshi-naan/
Established – 1851
What I had – Naan
I went here because it doesn’t get more legendary than a place that is almost 2 centuries old! This outlet is run by the family’s fourth generation. All they offer is a flatbread naan at Rs. 15 each which you should ideally have with mutton curry. This outlet is also a good point to get off of your cab and then walk towards Char Minar
Address – Madina Circle, 21-1-140-144, Near High Court, High Court Rd, Charminar, Ghansi Bazaar, Hyderabad, Telangana 500012
Website – http://www.shadab.in/
Established – 1990
What I had – Khurshi Kabab
Hotel Shadab isn’t as old as others on this list but it is a legend in its own right. The place is famous for paya, nihari, biryani, kababs, you name it. I had been to this place earlier and wanted to go again for the kababs.
Address – Pathergatti Rd, Near Charminar, Madina Market, Rikab Gunj, Ghansi Bazaar, Hyderabad, Telangana 500066
Wiki – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Madina_building,_Hyderabad
Established – 1947
What I had – Bun Malai
Located right in front of Hotel Shadab, Hotel Madina is one place that offers Haleem throughout the year. However my purpose of the visit was the special Bun Malai, something that I really wanted to try on this trip.
And now the most important question – Which restaurants and cafés would you add to this legendary list?