10 Best Restaurants in Colombo, Sri Lanka

Sri Lankan cuisine has always been one of the delights of
this island nation. Colombo’s restaurant scene is thriving, with a range of
fine dining, budget eats and quirky colonial eateries offering everything from seafood
extravaganzas, tea festivals and fusion innovation to suit every taste. As
these ten restaurants reveal, a visit to Colombo offers an unmissable chance to
explore the best of Sri Lankan food culture.

The Gallery Café

Opened in 1998 in the former offices of world-renowned
architect Geoffrey Bawa, The Gallery Café offers a unique combination of art
and gastronomy within its atmospheric dining room. As part of the Paradise Road
complex, visitors can peruse an art gallery which hosts a rotating selection of
local artists and designers before sitting down to dine. In the dining room they
will be served the best in authentic Sri Lankan fare, topped off with fusion
elements, and using only the freshest local ingredients. The lemon grass and
ginger chicken, black pork curry and prawn curry with sautéed kankun all come
highly recommended, as do the Café’s many cocktails.

The Gallery Café, 2 Alfred House Road,
Colombo 00300, Sri Lanka,
+94 11 2582162


Named the 38th best restaurant in Asia by San Pellegrino, Nihonbashi
is run by Japanese-Sri Lankan chef restaurateur Dharshan Munidasa, who brings a
slice of Japanese elegance to the Sri Lankan capital. The décor purposefully
evokes the Zen like calm of a Japanese garden, with gently bubbling fountains
and a minimalist, understated atmosphere. The cuisine is similarly simple,
utilizing the most delicate combinations to bring the best out of sashimi and
sushi, all of which is presented with beautiful attention to detail. Every item
on the menu is prepared to perfection, with a charcoal grill and hotpot dishes
to accompany the signature sushi and sashimi.

Nihonbashi, Galle Face Terrace, Colombo, Sri Lanka, +94 112 323847


Ensconced in a magnificent glass
chamber, Zaza is a combined bar, café and restaurant which offers something for
everyone through its ever-changing menu. In the daytime Zaza offers the best
of Ceylon tea, combining the age old flavors of Sri Lanka’s tea culture with
some modern fusion twists, and creating Tea mocktails. Zaza then transforms
into a hip tapas restaurant, with an extensive range of local and international
dishes. At nighttime Zaza comes to life as one of Colombo’s best bars, and the
glass cube is lit up as revelers descend on the highly acclaimed ‘Uber Bar

Zaza, 231, Galle Road, Bambalapitiya, Colombo 4, Sri Lanka, +94 114520130


Offering a master class in south Indian cuisine, Chutneys is
one of the best places to experience the rich variety of this culinary culture.
It includes dishes from all of the four primary states of southern India – Andhra
Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu – and also features vegetarian dishes
for every state. The incredible diversity of food culture in each of these
states is explored through an extensive menu, particular highlights of which
include the many types of Dosai on offer, and dishes such as Prawn Masala and Cashew
Nut and Onion Raga.

Chutneys, 77, Galle Road, Colombo 03, Sri Lanka, +94 11 249 7372

Curry Leaf

Known as one of Colombo’s most exclusive restaurants, Curry
raises Sri Lankan cuisine to new gastronomic heights and is the best place
to experience the culinary potential of the tradition fare of this island
nation. Dishes such as String Hoppers, Hoppers, Pittu and Kottu Rotti are
transformed into refined pieces of classical gastronomy, whilst the relaxed
open-air ambience lets visitors observe the cooking techniques for themselves.

Curry Leaf, Sir Chittampalam A Gardiner Mawatha, Fort, Colombo, Sri
, +94 11 249 2492

Seafood Cove

Sri Lanka’s seafood is one of the most prized elements of
its culinary scene, with Sri Lankan restaurateurs taking advantage of the
riches of the Indian Ocean to offer the freshest ingredients every day. This is
exemplified in Seafood Cove, which is located in a rustic setting right on the
beach front, and which lets the daily catch determine its ever-changing menu.
The chefs are able to tailor the wide range of fish and shellfish to patron’s
specifications, whilst a live Calypso band brings a touch of the tropical to

Seafood Cove, 100 Hotel Rd, Mt Lavinia, Colombo, Sri Lanka, +94 011 271

Beach Wadiya

Another beachfront restaurant that takes advantage of
Colombo’s abundant seafood supply, Beach Wadiya has a reputation across the
country for its massive seafood platters and the cheap and cheerful style of
cooking. It is now a Colombo institution, which has attracted many famous
patrons to its dining tables, including several members of the British Royal
Family. Beach Wadiya’s take on authentic Sri Lankan classics is simple but
flavorful, and its no frills style makes it the perfect place to experience
quality seafood in a relaxed and vibrant setting.

Beach Wadiya, Marine Dr, Colombo, Sri Lanka, +94 11 2 588568

Ministry of Crab

Created by Mahela Jayawardene, Kumar Sangakkara and Dharshan
Munidase (of Nihonbashi) as a celebration of Sri Lanka’s seafood, Ministry of
specializes in offering every possible variation on the humble crab,
transforming it into the height of gourmet excellence in the process. The
culinary credentials of the three owner/chefs are first rate and this is
translated in their innovative and refined take on the rustic crab, which they
sell in vast quantities every day. Diners can enjoy simple but hugely
flavorful dishes such as Garlic Crab, Ginger Steamed Crab, Pepper Crab or
Butter Crab, whilst also choosing the size of their crab dinner, from a petite 1/2
Kilo Crab to Crabzilla, which comes in at an astounding 2kg and upwards!
Located in the Old Dutch Hospital, the historic colonial façade is the perfect
location for this festival of crab.

Ministry of Crab, Old Dutch Hospital, Colombo, Sri Lanka, +94 11 234 2722

The Cricket Club Café

If it is a colonial atmosphere you are after, then the Cricket
Club Café
is the ideal place to start. Built in a small colonial villa by an
Australian couple, James & Gabrielle Whight, The Cricket Club Café
celebrates everything that is great about Sri Lanka’s favourite sport whilst
also offering first rate dining. The walls are lined with autographed bats and
pictures of famous cricket stars from Sri Lanka and Australia, whilst the
regular congregation of cricket fans mean that this is also the best places to
watch matches.

Cricket Club Café, 34 Queens Rd, Kollupitiya, Colombo, Sri Lanka +94 11 250

Chesa Swiss

Sri Lanka’s only Swiss restaurant, Chesa Swiss is a favourite amongst
expatriates and prides itself on its relaxed and friendly atmosphere, as well
as its recreation of signature Swiss dishes. The fondue and bourguignonne come
recommended and the extensive grill selection means that meat lovers will find
something to please their palette. Although the Alpine classics of Swiss
cuisine may not immediately come to mind in Sri Lanka’s sultry climate, Chesa
Swiss makes the unusual combination work, whilst offering a wholly unique
experience of cultural exchange.

Chesa Swiss, 3 Deal Place A, Colombo
03, Colombo, Sri Lanka,
+94 11 2 573433

By Thomas Storey