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4/5

Wijaya Beach

Dalawella, Unawatuna, Galle


An old favourite, Wijaya Beach continues to serve up fresh seafood, excellent pizza and a sun-dappled ocean view.



Away from the tourist throng of Unawatuna, the promise of a heady time suddenly leaps out at you from all directions. The names of the many hotels and cabanas that line this stretch of Thalpe are an exercise in boundless optimism: Happy Beach, Crazy Coconut Villa. Given the general air of hyperbole, the name Wijaya Beach is so down-to-earth, you could almost accuse it of being dull. But as we've said before, this unassuming restaurant with superb seafood, crisp pizza and a view worth killing for, enjoys a faithful following that pays no mind to its somewhat plebby name.

Ambience & Service

Who can resist the lure of a view such as the one above, enjoyed while resting on a sunbed with one's feet propped up on a deck? (No one.) Being longtime fans of the Wijaya Beach experience, it didn't take us too much motivation to embark on the one-and-a-half journey to Thalpe, early on a Sunday morning.

Channeling a laid-back, Mediterranean vibe, Wijaya Beach is appropriately colourful and casual, with whitewashed walls brightened up with a blue bar, and paintings and artifacts that further the beach theme. On one side, a massive wood-fired oven occupies centre stage, with a hand-painted pizza menu on the wall advertising your pie options. After eating their weight in seafood and pizza, most visitors make a beeline for the beach chairs thoughtfully placed to proffer a view of the sparkling ocean, and mull over their excesses, drink in hand.

The service is prompt without being insistent, which is just the sort of pace you need for an establishment such as this one. All our food arrived in quick succession, but after we were done, the waitstaff allowed us to dawdle all day, until we were ready to leave.

The Food & Drink

Wijaya Beach is the ideal place to kick back with a few beers (or Prosecco, if you're feeling fancy), but there are also a few cocktails on offer. Of these, we tried the passion fruit daiquiri, with white rum, fresh passion fruit and mint.

Refreshing and just the right amount of slushy, the drink did justice to its advertised ingredients, except for the niggling fact that it had not enough alcohol to befit its title. While we appreciated the fresh passion fruit pulp and fragrant mint, we would have liked a slightly headier concoction.

When it comes to food, we are big champions of local produce, so we were delighted to find local fishermen delivering freshly caught fish to the restaurant. The freshness of the seafood shines through in most of the restaurant's simple preparations, but it is, without doubt, the highlight of the standout tuna sashimi, served with a dollop of wasabi.

The jewel-toned, thinly-sliced slivers of tuna need no ornamentation except a squeeze of lime and a dab of wasabi. The quality of the seafood is the unquestioned hero of this dish. At just Rs. 750, it is a small plate that's worthy of several repeats. The seafood ceviche (Rs. 850) is slightly more substantial than the sashimi, and every bit as pitch perfect. Thicker slices of tuna and locally caught mahi mahi are cured in a vibrant citrus dressing speckled with green chillies. The bright and piquant dressing elevates the raw fish, as it should in a good ceviche, while staying true to the flavour of the seafood.

Most of Wijaya Beach's patrons flock to the restaurant for its crisp, thin-crust pizzas laden with sumptuous toppings. We chose a half-and-half pizza (Rs. 1,400), topped with bacon and mushrooms on one half and seafood on the other. We were hard pressed to find fault with the base that was thin enough to have biscuit-like crunch yet supple enough to hold the weight of the toppings.

Studded with plump bits of juicy bacon and stringy cheese (but barely any mushrooms), the meaty half vanished faster than the seafood. Although it was plentifully laden with prawns, this portion needed to be spiked with swigs of the excellent chilli oil, curiously served in an old Corona bottle. (All of the restaurant's condiments come in re-engineered liquor bottles – a quirky and eco-friendly touch.)

The finale to our mostly faultless meal was with a passion fruit and coconut cheesecake (Rs. 500) that is sure to star in an island-wide cheesecake competition, if there were one. Served in thin slices that assuaged any guilt we may have been feeling, the cheesecake had a light yet creamy body with the slight pucker of passion fruit and crunch from its seeds, on a crunchy and buttery biscuit base. Boasting the perfect balance of taste and texture, the cheesecake rendered the accompanying ice cream redundant.

Conclusion

When you venture beyond Unawatuna into the ruddy heart of Thalpe, take our advice and spend a day slumped like a beached whale at Wijaya Beach. The food is superlative, and every now and then, the beach even hosts surprise visitors like the guy below. 


TIP

Ask for the chilli oil. This is a lovely, piquant oil, delicious when drizzled over a hot pizza.

Address

Dalawella, Unawatuna, Galle

Directions

Take the Pinnaduwa exit from the Southern Expressway, and drive towards Thalpe. Wijaya Beach is on Dalawella beach, opposite the railway tracks.

Contacts

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User Reviews
R
1

2/5

0

rashidewan

After reading multiple reviews on multiple websites I was really looking forward to having a good time at this place, however that was not the case and I completely fail to understand the hype.

Most reviews mention that their pizzas are the best in Sri Lanka and honestly being a chef and a foodie who has tried pizzas in many restaurants and hotels in Sri lanka including colombo, galle, mirrisa, negombo, bentota; this was by far the worst pizza. The base was extremely soggy, burnt from the sides and raw in the middle, toppings so many, cheese so heavy that the pizza could not even carry the weight of it all. I am absolutely shocked how this place is so highly rated

Apart from bad pizzas, I also did not like how close their chairs were. People literally sitting on top of one another. The only saving grace was their passion fruit mojito.

R
1

2/5

0

rashidewan

After reading multiple reviews on multiple websites I was really looking forward to having a good time at this place, however that was not the case and I completely fail to understand the hype.

Most reviews mention that their pizzas are the best in Sri Lanka and honestly being a chef and a foodie who has tried pizzas in many restaurants and hotels in Sri lanka including colombo, galle, mirrisa, negombo, bentota; this was by far the worst pizza. The base was extremely soggy, burnt from the sides and raw in the middle, toppings so many, cheese so heavy that the pizza could not even carry the weight of it all. I am absolutely shocked how this place is so highly rated

Apart from bad pizzas, I also did not like how close their chairs were. People literally sitting on top of one another. The only saving grace was their passion fruit mojito.

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