From luscious, green tea plantations through to deserted beaches, you’re guaranteed to have an amazing time in Sri Lanka. A top draw to the island is its incredible cuisine, which draws on flavors and influences from a variety of countries in Asia, with the most prominent influences being South Indian, Pakistani and Chinese cuisine.
Some of the top places to eat are in the island’s commercial capital of Colombo, in the city of Kandy, which is home to the mystical Temple of the Tooth Relic, and restaurants on the beach areas of Unawatuna and Negombo. We’ve rounded up the top restaurants in Sri Lanka so you can incorporate them into your trip. From dosas, through to kottu and delicious seafood dishes, here are our top picks:
1. Nuga Gama at Cinnamon Grand, Colombo
Nuga Gama in Colombo serves traditional Sri Lankan cuisine, including fish ambul thiyal (sour fish curry), parippu (dhal curry), hoppers, which are the Sri Lankan version of pancakes that can be eaten with sweet or savory toppings, and pol sambol (coconut relish). The restaurant is set outside under a large, 200-year-old Banyan tree and has a great, relaxed atmosphere.
2. Mati Gedara, Unawatuna
Mati Gedara is the best place to sample local cuisine in the stunning beach location of Unawatuna. There’s a vegetarian buffet, where you can eat Sri Lankan food to your heart’s content including tomato curries, dhaal, different types of sambol curries, and more. If you can handle spicy food, be sure to try the coconut chilli sambol. Get inspired and check out places to stay in Unawatuna.
3. Balaji Dosai, Kandy
Balaji Dosai is often described as the best place for Sri Lankan food in Kandy. The menu is based on South Indian style dosas, which are super-thin pancakes filled with spicy potato and vegetable fillings. Top dishes to order include the masala dosa with a side of coconut chutney. Find a place to crash in Kandy.
4. The Kottu House, Kandy
The Kottu House in Kandy specializes in kottu, which is a flaky flatbread that is stir-fried with eggs, spices and curry sauce. While the menu is simple, it’s one of the best places to try kottu in the country. The menu includes crab kottu, mutton kottu and chicken kottu. Expect big portions.
5. Ministry of Crab, Colombo
The Ministry of Crab in Colombo offers an extensive crab-based menu. There’s crab cooked in every possible way, from steamed crab to buttered crab and garlic infused crab. They also have other seafood options on the menu, including prawns and seafood rice, that are all cooked in delicious sauces.
6. Sea View, Negombo
Sea View Restaurant in Negombo is a top place to try seafood on the island’s west coast. The menu includes jumbo prawns, seafood curries and spicy cuttlefish. There are delicious Indian-inspired starters including poppadoms and mango chutney. Explore accommodation options in Negombo.
7. Cool Corner Fried Ice Cream Parlor, Kandy
And to finish off any meal, the Cool Corner Fried Ice Cream Parlor in Kandy is a place you can’t miss. The parlor serves up a whole range of ice cream flavors, including Indian chai tea, white chocolate and mint, and plum pudding flavor. It’s the perfect stop to help to cool your mouth down after a spicy curry, or just if you need a place to escape the midday sun. The ice cream can be eaten deep fried, or normal. Expect big lines on a hot day.