Restaurants & Cafés

The best places to eat in Sri Lanka

Colombo restaurant guide

Find out the best places to eat
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Find out the best places to eat

Sri Lanka is known for its flavoursome cuisines. Here we give you some of the best places to enjoy a meal this month.

Kaema Sutra
Restaurants

Kaema Sutra

On the ground floor in the heart of the Arcade at Independence Square, Colombo 7, is Kaema Sutra. Translated this means The Art of Food. Opened only recently, the charm of Kaema Sutra is enthralling new patrons. The restaurant is an enterprise of the maestro chef behind Ministry of Crab, Darshan Munidasa and the Sri Lankan international film actress Jacqueline Fernandez. Kaema Sutra has a menu highlighting contemporary Sri Lankan dishes with a modern take on flavour. The décor is a combination of colonial artefacts, wooden furniture, and tradition incorporated into modern style. The Miris Gala, at the centre of the restaurant, is not just ornamental but used by the staff for the preparation of sambols.

Café Français
Restaurants

Café Français

Located in the midst of Colombo’s central business district, Café Français entices with its distinctive facade. Walking past the al fresco seating area, you are transported into a spacious and elegant upscale bistro from France.  Black and white pictures adorn the beige walls while grand, plush couches and wooden floors complement the setting. The stunning interiors are complete with soft mood lighting and sleek tables, creating a very warm and welcoming environment.  The menu is impressive. You will find everything from pastries and breakfast meals to tapas, hot and cold starters, various vegetarian and meat dishes along with numerous desserts. The exquisite french dishes come in large portions—an added advantage. Café Français also houses a wine cellar that displays an extensive selection of the finest Wine and Champagne from France.  The Café bar, open till midnight serves an array of intriguing drinks and cocktails. At the ever-vibrant and sophisticated Café Français you will see groups of friends catching up over tapas and drinks, while families enjoy the upbeat music along with an authentic French meal.  The only French restaurant in town, this is definitely a place to go to—whether its for breakfast, lunch, dinner or cocktails!

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Harpo's Colombo Fort Café
Restaurants

Harpo's Colombo Fort Café

Harpo’s Colombo Fort Café spreads from tables in the cloisters surrounding the courtyard at the Old Dutch Hospital to the Mediterranean style air-conditioned interior. Service is fast and cheerful whether for cocktails, snacks or a full meal featuring fusion cuisine.  There is an open sided kitchen where diners can observe the cooking process but more interesting for most is people-watching from the tables on the cloistered terrace. It’s in a convenient location and there’s the buzz of being in the right place during both day and evening. The menu is reasonably priced with a selection of tapas, ceviches, pastas, salads, seafood and meat dishes along with vegetarian options, pizzas, desserts hot and cold beverages and cocktails, with different discounted drinks every day.

Colombo café culture

Dilma t-Lounge
Restaurants

Dilma t-Lounge

t- Lounge by Dilmah began at Chatham Street, offering an expansive range of teas with food to accompany. Now it has its most recent twin at Arcade, Independence Square as well. The selection of teas at the t-Lounges promises an enduring gourmet experience.  The tea menu begins with a range of signature teas: rare brews including the Jade Butterfly Handmade White and the First Ceylon Souchong. Their refreshing selection of iced teas follows in a number of exotic flavours. The range of drinks they have christened ‘T-kitsch’ is, basically, Ceylon black tea that is flavoured with six different ingredients including lemongrass and ginger. The beverages menu is made complete with the delectable, exclusive categories of sparkling tea, tea mocktails and t-shakes. The food menu is less in scope, but still has all the ‘tea things’ made or baked to gourmet standards: toasties, cakes, macaroons, frozen desserts, crepes and waffles.

Heladiv Tea Club
Restaurants

Heladiv Tea Club

The Heladiv Tea Club is a unique space at the Dutch Hospital Precinct. Described as a tea salon, dessert bar and boutique, it is a great place for a good cup of tea as you pass time while reading or working. The blue and white interior with the comfy sofas offers a relaxing atmosphere by day. Yet if you wish to enjoy the tropical sun, sit on the verandah that overlooks the cobbled courtyard, while enjoying a cuppa of Chai – spicy tea or Darjeeling. Heladiv Tea Club serves more than just tea. They have an extensive menu of beverages including tea, coffee, mocktails and cocktails. Enjoy a hearty meal or indulge your cravings by trying their sweet delicacies. Red Velvet cup cakes, carrot cake and fresh strawberries with whipped cream will tease the sweet lover. They also serve an elegant selection of goodies during their weekly High Tea. For breakfast, Heladiv serves wholesome Eggs Benedict and the ‘Wake Me Up’ with scrambled eggs with hash brown, baked beans, grilled tomatoes and toasted bread; all are hearty options. Sip on their brew of English Breakfast and you will be all set for the day. If you are just after work or shopping and need a moment’s respite, head down to Heladiv Tea Club to enjoy a refreshing cup of Ceylon Tea with a yummy chocolate muffin. You can even stop by for dinner in the evening. With a glow of purple, the Heladiv Tea Club transforms at night into a groovy spot with tasteful lounge music setting the tone. End your day in style here with the fr

The Baked
Restaurants

The Baked

Indulge in sweet delicacies and savory goodness at the Ramada High tea. The Baked will be offering some of the best-prepared finger food that will fill you up. Eat to your hearts content and pamper yourself or ask your loved ones to tag along to have the best High tea experience. The food cooked will surely satisfy all your cravings from sweet to sour to spicy to anything in between.

Pebbles
Restaurants

Pebbles

Pebbles is located on the Northern wing of Taj Samudra Hotel. With low lighting and simple yet elegant furniture the restaurant radiates modern minimalism, at the same time accommodating a lively and happening crowd of customers. The menu consists of freshly baked cakes, pastries, pizzas, salads and sandwiches and a range of juices, smoothies, mocktails and other beverages. Pebbles thrives with a very spontaneous atmosphere; groups of friends crowded around the pool table or watching a football match, while families dine out in the alfresco area enjoying the view of Galle Face Green.

Commons Coffee House
Restaurants

Commons Coffee House

The Commons is a coffee shop/bistro with charisma and a popular common touch on Flower Road, Colombo 7. It has an environment to inspire intelligent conversation between like-minded souls. Its interior, with a few wooden tables spread around, accommodates cheerful cliques and the sound of their chatter paired with the blazing TV in the background, either showing a cricket match or playing catchy tunes, encourages the fun dynamic mood. The Commons Coffeehouse has created a vast menu with options of a kids menu, burgers, sandwiches, a Sri Lankan Menu, a local snacks cart and garden dining.

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Seafood Restaurants

Ministry of Crab
Restaurants

Ministry of Crab

The dimly lit Ministry of Crab, was transformed into a convivial venue. It had a stylish and chic ambience ideal for enjoying some flavoursome crab dishes with friends. Dharshan Munidasa’s Ministry of Crab neatly blends into the old world charm of the Dutch Hospital. Families and friends in large gatherings occupied seats at the verandah, but we opted to sit inside, where the action of the open kitchen can be witnessed. On the black tables were oversized glass jars, from which cascade magnificent crab claws (the “parrot flower”). Indeed this place is a temple to crab. Despite the delightful choice of crustaceans available, a major part of the big slate-board of a menu is taken up by crab dishes. They have many preparations and the crabs come in no less than ten sizes, from the half kilo crab to the monstrous Crabzilla which is two kilograms. We decided on Garlic Chili Crab, and were given a crustacean that had sweet, warm meat to be scooped out. We sponged cubes of kade bread on the oily gravy in which the crab was wading. The butter soy prawns they serve are succulent and meaty while their chili prawns are impinged with a soupcon of sweetness and thick, curdy gravy. The iced tea soda is like a fizzy drink, but with a core of tea that refreshes and fulfils you. The cold pressed orange juice they serve is orange, frothy and has the truest taste of orange. The Chocolate Biscuit Pudding, which comes with a dollop of cream, takes a trained tongue to be fully flavoured, b

Sea Spray Restaurant
Restaurants

Sea Spray Restaurant

Synonymous with elegance and colonial charm, the Galle Face Hotel is one of Sri Lanka’s oldest hotel in the tourism industry. Coupled with star-class restaurants, it is at the forefront serving delicious cuisine. Along with the hotel’s renovations, Sea Spray Restaurant too received a facelift. The night was clear and starry on our visit to Sea Spray Restaurant, leading the group to opt to dine alfresco. With the setting of a beachfront, the breeze and dim lighting, the atmosphere was magical. The indoor dining area is spacious and elegant with shades of the ocean creating an all-round seafood experience. Sea Spray sets the perfect ambience for good humour and conviviality. Serving authentic dishes with contemporary twists, the carefully curated menu is a creation of Executive Chef Adam Gaunt Evans and Chef de Cuisine Jagath Raweendra. The best ingredients from the ocean transforms into works of art at Sea Spray. Dexterity by experience is apparent from the presentation of the dishes with intricate garnishing. The Raw Bar offers you the freshest variety of seafood, which you can choose to enjoy raw or cured. The desserts are sweet delights that compliment a rich seafood course. Sea Spray serves a range of cocktails, mocktails and a selection of wines from the Wine Cellar. Adding to your experience is the well-trained staff who are well-versed in helping you choose the most suited sides and sauces, and the wines that will compliment your meal. The friendly and easy chatter

The Ocean Seafood Restaurant
Restaurants

The Ocean Seafood Restaurant

Take in the view of the Indian Ocean along with the sound of live-cooking at the Ocean Seafood Restaurant – the fine dining seafood restaurant at Kingsbury. A spectacle indeed, as chefs use their culinary skills to prepare dishes of oysters, lobsters, crab and salmon with a combo of rice, noodles, vegetables and salads, with fresh spices and herbs. The interior of the restaurant with its luminosity of light is an epitome of elegance and character. It opens to the ocean that transforms the mood into a delightful liveliness with the pleasant tumult of the sea.

The Manhattan Fish Market
Restaurants

The Manhattan Fish Market

The Fulton Fish Market is the source of inspiration for The Manhattan Fish Market, one of the finest international seafood franchises. With a taste for serving high quality specialty dishes, composed to succulent perfection, the restaurant is best described as a casual diner with premium cuisine. The Manhattan Fish Market prides itself in serving absolutely anyone and the food is completely trans-fat free, appealing to health conscious food lovers. The meals are generously sized with great consideration to nutrition. Protein-rich fish is coupled with sources of carbohydrate, either in the form of rice or French fries and garnished with a vitamin rich salad. A highlight is the Dory (fish) which features in many of the dishes. The Dory fish is a rare treat in Sri Lanka and an indulgence at the restaurant. The fish said to melt in your mouth is served alongside other equally appetising treats such as oyster, mussels, tiger prawns, lobster and scallops. The menu itself has a diverse range of dishes which besides seafood also consists of favourites such as chicken, rice and French fries, beverages and desserts.

Off the Hook
Restaurants

Off the Hook

One of the latest seafood restaurants in Colombo serving seafood is Off the Hook Seafood Restaurant and Bar. Among the delectable seafood on offer is sushi and sashimi. The sushi comes in a serving of six pieces which include Spicy Tuna Roll with Tempura Crumbs, Volcano with Tempura Prawn, Avocado, Crab Stick and Fish Roe. The Nigiri and Sashimi ranges include Aburi nigiri (calamari blow torched with tonkatsu sauce) and Shake (Salmon) Sashimi. An assortment of sushi and sashimi is available in the Moriawase Platter, which is a combination platter for four or a Moriawase Bench, a combination platter for two. One of the most popular dishes on the menu is the Jaffna Style Jumbo Prawn Curry with fresh Homemade Curry Leaves Roast Paan and Pol Sambol. The concept behind the mains is that patrons can choose the seafood of their choice, choose the method of preparation, whether Sri Lankan, Thai, Chinese, Western or Japanese, followed by the selection of a side dish. Starters and soups are also available.