In the beginning, Giovanni's was this tiny pizzeria down Thimbirigasyaya, with just a few tables and a menu written on a long blackboard. But now, their space is massive, with both indoor and outdoor dining, more food, coffee, desserts and the BYOB facility. It has always been a place that one would go back to over and over again, no matter what the mood is. The vibe here is incredibly charming, chilled out and friendly, and the pizza remains unbeatable.
A hole-in-the-wall kinda establishment, Min Han has been a cult favourite for decades. Back when we were at our Bambalapitiya office, we used to drop by this place at least once a month. We didn't even have to look at the menu, because Wijayapala — the main waiter knew it like the back of his hand. From what we gathered, he's not there anymore, but Min Han's authentic Chinese cuisine is still one of the best in the city. Do try out their Pork Dumplings, and the Sweet & Sour Pork.
There is already a plethora of Hotel de Pilawoos in Colombo, but the one in Kollupitiya is the real deal. In fact, it's the original Pilawoos, which has a history of 40 years in kottu making. The Cheese Chicken Kottu and Iced Milo combo here is perhaps the most popular late-night eats in the city, and is the best kind of local-style comfort food you can ask for.
This is probably the only roadside kottu joint that managed to challenge the Pilawoos’ kottu dominance back then. They still make some great Chicken Cheese Kottu, but if you prefer something even cheesier, get the Chicken Palandi Kottu. Everything here washes down so well with their excellent Iced Milo, which in fact, has a richer taste than the Pilawoos kind.
Fazly's is probably the most popular spot for late-night burger snacking. Back when the times were good, it was an important stop in those once-a-month, weekend outings of many. A few beers at the Cheers, a long, late-night walk to Colombo 02, and then burgers at the Fazly's. Their Chicken Cordon Bleu Burger hits all the right flavour notes, while the Classic Beef Burger comes with a fat, rich, juicy patty.
From its inception, Bakes by Bella has been one of Colombo's go-to spots to sate the lust of all kinds of sweet cravings. Started off as a home-based baking business, now they're a full-blown delicatessen in Kollupitiya. They're the ones who introduced cake shakes to Colombo and still do a fantastic job at it, with many more varieties of cakes, bakes, coffee, and savouries.
Praneetha is a 5-star buth spot in Colombo. While there are quite a few rice & curry places in the Kollupitiya area, this one thrives with customers, all day, every day. They do clean buth plates/ packets, assorted with freshly cooked, delicious curries, chosen from their massive spread. We've always loved their proteins selection, which has pretty much everything — chicken, beef, pork, mutton, prawns, cuttlefish and fish, cooked in many different ways, including Devilled Chicken, Pork Stew and Fried Seer.
The prawn-hub in the city, Isso is another name for seafood fiesta. Their Kollupitiya branch is even bigger now, with better seating space and lots and lots of new interesting stuff on the menu. Whether it be Jaffna Prawn Curry, Singaporean-style Baby Octopus, Crab Kottu or Lobster Biriyani, this is a solid bet.
Randoli is where our quest to find the best HBC in town came to an end. With the T20 season, this is a good spot to drop by as they've got big screens broadcasting all the games. So sit down, grab a beer and enjoy some awesome HBC while catching up on the T20 series.
What better way to dive into nostalgia than enjoying a scoop of ice cream from the ever so loved Carnival? An iconic landmark in Colombo, Carnival has seen everything that this city has been through for decades now. While there are many gourmet ice cream and gelato parlours in the city, it's still a place that we all love to visit for old times' sake.
One of the oldest and the best Japanese restaurants in Colombo, Nihonbashi keeps things authentic to its core. Their food is made with the freshest seafood, high grade imported ingredients, and excellent craftsmanship, which overall, improves the quality of the experience.
Even after all these long years, VOC Cafe by DBU is still a good bet when it comes to satisfying your Lamprais cravings. DBU lamprais is one of the very few authentic lamprais in the city, which you can pair up with their homemade, absolutely refreshing Ginger Beer. They also do a damn good Black Pork curry.