We saw many new restaurants and home cooks enter the fray in 2015. With the year coming to a close we're taking a quick look back at our favourites. Most of these are new entrants of 2015 with a few exceptions from out of Colombo.
As always, these are our favourite's for 2015, so let us know yours in the comments section. Also be sure to click on the title to read our full reviews of each spot. This list is in No Particular Order.
The Boulevard has been completely revamped into what we consider to be the top Thai restaurant in Colombo. With chef Mama (former head chef at Royal Thai) at the fore this place delivers some outstanding Thai cuisine. All of the dishes we tried packed tons of flavour with plenty of spice and seasoning, striking an excellent balance between authenticity and taste.
Where: 33, Queens Road, Colombo 3
How Much: Rs. 2000
Calorie Counter started the year off with a bang when they first came on to Colombo's restaurant scene with their healthy theme and calorie count for each dish, using healthier ingredient alternatives as often as possible. Opening two restaurants in one year is no easy feat, but they managed to raise their standards with their new branch in Pelawatta. While Colombo has seen a fair share of new healthy eateries pop up this year, Calorie Counter still takes our top spot for their innovativeness and consistency.
Where: 61, Thimbirigasyaya Road, Colombo 05 | 410, Pannipitiya Road, Pelawatta
How Much: Rs. 800 – Rs. 2000
Residence By Uga tries to push Sri Lankan ingredients further than they've ever gone before and for the most part they do it works. There's a really high level of creativity and attention to detail going on here, and we think you get your money's worth. If for nothing else, go for the cocktails and ice cream. With combinations like seeni sambol & sprats and chilli passion fruit, it's on the verge of mind-blowing.
Where: 20, Park Street, Colombo 3
How Much: Rs. 1500 – Rs. 2500
Poonie's Kitchen was a new and unexpected find in the Galle Fort – much like the time we discovered The Original Rocket Burger during its glory days. They do some great food at reasonable prices, and get a full 5/5 for ambience. They really stick out among the tourist-friendly, mediocre-but-pricey trend of restaurants and cafes in the Fort. While their menu is somewhat limited, the food itself is flavoursome, coming in hefty, filling portions. However, The biggest draw for us was the cozy atmosphere, happy colours, quirky decor, and comforting little things like the fish swimming in the pond and the swing to enjoy the view from.
Where: 63, Pedlars Street, Fort, Galle
How Much: Rs. 800 – Rs. 1500
Colombo’s had a bad track record with so many Middle Eastern restaurants closing down, but August brings a new look and feel to the table and we’re pretty sure they’ll be around for a while. We love that they use unconventional ingredients like lotus seeds and pomegranate, but you’ll also find most of the staples like hummus, babaganoush, and falafel, along with all the different breads. They serve up well executed dishes with high quality of ingredients, some novel dishes and a level of finesse that’s not often associated with Middle Eastern food in Colombo.
Where: 61, Dudley Senanayake Mawatha, Colombo 08
How Much: Rs. 1500 – Rs. 2500
Mirissa seems to love its roti, and no one does it better than No.1 Dewmini Roti Shop. It's a small, family-run restaurant that offers an impressive variety of dishes, along with some of the best sweet and savoury rotis we've had. With flavours like banoffee and chocolate peanut butter, their sweet rotis were exceptional. Regardless of whether you're a tourist or local, Dewmini Roti Shop is a must-visit if you're in the hood. As far as roti goes, this place really is "No.1".
Where: Udupila Road, Mirissa
How Much: Rs. 200 – Rs. 400
Butter Boutique's finally got their own place away from the Good Market. They've really stepped their game up. While they'v got some mixed reviews about the service, the cakes and dessert are excellent. The real surprise, however, was the coffee. They use Niccolo coffee which is an Arabica blend with a mix of Brazilian, Guatemalan and Indian beans, each adding its own distinct flavor to the mix. We'd go so far as to say it's arguably the best cuppa in Colombo right now.
Where: 34, 27th Lane, Colombo 03
How Much: Rs. 300 – Rs. 1000
Dolce Italia is a simple, charming Italian restaurant and bakery on a busy square on Havelock Road. Run by a few Italians who've been in the business for decades, it's surprisingly affordable. They offer a range of Italian staples like pastas, lasagna and tiramisu, but our favourites are their pastries like the cornetto and panzerotti.
Where: 147, Vajira Road, Colombo 04
How Much: Rs. 200 – Rs 800
Schakasz is a fun little cafe down Stratford Avenue, next to Gandhara and Barista, that serves desserts exclusively. It's a pretty small spot but they offer a wide range of desserts, most of which is both presented and executed very well. On a spontaneous visit, we tried out their new crème brûlée cheesecake which was a unanimous favourite combining the best of both worlds.
Where: 56, Stratford Avenue, Colombo 6
How Much: Rs. 300 – Rs. 700
Black Cat is yet another cafe which popped up a couple of weeks ago, but what makes this stand apart is that they've got a very small menu with perfectly executed meals. Focusing on sandwiches, they also have great coffee and energizing homemade and fresh juices with interesting twists. Their gingerbeer is to die for, and the staff's courtesy and friendliness will make you feel right at home.
Where: 11, Wijerama Mawatha, Colombo 07.
How Much: Rs. 600 – Rs. 1000
The Home Cooks
Che Che's is a new home-based take-out venture specializing in Chinese dumplings and steamed buns. It may still be in its infancy, but the food is delicious and incredibly affordable, especially considering the quality. This was without a doubt one of our best finds of the year. Priced at Rs. 350 – Rs. 400 for a batch of ten dumplings or buns these are an abosulte steal. Their pan-fried biaozi blew the competition straight out of the water nailing that perfect contrast of textures, with a crisp outer shell and a soft centre. Their fillings are also full of flavour with a great balance of savoury and spice.
Where: 24/2, 6th Lane, Nawala (Pick-up)
How Much: Rs. 350 – Rs. 450
Contemporary Ceylon really took us by surprise serving up some of the most inovative and well executed dishes that we've come across among home cooks. These were easily restaurant quality dishes, each with a local twist by combining elements like seeni sambol and pork, bacon and parippu as well as arguably the best milo dessert you'll find anywhere in Colombo. Getting a reservation can be very tough so we suggest calling up like a month in advance.
Where: Colombo 3 (You can book a dinner by appointment only)
How Much: Approximately Rs. 3,000 per person
Cookies & You bakes doughy cookies, brownies, pies, profiteroles and other baked goods to near perfection. Many homebakers are good — great actually — but Cookies & You stands out from the bunch. They move away from the usual cupcakes and whatnot, which we appreciate. Their white-chocolate ganache profiteroles and cookie dough brownies were our favourites, both of which were rich and creamy with just right amount of sweetness.
Where: 73/A Dharmapala Mawatha, Colombo 3 (Pick-up)
How Much: Rs. 600 – Rs. 2000
Oshella is a home cook that serves up some of the best chocolatey desserts we've had. We don't mess around when it comes to our eclairs, so when we say these are the best in Colombo, that's one hell of a compliment. As far as we know, Oshella is one of the only people who offers nasi lemak and she does the Malaysian staple justice with fragrant coconut rice, well cooked Malay chicken curry and a legit ikan billis.
Where: Mirihana Road, Nugegoda (Delivery)
How Much: Rs. 1000 – Rs. 2000
Foodie Adventure is a home cook from Nawala that offers a surprisingly extensive menu. The best part is that she serves up unconventional dishes like tortillas and quinova burgers, the latter of which caught us all by surprise. She also does one of the best takes on Mongolian fried rice that we've had in a long time, packed with mixed meat and seafood.
Where: 41, Malwatta Road, Nawala (Delivery / Pick-up)
How Much: Rs. 500 – Rs. 2000