Feeding frenzy: where and what to eat in Hyderabad’s Old City

Hyderabad’s Old City is famous for its food, and we took full advantage! Here’s where and what to eat in Hyderabad’s Old City, including an interactive map at the end. It’s based on many hours of very intense research on our part. All for you, dear readers.

 

Let’s get it straight: I freaking love food.

I can forgive you for not knowing. Though food used to be my top spending priority (Party with friends for €20? Pass. A bag of freshly baked pastries for €25? TAKE MY MONEY!), my addiction since took the backseat in favor of frugality.

A sad old kebab in Iran - Lost With Purpose

This barebones kebab in Iran is looking a bit lonely…

Before we left the Netherlands to travel, we ate a lot of chickpeas and rice to save money. On the road, our low budget often limits options to simple meals like bread and kebab. We’ve had delicious dishes in all of the countries we’ve been to, but we weren’t eating anything so amazeballs you’d want to read about it.

India’s street food scene, however, is a different story.

 

Boys loitering on the street at night in Hyderabad, India - Lost With Purpose

Night falls on Hyderabad, India’s Old City.

Died and gone to foodie heaven

To get into the mood, close your eyes and imagine this:

Piping hot dosas cooked to crispy perfection, glistening in the sun as thick white chutney overflows onto the banana leaf and newspaper below.

Glasses of icy-cold lassi filled to the brim, topped with ice cream and malai, slivers of almond and pistachio adding a slight crunch to every sweet spoonful.

Endless assortments of delicate biscuits laid out in rows, their flaky, buttery insides begging to be dipped into a steaming cup of sugary tea.

Now imagine: none of this costs more than $1.

And that’s just the tip of the culinary iceberg that is Hyderabad’s Old City.

 

The Old City of Hyderabad, India is a literal feast for budget-minded food lovers. From world famous biscuits to biryani to goat hooves, here's tips on where and what to eat in Hyderabad's Old City. Includes tips for breakfast, lunch, dinner, sweets and snacks.

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Where and what to eat in Hyderabad's Old City - Hyderabad from above in Charminar - Lost With Purpose

Welcome to the old center of Hyderabad, India.

Where and what to eat in Hyderabad’s Old City

Being a nerd, upon learning of Hyderabad’s iconic culinary status, I meticulously researched and mapped out everywhere I wanted to eat in the Old City.

I’m cool, I know.

In between avoiding bangle-laden hawkers and gingerly side-stepping motorbikes speeding around Charminar, just some of the many places to visit in Hyderabad, we ommed and nommed our way through as much of my list as we could. Crispy dosas at dawn, lassi when things got too hot, fried lukhmi as a top-me-up. We live a tough life sometimes.

Where and what to eat in Hyderabad's Old City - Fried lukhmi - Lost With Purpose

Bonding with some lukhmi, a fried pastry filled with spiced minced meat.

Whether you’re a budget traveler or not, I urge you to spend a couple of days exploring—and feeding—in Hyderabad’s Old City. I assure you, your stomach will approve, though your waistline may not. Here are our recommendations for places to eat in Hyderabad’s Old City, with an interactive map at the end. Eet smakkelijk!

Where to eat a cheap breakfast or lunch in Hyderabad’s Old City

To foreign tastebuds, Hyderabadi breakfasts might seem hearty enough to serve as a lunchtime meal, and many of these places offer both breakfast and lunch (and dinner, depending on how you roll).

 

Where and what to eat in Hyderabad's Old City - A dosa from Govind's dosa - Lost With Purpose

Hello beautiful.

Govind Ki Bandi

Toss your healthy intentions out the window, and head straight to Govind Ki Bandi. You’ll know the street stall when you see it—there will be way too many people clustered around it, all salivating while waiting to get their hands on a buttery, chutney-slathered dosa (pancake) or tawa idly (rice flour cakes). If large amounts of calories and/or butter make you uncomfortable, close your eyes while they’re making your order.

Where and what to eat in Hyderabad's Old City - Dosas on the griddle at Govind Ki Bandi - Lost With Purpose

Want some dosa with your butter?

  • Price: 50 – 80 Rs per person
  • What to eat: Dosa, of course! Try a cheese or masala dosa.

 

Ravi Bandi

Who needs clear arteries, anyway?

Rav Bandi

Stomach too empty to stand the wait at Govind’s? Head to Rav Bandi instead, across from Agra Sweets (another must-visit). The dosa and idly are just as delicious, and the wait time is much, much less. Never fear, the butter is equally as abundant as Govind’s.

Where and what to eat in Hyderabad's Old City - A fresh dosa at Rav Bandi - Lost With Purpose

  • Price: 50 – 80 Rs per person
  • What to eat: Cheese dosa or butter idly.

 

Hotel Shadab

Looking for a hearty breakfast? Hyderabad’s most famous hotel is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and its extensive menu justifies the long opening hours. It’s more expensive than the previous options, but definitely worth the extra change.

Adventurous eaters can try fluffy magaz, a traditional dish made with sheep brain. If brains are too much thinking in the morning, slow-cooked chicken or mutton nihari is the way to go.

  • Price: 150 – 250 Rs per person
  • What to eat: Nihari, magaz

 

Where to eat cheap snacks in Hyderabad’s Old City

Despite being a quintessential part of culinary exploration in India’s cities, dodging carts and shoppers and motorbikes and hawkers (and everything else) in the Old City can get tiring! To keep your tank from running on empty, be sure to take a snack stop (or three) at these sweet and savory places.

 

Where and what to eat in Hyderabad's Old City - Irani chai at Nimrah Cafe & Bakery - Lost With Purpose

What’s more Iranian than a cuppa of late night chai?

Nimrah Café & Bakery

Heard of the Parsis? They’re an ethnic group of Persians who fled to India from what is now Iran, beginning in the 8-10th century. Over the centuries they assimilated into Indian culture, but their culinary traditions, among others, are still running strong.

Most famous of all is the Irani chai, Iranian tea, brought to India by the most recent wave of immigrants from the early 20th century. The sweet, milky chai is advertised all over Hyderabad. I’m a bit curious as to the authenticity (we didn’t have a single cup of milky tea during our travels in Iran), but it’s delicious nonetheless.

Where and what to eat in Hyderabad's Old City - Irani chai at Nimrah's Cafe - Lost With Purpose

Pair your tea with some famous Osmania biscuits. Some say the biscuits were made for the patients in the hospital across the street from the café, and were so popular that people began to smuggle them out and sell them on the streets. Others say they were created for the Mir Osman Ali Khan, the last Nizam of Hyderabad. Regardless of origin, the buttery biscuits are just the right amount of sweet and salty, and are perfect for dunking in your tea.

  • Price: 20 – 50 Rs per person
  • What to eat: Irani chai, Osmania biscuits

 

Where and what to eat in Hyderabad's Old City - Matwale Doodh Ghar Lassi shop - Lost WIth Purpose

Filthy hole in the wall or luscious lassi heaven? Looks can be deceiving…

Matwale Doodh Ghar

Don’t let the shabby looks fool you—this is the holy grail of lassi shops. We’ve drank our weight in lassi across Pakistan and India, and the lassis at Matwale Doodh Ghar were by far the most incredible we’ve had to date. If you have the space for it, go for the special lassi. It’s filled with malai (a milk-based sweet), ice cream, and syrup… and yogurt, of course. Hello diabetes! What more could you need?

Where and what to eat in Hyderabad's Old City - Special lassi at Matwale Doodh Ghar - Lost With Purpose

But seriously, take my money.

  • Price: 40 – 100 Rs per person
  • What to eat: Lassi, special lassi

 

Where and what to eat in Hyderabad's Old City - Kesar pista lassi at Agra sweets - Lost With Purpose

A little bit crunchy, a lotta bit sweet, and a whole lotta love.

Agra Sweets

While we’re on the lassi bandwagon, let’s talk Agra Sweets. Though its lassis aren’t as mindblowing as Matwale Doodh Ghar, its kesar pista (saffron pistachio) lassis are damned delicious. There are also savory snack options, tea, and coffee for more spartan eaters. It’s across from Rav Bandi, so polish off your dosa with a sweet serving of lassi… and a digestive nap.

  • Price: 40 – 100 Rs per person
  • What to eat: Kesar pista lassi, paani puri

 

The Old City of Hyderabad, India is a literal feast for budget-minded food lovers. From world famous biscuits to biryani to goat hooves, here's tips on where and what to eat in Hyderabad's Old City. Includes tips for breakfast, lunch, dinner, sweets and snacks.

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Where to eat a cheap dinner in Hyderabad’s Old City

The sun has set, and you’ve (hopefully) walked up an appetite for another hearty meal! Brace yourself: dinner in Hyderabad’s Old City is rich, filling, and totally worth the discomfort.

 

Where and what to eat in Hyderabad's Old City - Hyderabadi dum biryani at Hotel Shadab - Lost With Purpose

Why yes, that is biryani and kebab wrapped in a layer of fluffy egg *swoon*

Hotel Shadab

A double appearance? For shame, I know… but this place is worth it! Dinner at Hotel Shadab is a new story entirely. It’s a great place to try Hyderabad’s famous dum biryani (one portion is big enough for two), and it has more kinds of kebab than you can shake a stick at.

Where and what to eat in Hyderabad's Old City - Sebas eating biryani at Hotel Shadab in Hyderabad, India - Lost With Purpose

  • Price: 150 – 300 Rs per person
  • What to eat: Mutton biryani, kebab, paya

 

Where and what to eat in Hyderabad's Old City - Hotel Nayaab in Hyderabad, India - Lost With Purpose

Mid-day or late night, Hotel Nayaab’s got you covered.

Hotel Nayaab

Open 24/7, this hotel is always ready to serve. Though the interior is a bit grimy (like most cheap eats in India), the food leaves nothing to be desired. You can try out yet more Hyderabadi biryani, or you can be bold and try some paya, mutton/goat hooves (yes, you can eat them!) or bheja, fried brains.

Where and what to eat in Hyderabad's Old City - Paya goat hoof in Hyderabad - Lost With Purpose

Could you foot the bill for my mutton hooves? (PUNS!)

  • Price: 100 – 250 Rs per person
  • What to eat: Biryani, paya, bheja fry, haleem (during Ramadan)

 

Where to eat cheap dessert/sweets in Hyderabad’s Old City

Ah, my favorite part of the day! These options are perfect for washing down dinner… or dosing yourself with sugar in the middle of the day. I won’t judge.

 

Where and what to eat in Hyderabad's Old City - Famous ice cream - Lost With Purpose

At least the name is straightforward.

Famous Ice Cream

Perfectly positioned in a historic little enclave, this ice cream shop has been running strong for over 50 years. Their outdoor seating is covered by a tarp to protect you from scorching rays during the day, and makes for a good place to watch people go by while your innards caramelize. Be sure to ask which flavors are in season!

Where and what to eat in Hyderabad's Old City, India - Famous ice cream options - Lost With Purpose

  • Price: 15 – 50 Rs per person
  • What to eat: Seasonal pot ice cream

 

Where and what to eat in Hyderabad, India - Towers over Bilal ice cream - Lost With Purpose

These stately towers crown one of Hyderabad’s icy, creamy jewels.

Bilal’s Ice Cream

Situated next to Famous but sans-tarp (save this for the evening hours), Bilal is another historic spot to tickle your sweet tooth. Head here in the evenings to sample their wide assortment of flavors, from custard apple to mango.

  • Price: 15 – 50 Rs per person
  • What to eat: Seasonal pot ice cream

 

Where and what to eat in Hyderabad's Old City, India - Karachi bakery biscuits - Lost With Purpose

Decisions, decisions…

Karachi Bakery

Karachi Bakery dishes out Hyderabad’s most famous biscuits. The bakery was established by a Sindhi family forced to move to Hyderabad post-partition. These days, they have multiple outlets, and their biscuits are in high demand all over India. It’s fun to stand and watch people laden with armfuls of biscuit boxes go mad inside the store.

  • Price: 200 Rs for a half-kilo box of biscuits
  • What to eat: Fruit and cashew biscuits

 

Where to stay in Hyderabad’s Old City 

There isn’t much accommodation in Hyderabad’s Old City, cheap or luxurious. A shame, since it’s a brilliant place to explore and proximity to delicious food is obviously the highest priority.

But never fear! There’s one excellent budget option to be found. Metro Lodge is right around the corner from Charminar, and at 700 Rs for a double with toilet and half decent wifi, it’s a steal. Be sure to book ahead, as it can fill up quickly due to the lack of accommodation in the area.

Best cheap place to stay in Hyderabad's Old City - Metro Lodge - Lost With Purpose

Another plus point: easy roof access! Here’s hoping Charminar isn’t covered with scaffolding when you visit.

 

Our Hyderabad bucket list

Alas, we didn’t have the time (nor the space) to try everything on the list. Here’s what I’m most excited to try next time we’re in Hyderabad:

  • Mess halls serving Andhra thalis: Sri Kanya, Harsha, Kakatiya
  • Dinner: Shah Ghouse Café and Restaurant

 

A foodie map of Hyderabad’s Old City

To aid you in your foodie quest, the map below is the one I made at the beginning of our time in Hyderabad. It includes all of the places recommended, as well as the places we’d like to visit next time.

Click the icon in the top left corner to show the places list—I organized the options by category and color, Like I said, nerd.

If you have anything we should to add to the list, let me know in the comments! I’m always open to getting the DL on food.

 

The Old City of Hyderabad, India is a literal feast for budget-minded food lovers. From world famous biscuits to biryani to goat hooves, here's tips on where and what to eat in Hyderabad's Old City. Includes tips for breakfast, lunch, dinner, sweets and snacks.

Like this? Pin it!

 

Alex Reynolds

American by birth, British by passport, Filipina by appearance. Addicted to ice cream. Enjoys climbing trees, dislikes falling out. Has great fondness for goats which is usually not reciprocated.

More about Alex Reynolds

7 thoughts on “Feeding frenzy: where and what to eat in Hyderabad’s Old City

    herren coiffure says:

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    Megan says:

    I am literally dying looking at this. I usually eat Indian food 4 to 5 nights a week at home (it’s one of the few cuisines I know how to cook) and I am based in Zadar, Croatia for a month currently without a kitchen and with no Indian food. I can’t stop thinking about it 😛 This post made it 100000x worse!!! Great photos- made me salivate 🙂

    Oh noooo! We know the struggle—there’s no kitchens in India, and though the food is gorgeous we also find ourselves wanting to make something different every once in a while (our bodies really, really need vegetables at this point). There must be decent Indian food to be found somewhere in Croatia! Or you could make friends with someone with a kitchen, and promise them Indian 😉

    Megan says:

    I totally understand that! I am more or less a vegetarian, so sometimes I make renditions of my favorite daals and curries and just throw a bunch of veggies that shouldn’t be there in them. I have that luxury when I am in Germany 😛 Didn’t so much when I was out in India though as everything was fairly traditional and did lack vegetables. Nope, no Indian food here in Zadar at all. I have searched. I think I am going to take a weekend trip to Zagreb or somewhere else to get some. I am not even joking 😀 Enjoy!

    Maybe you’ve stumbled on a gap in the market, and should start an Indian restaurant there 😉

    Barb says:

    Wow, these foods are all so delicious! I feel like going back to India to taste some of this delicious food!

    Sebastiaan says:

    We’re always down to go back for food!

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