The Colombo International Book Fair is here. Braving this is no mean feat and will require copious amounts of strength, grit and stamina. When you run out of those things, here are some choice places where you bibliophiles can take a breather, eat, drink and recharge till your next round of book shopping
The Arcade is almost across the road from the BMICH and is your best bet for some grub that’s nearby and quick. It doesn’t hurt that it’s also an excellent place to chill, but that’s really only after the sun goes down. There’s a few places here that you can check out while you read your latest literary purchase.
The Arcade is notable that unlike the other mall food courts in Colombo, this one is actually outside. While there is some seating in the form of wooden benches next to the eateries, most of it is the black and white cane furniture outside. Unfortunately right now the furniture is showing age with constantly being baked in the sun because while there is some greenery around, there really isn’t anywhere near enough shade for it to be comfortable in the daytime. It is really great after sundown though.
For food you have a decent selection with Paan Paan and Sen Saal for your pastry needs, Krishna for vegetarians and Lemongrass for Thai food. You also have a Tropical Juice Bar for thirst quenching and an Elephant House ice cream stall for when you need to sate your sweet tooth.
While not part of the food court, you also have a Burger King outlet here to satisfy your burger needs.
If you need more of a laid back vibe on some comfy chairs you can head to the Dilmah t-Lounge. While this place feels a little cramped compared to their main branch it’s still comfortable and the tea is as good as it ever was.
If you feel like Japanese after searching the book fair all day for anime and manga, maybe give Tsukiji Uoichi a try. They've got one of the most impressive Japanese menus in Colombo and their execution is excellent.
It’s the end of the day and you’ve had a long hard trek walking all over the halls of the BMICH. You need to wet your parched throat with something with a bit of a kick but you’ll go mad if you have to go far. Maybe Asylum will save your sanity. They’ve got good drinks and a classy atmosphere. The food isn’t terrible either.
If you feel like travelling a little bit more towards Jawatta Road, there’s some places close by that we think might be to your liking as well.
Giovanni’s has a loyal following here at YAMU. We love their pizza. The place may be small and cramped but the pizza more than makes up for it. But you have to keep in mind that they only open after 7 PM. So this is for more of a late-night-on-the-way-home-I-can't-cook-let's-eat-out sort of situation.
The most recent addition to Colombo's sudden Bubble tea explosion. Their refreshing fruit teas will definitely get the energy back in you after a hard day's book-fair-ing.
If you walk in the other direction towards Independence Square you can find a few nice places too.
Since it’s not everyday you hit up a book fair, maybe you should try someplace that’s a little different than your usual for a drink. Try 41 Sugar. Good drinks, good food, good ambience. Definitely try the burgers.
The Racecourse is pretty much in the same family as the Arcade. So there’s similar fare to be found here too.
If you go on Saturday you shouldn’t miss the Good Market. This curated collective of sustainable, socially conscious entrepreneurs is a great place to chill out under the shade of a nuga tree. On the other days the Good Market has a shop across the road from the Racecourse on the Lakpahana premises.
If you can find the Indian restaurant Agra there's a little bar tucked away behind it called The Manchester. Don't let the dodgy entrance fool you. It's easygoing, it's chill and it's a great place to put your feet up at the end of a long book-fair day.
So there's you have some places you can have a good meal in the BMICH/Book fair vicinity. You can always check out our app for location specific suggestions (just turn your GPS on first). Have fun and good reading!