Believe it or not, Colombo had the pleasure of welcoming over 80 new restaurants in 2019. If you've been out of the country for a year, these are some of the best places you've missed.
Colombo's first tiki bar, KAVA Island Bar occupies the rooftop where 41 Sugar used to stand. Portraying the tiki culture, they've got an exciting array of rum-based cocktails served in ceramic tiki mugs. We absolutely enjoyed the Zombie and Bonna Yako cocktails, and their take on Indonesian style Beef Rendang is simply brilliant too.
Nugegoda has never been a place where you can sit down for a proper meal with a crowd and hang out, which is why The Grove is a wonderful addition to this town. It's an assortment of restaurants accompanied by a massive outdoor dining area and a co-working space. As of now, they have five active restaurants - Michaelangelo, Sath Ambula, Java Lounge, Mango Tree and Jack Tree. If you ever drop by, make sure to have a taste of the pork curry by Sath Ambula.
Churros is the new cafe that lies in the lobby of The Kingsbury, replacing The Gourmet Station. Their snacks are freshly made, reasonably priced and deliver in terms of flavour too. We loved the ice cream range, especially the Watalappan flavoured one.
Hidden in the labyrinth that is Colombo 5, next to Cutting Station, BBQ Station is one of the new spots in town to get your grilled meat on. Their ambience is pretty great with bottle covered ceilings, dried leaves, not-so-dried up plants, warm lighting and wine coloured walls, and the meats are grilled to perfection too.
AOBA is a Japanese Bar, which resides on the ground floor of the magnificent One Galle Face. They've got all your Japanese favourites - from sushi, sashimi to yakitori and don, and having the opportunity to gobble them down with a glass of Japanese Whiskey/Sake makes the experience extra special.
Cafe Rafaella is the cafe counterpart of Giovanni's and they whip up the best pasta in town. They use imported ingredients to make them, which are of very high quality while the sauces are all homemade.
With a history that runs deep into an abandoned corner of the city of Daryaganj in the 1940s, Moti Mahal is a giant, well-known Indian food franchise, and now they're in Sri Lanka too. Their biriyani can use some work, but the tandoori goodies are simply the best.
Chesma's Natural Cookies is a tiny haven of space dedicated to cookies that aren't like the ordinary cookies we've gotten so used to. They are tiny, take the shape of cashew nuts, incredibly buttery and rich in flavour. If you can't decide on what to pick, worry not because they let you taste all the flavours before settling for a box (or 5) of them.
A spot dedicated for ramen, Makotoya lies on the Sunset Terrace of One Galle Face. Most of the ingredients they've got here are flown all the way from Japan, and the food is cooked by Japanese chefs. Therefore the quality and the authenticity of the flavours are guaranteed.
The FoodCycle is a place to get your fast food cravings satisfied. From cheese kottu to beef burgers, everything here is simple, affordable and carries a load of flavours.
Daddy's is another newcomer in the BBQ scene in Colombo. They've got a bunch of grilled items for less than Rs. 500, so it's quite friendly on the wallet too.
Done as the love child between the likes of The Grind and Ceylon Superfoods Company, Seed Cafe joined the cafe scene in Colombo not too long ago in the same place Cafe Kumbuk used to be. They do some superb coffee-based drinks, which you can accompany with some healthy, or vegan-friendly dishes.
A Minute By Tuk Tuk has finally tuk-ed their way to the heart of Colombo by opening a branch in One Galle Face. Adding Lankan touches to Western fare without copying it as a whole is what they do, and they do it quite well.
Mong Kok Chinese is all about Chinese food, and very delicious ones at that. They're perched on One Galle Face, it's pricey, but paired with its gorgeous ambience, you're guaranteed to have a good meal here.
Ban Thai Seafood Restaurant may not have the prettiest ambience, but their food sure seems to satisfy. In here, we encountered one of the best Tom Yum Soups we've had in Colombo, among other things.
Hooch does a bunch of Lankan and Asian favourites - from pol roti, pastries to rice & curry and noodles. If you're in the neighbourhood looking for a quick fix for a wallet-friendly price, this is the spot.
Previously known as the Dineinn Family Restaurant, the Diner's Delight serves a range of North Indian dishes as well as a few fast food items like submarines and sandwiches. Their Butter Chicken Masala is the best curry to go with your chapathi/naan.
One of the many things we loved about British Pub is the sheer range of dipping sauces they've got. From British Tartar and NY Anchovies to Sri Lankan Seeni Sambol Mayo and Indian Butter Masala, there's a good variety to it. You can select two of them to pair with your Fish & Chips.
The Michelin Star rated, award-winning Chinese restaurant chain - Crystal Jade recently unveiled their newest branch in Sri Lanka at the One Galle Face. Crafting up an array of diversified, super authentic, one-of-a-kind, and classic dishes that showcase the rich heritage of Chinese culinary arts, it is a solid spot for wonderous foodies; especially if you're looking for something other than your regular fried rice-HBC combo for a change.
Oriental Gourmet does the best hot pot in Colombo, full stop!
This is one of the best picks for affordable, super delicious Indian food in Colombo. We highly recommend their Chicken Tikka Masala.
A resto adjoining High Octane Fitness in Pamankada, The Daily Staple has got some superb food, curated for both health-conscious folks and its opposite kind. Their Grilled Norwegian Salmon is one of the best choices that one can go for.
Griddling is probably the only place in Colombo to get Roti John. Their burgers aren't shabby either.
Lan Tao is specialised in both Sri Lankan and Asian Fusion which you can enjoy without having to leave a dent in your wallet.
The Mango Tree branched out to Wellawatte this year, by taking up residence at the long-standing GSH Colombo hotel building. Their biriyani can use some flavours, but aside from that, everything here was on point; especially the Butter Paneer Masala and Samosa Chole.
Cafe 47 is probably the prettiest restaurant you'd see in Thalwatugoda. The eccentric ambience, coupled with the good food they serve, all add up to one fine spot to grab your dinner or lunch at. Their Roast Paan - Curry combo is easily the best as they make it freshly by order.
Bistro82 is a new coffeehouse in Bambalapitiya, which occupies the previous premises of Wedding Dreams Bridal Shop. Bistro82 has a range of cakes, all-day paninis and breakfast sandwiches (available from 8.00 AM - 11.00 AM), which you can pair with a cup of coffee (hot/cold), and tea.
A virtual kitchen by Flamingo House, The Islandic does some awesome, classic Lankan treats with a twist. We love every dish of our experience here - from Crab Cheese Kottu, Kalu Pol Pork to Pork Lamprais and Egg, Bacon & Pol Sambol Burger.
A cosy little spot down Vauxhall Street Mint Restaurant has nothing to do with mint but presents you with a fresh blast of an exciting array of food. Their Mac & Cheese was our favourite.
An elegant interior embossed with a dash of cosiness and modern rusticity, and a carefully curated menu that would take you on a gastronomical adventure, The Avenue is the newest buzzing hive in the city of Colombo. They're pretty dang expensive with steaks that range between Rs. 4200 to Rs. 18000, but if you look closely, you will be able to find a bunch of delicious options that won't squeeze your wallet dry.
Tayo Bear said that they were dog-friendly, we didn't think it would even remotely be to this extent. And since they are, we have nothing else to say but that if you have dogs or like dogs, this is the perfect cafe for you. They've got treatos to both doggos and their owners.
A venture by Colombo Beach Hostel, Barnes Garden Cafe is a good spot for an outdoorsy meal or some me time with a cup of coffee and a book.
Cafe 6-8 is a tiny nook that lies on top of The Bera Store in Nugegoda. This is easily the best spot to grab some good coffee from, if you're in the area.
The OG Banana Leaf is back in action with two branches; in Dehiwala and Kollupitiya. They do some killer Jaffna crab curry, and the Nasi goreng is superb too.
Taking a step forward from their array of organic, cold-pressed, locally sourced and ayurvedic approved juices, RAW has a cafe called Cafe Raw now, serving up some deliciously healthy treats. Their Homemade Ginger Beer is simply the best in town, and from what we gathered, the coffee beans they use in their Black Coffee is quite organic and comes from some of the oldest coffee trees in Sri Lanka.
A fine dining restaurant by Sen-Saal, Sahal is a welcome addition to Colombo's throng of fancy Sri Lankan restaurants. Their menu has a very interesting range of regional cuisines, from Balapitiye Maalu Olu (Balapitiya fish head) Curry and Sabaragamuwe Hath Maaluwa (seven veggies curry from Sabaragamuwa Province) to Jaffna Odiyal Kool and Fried Cuttlefish & Drumstick Leaf Curry, coming all the way from Eastern seaboard.
S39 is one of the cheapest thin-crust pizza parlours in town, but what they whip up is of high quality and flavourful. They don't skimp on the toppings so every mouthful is filled with cheese and meats.
Fatty Patty is a good spot to get your fast food fix if you're in Kollupitiya. Their burgers and subs are pretty interesting and filled with the promised elements.
Hands down the best place for crepes in Colombo, Crepe Runner finally has a place down Street Rush allowing its customers to properly sit down for a meal. They're quite generous with their fillings and do both savoury and sweet crepes.
If you want to get yourself hooked up to some good food, try The Hookup. Going there is a bit of a trip as they're in Hokandara, but we'd say it's worth the trip, especially considering their amazing Kalu Pol Pork.
The tiniest branch of Cafe Noir chain, Cafe Noir Petit is a resto adjoining Dankotuwa Porcelain down Independence Avenue. Their Polos and Cheese Bun is a brilliant choice that one could go for.
A slice of Italy in a leafy retreat, that's what Mama Louie's is. If good pizza with a peace-of-mind smack dab in the middle of this busy town is what you're looking for, Mama Louie's is your safest bet.
Japanese food with the sheer beauty of Colombo city skyline, this restaurant is all about that. Their food has a nice Lankan touch to it, and they're pretty affordable too.
Rocco's has upped their game a lot by opening a branch in Colombo 7. Its ambience is so much better than the HQ, and the pizzas are good as ever.
A restaurant by Tasty, Cafe 97 is a good choice to grab a cup of coffee with a snack. Perhaps a Butterscotch Eclair or a Strawberry Cheesecake?
If you live around Kottawa, Masma EAT BBQ is the easiest choice for some superb grilled meats. We enjoyed some juicy rack here, as well as a hot chick.
Blackout Restaurant & Cafe is the newest member of the saturated cafe scene in Colombo 07, which also happens to be the first and only rugby-themed cafe we have in town. Try their Fish & Chips, it's one of the best in town.
David's Dangerously Delicious Char Siu lives up to the name. They just do Char Siu, and it is dangerously delicious. Now they've got an outlet in One Galle Face too.
Solely focused on serving up handmade, freshly baked loaves and other delights, Baguette brings a taste of France to Colombo. Now they've branched out to Mount Lavinia, with a better space along with a whole bunch of new goodies on the menu.
Cos P is a restaurant in Kottawa that does everything kos (jackfruit). Kos Nuggets, Kos Chips and of course, Rice & curry with Kos.
Forty Seven Spice is the resident resto at Colombo House by Ceilão Villas; a charming, modern mansion of a boutique hotel down Jawatta Road. Incorporating local ingredients with international technique is their speciality, and they do a darn good job at it.
A crispy crust combined with melted cheese, Caterina Pizzeria does some terrific thin-crust pizza cooked from a wood-fired oven. Located down Rheinland Place, they got a very spacious setup, plus it's BYOB and free of a corkage fee.
The cosy, little bistro down Park Road, Café La Défense recently opened their new branch, with a bigger, better space in Bambalapitiya. Their sandwiches are a must-try, and you can pair it with a jar of Ferror Rocher Lavish.
Heladiv is known for their tea, and their new branch lies in Kollupitiya. It's just the cafe counterpart that they've brought here, so if you want some boozy tea concoctions, you still have to go to their Dutch Hospital branch.
Specialising in most things Asian, Nom Nom Asia is resto down Maya Avenue. It's another venture by Heritage Hotel - Anuradhapura, and a sister restaurant to Thai Heritage Food Truck.
Red Panda was a delivery-based Chinese food venture when we checked them out for our review earlier this year, but now they've got a pretty space of their own too. Their HBC is simply wonderful, make sure you try it out.
Dedicated to appeasing your sweet tooth with a chock-full-of-chocolate dishes, Chocoholics opened its doors over a year ago in Havelock Town. Now they've got a second branch down 5th Lane, serving up the same goodies showered with chocolate, and a few breakfast items.
Pizza Napolitana is well-known for their retro style pizza advertisements on Facebook. Even though they are small joint on the side of the road, they promise some good flavours and live up to it.
Greasy, salty, golden-fried sticks of potato with the perfect crisp - French Fries are a true crowd-pleaser, despite where you grab them from. Having understood that, FryDay is an outlet in Street Rush that's solely dedicated for fries with some interesting sauces like Butter Masala and Avocado. Plus, they put French fries in everything, not only in boxes, but also inside the burgers and hotdogs they offer, instead of serving them on the side.
Diego's has the smokiest chicken we've had this year. Their sauces aren't spicy as one would expect, but pair up well with the chicken.
If you're looking for handmade pasta or fish & chips in Mount Lavinia, look no further than Urban Eatery in Street Rush.
Dedicated for nothing else but Friends, The Central Perk isn't a replica of the cafe in this beloved sitcom, but it has bits and bobs of it; like this purple door of Monica's apartment, and the popular orange coloured couch where the gang used to hang out.
If you're a coffee-lover, this is one of the best new places you should be at. They have some interesting cakes too, like Chocolate Tres leches.
The Choco Castle is back to life and has been opening branches in town. One of them lies inside the Kandy Selection in Nugegoda.
Overlooking the Gangarama strip down Perahera Road, Hamakaze does some interesting bowls of soul-warming Japanese ramen. Their Chicken Karage is pretty solid as well.
If your idea of the perfect Friday (or any day) tipple involves good food, fine booze, magnificent views of the Colombo shoreline, and a breath of sea breeze, The Ocean By O! is a solid spot. Their HBC is lovely, and would go very nicely with the Ocean Special Sour; a combination of Arrack, Passion and Lime Juice.
A well-known international franchise restaurant with over 100 branches worldwide, PappaRich is solely dedicated to bringing treats from Malaysian streets. They have two branches in Sri Lanka now, down Park Street and Rajagiriya.
The newly opened Cafē Blanca lies in a cosy nook down Malalsekara Mawatha. In fact, it's one of the affordable cafes in town with some great food, but the coffee can be improved.
Tucked away in a serene spot amidst all the concrete paraphernalia down Rosmead Place, The Verandah is a new resto adjoining the ever so beautiful Zylan Luxury Villa. The menu here isn't extensive like the one at their Zen Japanese Restaurant, but covers a bunch of veg, seafood, chicken, and beef-centric dishes.
The range of short eats at the Tribe Cafe is simply awesome. From savoury doughnuts to samosas to cake to gelato and cookies, it's quite a selection too.
Wan Ge Di Ya (concatenate the words together and you get wangediya) serves up culinary highlights from eight Asian countries, under one roof; a kaleidoscopic ceiling filled with sophisticated Asian lanterns. Our experience here was good, but from what we gathered from recent user reviews, the quality of their food seems inconsistent.
Aluthkade is well known for the exquisite, mouth-watering street food available, and the Grill Mansion is its newest member. If you're looking at some mouthwatering burgers packed to its brim with juicy cuts of meats, this is just the place.
Found right opposite Java Lounge, Epi-Q is Thimbirigasyaya's newest addition in its conquest of becoming the unofficial cafe capital in Sri Lanka. This is where you can get waffle pizzas at.
Cafe 40's take on Mac & Cheese is heavenly, especially if you're looking for one in the area of Rajagiriya.
Serving happiness in the form of ice cream is what Jolly's does, and they do it well, by adding a super Sri Lankan vibe to their flavours. Their very own ice cream parlour lies down Marine Drive, overlooking the coastal line, and comes with a nice seating space.
Superfood knows the art of pulling off healthy food in a delicious way. Their harvest balls are healthy as they can get, and remarkably delicious.
Cafe The Seoul is essentially the new restaurant by Cafe Alfred. They have a bunch of options that some Korean restaurants in Colombo don't serve up, like Jjang Ramyun and Tteok-bokki.
One of our favourite Indian restaurants in town, Chola recently branched out to One Galle Face, and we couldn't be happier. Their Chicken Butter Masala - Cheese and Chilli Naan combo is the most recommended.
A dessert parlour down Stratford Avenue, Indulge Desserts Co crafts up waffles, crepes, chocolate and the other basic desserts to indulge. It's a spot to satisfy your sweet tooth.
Saffron Restaurant offers a wide variety of Sri Lankan, Western, Chinese and Arabian treats for a very affordable price tag. Their Faham BBQ Chicken Quarter is an absolute steal.
This tiny restaurant has the friendliest staff. Their take on Deep-fried Mullet is simply fantastic as they offer it with the sides of coleslaw and paratha.
Taking inspiration from quintessential American food, Rusty Rhodes whip up some gloriously giant burgers. Their Fat Cow is probably one of the beefiest burgers we've had to date.
A hot pot in a food court? Mala Hot Pot is all about that. We had the opportunity of trying it out during their launch, and it is spectacular. Unbelievably spicy, but if you've got a true Lankan palate, handling this heat isn't a problem.
Started off as a home-based catering business, Mitsi's has come a very long way. Grand Slam By Mitsi is their venture dedicated for thin-crust pizza and pasta.
Grill House is a superb place to get your meat when you're in Malabe. Plus, you can BYOB here without having to pay a corkage fee.
(There is a whole bunch of more restaurants which should be added to this list. We didn't have the best experience with some of them, while the rest is yet to be reviewed.)
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Rusty Rhodes is a food stall in Crescat Boulevard and does some juicy, meaty, and filling burgers.
The Station shows you how to make the classic Sri Lankan Hot Butter Cuttlefish.
Chocolate-biscuit-pudding is a dessert unique to Sri Lanka - here's an aunty showing you how it's done