It's getting hot! We're not sure whether to blame global warming or the endless Lankan summer, but we know we deserve ice cream. From the mass-produced, to the made-with-love, here are all the spots you can go to in Colombo to get your ice cream fix.
This list doesn't include big hotels, which serve up generic ice creams. We have however included boutique hotels in our list of weird and homemade ice creams.
Il Gelato is the go-to option for premium gelato. They've got outlets at Duplication Road, Odel, Liberty Plaza and so on. They're usually crowded which must mean they're doing things right. Oh, and they've got a range of interesting gelato options to choose from so you're sure to find something that'll please them tastebuds.
Keep in mind that they're a little pricey, but they make up for that in terms of quality. Also you get to stand next to their questionable neon lips at Duplication Road and take one of the most basic selfies, that most local millenials seem to fawn over.
Cremalato was a welcome addition to Colombo's food scene in 2014, and one of our favourites, with fresh fruit flavours. According to their facebook page, they're serving up fresh, artisan gelato as well as coffee. They usually have a bunch of offers up like their 'buy one get one free' offer that rolls around every two months or so. They also deliver straight to your doorstep, so call them up if you have a sweet tooth to satisfy. You can also get some at Cafe Kumbuk.
Carnival has been around for decades. They shut down for some time but they're up and running now with their newly re-vamped shop. They've still got the same old favourites with a few new twists here and there. They're also always full of couples and noisy families alike. Their ice creams are still addictively sweet, their service is quick but a little clumsy occasionally and they've got a larger seating area now. Their upstairs section still remains a mystery...
Moksha is one of the new kids on the block. They serve up a range of stellar vegetarian cuisine but the best part is that they've got some superb, premium kulfis up for grabs for about Rs. 250 each. I tried their pistachio kulfi which was creamy and packed with flavour as well as having a generous amount of pistachio. Keep in mind that the kulfi isn't made fresh to order but rather packaged and ready to go, but that doesn't mean it won't be good.
Luscious Cream's ice creams were an instant office hit. You'll have to call them up a day ahead though. Their ice creams are flavourful, homemade, with no added preservatives. Try their Passion Fruit Ice Cream!
Carino's is Sri Lanka's only artisanal ice cream brand that's actually available standardised in supermarkets and the like. They do some stellar ice creams, now under a variety of sub-categories like Crème, Sorbet, After Dark, and Addict. There's also an elusive frozen yoghurt selection that we've never been able to get our paws on. Check out our silent review here.
JAM Rolled Ice Cream pairs their interestingly prepared ice cream with atrociously slow service and scarce toppings. Their ice creams are usually quite creamy and are served in large portions but don't hold out for the toppings- you'll get merely a sprinkling of whatever it is you asked for. Apart from that, their portions are enough for two people to share and the place is moderately sized and can seat around 15 people.
Butter Boutique is more famous for their cakes than their ice creams, but their ice creams are just as good. The portions are tiny but I can assure you they're premium grade.
Dairy King is hard to miss if you're in Galle Fort. It's a popular little stop run by a family, for all your ice cream and milkshake needs. They've got a decent range of flavours and one of the best brownies we've had in ages.
Alerics was the original Sri Lankan ice cream, started in 1949, reaching peak popularity with the Piccadilly Café in the 1960s. After that, it declined and basically disappeared. Now it's back, under new management, with a new branch in the new Liberty Arcade. You can also select from a range of their ice creams at any major supermarket.
Rio Ice Cream, a Jaffna franchise that's about forty years old (according to Raja at its Wellawatte branch), is fun and affordable for ice cream lovers. They're creative with flavours and mix it up for fun with jelly and smarties, because why not?
Their ice creams are more on the synthetic, mass-produced side and are notorious for being scoops of pure saccharine but that hasn't stopped anyone from going. Also diabetics please stay away.
Roots has a multitude of outlets in different places. This is good because you have access to their juices and ice creams no matter where you are (sort of). Their ice creams are a bit boring though with no real flavour or quality, so we recommend you just stick to their juices.
Gelato Italiano is Roots's sister outlet meant solely for gelato. They've got a few flavours up for grabs which aren't remarkable in any way although their Passion Fruit flavoured Gelato was a favourite. Their outlet is at MC and a cone goes for about 280 LKR which isn't a reasonable price, but if you're at MC and it's hot outside, we don't see why you shouldn't try it out.
It appears as though Jaffna-ites have a very,very sweet tooth. Rio Ice Cream is a real stalwart of the North, and possibly one of Jaffna's most famous culinary exports along with the Jaffna crab curry.
Frozen is a 'gourmet' ice cream place at Urban Kitchen, the food court at Hyde Park's Arpico. They've got some interesting options on their menu. Their ice creams are generally tasty and you can choose from a variety of interesting toppings.
The outlet at Urban Kitchen expanded, and there's a branch at the Majestic City Food Court now. Every time we go they always have brownies and slices of what looks to be gooey chocolate cake, so make sure you look into that and try it out. I've heard that their brownies are generally quite delicious and satisfactory. Service is terribly slow though, so maybe don't go if your ice cream needs are urgent.
I do NOT recommend this place at all, but I'll include it anyways. The ice cream is really quite bad which is ridiculous given the fact that they're an international franchise. The staff doesn't seem to care much, the interior is dingy, the ice cream is overpriced and it reeks of neglect. But if you're up for forking over Rs. 500 for no good reason, I suggest you head over and indulge.
The Cakery has a few ice cream options that you can pair with a cookie if you feel like it. According to popular opinion, the quality of their ice creams is good but their service is extremely poor. They're slowly improving though, so if you're in the area, grab a scoop or two.
We're aware that there's a plethora of undiscovered home-bakers and other places that serve up a good scoop. We'll try to include those in the future or compile a list once we've rounded them up, but for now this will have to do.
ඔන්න ඔය අතරෙ තමයි මට මීටර් වුණේ, අඩු ගාණට රසම පීසා…
A home cook specialised in crafting up some delicious, Sri Lankan-style crab curry.
Chocolate-biscuit-pudding is a dessert unique to Sri Lanka - here's an aunty showing you how it's done
Countries that let you in without a fuss with your Lankan passport
Biriyani under a budget.