When it comes to eating out in Hyderabad, you'll be spoilt for choice with the many restaurants, pubs, cafes and bars that frequent Hyderabad's streets the only problem you are likely to encounter is being unable to make up your mind what to choose. You can find good restaurants, cafes and bars wherever you are, often in surprising places, so it's well worth taking time to explore.
The geographical location of Hyderabad has been a major influence on its varied cuisine, which ranges from the Hyderabadi style with its strong Mughlai influence, to a pure Andhra cuisine - hot and spicy. Hyderabad also has a good number of places for Chinese & Continental food. For a quick meal or a snack, one has a choice between western fast foods, Pizza, Burger, Sandwich, and the Indian 'chats'. The city has its ubiquitous Irani Hotels, serving thousands of cups of tea each day. For the diet-unconscious, Hyderabad probably has the largest number of ice cream brands to offer. In addition, the city's main shopping areas are crowded with sweet shops offering a mind-boggling variety of sweet and snacks.
Hyderabadi Biryani: For those who want a taste of the royal menu, there are a variety of Biryanis (a rice and meat preparation, seasoned with spices and flavourings). There are 2 styles of preparing this variety; The Kachey Gosh Ki Biryani, where the meat is marinated in curd and then baked with rice, and the Pakkey Gosht Ki Biryani, where the meat is cooked with all the accompanying spices and then the rice is simmered with the resultant gravy redolent of mace, ittar and kewra in a sealed vessel with saffron and cardamom. It is accompanied by side dishes like Mirchi ka Salan, Dhai-Ki-Chatni and Baghare Baingan.
Apart from this king of the delicacies, the entire Shahi Nizam cuisine is very popular for its rich and aromatic taste and has Kababs (meat pieces or minced meat cooked in many different styles such as Boti Jhammi, kalmi, Shikampur, Sheek, Lagan-ke-kababs, Dum-ke-kababs), Khormas (either meat or vegetables cooked in a rich creamy gravy) and Lukhmi (pastry). Nahari is another speciality eaten very early in the morning and is a curried soup of sheep's trotters and tongue.
South Indian: The South Indian spread is well represented by the classic Gongura Mamasam, Royyalla Pulusu (sizzling prawn curry), Kakarakaya Pulusu (a bitter gourd preparation that uses a good dose of spice) and the more humble, but nevertheless lip-smacking, lentil-spinach dish of Palakura Pappu. Andhra Cuisine is distinct for its hot and spicy food with a range of chutneys, curries, meat preparations and pickles. One can also taste the cuisines of Karnataka (Udipi) and Tamil Nadu - the omnipresent dosas, idlis and vadas.
Chinese & Asian Food: Hyderabad also boasts of a number of Chinese restaurants ranging from the inexpensive to the exclusive. Almost the entire city is dotted with Chinese restaurants serving authentic to Indianized Chinese food. There are a couple of Japanese restaurants serving Sushi & Teppenyaki and Thai restaurants as well.
Continental Fare & Fast Foods: With a sizable Ex-pat population there are many restaurants serving European & American cuisine. From the fabulous steaks at TGIFs, to the Lasagnes of Fusion 9 and the Pastas of Little Italy you have it all in Hyderabad. For somebody looking for a quick and filling snack, there are many western-style fast food joints which offer pizzas, burgers, sandwiches, etc.
Dessert: One can have a pick from Double-ka-meetha (a bread and cashew-nut pudding); Qubani-ka-meetha (stewed apricot dessert); Anday-ka-piyosi (made with eggs, mild, almonds and purified butter); Badam-ki-jhab (marzipan) and Dil-e-Firdaus (a rich, milk-based sweet). The number of ice cream parlours seems an ever-expanding one, with popular brands such as Walls, Baskin Robbins, Move’n’pick, Dollops, Vadilal, Scoops, Jumani and many more. Most of these parlours have places to sit and enjoy your ice creams. In addition, the range of sweets and snacks available in the sweet shops - omnipresent in Hyderabad- is bound to make one's head spin. Many restaurants & delicatessens serve all varieties of Mousses, Parfaits, Cheesecakes and Roulades. Chocolates and specially made confectionery is available all over Hyderabad.
Paan: No meal in Hyderabad is complete without Paan (betel leaf wrapped around a mixture of betelnut, aniseed, cloves, cardamom, gulkand). There are paan shops, almost one every few metres - quite a few of them an extension of the innumerable Irani Hotels. These shops sell a variety of paans- the most popular being 'Meetha Paan', 'Ram Pyari', 'Meenakshi', etc., Offering paan is a tradition in Hyderabad.
Pubs: Although many restaurants around the city serve liquor, the pub culture is quite popular in Hyderabad. The most popular pubs include 10, Downing Street, Xtreme Sports Bar & the famed Hard Rock Café! Other famous clubs include Touch, Liquids, Bottles & Chimneys, Excess & F Cafe.
Tipping in Hyderabad:
Like elsewhere in India, in Hyderabad, it is expected to tip 10% of the total amount of the bill at restaurants, but you can tip less if the bill is inclusive of service charges. One is not expected to tip taxi drivers. But if you have a hired a cab/taxi for a long period, say a full day, then it is expected that you tip the driver a small amount. Even if it is only small notes, a small tip will be valued tremendously and accepted with a warm "Thank You".