Ramadan foods in India: the best of Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai & Hyderabad

Ramadan is one of the holiest periods in the Islamic calendar. Beginning with the sighting of the crescent moon, it sees Muslims across the world spend one month in austerity, focusing on prayer, fasting (roza), charity and self-reflection, and celebrates the time Prophet Muhammad received the initial revelations of the Quran from Allah. 

This year, Ramadan in India is expected to begin from April 14 and last till the sighting of the next crescent moon, which should be around May 13. Fasting has already begun in Kerala, where the crescent moon was sighted yesterday evening. 

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One of the most well-known and tangible aspects of Ramadan is the pre-dawn meal (suhoor) and the post-fast feast (iftar). Observing Muslims normally choose nutritious meals for suhoor, so that they have enough energy for the day’s activities. The iftar meal, on the other hand, can be a more indulgent affair, and sees people from many communities joining in to try an array of delicious grub.

While dining out may be difficult this year due to COVID-19 restrictions, home delivery and takeaway options are open. Keeping that in mind, here are some classic Ramadan food restaurants in Hyderabad, New Delhi, Chennai and Mumbai:

Iftar picks in Hyderabad

Evening at Charminar in Hyderabad on December 26,2018

Hotel Shadab: It wouldn’t be wrong to write ‘H’ for haleem and ‘H’ for Hyderabad. And if we are talking of haleem, that heavenly mix of usually lamb and wheat, a delicacy best saved only for Ramadan, it’ll be justified to speak of Hotel Shadab. This small eatery boasts of two floors now, and is also famous for its biryani, khubani ka meetha (apricot dessert), sheermal (saffron flavoured flatbread), and Pakistani chicken curry. 

Address: Madina Circle, High Court Road,  Ghansi Bazaar, Hyderabad 500012

Phone: 040-24561648

Pista House: Standing up to its name, Pista House is one of the best places to get desserts. Lend a perfect finish to your Ramadan feasts here, with the most unforgettable khubani ka meetha you would have ever tasted. And if you still are craving for some more haleem, don’t forget that Pista House won a GI-tag for it, officially making it one of the most authentic places to grab a bowl! 

Address: Charminar Road, Shalibanda Road, Hyderabad 500002

Phone: +91-9396500786 

4 Seasons: Fresh, soft, garlic naan. Almond and saffron kheer. Biryani. And, of course, haleem. Four Seasons is where you get the best of all worlds. Different from the famous hotel chain of the same name, this one is a hit with one and all. Tuck into all that you can!

Address: Yousuf Tekri Food Court Complex, Toli Chowki, Hyderabad 500008

Ramadan food in Delhi

Birds fly over the courtyard of the Jama Masjid in Delhi

Karim’s: Okay. We know you’ve heard quite a lot about this one. But has that decreased your love for Karim’s and their hot, hot biryani, qorma, firni and kebabs? The fan following for this place spans generations, and rightly so. While the restaurant has over 10 branches, the most historic outlet is the one beside the Jama Masjid, which opened in 1913. 

Address: Urdu Bazaar Road, near Jama Masjid Gate 1, Gali Bhairo Wali, New Delhi 110006

Phone: 011-23264981

Haaji Noora Nihari: Best nihari in the city—a title that doesn’t come easy! Nihari is a slow-cooked stew made of beef or goat meat, prepared after some 6-8 hours of constant cooking, and this small restaurant packs in a punch like no other. Wipe your plate clean with some soft khameeri roti for a satisfying meal. 

Address: Barahindu Roa Road, Gali Umrao, Pahari Dhiraj, Sadar Bazaar, Delhi 110006

Phone: +91-9953522481

Sangam Kabab Corner: Previously known as Ustaad Moinuddin Kebabs, this is a no-frills joint serving the juiciest, most melt-in-your-mouth seekh kebabs in Delhi. Prices were as low as Rs 15 before the pandemic, and you should still be able to grab a filling number of kebabs for as little as Rs 100.  

Address: Gali Kasim Khan, Ballimaran Road, Chandni Chowk, Delhi 110006

Phone: +91-9312045681

Chennai’s Ramadan iftar

View from the lighthouse over Chennai and Marina Beach, India

Palmshore Restaurant: Introducing a special iftar menu every year, Palmshore’s mutton samosa, dum biryani, and khubani ka meetha are held in high regard, while their usual seafood and grill items offer a little something extra. They have six branches in the city, and all their addresses and contact details can be found on palmshore.in

Fisherman’s Fare: Famous Ramadan specialties here include chicken bhuna, mutton and chicken haleem, lukhmi (a type of keema samosa), kanji, pakoras and more. The restaurant launched a decadent ‘Royal Iftar Box’ in 2020, and we’re excited to see what comes up next!

Address: Casa Major Road, Sulaiman Zackria Avenue, Egmore, Chennai 60008

Phone no: +91-4442068776, +91-4428194840

Abid’s: Patthar ka gosht, mutton haleem, biriyani, keema samosa, and several other Mughlai delicacies can be found at Abid’s. The menu also includes specialties from Hyderabad, Kerala and Mangaluru, deliciously taking your iftar meal across state lines. Don’t forget to see their family combos! 

Address: School Road, Sulaiman Zackria Avenue, Chetpet, Chennai 600031

Phone: +91-9841284703

Top iftar joints in Mumbai

Mumbai (Hiranandani) city skyline at night

Noor Mohammadi Hotel: Must-haves at this legendary restaurant include shammi kebabs, galauti kebabs, mutton haleem and nalli nihari. For the Bollywood fans, there’s ‘Chicken Sanju Baba’, a hot-seller created using a recipe gifted by actor Sanjay Dutt.  

Address: I R Road, Abdul Hakim Noor Mohammadi Chowk, Bhendi Bazaar, Mumbai 400003

Phone: +91-2223456008, +91-2223476188

Suleman Mithaiwala: While there’s quite some competition in the Minara Masjid area, Suleiman’s sitafal (custard apple) halwa, firni and aflatoon (nutty semolina and khoya bars) give other sweet shops a run for their money. Eat some, pack some more, and stock up your fridge for weeks! 

Address: Mohammed Ali Road, Mumbai, 400003

Phone: +91-8048765103 

Shalimar: You might hear Mughlai food purists say that Mumbai’s biryani doesn’t hit the mark. But one bite at Shalimar would change their mind. Running strong since 1970, Shalimar offers huge portions of mutton biriyani, and is also famous for their daily specials like salli boti, mutton paya, dabba gosht and mutton khichda, which are available on select days. 

Address: Mohammed Ali Road, Bhendi Bazaar, Mumbai 400003

Phone: 022-23456630

Are there any more iconic iftar and Ramadan food restaurants we should add for these cities? If yes, do let us know! 

About the Author

Shikha Gautam loves to play with steering wheels, roads, words, the flute and guitar, among other things. Not necessarily in that order! You can contact her on twitter @ShikhaGautam

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