Top 10 Biryani Restaurants in Kolkata

Kolkata and its Biryani is a match made in heaven. Or maybe not. Because biryani, the jewel crown of Mughal delicacies was not born in Kolkata. But over the years the city of joy has adopted this dish with open arms and presented it in a new style. A unique style that put Kolkata biryani into the world map of biryani.

And, now the place known for its Rosogulla and fish, is also known for its Biryani. A flavor so delicate that has taken on the best biryanis of India. And today, every lane of Kolkata has a restaurant that sells biryani. But what was so special about this biryani that changed the game forever? Here we will also check out the top 10 biryani restaurants in Kolkata.

If you are already drooling over the thought, you might end up ordering a biryani for yourself tonight. Let’s check out. 

Top 10 Biryani Restaurants in Kolkata

What makes Kolkata Biryani so special?

Being a Bengali born and brought up in Kolkata, my journey with biryani has been a nostalgic one. Today, Kolkata-styled biryani has become an emotion to the people of Kolkata. But, what’s so special that people rev about?

The most famous biryani variations in India are Hyderabadi Biryani and Lucknow-I Biryani. It can be stated that the biryani originated in the kitchens of the Mughal emperors in Lucknow and reached the southern part of India. There it evolved into its Hyderabadi traditional form in the darbar of Nizam.

Kolkata biryani is a sub-version of the Lucknow-I style biryani. Biryani came to Kolkata with Nawab Wajid Ali Shah in 1856 when he was dethroned by the British. He also brought an entourage of his favorite Khansamas who changed the future of the culinary adventures of Kolkata. They spun magic to the Lucknow-I style biryani.

Historians say that scarcity of money was the reason for adding potato into biryani to reduce the expenditure on meat into the flavourful rice. Some people also argue that nawab was not a poor man. The reason for adding soft and delicious potato into biryani was due to its exoticness. Potato came into existence in India during the 17th century and was considered to be an exotic vegetable back then.

Also, they cut down the richness by cutting down the spices and focusing on the natural flavors of Basmati rice. And that’s where the magic happened. Kolkata biryani is known for its flavor and aroma, not the spiciness. Kolkata biryani is not only about the meat, it’s about the soft flaky rice.

Though there are many stories about the birth of the Kolkata Biryani, the most logical explanation could be the need to counter the hot and humid weather of Kolkata. Also, potato goes well with red meat which is proven by food science and that’s why we eat potato or veggies with steaks. It helps our stomach to digest the rich spicy meat.

Why is the Kolkata Biryani different from others?

Kolkata biryani differs from its northern or southern counterparts in many aspects in terms of cooking style, taste, and appearance.

In terms of cooking style biryani can be classified into two types- ‘Pakki biryani’ and, ‘Kachchi biryani’. Kolkata biryani is a kind of pakki biryani. In pakki biryani, the meat and potatoes are cooked separately. The long-grain aromatic rice is half-boiled separately. And in the end layers of meat, rice, and potatoes are stacked in large vessels and put on heat to give it the complete cook. The rice remains flaky and perfectly cooked, while juicy meat or chicken absorbs all the juices.

Also, you won’t find any greens in Kolkata biryani, unlike Hyderabadi biryani which contains mint leaves, and coriander leaves. That makes it very different in taste.

Kolkata is the lightest biryani among all. People from Kolkata like their biryani to have a mouthful of flavors but not spicy ones. Kolkata biryani has very earthy flavors of special biryani masala, saffron, ginger-garlic paste, and fried onions.

Hyderabadi biryani is much spicier and often consumed with raita to cool it down. But in Kolkata biryani is often consumed as a complete meal without any accompaniments. Potatoes used in Kolkata biryani do the work of balancing things down. That’s why biryani is always over-eaten. Though Mutton or chicken Chap goes very well with biryani.  The biggest noticeable difference in Kolkata biryani is the use of potato in it. The soft and delicate piece of potato elevates the level of Kolkata biryani. In this part of the country, the rice of biryani looks different from others. The saffron-colored rice and white rice exist almost in equal proportion. While Hyderabadi biryani is a bit darker being spicier.  

Best Biryani Restaurants in Kolkata

10. Arsalan, Park Circus

Arsalan is one of the most famous and commercialized restaurant chains that are famous for its biryani. Arsalan, Park circus is the oldest and best among its outlets. Arsalan serves Authentic biryani that has flaky flavourful rice, a big piece of mutton along with a big piece of potato, and a boiled egg. The biryani is also little on the heavier side and is sometimes, criticized for using a lot of oil. 

Though Arsalan biryani is loved by many people of Kolkata, it is also facing the pressure of commercialization where there has been a difference in taste and quality of other outlets. So, I would recommend you to visit the Arsalan outlet at Park Circus 7 points.

  • Other outlets: Chinar Park, Hatibagan, New Alipore, Sodepur, Barrackpore, Bangur, New Alipore, Park Street Area
  • Other Specialities: Chicken Malai Kebab, Mutton Chaap, Chicken Tikka butter masala.

9. Hanglatherium, Prince Anwar Shah Road

Hanglatherium is one of the newest addition to the list of best biryanis from Kolkata. Hanglatherium is located at a prime location in Kolkata. Hanglatherium also variety of other cuisines as well though their biryani is quite famous among people from Kolkata.

Their chicken biryani is really good and flavourful. The biryani is light and low on oil. They also have a special biryani combo which is served with chicken chaap or Kosha.

  • Other outlets: New Town, Garia
  • Other Specialities: Murgh Musallam, Chicken Chaap, Chelo Kebab

8. Aminia, Chinar Park

Talking about Kolkata biryani and if I don’t talk about Aminia it would be criminal of me. One of the oldest and most popular biryani chains in Kolkata is Aminia. Arsalan and Aminia are very close competitors of each other. And people often compare these two restaurants. My personal choice is  Aminia over Arsalan.


Being born and brought up in Kolkata, I have tasted biryani from almost all the outlets of Aminia. Among them, I like the outlet at Chinar park the most. They serve authentic Kolkata biryani. The rice is cooked perfectly, packed with a lot of flavors, yet low on oil and spices. Also, you can get the best kebabs in this outlet. Though the outlet at the new market area was the earliest, with time it is said to have lost its fame and quality. 

  • Other outlets: Esplanade, Park Street, Behala, Golpark, Shyam Bazar, Bangur, Barrackpore, Serampore
  • Other Specialities: Chicken Tikka Kebab, Mutton seekh kebab, Chicken roast, Chicken Tikka butter masala.

7. Zam Zam, Park Circus

Zam Zam is one of the oldest restaurants in Kolkata that made biryani so popular here. You cannot say this place is fancy but what stands out is their taste in biryani. Moreover that they are one of the restaurants that offer biryani at the cheapest rate. But there is no compromise on the taste of biryani.

Here you will also get the special beef biryani. It is one of the very few popular restaurants in Kolkata that serve beef biryani. If you love beef that’s truly the place to be. Alongside biryani, they are also famous for beef bhuna, beef malai, and delicious rolls. 

  • Other outlets: Entally, Khidirpore
  • Other Specialities: Beef Bhuna, Beef Malai, Beef roll, special mutton biryani

6. Royal Indian Hotel- Since 1905, Bara Bazar

This is the oldest restaurant in this elongated list of the best biryanis in Kolkata. Earlier in the day when there were not many fancy biryani restaurants in the city biryani used to be synonymous with ‘Royal’. With time the fame may have died down a bit they are still one of the best in taste and quality.

The rice is perfect in color and aroma along with a big juicy piece of mutton/chicken. This restaurant is located in of the busiest area of the city and is duly loved by every one of Kolkata. Also, mutton or chicken chaap is among the best side dishes to complement the biryani.

  • Other outlets: Park Circus
  • Other Specialities: Nargisi Kofta, Qundan Korma, Royal chicken Chaap

5. Oudh 1590, Deshapriya Park

Oudh 1590 is comparatively newer than most of the restaurants in this coveted list but they created a name for themselves on their rights. They have given a new variety of biryani to the people of Kolkata. Alongside serving authentic Kolkata biryani they introduced some amazing Awadhi and Lucknow-style biryani. They have a special Raan biryani to drool after.

The outlets of Oudh 1590 are unique that follow the traditional Lucknow style of dining. The décor is amazing with traditional Indian music being played in the background. It’s an amazing experience to have the best of biryani and kebabs in this atmosphere. If you are looking for Kolkata-style biryani ask for Metiabruz biryani.

  • Other outlets: Saltlake sector 1, Kalindi, Southern Avenue, Behala, Naktala, Sodepur, Barasat
  • Other Specialities: Galawti kebab, Raan biryani, Moti biryani, Nihari Khaas

4. D Bapi, Barrackpore

Barrackpore has made a name for its biryani. In the last few years, it got its fame and has emerged as the biggest rival of Dada Boudi Restaurant. You may not associate fancy with this restaurant but what they offer in terms of biryani is exquisite.  

The biggest USP of D Bapi’s biryani is the use of the biggest piece of mutton or chicken. In every portion of biryani, you will get a giant piece of meat weighing almost 300 gms. The piece of mutton often falls off the bone. You can also get the aromatic rice as much as you want.

  • Other outlets: Barasat
  • Other Specialities: Mutton Chaap, Chicken Chaap

3. Kareem’s, Sector V, Saltlake

Kareem’s is a relatively newer addition to the best restaurants in Kolkata. They brought in an amazing list of Mughal and Awadhi dishes to the menu. They have quite a versatile list of biryani as well. Some of them are not exactly the Kolkata-styled biryani but they are simply amazing.

Their biryanis are light and flavorful. Two of their biryanis are my favorite. One of them is special Raan biryani, which consists of the softest Mutton pieces along with meatballs and roasted cashews sprinkled over it. That special Raan biryani serves 5-6 people. The other one is Nalli biryani which contains perfectly cooked pieces of mutton nalli. Those who love mutton nalli can understand why I am raving about it.  

Also, they are probably the best when it comes to mutton/ chicken side dishes. Very few restaurants in Kolkata can match them. They also have some of the best kebabs in the city.

  • Other outlets: Chinar Park, Park Street
  • Other Specialities: Chicken Peshwari Tikka, Chicken platter, Galouti Kebab, Mutton Karachi, Mutton Rogan Josh

2. India Restaurant, Khidirpore

I was in a dilemma to decide who takes the top spot. The battle was between the two giants India Restaurant and the Dada Boudi Restaurant. Eventually, India Restaurant from Khidirpore emerges to be the runners-up. Here you will get one of the most authentic biryani in Kolkata.

It was a tough fight. I have been to this place quite a few times. And, every time I have just longed for more. The blend of perfectly cooked saffron rice, a soft potato along with the softest mutton in a biryani will blow your mind. They have a very delectable taste and smell of Kewra and Itar which you won’t forget. To go with that they also make the best of Galawti kebabs as well.

They are opening up new branches but they are no match for the original one. So, I would recommend you to visit this location.

  • Other outlets: Kaikhali
  • Other Specialities: Galauti Kabab, Mutton Barra kebab, Mutton Nihari, Seekh Kabab

1. Dada Boudi Hotel, Barrackpore

This place needs no introduction in Kolkata. Talking about biryani and you aren’t made to know about this place! This cannot happen. Yes, this is Dada Boudi Hotel, the undisputed king in biryani.

Mutton Biryani from Dada Boudi Hotel
Mutton Biryani from Dada Boudi Hotel

This place is located in Barrackpore just outside the Barrackpore railway station. At Barrackpore they started with this very small shop made of wood and asbestos. At 100 meter distance, they have now created a multistoried full furnished, and air-conditioned restaurant named Dada Boudi Restaurant. Both these restaurants are operational. The biryani is cooked at the same place though.

But you will be amazed to know that despite having a modern restaurant, it is the old and non-glamourous small outlet that sells more biryani. And, despite cooking the biryani at the same spot people often say that ‘if you eat biryani at the old shop, it would taste better.’ You may think that it doesn’t make sense. But I have been to both of them and now even I say that.

Every day you will their outlets full. If you are visiting on the weekends be prepared to wait in a long queue to taste the heavenly biryani. People even travel 2-3 hours by train to taste this awesome biryani.

And now, let’s discuss the biryani. What is so special? It’s the softest and juiciest mutton you can imagine on a plate of biryani. You will get a chunky piece of mutton that just falls off the bone. The biriyani is neither light nor heavy, just perfectly balanced with the right amount of spices. This is a heavenly experience that is worth every penny.

  • Other outlets: Sodepur
  • Other Specialities: Chicken Banjara, Chicken Chaap, Mutton Kosha

Now all of this is my personal opinion and what I have come to know from the people I know. So, don’t come for my head if your favorite biryani destination hasn’t made it to this list. Apart from that, you can let me know in the comments if I have missed any.  

Notable omissions:- Karim’s from Jama Masjid, The Saffron Tree, Shiraz

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