If you are a Biryani aficionado (who isn’t!), you would know what a plate of fragrant rice cooked with succulent meat and aromatic herbs can do to the senses. Although there is no particular place in India that could be pointed as the birthplace of this tasty rice dish, it is most traditionally associated with Hyderabadi cuisine of South India, Mughlai cuisine of Delhi and Awadhi cuisine of Lucknow. Each has its unique ingredients, flavours and styles of cooking. We, at Skyscanner, have sifted through the chaff to bring you the best Biryani India has to offer.
Best places for Biryani in Lucknow
1. Lalla’s Biryani: Lucknow’s biryani is all about the perfect seasoning of the rice and the great precision in tenderising and cooking the meat to perfection. Lalla’s Biryani at Chowpattian Chowk, is where you should be heading towards if you want to lay your hands on a colourful plate of piping hot Biryani. Be assured, the smiles post the meal are inevitable. Lallaji, the owner of this food joint is the driving force behind the success of the flavoursome biryani served here. A meal for two approximately costs 250 INR.
2. Wahid’s Biryani: Located in Aminabad’s market area of Lucknow, Wahid’s Biryani is the place to indulge in the authentic Awadhi flavours that sing melodiously from the tender chunks of well cooked succulent meat sitting amidst the perfectly seasoned rice. Besides the biryani and the complimentary salads, chutneys and raitas, tunday kebabs and seekh kebabs are also some of the other delicacies served here. A meal for two, here is approximately about 200 INR.
Best places for Biryani in Hyderabad
The much talked about Hydrabadi Biryani unlike its Awadhi counterpart is made from Kachha gosht or raw meat. Also, the meat and the rice are not seared before cooking. The meat is usually marinated in traditional spices for 4-5 hours before it is added to the Handi on heat. Over this, the rice with spiced yogurt is added. Here, both the meat and the rice are slow cooked together in the juices of the meat that is loaded with spices and the Handi is sealed with a dough seal which is also known as dum.
3. Hotel Shadab: One of the old and most popular hotels serving authentic Hyderabadi Biryani and the famous Hyderabadi haleem is located near Charminar, in the Madina district of Telangana. What this restaurant lacks in its ambience, it totally makes up with its dishes as it delivers an impeccably royal Hyderabadi cuisine. Besides the paya, shirmal, Bheja fry, kheema, gurda bhaji, the chicken and the mutton biryani are spot on and are worth every penny you spend here. The biryani amount is huge and the pieces of meat are generous and very tender. A meal for two, here costs approximately about 850 INR.
4. Bawarchi: Located at RTC Cross Roads and opposite Sandhya Theatre at Chikkadapalli in Hyderabad, this restaurant gives you chicken and mutton biryani jam packed with traditional Hyderabadi flavours. Having had the prestige of being inaugurated by Bollywood actor, Sunil Shetty, this restaurant has been in business since 1994. Bawarchi boasts of a special chicken biryani that has meat cooked deliciously with a roast on the outside and is absolutely tender and juicy from the inside. A meal for two costs approximately about 600 INR.
Best places for Biryani in Mumbai
Bombay or Mumbai’s biryani took its indigenous form here itself. The meat is marinated in basic spices and is further packed with flavours derived from adding coriander, mint, plums, lemon juice and kewra juice (the juice extract of pandanus flowers). Bombay biryani also contains fried potatoes.
5. Lucky’s Restaurant: Located at SV Road near Bandra Station, this is the place a Biryani lover should not miss for anything in this world. Their chicken and mutton biryani are packed with luscious flavours of the meat and are truly to die for. Other than biryani, Paya soup, Bheja masala fry and Mutton Afghani are also famous delicacies served here. A meal for two approximately costs about 800 INR.
6. Persian Durbar: Established in the year 1976 in Byculla East, this restaurant has been serving phenomenal mutton and chicken biryani that sure leaves a pleasant taste in the palate that is pleasant enough to linger for more than a day’s meals. Their traditional caramel custard and firni must not be missed either if you are a dessert person too! A meal for two costs approximately about 900 INR.
Best places for Biryani in Delhi
It was during the era of Mughal Empire, when Biryani attained the status of a delicate and complex dish as Queen Mumtaz (wife of Emperor Shah Jahan) came up with the idea of serving a nutritious diet of both rice and meat to improve the health of undernourished soldiers. Essentially, the name biryani itself contains the word – ‘birian’ which means ‘fried before cooking’ in Persian. The rice after being washed thoroughly was fried in butter or ghee before it was cooked in boiling water. This frying added a nutty flavour to the rice and also ensured that the rice grains retained their shape after cooking. The well marinated and spiced up meat was either cooked with the rice or separately. One can say that this was the first, of all kinds of Biryani in India.
7. Nasir Iqbal: Situated in Nizamuddin Basti of Delhi, this blue tiled restaurant serves scrumptious mutton biryani that is packed with flavours of green chillies, generous chunks of juicy meat and rice. Most of the mughlai biryanis are served in traditional steel brass pots with Mirchi ka salan and fresh raita. The spicy food lovers can find no greater Biryani paradise than Nasir Iqbal’s. A meal for two costs approximately about 500 INR.
8. Al – Jawahar, Old Delhi: At Al–Jawahar which is located near Jama Masjid in the old Delhi pocket, the biryani is served with mutton Korma and raita as well. A meal for two here costs approximately about 700 INR. And then, there is the Firni, the perfect end to the biryani tales that is one of the delicious Mughlai versions of tasty rice custard that should not be missed!
9. Karim: In the narrow alleys of Old Delhi in Jama Masjid area, stands out one of the oldest culinary joints of India –Karim. Started in 1913 by Haji Karimuddin, this restaurant serves one of the royal Mughlai Biryanis of India and has been ranked by the Time Magazine as one of the best non vegetarian restaurants in Asia. A meal here costs approximately about 800 INR.
Best places for Biryani in Chennai
In 1957 Nagasamy Naidu and his wife invented their own biryani recipe that gave a good competition to the other biryanis. His traditional South Indian Biryani had succulent pieces of lamb meat seasoned with black pepper instead of red chilli powder. And, instead of the regular basmati rice that usually is used in Biryani, he used locally available variety – the Seeragasamba rice or, Parakkum sittu which has a flavour of its own. No wonder, the flavours galore as a visit to Dindigul Thalapakatti restaurant speaks enough for itself through its food.
10. Dindigul Thalapakatti: People visiting Chennai must not miss Dindigul Thalapakatti’s Biryani for the world. Founded in 1957 by Nagasamy Naidu, this restaurant serves a traditional South Indian Biryani with succulent pieces of meat seasoned with black pepper instead of red chilli powder. In the initial recipe that was invented by Mr. Naidu, he used a special type of rice available locally in South – the Seeragasamba rice or, Parakkum sittu. This restaurant’s aromatic Biryani is bang on and is totally worth the money spent. Dindigul Thalapakatti is located in the Seven Wells Street, St. Thomas Mount, Chennai. One can get in touch with the restaurant at 044 – 43519471. A meal for two costs approximately about 700 INR.
Best places for Biryani in Kolkata
Kolkata’s biryani derives its flavours from both Mughlai and Awadhi cuisines. The spicy yogurt marinade used for tenderizing meat contains nutmeg, mace, cardamom, cinnamon and cloves. The rice that is cooked separately is flavoured with rose and saffron water for the gorgeous yellow color and the sweet scent. Kolkata’s biryani also contains potatoes like Mumbai’s biryani.
11. Nizam’s: Kolkata’s biryani recipe is a blend of both Mughlai and Awadhi styles of cooking Biryani and has transformed the result into a perfect blend of spices, meat and rice that are sans the greasy oil and a lot of colours. However, the taste of Kolkata’s biryani is absolutely delicious and is worth coming back for, again and again. A meal for two costs approximately about 600 INR.