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Be it Ramadan, Christmas or any day of the year, we Lankans have strong feelings towards biriyani. Fragrant, fluffy rice with a heap of spices infused into it, a piece of well-seasoned chicken and an egg, accompanied with the sides of raita and mint sambol – it's hard to believe that one would hate this Indian imported delicacy. From fancy high-end restaurants to streetside buth kadeys, nearly every eatery makes or at least tries to do a biriyani version of their own, which shows how popular it is amongst us.
So for the love of biriyani, here's YAMU's guide to find the best biriyani spots in Colombo. Make sure you grab a Coca-Cola on the side because some of these are really, really spicy.
Chola down Lily Avenue is one of the latest entrants in Colombo's throng of Indian restaurants. With beautifully spiced rice and plenty of chicken bits hidden underneath, their Chicken Tikka Biriyani (Rs. 850) is one of the best we've had. Mind you, it's incredibly spicy, so it goes very well with a chilled Coke. A bit of in the expensive side, but well worth it as it's a hefty portion that two can easily indulge in.
Contact: 0114 363 118
Opening Hours: 11.00 am – 3 pm / 6.30 pm – 11.30 pm (They have the options of dine-in, delivery, and takeaway)
Vegetarian biriyani is usually a disgrace to the biryanis overall, but this particular biriyani put all the chicken biriyanis sold in Colombo to shame. The Sabzi Dum Biriyani (Rs 565) at Sudarshan Veg was made so well that we didn't really miss meat at all. With truckloads of masala infused into each and every grain of basmati, this is an absolute delight.Contact: 011 2502013 Opening Hours: 11.00 am- 11.00 pm (Dine-in and takeaway options are available)
Chana's is a little restaurant known for serving up some pretty good Tandoori Chicken Dum Biriyani (Rs. 600) that hits the sweet spot in so many ways. The rice is seasoned well, the portion size is ample, and you get a massive piece of some excellently prepared tandoori chicken that bursts into flavors with every bite. Tandoori and Coke is a match made in heaven, so take a sip or two while you're at it.Contact: 0113 288 788 Opening Hours: 11.00 am- 11.00 pm (Dine-in, takeaway, and delivery available)
Easily the most unique of the bunch, AK's Grilled Chicken Biriyani (Rs. 490) is a good option if you're tired of the typical take on biryani. The rice itself has a great spicy flavor while the charred bits of the grilled chicken is a flavorful addition in each mouthful.Contact: 0112 301 031 Opening Hours: Sat- Thur- 12.00 pm- 11.00 pm / Fri- 1.30 pm- 11.00 pm (Dine-in, delivery and takeaway options are available)
Classy Cuisine is a caterer in Dehiwala who does some good Chicken Biriyani (Rs. 450). From the fiery yellow rice with a few speckles of orange and golden brown, and fall-off-the-bone tender chicken to the large helping of some pretty flavourful raita, we found their biryani to be quite delicious. Nevertheless, we should warn you that while the food was quite good, it did lack salt, so you might want to invest in some before you order (in case).
Contact: 075 202 2339 (Delivery and takeaway options are available)
The Awadhi Ki Biriyani (Rs. 950) they serve up at Alhambara – Ramada is quite literally a pot full of happiness. While the serving itself is enough for 2 people, the rice was brilliantly prepared with plenty of cashews, raisins, and pieces of well-primed chicken. However, we should warn you that the raita we got was quite bland and overall watery. So you might want to stay clear of that.
Contact: 0112 422 001
Opening Times: 12 pm- 3 pm / 7 pm- 11 pm (Dine-in only)
Pot Biriyani is a name that is familiar to many of us. Why? well, the place quite literally takes care of every one of your biriyani needs. From Vegetarian biriyani to Seafood String Hopper Biriyani, Pot Biriyani does all things biriyani.
As the name implies, their biriyani is served in massive clay pots. They have 2 serving options – smaller one serving 4-6 persons (Rs. 2200 and the larger one serving 8-10 persons (Rs. 3200). You have to order at least 24 hours prior and pay for tuk fare if the food is being delivered to your home.
In terms of flavor, the biriyani rice is cooked in a myriad of spices with rich stock and small hints of saffron, along with large bits of boiled chicken (cooked in the same stock) mixed in it. The flavor gets further enhanced by the generous smattering of cilantro leaves, and the accompaniments of Maldive fish sambol, onion achcharu and peas. Help yourselves with a chilled Coke on the side, because it would make you feel like drinking a Masala Coke.
Contact: 0777 330 938 / 071 666 9669
Opening Hours: Sat- Thu- 8.30 am- 7 pm / Fri- 2 pm- 7 pm
The Biryani Restaurant down Armour Street is one place that makes braving Colombo 12 traffic worth it. With some beautifully prepared basmati of the highest grade, and generous helpings of meat to go with, these plates remind us why we love biryani so much. Their Hyderabadi Dum Kacchi Chicken Biriyani (Rs. 450) infused with a load of aromatics and spices- so every bite is rich. Cooked in traditional 'kacchi' style (when you place raw+marinated meat, underneath strained+par-boiled rice, and cook it together in a dum), it allows for all the flavors from the meat to seep up and fuse with the rice, producing a stellar flavor profile and an overall zesty biriyani.
The chicken itself was brilliant with chock full of spices and a sharp chili kick, while the inside is tender and delicately pink. Pairing this with an iced Coke would certainly help to spike up the flavors.
Contact: 0112 440 339
Opening Hours: 11.00 am- 9.30 pm (Dine-in and takeaway available)
There you have it: 8 of the best biriyani serving places in Colombo. We suggest taking as much use of this list as possible and getting yourself a nice plate of biriyani, a glass of ice cold Coca-Cola (why bother asking why?) and rewatching every Christmas movie you could possibly think of. Merry Christmas everyone!