Ah, 2016. A horrific year for celebrities, a hilarious year for news, and a rather solid year for swank new hotels and restaurants on the resplendent isle. Colombo's newest dining darlings are all upscale, carefully curated and located spots. While we love them, their swish locations, and beautiful clientele, we're earnestly wondering where all the new buth and bothal kades are. All we've got is brunch, bubble tea, and the bourgeoisie to contend with.
Best New Restaurants in Colombo
Looking for a sleek meal at a new spot in the city? Try one of these for a guaranteed good time. Sure, they're all expensive, but happiness usually is. We'd be amiss if we didn't mention a couple of other crowd favourites, like Cafe Kumbuk, the Cricket Club revamp, and the authentic Thai Cuisine at La Rambla.
As an aging high society member, the Hilton Colombo's facelift was long overdue. But it's here, and the hotel's brand new multi-cuisine all day dining restaurant is great. We don't generally like buffets, but this one costs a flat Rs. 3100 (inclusive of taxes and service charge) and features everything from Sri Lankan and Chinese to Japanese and Continental cuisine, which we thought made it one of the best value for money luxury dining spreads in the city. Plus, you're in a beautiful setting and served by generally excellent service, which makes Graze ideal for a business lunch or family dinner.
Kuuraku is the latest addition to Colombo’s Japanese scene and easily one of the best restaurants that came out this year. Their great selection of contemporary Japanese cuisine, yakitori and sushi make it one to look out for on the popular Park Street strip. The corkage-free BYOB option is also superb if you want to have a classy dinner and save some cash.
Restaurateur Dharshan Munidasa's newest project, the space also plays host to Oro pizza and Cafe Nihonbashi (albeit on a separate menu). What's not to enjoy, really? Great ambience that complements quick service, and inventive food at prices that don't make us wince. Colombo's new hot spot is defnitely worth your buck.
Top New Brunch Spots
If you're flush with cash, possibly hungover, and need lots of grease to ease yourself into the day, brunch is your saviour. This year has seen a massive influx of beautiful, picture-perfect spots to sort your weekend out.
This is the kind of spot you'd hit for a late but fancy, scrumptious and Instagram-worthy meal. It's expensive, indulgent, and oh-so-pretty.
Looking for a serious brunch or tea sesh? Head to this incredibly cute Madame Puddifoot-esque breakfast and tea spot on Rosmead Place. Whether it's delicately arranged dessert and tea you're looking for, or a yummy hangover English fry up, this is your spot.
3. Let's Brunch
With a varied menu, good food, and cute table decor, Let's Brunch is a strong lazy weekend choice. With breakfasts ranging from kiribath to granola to mac n' cheese, the variety is staggering and multi-continental.
Top Drinks Spots
From top notch local coffee to ubiquitious bubble tea to funky alcoholic offerings, quench your parched throat at these Colombar watering holes.
1. Kopi Kade
These guys serve premium, imported, and reliably sourced coffee and produce (which accounts for the prices). The food is delicious, interesting, and well executed, but tends to be a little tiny on the portion size.
Mabroc's extensive range comprises of classic teas (hot and cold), shakes, fruit teas, herbal teas, and slushies – all complete with either tapioca pearls or popping bubbles. Priced at less than Rs. 300 a pop, Mabroc is the cheapest and best option in the city's current bubble tea mania.
We've been generally pleased with everything that Repub has to offer, from weirdly inventive drinks to an eclectic and well-executed tapas menu. The service, the ambience, and the location come together to ensure you have a deliciously tipsy night (as long as loud young music doesn't bother you). As guilty as we feel about forsaking Brown's, we have to admit THE RE.PUB.LK's a pretty nifty replacement.
Best New Dessert Spots
1. Gourmet CBP
You can count on Gourmet CBP to satisfy your chocolate cravings. They follow a 30 year old family recipe for the classic chocolate biscuit pudding with a variety of funky toppings, and operate through Facebook. You can either pick up your orders or get them delivered to your doorstep.
Best New Spaces in Colombo
Apart from having a restaurant to please your gastronomical demands, The Sooriya Village is home to a recording studio, two practice rooms (although one is still under construction), a lecture room, a library and a children's bookstore (which was, in fact, how Sooriya came to life). The idea is to really bring together raw Lankan talent to one space. They are also known for their live music that happens on most nights, especially on Friday nights and the weekend.
Their concept is unique. The feel is different. And like any village, it's collaborative.
Overall, it's a massive upgrade from ODEL's old boring food court, and quite aesthetically pleasing. There's a spacious al fresco courtyard, with foodstalls bordering it and plenty of greenery. This is definitely one of the better areas to hang around in after you're done with shopping, as the space also plays host to a Foot Rub, and chic upscale restaurants like Sugar Bistro and Alexandra & Ward.
Best New Restaurants Outside Colombo
We're really pleased with the Fort Bazaar experience. It's a beautiful and inobtrusive addition to the Galle Dutch Fort, easily one of the island's historical and cultural gems. Their restaurant, the Church Street Social, features stellar cuisine and a lazy luxe vibe. We'd recommend you bring your own wine or beer in since they haven't got a liquor licence yet.
Sustainable luxury is so hot right now. The newest hot spot, Santani, wowed our leech-proof socks off during a foray into Kandy's untouched inlands. You'll discover uninterrupted views, private chalets, possibly some of the best food on the island, and a journey that takes way too long.
We'll publish this review within a week, but until then, take our word for how delicious Bacco is. It's on the main Negombo hotel strip, and they serve up delicious pizzas and cheap wine. Score!
As always, this is just our humble and beer-addled opinion. Add your own favourites that opened up this year below! We'll be happy to add on any great spots we've missed.