Sri Lankan food is probably the most underrated cuisine you can find in Colombo. We take it for granted, but a 'rice and curry' is actually quite a sophisticated combination of dishes that come together to form a delectable mouthful, especially when eaten by hand. From our very own caramelized onions in the form of seeni sambol, to the inimitable dark and tangy punch of ambul thiyal, there's a world of flavours to explore.
Here's where you can get your fix when you're in need of a proper Sri Lankan meal.
Nuga Gama is a restaurant that's got a rustic look and feel, down to the authentic dishes.
A favourite among many, including us, there's little that could go wrong if you choose to dine here.
Go here if you're looking for escapism and enchantment. To have dined there is to have glimpsed at an ancient Sri Lanka that has long-since begun to disappear into a blur of Western technicolour.
Curry Pot is a well-kept, nourishing, and spacious rice-and-curry joint down Marine Drive in Colpetty.
With about 20 pots of curries ranging from veggies, sambols, meats, and fried chilli, the layout at Curry Pot is a feast for your eyes.
It's quite popular amongst the office crowd and few college students in the area.
Lantheruma is a classic Sri Lankan lunch buffet.
This one is extra nice because A) everything is served in clay pots B) there are three different types of rice C) you can serve yourself the papadum and dried chili.
They also have cutlets, manioc and some roti on hand, plus lunudehi (lime pickle) on the table. Watch out for the crows if you're dining in!
Upali's is where you go to if you're entertaining family and you want an authentic, flawlessly executed Sri Lankan menu.
The staff is fast, efficient and since it's Sri Lankan food, they understand the menu.
The food is full of delicious classic Sri Lankan flavors, and you can dine decadently for Rs 1000 per head.
Curry Leaf is the Hilton's Sri Lankan restaurant, and they do an amazing spread of fresh seafood and local cuisine.
They only have a buffet, from 7PM onwards, and there's a surprisingly large, high quality selection to pick from.
It costs more than Rs. 3000 per person though, which is the hitch.
Providing the city with crispy white hoppers and tongue burning katta sambol for well over 60 years, Green Cabin is one of Colombo's older, more venerable eating establishments.
Taste of Asia is a popular favourite in Bamba, for Indian food, hoppers, kottu, and good Jaffna cuisine.
If you're looking to indulge, they've got crab curry, mutton poriyal and vendaya kulambu.
Priced at below 400 rupees and wrapped in banana leaves, Lunu Ambulla's lunch packets are tasty and affordable.
We fell in love with their Chicken Fried Rice, which, at Rs 280, had all the sophistication of a lamprais but with wholly Sri Lankan components.
It's a little kadey with low stools and table that seats 10, but it's quite stuffy. It's more of a take it and go scenario.
Although popular for their eclairs and shorteats, Tasty Caterers serves decent rice and curry for lunch, but it always sells out before 12.45 pm.
In the evenings, Tasty Caterers makes some good roti, hot hoppers, and great kotthu.
If you're around Fife Road in the evenings, check it out!
Mythi's is a small streetside restaurant on Fife Road that offers arguably the best black pork curry in Colombo, along with a killer rice and curry.
We won't call Mythi's a buth kade because it's actually a pretty decent place to sit down.
It's not fancy, but the place is clean and well ventilated.
Chop Chop does all-day kottu in many interesting ways, plus they deliver.
There's crab kottu and even string hopper kottu, but the real advantage here is that they serve kottu from 10AM!
For low priced, decent tasting rice and curry, head to Mithuro Cafe.
While the indoor area is just like any other roadside eatery, the outdoor space is really chilled out.
It's got some beautiful trees with pretty fronds and creepers going on, and just enough shade to save you from the heat.
Kaema Sutra serves good, modernized Sri Lanka fare at a bit of a premium price. While we highly recommend it for tourists, for locals it's not necessarily that mind-blowing.
The service at Kaema Sutra is excellent. Waiters know the menu, they're wired into the kitchen via earpieces and iPods, it's a sleek and sophisticated operation.
Note that there's a sort of dress code here, you can't just show up in shorts and rubber slippers.
JU Caterers is an awesome for combining a tasteful ambience with bath kade prices.
The menu includes typical rice and curry (chicken, fish, egg or veg), yellow rice, fried rice and chicken biriyani.
Palmyrah serves good food in a comfortable, chilled location. We like that there's a range of fare to pick from - whether typical Sri Lankan, Jaffna dishes, Indian food or Western.
The damage to the wallet is not bad - if you skip out on drinks, it will just cost about Rs. 1000 a head, which is great considering the quality of food and service.
They're also a go-to spot for hoppers!
The Yarl Eat House is perhaps Sri Lanka's best street-diner, serving spicy crab, prawns, mutton and cuttlefish along with a solid rice and curry, all for a reasonable price.
The Yarl is quite literally a hole in the wall. As you go down W.A. Silva Mawatha, past the Galle Road, it turns into Station Road. Not five meters in, you'll see this tiny restaurant.
Dining here is an in and out operation, as it's usually super-busy and they won't let you just sit there and take your own cool time with the meal.
Mayura Hotel is an epic place to stop by for some of the best crab you'll ever have. Their deviled cuttlefish will blow your mind, if not your sinus.
It's a little kade you would never suspect of containing such superb cuisine if you were just strolling by.
It's quite small, clean, but for obvious reasons, can get very crowded for lunch and dinner.
Praneetha is one of those rare buth kades with such a wide selection of curries.
The service is very fast, the food is delicious, generously portioned, and still cheap. We'd recommend.
If you're looking for some great Lankan recipes to make at home, check out our selection of how-to videos!
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