There’s actually so much more to Hyderabadi food than the famed biryani; from breweries to regional coastal cuisine, here is an exhaustive guide to everything the city has to offer for tourists and locals alike.
“Make sure you check out the new all-night eating spot in Gachibowli!”
“The beer is insanely good, even though bars shut early.”
“I know where you can head for great karaoke!”
These are just a few of the food and drink suggestions first-time visitors to Hyderabad might be treated to and, surprisingly, biryani doesn’t feature as prominently as one would expect. Not to say there isn’t great biryani in Hyderabad but it’s striking to see how much the city’s food landscape has changed over the years. House-brewed Belgian wits, churros, devilishly and devastatingly delicious coastal food—Hyderabad has it going on, at least so far as the food goes.
So, if you’re planning to visit, make sure you bookmark this list of must-try restaurants in the city—with a special mention for the best paan and Irani chai you can find.
Authentic South Indian cuisine
Food means serious business at chef Chalapathi Rao’s Simply South; the menu is an amalgamation of must-try preparations from five South Indian states—Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu—so you’re definitely going to have a hard time picking and choosing. To make things a little easier, we recommend the Uragai Mamsam or pickled mutton, the Kori Gassi which is a flavourful chicken dish made in coconut milk and the Prawn Moilee, together with lots of fluffy appams.
Address: Tower, Plot No 1, 2nd Floor, BK, Sector-2, Patrika Nagar, HITEC City, Hyderabad
This multi-outlet restaurant aims to showcase the very best of Telangana, Andhra and Rayalseema cuisine. It is best-known for its veg and non-veg thali options; if you’re only going to have one, we suggest ordering the Raj Bhojanam thali (only available on the weekend). If you’re in Hyderabad over the week, it’s worth checking out the authentic Telugu Buffet that’s only available at the Jubilee Hills outlet.
Address: Plot No.481,Level 5, 36th Square, Road No.36, Opp.SVM Mall Near Pedamma, Temple Arch Jubilee Hils, Hyderabad
Authentic Andhra coastal food is the piece de resistance at Ulavacharu; don’t fall for the biryani. Instead, order the Bamboo Chicken and the Raju Gari Kodi Palav which is the rice preparation that Ulavacaharu is known for. The menu will definitely confuse you so it’s best to ask for help, especially if it’s your first time at this well-loved restaurant.
Address: No.1299/F, Plot Next Indian Oil Petrol Pump, Rd Number 68, Jubilee Hills, Hyderabad
Easily one of the top 10 biryanis in the city, Shah Ghouse’s mutton biryani has lots of fans. The local favourite opens bright and early and serves up biryani for breakfast, lunch and dinner! The Double ka Meetha and Haleem at Shah Ghouse also come highly-recommended.
Address: 8-191/15, Opposite Bio Diversity Park,Raidurgam, Gachibowli Road, Madhura Nagar Colony, Gachibowli, Hyderabad
So far as quintessentially Hyderabad food goes, Cafe Bahar is your best best. Osmania biscuits, Qubani ka Meetha, Irani Chai and, of course, the classic Dum Biryani—this Irani cafe outgrew the space and is now a full-fledged restaurant. It opens before the crack of dawn at 4am and serves hungry customers way past midnight.
Adress: 3-5, 815/A, Old MLA Quarters Rd, Avanti Nagar, Himayatnagar, Hyderabad
Adaa, Taj Falaknuma
The Falaknuma palace was converted into a Taj property, locals say that a quick trip to Falaknuma will leave you feeling like a nizam. This is also the same property, locals point out, where Salman Khan’s sister Arpita got married.
If you’ve come for the food and not just the backstory, make your way to Adaa for some authentic Hyderabadi biryani, Haleem and the chef’s tasting platter of desserts.
Address: Engine Bowli, Fatima Nagar, Falaknuma, Hyderabad
Think pristine layered cakes, macarons and eclairs—Conçu in the upmarket Jubilee Hills fills the french pastry-shaped void in Hyderabad’s food scene. Their Hot Chocolate is wicked good and this makes for the perfect pit-stop after dinner, on your way home.
Address: 738, Rd Number 37, CBI Colony, Jubilee Hills, Hyderabad
This comes highly-recommended; at least three people this writer knows have pointed her in the direction of this churros joint, located in Film Nagar. You can safely skip the savouries on the menu and, instead, focus your attention on the star of the restaurant: churros with dipping sauces that include a coffee sauce, toffee and even apple pie.
Address: Churrolto, film nagar, Jubilee Hills, Hyderabad
Hyderabadi cuisine is known for a lot of traditional Indian desserts, however the one that takes the cake (or mithai, in this case) is the Jouzi Halwa at Hameedi. The confectionary has a rich history; it was visited by Nizam Mir Osman Ali Khan Asaf Jah VII and he was so happy with the halwa he was served that he named the store after King Hameed of Turkey, who was his close relative. Made from oat milk and taking close to 16 hours to prepare, Hameedi serves two variants of Jouzi, one at Rs 500 per kilogram and a special version at Rs 700 which has more ghee and saffron. Hameedi also offers other traditional Hyderabadi sweets such as Ashrafi and Badam Halwa.
Address: 120/2, Abids Road, Gun Foundry, Basheer Bagh, Hyderabad
Bars and breweries
Zero40 Brewing is spread over two floors, complete with outdoor seating areas, pool tables, large TVs and a brightly-coloured bar, giving it the appearance of a sports bar. The showstopper, however, is their selection of beers; from coffee-flavoured beers to the more quirky banana and bubblegum-flavoured Blue Camel, there may literally be something for every kind of beer-drinker.
Address: 271/A, Road Number 10, Venkatagiri, Jubilee Hills, Hyderabad
Fat Pigeon – Bar Hop
A great place to unwind after a long week, Fat Pigeon – Bar Hop is perfect for a round of cocktails with colleagues or catching up with an old friend. Their signature cocktails pair well with bar bites—the cheese balls are a crowd-pleaser.
Address: Plot No, 1335/A, Rd Number 45, Jubilee Hills, Hyderabad
Dimmy Paan Palace
The oldest paan shop in Hyderabad, it’s an icon in its own right. The palace serves 46 varieties of paan—from the Calcutta Paan to the Meenakshi Meetha Pan. However, the most popular paan is the Fire Paan that is made by adding a special mixture to the betel leaf that consists of mint chutney and fruit flavours. The paan, which also contains a few dry cloves, is also set on fire and comes in a few different flavours. – Address: Near Pedamma Temple, Road 36, Jubilee Hills, Hyderabad
- Garden Restaurant
Garden first began in the early 1940s as a small tea shop that served snacks but is now a household name in Hyderabad. The Irani Chai at the cafe won’t disappoint; it is a thick, sweet concoction served in porcelain cups and accompanied by a crisp onion samosa or the buttery, crumbly Osmania biscuit. – Address: 38, SD Road, Clock Tower Second Bazaar Area, Sandhu Apartment, Shivaji Nagar, Hyderabad
- Blue Sea Tea & Snacks
If you’re a tea aficionado, try the Irani Chai at Blue Sea Tea & Snacks. The restaurant also serves Dil Khush and Dil Pasand (both stuffed bread dishes), and pastries and buns that will make for perfect accompaniments to the tea. – Address: Regimental Bazaar, Shivaji Nagar, Secunderabad