Sigiri (Manhattan, New York).

Sigiri is a small but excellent Sri Lankan restaurant located in Manhattan, New York serving an authentic and impressive representation of Lankan cuisine. If you’re in the Big Apple and craving curry, this is the spot.

Small Curry, Big Apple

I don’t use the word authentic lightly. The food at Sigiri is as delicious if not even slightly better than our favourite restaurants at home (Green Cabin, Nuga Gama). My only complaint (and this may only be a complaint to the authentic Sri Lankan who is accustomed to supersized rice and curries) was the portions. If you’re sharing a bit of everything with a group, the food is likely to disappear fast.

We ordered an array of curries and condiments accompanied by rice, hoppers and pol roti. To extol the virtues of each dish would take too long; they were all excellent.

The kottu, which almost didn’t make it to the meal after being denounced ‘oily drunken food’ by certain Sri Lankans at the table, was actually the star of the evening. A buttery soft half-sphere of goodness laced thoroughly with scrambled egg and veggies, it was the most superior of its kind I’ve had the displeasure of sharing. Also notable was the yellow rice, one of the best versions of its kind – smothered with lashings of butter and dotted with roasted cashew and spiced with turmeric and curry leaves.

Spice Factor

Spice isn’t adjusted for the American palate, unless you ask. We requested medium spicy but as we kept ordering more, the spice level kept rising. If you want dynamite, Sigiri can provide.

Dessert

We didn’t have any, but there’s wattalapam, kiri pani, caramel pudding and banana fritters on offer.

Price

Don’t convert the prices.

By New York standards, this is an affordable eatery. The portions may be small for the ravenous Sri Lankan, but our total bill shared amongst six came to $162, roughly Rs. 21,000. That’s about Rs. 3500 per person, which is expensive if you’re comparing it to Sri Lanka but fairly normal for Manhattan.

Also note that for 6.5 people (we had a seventh member who joined late) we required two portions of each of the chicken curry ($10.50 each), fish ($13 each), dahl ($6 each), brinjal moju ($9.95 each), and four portions of hoppers (an individual portion contains four hoppers and costs $11.95 each) and one portion pol roti ($9.95) to reach the Sri Lankan level of satisfaction, ie. food coma.

Service & Location

Sigiri is an actually tiny joint wedged between an Indian restaurant and a liquor shop, so seating and portion wise it works better for pairs. We were shown true Sri Lankan hospitality when, like true Sri Lankans, we insisted on joining tables together to seat a group of six. Even though they couldn’t really manage it space wise, the very friendly waiter obliged.

The decor is patriotic, with Sri Lankan flags, wicker rice sifters (?) on the ceiling and demon masks. It’s a cramped space, but there’s warmth in the ambience so you don’t really mind; feels like home.

Small & Awesome, Just Like Us

Sigiri is a tiny little place, but its bursting with character, flavour and overall awesomeness. They represent the island well.

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