Eat like a local: Hyderabad
I fell in love with Hyderabad way back in 2005, when short breaks from boarding school meant hopping between tourist spots and gorging on meat in the most popular of its restaurants. I barely knew the city at all in those years but I have been going back every now and then. My experience in this 400 hundred year old city has been different each time but the only way I began to feel like a local was by slowly discovering its food. The restaurants, stalls and dhabas spread across Hyderabad reveal its exciting blend of cultures, history and modernity like nothing else does.
A culinary experience in Hyderabad is best begun with its most treasured and famous, Hyderabadi Biryani. Ignore those who lure you into Paradise food court, and head straight into Alpha Hotel near Secundarabad Station. It’s spacious but expect nothing more than delicious food. They serve a huge portion of biryani to hungry customers within minutes. Alternatively, for breakfast, savour a cup of their Irani chai, osmania biscuit (so named after the last Nizam ruler) and keema roti – a favorite of the royals.
A mention of Nizami culture is incomplete without a mention of hookah, a royal hobby that continues to be synonymous with the city. Though almost all cafes serve hookah today, My Café Latte in Karkhana is a favorite among young locals.
Hyderabad also meets the culinary expectation of its Telegu community by serving some delicious, authentic Andhra cuisine. Ulavacharu in Jubile Hills is a must visit for its meat and veg pulao, Mamsam pappu charu (mutton dal) and Kodi chips. And if you are craving for the most delicious dosas in the city at the oddest hours, Ram ki Bandi in Nampally (open from 2 am to 5 am) and Govind ki Bandi in Charminar (open from 5am to 11 am) are your saviours. Their double cheese dosa is bound to make up for the lost sleep.
For some unique dining experiences, Ohri’s is a clear favorite with its share of food courts and theme restaurants across the city, each distinct in its own way. Of the lot, Ohri’s Ruci & Idoni in Banjara Hills stands out for its lively ambience and delicious continental cuisine. The chicken nachos and three cheese baked mushrooms are highly recommended. Another popular chain, Cream Stone, is perfect for late night ice cream sundaes – try Willy Wonka or Fresh Fruits & Nuts.
Since the city shares its space with some beautiful lakes, take time to enjoy them in Olive Bistro that sits atop a hill overlooking Durgam Cheruvu or Secret Lake. Best for its wood-fired pizzas and seven layer cake, the casual diner gives you your own space away from the bustling streets. If you want to escape the crowd and traffic even further, drive towards its northern outskirts to Evergreen Dhaba in Shamirpet. You can eat arguably the best butter chicken and aloo 65 there, and cosy up by a bonfire during winter visits.
And perhaps somewhere, while feasting on delicious food in the midst of this culinary trail through Hyderabad, you’ll know why I can never stop going back to this city.
What are your favorite eat-outs in Hyderabad?
This story was originally published in Travelyaari.