Biryani is a classic Indian delicacy that obviously, needs no introduction. It’s a piping hot bowl of deliciously cooked rice with vegetables, meat and spices that fill our heart with immense joy. In fact, its aroma is enough to turn our day around and pep up our blues! But this happiness comes in different forms for different people. While I may prefer the tanginess of kadi patta and the spiciness of Chicken 65 found in a Hyderabadi Biryani more irresistible, some may find the flavours of a Lucknowi Biryani more satisfying. The third, most unique style is the Kolkata Biryani which is not just a simple dish to eat - but an emotion worth experiencing by everybody, at least once in their lives.
Ask a Bengali what makes their Kolkata biryani so incomparable and they’ll tell you the secret lies in the amalgamation of soft boiled eggs, mildly spiced potatoes and the richness of authentic, Bengali spices with rice. And that makes all the difference! Inspired by the Mughlai and Awadhi style of cooking, every element of a Kolkata biryani is prepared individually in mustard oil and then mixed together to render its unique taste. So, if you wish to indulge in this heavenly goodness, here are 10 places in Kolkata that’ll serve you the best of its kind!
The first stop on your search for the best biryani in Kolkata has to be Aminia. Located in the heart of the city, this simple-looking restaurant serves the best kind of Bengali biryani. It's so delicious that it will have you travelling back to Kolkata again and again. Their biryani is accompanied by a side of rezala, a finger-licking curry which is made of coconut, yoghurt and a cashew nut paste. Once you taste it, your biryani would always feel incomplete without this delectable accompaniment. Their meals are also pocket-friendly, not too oily and without any artificial colours or flavours. So, doesn’t this place seem worth a visit?
Address: 6A, SN Banerjee Road, New Market Area, Dharmatala, Taltala, Kolkata, West Bengal - 700 087
Contact: 033 2265 1318
Must-Have: Mutton Biryani, Chicken Biryani, Mutton Rezala, Chicken Rezala
Serving the most authentic Mughlai food in Kolkata, the aroma of this restaurant (which you can easily smell from a mile away) is enough to drag you inside for an amazing dining experience. What started as a small joint on Park Circus, today has at least 8 branches across the city. If you enter this restaurant, you wouldn’t be able to find a single table without a plate of Biryani.
Address: 28, Circus Ave, Lower Range, Beck Bagan, Ballygunge, Kolkata, West Bengal - 700 017
Contact: 033 2290 0487
Must-Have: Arsalan’s Special Biryani, Arsalan’s Special Cheese Kebab, Mutton/Chicken Biryani and Chicken Korma
If you’re the kind of person who prefers their biryani to be hot and spicy - Zeeshan Mughlai will offer you the spiciest one in the city. Their portions are enough to fill your tummy without burning a hole in your pocket. The rice is served with a generous quantity of chunky pieces of meat. Try their juicy and flavourful, reshmi kebabs with the biryani. And we bet that before you even know it, you’d find yourself ordering another plate of the same without any hesitation. So, don’t forget to indulge in this not-so-guilty pleasure whenever you’re in Kolkata!
Address: 17, Syed Amir Ali Ave, Park Circus, Ballygunge, Kolkata, West Bengal - 700 017
Contact: 033 2280 6842
Must-Have: Mutton Biryani, Chicken Biryani, Reshmi Kebabs
Nizams was known as the best place for Kathi rolls initially, today this name is synonymous across the whole country for all its delectable meaty, delicacies. Although their Kathi rolls are a classic, you can’t leave the restaurant without trying their authentic biryani. According to the locals, it’s best enjoyed with a side of spicy, kebabs or chaap. You might have to wait for a while before you get a table though, the restaurant is always buzzing.
Address: 23 - 24, Hogg Street, Near Axis Bank ATM, New Market Area, Dharmatala, Taltala, Kolkata, West Bengal - 700 087
Contact: 98361 94669
Must-Have: Chicken Biryani, Beef Biryani, Kathi Rolls, Mutton Kebabs
Run by Nawab Wajid Ali Shah’s great-granddaughter, Begum Manzilat Fatima, this cosy, rooftop joint serves the kind of biryanis and kebabs that will leave you craving for more. The unmatched flavours of their meals are a result of secret recipes and personalised ways of cooking, passed down through generations of the Nawab’s family. Made with 100% pure ghee and infused with potatoes and soft boiled eggs, their biryanis are only made on order. The rezala that they serve it with is like an icing on top of the cake and totally worth trying!
Address: Rubi Enterprise, Plot 1, Phase 3, Kasba Industrial Estate, Anandapur, East Kolkata Township, Kolkata, West Bengal - 700 107
Contact: 94329 13204
Must-Have: Mutton Biryani, Pasinda Kebab, Chicken Boti Kebab, Beef Boti Kebab
As far as the most authentic ‘Kolkata biryani’ is concerned, the one served in Shiraz is undoubtedly, the best. As one of the oldest food joints in the city, it happens to be the locals’ favourite for years who till date, find themselves drooling over their lip-smacking dishes. In fact, it's hard to find people in Kolkata who have not have tasted the biryani here. If you’re visiting Kolkatta for the first time you absolutely must try the unique Bengali biryani served here. Order some chaap or pasinda on the side too.
Address: 135, Park Street, Behind Neuro Science Hospital, Beniapukur, Kolkata, West Bengal - 700 014
Contact: 033 2286 6806
Must-Have: Chicken Biryani, Chicken Chaap, Mutton Kebabs, Shahi Tukda
This Awadhi themed restaurant might not have been as old as the others on the block but their food is certainly gold. No wonder it took them only two years to win the hearts of all the locals. It might be a tad more expensive than others but their beautiful ambience, exquisite presentation and the experience of indulging in culinary delights, especially their delicious romance of potatoes, eggs and meat with aromatic rice will tell you that it's worth every penny.
Address: 23/B, Deshapriya Park, Near Carmel Primary School, Kolkata, West Bengal - 700 026
Contact: 76040 35765
Must-Have: Awadhi Handi Biryani, Moti Biryani, Raan Biryani, Murgh Rezala, Galouti Kebab
This quaint little joint is considered as a ‘paradise for biryani’ in the south-western part of Kolkata. With pocket-friendly prices and generous quantities, it not only serves Mughlai delicacies but North Indian and Chinese specialities too. But the biryani of this eatery has a fan base of its own and according to them, no place serves it with quality and quantity as incredible as this one!
Address: 26, JBS Haldane Ave, Lower Range, Park Circus, Ballygunge, Kolkata, West Bengal - 700 017
Contact: 90388 88786
Must-Have: Chicken/Mutton Biryani, Chicken Tikka Lababdar, Fish Tikka Kebab, Cheese Naan
If your first love (and preference) in food is always mutton, you can’t leave the city without trying the signature Mutton Biryani and other mutton delicacies of Rahmania. Their combination of perfectly, balanced spices with potatoes and eggs in biryani with a side of rezala and kebabs, being crisp on the outside and juicy from the inside, are enough to drive you crazy. This, along with other lip-smacking dishes in their menu make them a pioneer of Mughlai food in Kolkata.
Address: 56, Mullick Bazar, AJC Bose Road, Park Circus, Kolkata, West Bengal - 700 017
Contact: 84430 84431
Must-Have: Mutton Biryani, Mutton Rezala, Haleem, Firni
If you have been craving a hearty meal of Beef Biryani with some bhuna masala, then Zam Zam is the best place to go in Kolkata. For all the non-beef lovers, their chicken or mutton biryani and other delicacies won’t disappoint you either. But what’s bound to further surprise you is their incredibly delicious, yoghurt-based drink called burhaani which is mostly served as a palate cleanser or a digestive aid after a wholesome meal to end your delicious experience on a perfect note. Looks like they take care of every single one of our cravings, don’t you think?
Address: 9/1, Noor Ali Lane, Behind Frank Anthony Public School, Entally, Kolkata, West Bengal - 700 014
Contact: 98311 06252
Must-Have: Beef Biryani, Beef Bhuna, Chicken Biryani, Mutton Kashmeera, Firni
So, when are you planning to go for a Biryani tour to Kolkata? *wink*
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