*For the updated High Tea list, click here.
High Tea is a quintessentially Sri Lankan obsession. Less about tea and more about a steady stream of conversation and confectionaries, it's an upscale tête-à-tête featuring savouries, sweets, and other delectables. Here are some of the best places in Colombo to gorge yourself in style.
Plenty of natural lighting, good food, a decent variety of well prepared drinks, and comfortable seating arrangements in the heart of Colombo 5. Apart from their delectable cakes, the Cakery's High Tea also features a small selection of savouries and pastries. We did a review of their high tea last year (when they were still at their old premises, neighbouring the new place), and it was great.
PRICE : Rs. 2180
TIME : 7 AM - 10 PM DAILY
TIP : The premises is kid-friendly, with a dedicated play room
Uga does a lot of funky and inventive Lankan-continental cuisine. Their high tea is served in their lovely lobby area, complete with comfy armchairs and tinkling music. Check out our blog for a complete review of their high tea session - oysters, pork buns, scones and all.
PRICE : Rs. 1940
TIME : 3 PM - 5 PM DAILY
TIP : Try their selection of teas
Dottie's English Breakfast is one of our favourite brunch spots, but they originally started off as a bespoke high tea planner. They still conduct high teas in style at their premises, but they tend to be a little more sweet-based. Their high tea is charged per person and includes 6 savoury items, scones with cream and jam, 3 petite sweets and 2 pots (4 cups) of our signature teas. Everything is served on our pretty floral vintage bone china. Check out their FB page or give them a call to find out what's in store for the day, and make sure to reserve a table in advance as they're a favourite for afternoon tea parties and events.
PRICE : Rs.1200 nett (per person)
TIME : 3 - 6 PM (weekends)
TIP : Call ahead and ask for specialities or event planning, they're happy to do tailor-made high teas for groups.
The Kingsbury high tea appears to have migrated - it was formerly in the Harbour Court, but is now situated at the Cake Stop. Their variety is commendable, ranging from little snacks on tiered receptacles, or full-fledged dishes. The location is also great for people watching, in case conversation runs dry.
PRICE : Rs. 1980 (Weekdays), Rs. 2200 (Weekends)
TIME : 3 PM - 6 PM
TIP : Once you're done, take the classic photo on those oversized chairs. It's a cliché you must embrace in a haze of post-meal happiness.
The key element in the Mount Lavinia Hotel's high tea is the view. With a stunning panoramic view of the Indian Ocean, the Colombo coast, and sky, it's unbeatable. The quality of food and service can be a bit hit or miss, but perhaps it's worth it for the gorgeous setting. For a complete look at our High Tea experience there, check out the blog.
PRICE : Rs. 1400 (per plate)
TIME : 3 PM - 6 PM DAILY
TIP : This is probably one of the best options on our list for vegans/ vegetarians.
The Lakeside High Tea isn't big on variety or size, but their quality is pretty great. You're getting a set for a fixed price here, so you can choose to share it with someone if you're not peckish. Plus point? The Lobby is in the middle of all the hotel's action, so it's a bustling spot to be.
PRICE : Rs. 2000
TIME : 3 PM - 5 PM DAILY
TIP : You can probably share this between two if you're not too hungry
The Galadari appears to be a crowd favourite, mostly on the virtue of their variety. It's a buffet, with a lot of options and endless quantity. The food itself isn't amazing, but if you're incredibly hungry, this is your spot. Check out our high tea review for more.
PRICE : Rs. 1825
TIME : 3:30 PM - 6 PM, WEDNESDAY TO SUNDAY
TIP : Anticipate crowds.
The Cinnamon Grand high tea is super popular, mostly for its location. They used to have a proper buffet but now they only do platters, one is enough for two people. We covered it in detail last year, if you want a complete description. High quality, limited seating, and live piano music. Overall, a great spot for a cosy chat.
PRICE : Rs. 1955 (per platter) with unlimited tea & coffee.
TIME : 3 PM - 5:30 PM, SATURDAY & SUNDAY
TIP : The Tea Lounge area is quite small, so you may want to make a reservation beforehand.
The brand new L.A.B by Hilton is chic, sprawling, and shiny. Unfortunately, we haven't reviewed it yet, but if the new GRAZE Kitchen is anything to go by, their food will be great. You can check out our hilarious old high tea review. They do platters every day except for Saturday, where they have a proper buffet.
PRICE : Rs. 3004 (per platter)
TIME : 3 PM - 6 PM DAILY
TIP : None yet, we'll give you some insider info after our visit.
The Gardenia at Ramada is a good place for a satisfying meal, especially with a group of friends or family. They seem to do a good job at different cuisines, though we suspect their strongest suit is their Asian foods. It's also thankfully not too expensive. One platter is only for one person.
PRICE : Rs. 1250 (per platter)
TIME : 2:30 PM - 7 PM DAILY
TIP : Their baked goods are great, so opt for those
Cloud Red receives a strong recommendation from us for sunset drinks in the city, but we haven't checked it out for high tea yet. It's usually bustling and busy, with chill music and (generally) good service, and the view is unbeatable. They too have single platters which are for one person.
PRICE : Rs. 2700 (per platter)
TIME : 3 PM - 5 PM SUNDAYS
TIP : Stick around for sunset, it's worth it.
The Galle Face Hotel is probably one of the most iconic hotels on the island. The Verandah offers up beautiful views, doting service, and an elegant spread. The price point isn't too shabby either, although they've replaced their high tea buffet with a tiered set including pastries, pasties, and general short eats.
PRICE : Platter (Rs. 1864 per person), Tower (Rs. 3728 for two people)
TIME : 4 PM - 6 PM DAILY
TIP : Swing by the hotel's museum for a quick and beautiful lesson in history and heritage
Head over to The Lattice at Taj for an Afternoon Tea session, because it makes for a splendid experience. Not only are they not exorbitantly priced, the area is beautiful as well. They also have a selection of different types of tea sets to choose from.
PRICE : Rs. 1553
TIME : 3 PM - 6 PM DAILY
TIP : Cocktails aren't included, but they're seriously boozy and we'd recommend the margaritas to complement your arvo tea
This is probably the cheapest one of our list. Serving at their Rooftop Bar, they have towers which are enough for two people so, at Rs. 1800 this is a pretty solid deal.
PRICE : Rs. 1800 (per tower)
TIME : 3 - 5.30 PM DAILY
The Lounge at Water's Edge does a decent high tea. The food hasn't been all that good in our experience but it is still a good spot if you're around the area. You can even drop by after an evening spent at Diyatha Uyana.
PRICES : 1540++++ (per person)
TIME : 3 - 6 PM (Friday, Saturday & Sunday)
Let us know which ones you prefer, or which ones we've missed out on, and we'll be sure to add them on!
All prices are inclusive of taxes as reported by the restaurants, as of 20th July 2017.
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