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Sri Lankan Restaurants In Colombo

We did a round-up of some of the best places to grab Sri Lankan cuisine in Colombo.

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Sri Lankan Cuisine

Everybody eats Sri Lankan food at home, but in terms of Colombo restaurants, it takes different forms. You can get the classic rice and curry on almost every street corner (around lunch) while some more expensive restaurants have fused it more with western styles.
four examples of Sri Lankan cuisine

These restaurants have been kicking for decades. They've helped define Sri Lankan cuisine, but also reinvented it.

  • $$ Barefoot
  • This garden cafe is best for lunch and the busiest for their Sunday Jazz. They serve excellent food in a local style and have a great ambience. There's an art gallery, bookstore and shop attached (they actually came first) and the music and crowd are usually interesting. 
  • $$$ Gallery Cafe
  • This restaurant was once the office of the genius architect Geoffrey Bawa and it has an amazing ambience. The food is good but never quite soars, unlike their desserts and ice cream (excellent). Gallery is quite expensive and favored by the expat/tourist crowd. 

  • $ Green Cabin
  • This affordable eatery does a great vegetarian rice and curry buffet (for lunch) and otherwise reliable Sri Lankan fare. They've been doing it forever and nothing much has changed. You can also get short eats (pastries) and lunch packs here.
  • $ JU Udumbara
  • JU's consumer outlet keeps moving, but their catering business has served governments, weddings and more since 1974. You can also get a really good office lunch packet here, which most people get take-away.

A lot of restaurants have opened in Colombo post-war. These are some of our favorites that are advancing Sri Lankan cuisine.

  • $$$ Ministry Of Crab
  • This pricey but excellent restaurant from Dharshan Munidasa specializes in crab, but the prawn and even chicken curry are worth trying. It's expensive for most Sri Lankans, but you get very good value. These are export quality crabs expertly prepared under what is probably Sri Lanka's best chef.
  • $$ Achcharu Kade Cafe
  • This new spot in Kollupitiya does a really creative and modern take on Sri Lankan classics - rice and curry, achcharu (pickled fruit), bombai muttai (like cotton candy), etc. They also do Sri Lankanized ice cream. ($)
  • $$ Upali's
  • This young restaurant filled a huge niche in Colombo - for middle class Sri Lankan food. They serve the full range of Sri Lankan food (rice and curry, hoppers, paratha, etc) in a clean and professional environment. The food is good and it has all the amenities of a modern restaurant. Surprising that no one was doing this for so long. ($)
  • $$ VOC Cafe
  • The name refers to the Dutch company that used to rule the country. Now the cafe, in the Dutch Burger Union, serves one of the best lamprais in the city (a rice pack in a banana leaf) as well as good burgers and other rice dishes. They also do good buffets and a good local breakfast. ($)
If you're interested in more Sri Lankan restaurants, Dharshan's other spot Kaema Sutra deserves an honorable mention, as does Fat Crab . To see all the Sri Lankan places we've covered, check out the Sri Lankan Restaurants page here .

Local food delivery has always been a popular option, specially among office goers. We've got a few old favourites, along with some new spots that offer larger quantities. 

  • $$  Healthy Living
  • Healthy Living, as the name suggests, is well known for their healthy take on rice and curry, with an emphasis on more veges and less oil. What's great though, is that while it's healthy it still tastes pretty great.
  • $$ Infinity Cuisine
  • Infinity Cuisine delivers a tasty and affordable office lunch, Rs. 170 with free delivery. They have their own organic farm make for a pretty good bath packet. It's also a great option for those who like their curries spicy. When it comes to value for money, Infinity Cuisine is tough to beat.
  • Aahaara   $$$
  • Aahaara is also one of the few places that offer Kidu. It's basically rice cooked in ghee and spice leaves that comes wrapped in a funky basket woven out of coconut leaves, which comes with chicken or beef curry as well as an assortment of other accompanying dishes.
  •   My Sister's Kitchen $$$
  • If you're looking for something a bit different, My Sister's Kitchen does bulk orders of Jaffna style curries as well a whole list of other dishes and sweets - we tried their mutton and sea crab and they were pretty awesome.

Dish: Rice And Curry

If you're going to try one particular dish, it should probably be rice and curry. Most of the restaurants we've listed above do some variation on it (try the Barefoot staff lunch, or the rice packet at JU Udumbara, or the yellow rice at VOC Cafe). For a street-level experience, however, we recommend trying one of these (mostly) more humble eateries. These are mostly hole in the walls. Note that these places are mainly recommended for lunch.

  • $ Bath Amma's
  • This tiny restaurant is actually the living room of a family house that's been serving up rice and curry for over 66 years. It's hard to find and you're eating at a tiny dining table, but it's good, and very popular with the office crowd.
  • $ Yarl Eat House
  • This literal hole in the wall in Wellawatte has no frills. They just serve spicy Jaffna curries on banana leaves. 
  • $ Paradise Vegetarian Food Court
  • This spot in the big Buddhist building at Thumulla junction serves up some tasty all-vegetarian fare. 
  • $$$ Nuga Gama
  • This is actually a simulation of a village inside a five-star hotel. If you can get over the conceit, they actually serve a good rendition of local fare. It is, however, very expensive. 

There are countless more places to get rice and curry and a growing number of places that deliver it. To see the whole list, check out our section on rice and curry .


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