Hari Balaji Dhaba | Restaurant Review

Place: Hari Balaji Dhaba 
Location: Lane adj. Durga temple, Opp. Gurudwara, Ameerpet
Cuisine: Indian
Meal: Take away

I was kinda bored with the same food everyday and wanted to eat something spicy. So I headed out towards Ameerpet to find good food. My first choice Dwaraka closed down recently, so I stopped by at this dhaba I once visited with my brother long ago. It’s on the first floor of a jewellery shop building bang opposite Ameerpet Gurudwara. The ambiance isn’t really great, so opted for a take away.

I ordered for Paneer Butter Masala, Masala Kulcha and Kaju Biryani. It took about 10 minutes for my parcel to be ready.


Once I unpacked everything, I found the quantity of the curry to be very good while was a little disappointed with the rice. On taste front, the Paneer Butter Masala had too much garam masala which kinda ruined the taste. The paneer too wasn’t really soft. PBM at a dhaba is a metric on how good the food is, and the one at this place was disappointing. The Kulcha was alright.

Compared to Kaju Biryani of any other place, this one was boring. The number of cashew nuts were minimal, and the masala wasn’t really that tasty. To add to that, the gravy served along was terrible.

Overall, a sad meal. But for the Kulcha, I wasn’t really happy with anything else. The price I paid wasn’t minimal either. I’d probably give this place one more shot before I put it on my no-go list.

Food: 6/10
Service: N/A
Ambiance: N/A
Meal for 1: Rs. 250/-

Verdict: 6/10

Santosh Dhaba | Restaurant Review

Place: Santosh Dhaba 
Location: Kondapur
Cuisine: Indian
Meal: Take-away

Amma and dad were travelling through Kondapur during lunch hour last week, and decided to bring some food home for lunch. Not just me, but dad also likes the food at Santosh Dhaba (Abids), so from the abundant choices in and around Kondapur, they chose this one.

They ordered for Malai Kofta, Kaju Biryani and Butter Naan. Apparently, the order took longer than usual (for Santosh Dhaba standards), and they had to wait for about 15 minutes for the food to be packed.


Unpacking the contents, the food looked yum. The Malai Kofta was delicious, with a couple of well cooked kofta balls. The gravy was thick and had a nice flavor. I was dreading the Butter Naan to have become rubbery, but it turned out to be pretty soft. The best dish of the meal though was the amazing Kaju Biryani. Full of cashew nuts, this was one of the best biryani I’ve had in recent times. Not too spicy, rice full of flavor, yummilicious! The gravy served along was equally good as well.

Overall, an excellent meal. Because of their oily food, I’ve been avoiding Santosh Dhaba of recent. Yes, their food is oily and greasy, but is usually delicious too, and the quantity is sumptuous. It’s a must try for any Punjabi food loving vegetarian. Try them out (any of the six locations in town) if you haven’t yet, and lemme know what you think 🙂

Food: 9/10
Service: N/A
Ambiance: N/A
Meal for 2: Rs. 235/-

Verdict: 8.5/10

Swathi Tiffins | Restaurant Review

Place: Swati Tiffin Center 
Location:  Behind the bus stand, Mehdipatnam.
Cuisine: Tiffins and Indian
Meal: Take-away

I last reviewed this place 3 years ago (review). Since then, a lot has changed in Hyderabad. But there are still a few places which serve pretty good food at reasonable prices, and Swathi remains one of them. Was passing by Mehdipatnam last week, and decided to pack some yummy food.

I ordered a Kaju Masala, Butter Naan and Vegetable Biryani. It took forever for the food to be packed and I was starting to get restless while my food was finally ready.


The Kaju Masala looked yum and tasted pretty good. Though the gravy was thick and full of cashew, it was very spicy. Even with the best Butter Naan in Hyderabad, it was hot! And ya, theirs is definitely the best Butter Naan in town without a doubt; in layers, oozing butter, and as thin as a Roomali roti.


Their Biryani used to be pretty good and I was hoping that it’d be the same. Stuffed with curry under the rice, it’s similar to Bombay style Biryani. While it still tasted good even this time around, it also was pretty spicy. Looks like the chef was trying to get rid of all the chilli in the kitchen.

Overall a decent meal, but for the spice. Both the Kaju Masala and Biryani would have been excellent if they had gone easy on the chilli. The service, while I was waiting for my food, seemed bad with waiters getting into arguments with customers. The place always had mediocre ambiance and it hasn’t improved over time. So opt for an take-away. Give it a shot if you haven’t already, and make sure you ask your food to be less spicy.

Food: 7.5/10
Ambience: N/A
Service: N/A
Meal for 2: Rs. 230/-

Verdict: 7.5/10


Place: Swati Tiffin Center
Location: Opp. Yashoda Hospital, Raj Bhavan Road
Cuisine: Tiffins and Indian
Meal: Take-away

A couple of days later, happened to pass by Raj Bhavan road and decided to pack some dinner for me and amma. This place looks almost similar to the one at Mehdipatnam (almost all Swathi’s look the same), and has small seating area in the basement. Ambiance is also very similar, a basic tiffin center.

I ordered the same food as a couple of days ago, mainly to compare tastes: Kaju Masala, Butter Naan and Special Vegetable Biryani. The food was prepared pretty quick, and I was on my way home in about 10 minutes.


The Kaju Masala looked a little different from the one at the other place, and was much less in quantity. The gravy was pretty tasty but apart from cashew, it was full of finely chopped capsicum pieces (I hate it when restaurants do that for I hate capsicum, and I had to pick them out before I hogged). The Naan was decent, but not the best.

There was nothing so special about the vegetable biryani, but it was decent nevertheless. It actually tasted yum with the gravy served along.

Overall a decent meal. Both the restaurants had different tastes, and had their own merits. The best part of Swathi is the pocket friendly prices. The taste too is pretty good, and so is the quantity. They might not be fine dine restaurants, but do give the take-away a try.

Food: 8/10
Ambience: N/A
Service: N/A
Meal for 2: Rs. 205/-

Verdict: 8/10

Papa Johns | Restaurant Review

Place: Papa Johns 
Location: Banjara Hills
Cuisine: Pizza
Meal: Take Away

After my terrible experience at Papa Johns the last time around (review), I was tempted to order a pizza for delivery on a weekday afternoon, thanks to their flyer in the news paper. Their new Fajita Pizza in medium size was being offered at the price of regular. I called in and asked for the same, along with a portion of Cheese Sticks and extra Garlic sauce. As promised, the pizza was delivered in around 30 minutes.


The Cheese Sticks, though a little too dry for my liking, tasted yum with the garlic cause (the size of which has also been reduced). On pizza front, the Fajita Pizza came with sweet corn, onions, green peppers (which I replaced with olives), mushroom, jalapenos, fajita seasoning and sauce. Though it looked colorful, I thought the pizza looked small for medium size. The base was good, and the veggies were crunchy, and it tasted alright but I would have preferred it to be a little more cheesy, with more mushrooms and onions, and may be a bit spicy. For something Mexican, the pizza didn’t taste like one.

Overall, a decent pizza, but not something I would have bought for 400 bucks (I ordered only because of the offer). The Cheese Sticks were good, and the Garlic sauce was finger licking good. I don’t think I’ll ever walk into a Papa John store again, but ordering when they have some offers isn’t a bad idea.

Food: 7.5/10
Service: N/A
Ambience: N/A
Meal for 2: Rs. 394/-

Verdict: 7.5/10

Lazzio -The Pizzeria | Restaurant Review

Place: Lazzio – The Pizzeria 
Location: Adj. Maharaja Chaat, Kavuri Hills
Cuisine: Pizza
Meal: Dinner

Met a friend for a cup of coffee at My Cafe Latte last week, and on parting ways, I decided to give this new pizza place a try on my way back home. Brightly lit, the place is in the building right next to Maharaja Chaat. It was past 10:00 PM when I walked in, and was cheerfully greeted by the owner Tejas. There were a couple of tables in the interior, and another couple on the exterior, and the pizzeria had decent ambiance.

I ordered a Khumb Delight Pizza (minus capsicum, plus olives) for take away. The pizza was ready in about 10 minutes, and Tejas suggested I reheat the pizza at home if necessary for it was packed in a cardboard box.


I dug into the pizza immediately after reaching home without re-heating, and boy was it good. The tomato base had an amazing flavor to it, while the thin base was a bit thicker than I expected, but no qualms for it actually tasted good. The cheese was gooey, and the veggies crunchy. I absolutely loved the pizza, especially for its sauce.

For 100 bucks, though the pizza is quite a steal, I thought it was kinda small (at least when I compare it to the ones served at Viva Italia, which are also priced around the same). Nevertheless, I was very satisfied with the pizza. After Viva Italia, this is one pizzeria everyone needs to visit!

Food: 9/10
Service: 8.5/10
Ambiance: 8/10
Meal for 1: Rs. 100/-

Verdict: 9/10

Crystal Restaurant | Restaurant Review

Place: Crystal Restaurant and Bar 
Location: RTC Cross Roads 
Cuisine: Indian 
Meal: Takeaway

I’ve tasted Veg. Biryani at quite a few places in Hyderabad but there are very few joints I’d return to just for the Biryani. Crystal happens to be one of them. While I’ve visited the vegetarian restaurant on the first floor a couple of times, it was not until we ordered a takeaway one day that we realized that the kitchens for the vegetarian restaurant and the takeaway counter are different, and the food at the takeaway counter is much better than the restaurant. Unsurprisingly, the takeaway counter is always packed in the evenings.

On this particular evening, here I was to pick up some Biryani, Kaju Paneer Masala and a Masala Kulcha. In about 10 minutes, my order was ready and I was on my way home.


The Kaju Masala curry turned out to be rich and tasty, with lots of cashew nuts and fresh paneer. I would have preferred the gravy to be more spicy, but no qualms. The Masala Kulcha looked dry, but was actually pretty tasty.

The Veg. Biryani was a no frill affair – simple yet flavourful. It had chunks of well cooked vegetables, was light and aromatic. It’s tough to pick a favorite between this and the Handi Biryani you get at Dwaraka. I guess both are yum in their own way.

The quantity of both the items was sumptuous, and for the price I paid, it was quite a meal (They actually served as two meals). If you’re a vegetarian, I’d suggest you try their Biryani for sure.

Food: 8.5/10
Service: NA
Ambience: NA
Meal for 1: Rs. 350/-

Verdict: 8.5/10

Chopsticks | Restaurant Review

Place: Chopsticks 
Location: Srinagar Colony Main Road 
Cuisine: Chinese 
Meal: Dinner

About 8 months ago, I stated Chopsticks as one of my favorite Chinese restaurants in the Nanking review. I’ve been to this place quite often since then, but never got a chance to write a review. So this time around, I visited this place exclusively for the review.

Chopsticks is a small place on the Srinagar Colony Main road, towards Panjagutta. It used to be a bandi type place in a shop long ago, but now is extended. Its difficult to tag it as a restaurant. The place is pretty cramped up and not really well maintained. It has an open kitchen, so the smoke fills the room when stuff’s being cooked. So I mostly avoid sitting and eating here, and usually go for take-away. Though the place has no great ambiance, it is always packed. During the peak hours, especially during the weekend, the wait time, be it for parcel or at the table, could be one hour.

I usually order a Veg. Manchuria and Noodles to go, but today wanted to try something different, and so ordered Veg. 65, Singapore Noodles and Shanghai Fried Rice. It took about 40 minutes before I was on my way home with the food.

The major problem with Chopsticks is the quantity of the food. Since there is so much rush, everything is made so fast that they don’t pay attention to how much they are packing. Thanks to the rush and the hurry, there is also a possiblity (more of my fear) that you might get what you didn’t order for, though thankfully it has never happened so far with me.

Quantity of the Singapore Noodles was alright (they used to serve a lot more before). It tasted yum. There are times when it is are made too spicy, but today it was just perfect. Only problem was that there were bunch of unseparated noodles, and the Singapore masala was not well mixed. But otherwise, I loved it.

Veg. 65 looked and tasted more like Veg. Manchuria, but still it tasted good. There was lots of green chilly which gave the dish a nice flavor. The dumplings were well cooked well, though there were a couple of hard ones. Neverthless, happy again.

I’ve never liked these guy’s Fried Rice. I think it tastes too bland. So, decided to try something different, the Shanghai Fried Rice. It was more of the regular Friend Rice, with some red chillies, chilli paste and some extra pre-cooked veggies. The chilli paste gave it a nice flavor and made it tasty.

Overall, an excellent meal. Everything tasted delicious, and for the price I paid, I was very happy. The quantity is still on the good side, for I was able to have two sumptuous meal (dinner and lunch the next day). Apart from what I had today, their Sweet-Corn Soup is something I love. They also serve some good non-veg dishes. I wouldn’t suggest you having a meal sitting at the restaurant, but if you are patient enough to wait for a while, go get yourself some yummy Chinese food.

Food: 9/10
Service: NA
Ambiance: NA
Meal for 1: Rs. 180/-

Verdict: 9/10

Anand Sagar | Restaurant Review

Place: Anand Sagar 
Location: Dharam Karam Road, Ameerpet 
Cuisine: Indian 
Meal: Dinner (with a friend) / Take Away

First Meal: Dinner

Me and my friend were’t really hungry and wanted to eat something light. I remembered this small dhaba I once saw on DK Road in Ameerpet and decided to give it a try. It’s a small joint, something similar to an Irani cafe. At about 10:00 PM, the place was pretty much empty. The place didn’t look so clean, but we decided to give it a shot anyways.

The menu looked quite similar to the ones I saw in Mumbai. They serve everything, right from Chaat to Pav Bhaji, Burgers, Pizzas, to Noodles and Fried Rice apart from their North-Indian dishes. The best part is that they offer full or single of almost every dish, which is perfect if you’re visiting alone, or if you want to try out different items. This day, we ordered a full of Kaju Paneer Masala and Aloo Paratha. We wanted to try Stuffed Kulcha, but they were done for the day.


The curry was served within minutes of order, even before the parathas were served. The quantity looked pretty alright and the curry tasted good. The paneer though was’t so fresh. The masala was more of regular kurma, with kaju and paneer in it to make it Kaju Paneer Masala.


The Aloo Paratha was excellent. Its one of the best paratha I have eaten outside, and reminded me of the ones my Didi makes. They were pretty huge, and the stuffing was excellent. I felt that it had a little more lime juice in it than required, but still good. They actually didn’t need a curry to be eaten with. With some dahi, they would have been perfect.

We were pretty much stuffed with a single paratha each, but we ordered a Tandoori roti to finish the curry. It was huge, soft and really good as well.


Though I am on a diet, I couldn’t stop the temptation, and so ordered a special dry fruit Lassi. It had chunks of malai in it and was yummy.

Overall, a pretty decent meal for the price we paid. Though we ordered a full curry, we were charged for half (I don’t know whether if it was a mistake or if what we were served was really a half). The ambiance and the place is not so great, but with the food they serve, you might want to try this place.

Food: 8.5/10
Service: 7/10
Ambiance: 5/10
Meal for 2: Rs. 145/-

Verdict: 8/10

Second Meal: Take-away

Not satisfied with the place, I returned the very next day to order some take away for dinner (Another reason for coming back was that I forgot the name of the place :P). I was promptly greeted by the server who attended our table the previous night. I asked him for suggestions with curries, and he was suggesting exactly the opposite of what I was looking for.

Finally, I ordered a half of Malai Kofta, half of Kaju Paneer with Fried Rice (combo) and two Tandoori Rotis. It took about ten minutes, and I was away with my order.

I came home and was surprised to find plain gravy in the place of Kaju Paneer. I was actually cursing him for serving me something like that. Quantity of the gravy served was also quite less. The Malai Kofta’s quantity was alright, and it had quite a few chunks of paneer in it apart from the koftas. It tasted good, quite similar to the gravy last night, but the koftas were kinda hard. (I am tired of places serving hard koftas!!). The Tandoori Rotis became cold, and were saggy.

Next I open the rice packet hoping to find Fried Rice, but instead I find Kaju Jeera Rice. That’s when I realized that the waiter mistook my order and parceled Kaju Jeera Rice instead of Kaju Paneer with Fried Rice, and that is why there were no kaju or paneer in the gravy. The Jeera Rice was alright, the basic stuff, with chunks of Kaju in it (not a lot though).

I so wanted to have Biryani (they apparently are famous for their Dum Biryani), but ended up having Jeera Rice. Anyways, a decent meal. There was more than half of the Kofta curry left at the end of my meal. My excitement to retry this place within the span of a day though was totaled. I was hoping for an excellent meal, but was only partly satisfied.

Food: 7.5/10
Service: 5/10
Ambiance: NA
Meal for 2: Rs. 125/-

Verdict: 7.5/10

Just Parantha | Restaurant Review

Place: Just Parantha 
Location: Rd. No. 12, Banjara Hills, further to Santhosh Dhaba 
Cuisine: Punjabi 
Meal: Takeaway

I saw this place once while travelling on Rd. No. 12 and wanted to try it ever since. So here I was to pick up dinner one night. It’s a small joint, something similar to a pan dabba to look at. Its got a couple of chairs laid outside to sit and eat at the place. It serves a wide variety of paranthas and Punjabi curries.

I ordered Pyaaz, Gobi, Aloo Meethi and a special paranthas. I wanted to order Paneer Masala, but they were out of that. I ordered a Shahi Paneer to go along. I wanted to order Pulao, but they were done with that as well. I also ordered a couple of Phulkas. It took a while for him to prepare all of these. He had customers pouring in. Roaring business. He gave some pudina chutney along with the paranthas. I also took a Punjabi Badam milk bottle.

The paranthas were absolutely delicious. The special parantha was the best of the lot, Pyaaz was excellent. I was not so happy with the Gobi initially, but it was really good. I dint taste the Aloo Meethi, but I suppose it was good. The Phulkas were soft and fluffy. The Shahi Paneer was alright. It was a little sour, and wasnt fresh. I figured that all the subjis were precooked. The pudina chutney wasnt so good either.

The best part of my meal though was the Badam milk. It tasted like little drops of heaven. It was really creamy, full of cut badam pieces. It wasnt too sweet either, which made it taste perfect.

On the whole, a very decent place. It was an easy on the pocket meal. The paranthas were very reasonably priced at 20 bucks a piece (except the special which was 30).  The subji was 70 bucks. The size of the parantha was pretty good as well.

I would definitely recommend this place to anyone who’s looking for a good meal. Don’t forget to try their badam milk.

Food: 8/10
Ambiance: NA
Service: NA
Meal for 3: Rs. 185/-

Verdict: 8.5/10