An authentic Sri Lankan meal usually consists of generous servings of steamed rice, warm scoops of three or four different types of curry and crisp poppadums or dry fish, with traditional island sweetmeats rounding it all off. Our recommended restaurants have impressive service standards while also providing value for money, making them some of the best places to try Sri Lankan fare in Colombo. While maintaining fairly impressive service standards, our chosen restaurants are also great value for money – among these, Nuga Gama at Cinnamon Grand Colombo goes all-out to re-create the typical Sri Lankan village atmosphere.
Travel back in time to a traditional village in Sri Lanka at Nuga Gama, Cinnamon Grand. The entire restaurant is centred around a Nuga tree (Banyan tree). Be greeted by the Arachchi (village headman) and explore the various elements that represent a village. There is a paddy field too! An ambala for a short rest, a village shop and a kitchen as well to see how Sri Lankan food is being made. All dishes served at Nuga Gama are authentic traditional Sri Lankan food and there is home made ginger beer too. So if you want to experience the flavours of Sri Lanka, head to Nuga Gama!
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.
Upali’s By Nawaloka, a local cuisine restaurant, was created by Upali Dharmadasa, at his father’s former residence. Here he has put together a dining experience that is enchanting, traditional and dedicated to the memory of his parents. At Upali’s, it’s a pleasant surprise to see meals being served on banana leaves alongside curries and side dishes in clay pots. Sitting on the veranda with the view of the biggest park around while enjoying the authenticity of the Sri Lankan cuisine, you’re taken into a different world, away from the hustle of ever-busy Colombo, to a more simpler, serene time.
A restaurant renowned for serving up traditional Sri Lankan cuisine, the Curry Leaf boasts a wide array of seafood amongst other local favourites. If you’re thinking of hitting the Colombo town for a truly home grown feast, then rest assured to find what you’re looking for at this restaurant. The infamous kottu, rat-a-tat-tatting away in one corner, the roti isle in the other, hoppers plain or with a hearty egg, sunny-side up or however you like them, sitting at their soft centres, oil cakes or kavum crackling away as the sweets maker dips them deep into a wok of hot oil, spiced kadala or chick peas, waits steaming in a cart.
Raja Bojun, focusing on Sri Lankan cuisine, is a long-established hit with locals and foreigners in the now. It recently re-located from its sea view location to the 4th floor of Liberty Arcade. Dining arrangements, decorative plants, traditional décor and buffet tables spaced out within the restaurant and the expansive ceilings, gives the impression of an airy and spacious area, thus creating the feeling of an outdoor dining experience within concrete walls. A signature life sized elephant model stands tall and majestic at the entrance, an added charm for diners as it characterises their experience at Raja Bojun as truly Sri Lankan. Soothing music from a violinist in a corner can be heard over the soft buzz of tourists and families exploring their buffet options. Among the impressive spread of daily changing Sri Lankan food there is usually vegetable fried rice, noodles, chicken curry, crab curry, prawn curry, parippu, papadam and bananas, kavum and curd for dessert.