Heads up - this is an awfully long list. Probably the longest list YAMU has ever written.
If you've been out of town for a year, here's a list of places you missed. While they're listed in no particular order, we'll make sure to update it with the upcoming new restaurants of 2018 as we review them.
Tamil Nadu's beloved biriyani spot is finally in Colombo! Dindigul Thalappakatti Restaurant is a venture by Nagasamy Naidu, a simple man with a betel shop - who believed that his wife's blend of spices could go to places. Started off as a humble biriyani stop in his hometown Dindigul, now it has around 30 branches in Chennai alone, more than a dozen others elsewhere in India, France, the United Arab Emirates, Malaysia, United States and of course, in Sri Lanka. Their recipes are unique, so what you get here probably won't resemble your usual Indian food. They present a distinct set of flavors that tickles your taste buds in a different way.
Capturing the rising popularity of geek culture, the Geek HQ is Colombo's first geek-themed restaurant in Sri Lanka. Be it comics, games, movies and the myriad of fandoms and interests or food, it is a restaurant that's geared for every kind of geek, or basically, for pretty much anyone who enjoys good food. 'It's Clobberin' Time' - the signature burger here was our favorite. It's piled high with four juicy beef/chicken patties and puts the popular "whoppers" in Colombo to shame.
Halo Diner is a cute little resto adjoining Colombo's latest budget hostel - Bunky Monkey. From cheesy loaded french fries and pepper pork to freshly baked roast paan and Nutella stuffed kimbula bunnis, we are totally in love with this place.
Founded by an Italian chef from Naples, Fire & Ice Pizzeria is a popular pizza chain in Kathmandu and Kolkata, beloved by their loyal patrons for over 20 years. Now they've claimed a beautiful spot down Glen Aber Place in Bambalapitiya. It's barely three weeks old but serves up the BEST oven-baked pizzas we've ever had, and a range of good pasta.
Callisto Est. 2018 is Giovannis Presto Pizzeria's sister restaurant that dishes up some of the best pasta we have ever had. Each dish here is thoughtfully created with a lot of structure, and purpose within each element. If you haven't tied them out yet, you're missing out on some excellent soul-warming food.
Surrounded by a myriad of tall buildings, offices and various other paraphernalia,Tastea is a new cafe that serves up some good Americano and something amazing called an Earl Grey Cheese Tea.
The Platter is perfect if what you're looking for is a small yet peaceful place to hang out with a friend or two or even just to grab a snack on your way to work. They do a bomb of an Iced Mocha and a pretty good No-bake Cheesecake.
Vegetarians rejoice! Found on the ground floor of the Buddhist Cultural Centre near Thunmulla junction, Ranbath is the newest restaurant in town that serves up organic and completely vegetarian food. Each rice packet costs Rs. 350, which is not exactly cheap, but they offer a generous amount of rice with five curries of your choice.
The Irish is an exclusive new addition to Colombo's watering hole scene. What they serve up here isn't exactly traditional Irish fare, but they've got some good cocktails along with a bunch of excellent western dishes. Try anything, you won't be disappointed.
Specializing in Asian fusion food, Wokbox .lk is a tiny fast food restaurateur down De Fonseka Road. Pick your base, meats, add-ons, sauces, and you are in for a treat.
Monkeybean Cafe is a cute cafe in Kollupitiya. They bake their own bread and paired with different fillings, they dish out a range of good savory and sweet paninis (which they refer as 'Shri Paninis'). Their Hot Chocolate is the BOMB!
Shawarma.lk in Thimbirigasyaya is a fully functioning shawarma joint serving up Palestinian, Lebanese, Greek, and Turkish shawarma.
With their carefully curated, picturesque ambience, exquisite dishes and super friendly staff, Arcadia Cafe & Restaurant is a restaurant down Marine Drive. Drop by this place if you want some dynamite chicken curry paired with crispy naan. During our First Look on this place we didn't run into any issues, but, from what we gathered from various user reviews, their service and the quality of food seem to be a bit inconsistent.
The newly opened Chambers at Park Street Mews is a restaurant that delivers authentic Moroccan cuisine. They've got an extensive menu full of delights like hummus, a variety of amazing tagines and a killer Pistachio gelato from Isle of Gelato.
Silently contending to both Cafe Seventy Seven and Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, Noteworthy Cafe does some good cuppas and a range of Lankan and western-infused snacks to pair them with. Their Fish Ambulthiyal Wrap is one of the best dishes we've had this year. You can read more about it on our YAMU Loves article.
With their cozy, cute interior and the gorgeous Kombi parked outside, the Roti Cafe by the Travelling KOMBI is a superb spot if you're craving for some delicious rotis, paired with some great curries/fillings. Their roti range includes godamba, naan, parata, pol roti and tortilla, and you can get them with both sweet and savory fillings.
Started off humble with their tiny little outlet down Sulaiman Terrace, Isso has opened up a brand new branch down Ananda Coomaraswamy Road, Colombo 03. Their menu is also renewed now, so there is a whole bunch of new stuff that you can try out, including a massive Lobster Biriyani that comes with five lobster tails. They also do a bomb of a Milo Dino. It's the best we've had in Colombo.
KIKU Colombo is yet another addition to the city's abundance of concept cafes. They offer a completely new experience with their carefully curated menu and ambience, having paid attention to detail to the slightest of things - from shadow-play to piquant, picturesque dishes.
Holybelly is a great new spot to hang out and enjoy some comfort food. They've got all your favorites - from burgers, sandwiches, pasta to all-day breakfast options. Served with a creamy and cheesy scrambled egg, and a few tortilla chips packed inside a tortilla wrap, their Breakfast Taco is a must try. They also have some interesting smoothies.
Hidden away smack down in the middle of the city, Plus Nine Four is an amazing cafe that offers a range of healthy food and drinks which you can enjoy sitting under the shade. They are the sister cafe to the ever so popular Cafe Kumbuk. We highly recommend their Brioche French Toast and the Matcha Latte.
Ask for Fern is yet another addition to the city's throng of concept bars. Its theme centers around the whole speakeasy, blind tiger idea, and unsurprisingly it has become a big hit amongst the urban Colombo crowd.
The Four Leaf Clover is an Irish inspired restaurant, but their menu has bits and bobs of Chinese and Italian fare too. They do a mean glass of Avacado juice and a great Virgin Pina Colada.
For those who work around Navam Mawatha, this is no stranger. Brew 1867 by Dilmah is a place that offers great on-the-go breakfast and lunch options for the most affordable prices. Served with greek yogurt, berries, and granola their Granola Fruit Pot is simply the best.
Perched down Alfred House Gardens Road, Cafe Alfred is a cute little place that serves up some classic Korean snacks, and great toasties. It's run by a friendly Korean couple, their food is sure to satisfy, and it's not too costly.
The Embazzy down Flower Road is a cozy bistro serving excellent coffee and multi-cuisine comfort food. It's basically a colonial house with modern furnishing and has one of the best Cafe Mochas we've come across. Pair it with their Kochchi Cheese Toast or Eggs Benedicts and have yourselves a very good morning.
Emphasizing on the healthy living concept, Cafe Nuga is one of the very few restaurants in Colombo that knows the art of binding health benefits to delicious food. They recently expanded their menu to include a super Sri Lankan breakfast spread, that mainly features hoppers and freshly baked roast paan, among other things.
Chocoholics is dedicated to making everything a whole lot more chocolatey. They are albeit expensive, but the majority of the dishes are made for sharing, so it will not leave a dent in your wallet. Plus, that much chocolate is not good for anybody.
The ever so popular Baguette.lk opened their very own little bakery at the beginning of this year. Aside from the variety of homemade French bread, they have heaps of baked goodies like tarts, quiches, eclairs, croissants, pastries and of course, coffee.
With delicious food, brilliant cocktails, great service and the sheer beauty of Mount Lavinia beach, Sugar Beach provides some of the best beachside dining experiences we've ever come across.
Being one of the many, many cafes that opened this year, Caramel Pumpkin is buzzing with their loyal patrons. The best thing about this place is their 'make-your-own-pasta' feature, which allows you to customize a delicious bowl of pasta by yourself. They make the pasta according to your preference of pasta type, sauce, protein, and the topping. You can also grab a scoop of your favorite flavor in Isle of Gelato while you're here.
Baillie St Merchants is a cozy, definitely expensive bar in Fort that serves up some spiffingly good drinks. It's rather secretive about its exact address and asks for a password at the door.
The Grind Coffeehouse in Union Place specializes in dolled up brunch meals, homemade desserts, and some excellent cuppas. They use Whight & Co. beans in their coffee based drinks, and the bread comes from bread.lk.
Street Food Factory is the newest member of Colombo's throng of food trucks. Their specialty is burgers, which makes it an option that you can go for - if you're around Kollupitiya area and looking to grab a quick snack before you head home.
The art of binding health benefits to delicious food is hella tricky, but JuiceMo does it pretty well. Serving up some excellent healthy juices, waffle balls and something amazing called fruit kottu.
Stringing on the lines of Colombo's food trucks, Thai Heritage Food Truck is parked down Havelock Road. It might not be the most pocket-friendly food truck out there, but it wouldn't hurt to spend a few more bucks for some great, generous servings of Thai food which will properly fill you up.
M'eat US is all the way in Pelawatte, and dishes out a great collection of western barbecue, including chicken, pork chops, pork racks, pork sticks, and even sausages. They’ve got meat platters, which is a pretty good option if you’re dining as a group. They also have a new branch down Flower road.
Adapted from the popular biding bar concept, Exchange Pub & Restaurant is the first bar in Sri Lanka that allows you to bid for your alcoholic drinks at the cheapest rates through a mobile app.
After spending a few years driving around Colombo in their food truck, the Street Burger has now settled down in a nice spot down Marine Drive with ample parking space. Varying from Rs. 500 - 1000, the prices of the burgers have gone up a bit, but the quality and the flavor of the food seem to have remained intact.
Bowl'd is a hip, healthy fast-food joint with a fantastic ambience and even better poke bowls.
Hyve is a brand new dessert bar at Thimbirigasyaya Road which would remind you about the goodies you tried at good old Schakasz. From Crème Brûlée Cheesecakes to boozy Crème Pots, they're bringing all our favorites.
King of The Mambo in Galle Face Hotel is where you can get the authentic South American food experience in Colombo. From boozy cocktails to carefully curated dishes, it's the new king in town.
Veering off from the usual kottu joints and wade carts, Breeze Barracuda is a new resto down Galle Face Green. It’s, in fact, a sister restaurant to the popular beach hangout spot in Wellawatte, Barracuda.
Veering off from the usual, Peppermint Cafe has managed to highlight themselves for two reasons - they're the first 24/7 cafe in Colombo, and they welcome everyone, including your furry friend at home. They're a bit steep in terms of pricing, and from what we gathered through our user reviews, their service and food seem to be pretty inconsistent.
The concept of books and coffee is not something new, but Pages & Coffee have executed it in a way quite unlike anything else. Basically, the place is a house turned into a reading corner that happens to serve coffee and their very own mug pasta. Their Hot Chocolate is one of the best we've had so far.
The aptly named De Vos Cafe down De Vos Avenue is a cafe adjoining the newest boutique hotel in town - Talo Urban. It's home-like, cozy hangout spot which you can sit down at the end of a long day and treat yourself with a cuppa.
Pastamania is a Singapore based Italian franchise and as the name implies, their main offering is pasta. We weren't the biggest fans of the pasta, but make sure you try out their range of gelato. It's superb!
Bliss Pub is the newest member in Colombo's dodgy bar scene. We weren't really happy about their food. But, if you are looking to sip a cool beer at an odd hour in the afternoon or a proper chill down in the evening with Shisha and music, this place won’t disappoint you.
Cafe Sociale is a retro-themed coffee shop that also welcomes your pets. With colorful wall art and matching furniture, the place provides the perfect backdrop for your Instagram photos. They also have a mini coworking space if you want to sit down and get some work done.
2018 was, and still is, a good year. Over 50 restaurants opened throughout Colombo, and us foodies cannot be happier. We've got another handful amount of places that need to be covered and included in here, so check back with us for the updated list.
Chocolate-biscuit-pudding is a dessert unique to Sri Lanka - here's an aunty showing you how it's done
The best dinner and drinks spots in Colombo for candlelit romancing.
Some of Colombo's popular restaurants that will be serving Ifthar during Ramadan 2017.
Ayubowan, down Horton Place is a pretty fancy spot you can get your rice and curry fix.
Colombo's only drive-through bakery. They've got good ice cream and amazing chocolate fudge cake.