Hyderabad in November
i'll be in town for a week or so in november. don't know the hotel yet but i'm confident it will be a decent business kind of place. we'll see.
i would like to hear your thoughts on food: fancy, not so fancy, no matter. interested in lunch meals and dinner meals. price is not an issue. i've had great meals in modest shacks/stalls and disappointing meals at so-called three-star restaurants.
i would also appreciate your insight on how to navigate the city (taxi, train, bus, subway, whatever).
lastly, any expat hangouts? i'm assuming this topic is a non-starter but i thought i would give it a shot.
I'll have to talk to some friends and get back to you with names...come to think of it, some of my in-laws' family lives in Hydro. but for now I can tell you that you will get two main types of local cuisine in Hydro. Andhra cuisine, which is of Telegu speaking pure veg. Hindus, and Hydrerabadi Muslim cuisine eaten by the Urdu speakers. The city has a lot of culture based on the former splendour of the Muslim "nawaabs" (I think it is like British Lords). A MUST try dish from the Muslim cuisine is Hyderabadi style biriani (a rice "casserole" if you will) and from the Hindus they have a great variety of veggie delights including Andhra style dosas (stuffed lentil and rice batter "crepes.") I think locals will be able to guide you if you just say "Where can I get the best Hydro biriani?" and "Where are the best dosas?" Be sure to eat the biriani from a Muslim establishment to get an authentic version. I have a suspicion that the best biriani will be in a crowded congested area called "Chaar Minaar" but since you are open to modest places, I think it would be worth it to go there to get the real thing. Hyderabadis are known for being big foodies and major food snobs (Hydro food is the best in the universe to them) so I think the locals will be very happy to guide you.
I thought Southern Spice in Banjara Hills was awfully good. Was also pleasantly surprised by the biryani at A Touch of Class, a restaurant in the Central Court hotel. But I think Lucky Fatima is right, word of mouth and a location near the Char Minar is prob. where the best biryanis are.
Andhra food tends to be very hot, and many of the dishes are meat-based. At least the ones you tend to see featured in restaurants touting their Andhra-ness.
As for an expat hangout, I'm guessing that it's going to be a nightclub in one of the five-star hotels, probably a Taj. There's an expat group (http://www.hytea.org/) that you could check in with.
Navigation: I used a combo of auto-rickshaw (short trips) and call taxi. Distances can be far, and the addresses are sometimes almost useless, so a cell phone is another important navigation tool. Pass it from yourself to the taxi driver and back again until you get where you're going.
I've been staying at the Taj Krishna for a week and a half. I ate at Chutney's in Banjara Hills. The dinner costs 370 rupees - just a few dollars. Awesome food - purely veg - but don't let that dissuade you if you're a meat eater like me. Just make sure to eat with your hands in true Indian style - right hand takes a bit of Naan and scoops up the delicious food. Just get a bottle of water to stay safe.