Top 10 cafés and restaurants in Colombo, Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka’s commercial capital is a convenient and exciting first or last top on your tour, and what better way to begin or end your trip than with a memorable meal? Browse this list of the top 10 cafés and restaurants in Colombo to find the atmosphere and cuisine that best suits you.
For a taste of traditional Sri Lankan cuisine, Nuga Gama is the best restaurant in Colombo.
Located in Cinnamon Grand, one of the larger luxury city hotels, Nuga Gama recreates a village setting with wattle-and-daub pavilions and outdoor seating surrounded by trees. A buffet of local curries is on offer as well as accompaniments like rice, pappadum, and sambols. Each dish is freshly made to the highest standard and there are a range of heat options to suit all palettes.
Rare at Residence
Rare, the restaurant at UGA Residence, serves upscale fusion food suffused with Sri Lankan flavours.
Artistic presentation and carefully crafted ambience meet culinary quality for the ultimate fine-dining experience. Each plate is a work of art that champions locally sourced ingredients and Sri Lankan spices with a twist on traditional dishes. You can choose to eat outside in the poolside courtyard or indoors under the air-con. There’s also an atmospheric bar for pre-dinner drinks.
Just around the corner from Rare at Residence at the end of the famous Park Street is Monsoon.
This restaurant was the brainchild of some of Sri Lanka’s leading boutique hoteliers, and its combination of comfort and style showcases their excellent understanding of design. On the menu is a range of iconic Asian dishes made with authentic ingredients and put together with inventive flair. This laidback choice with a luxury feel is perfect for a first or last night in Sri Lanka.
Gallery Café at Paradise Road is a longstanding favourite, both for its dishes and its design.
This exquisite space was designed by Geoffrey Bawa, Sri Lanka’s iconic architect, and is given additional magic with strategically placed low lamps and candles. Enjoy pre- or post-dinner drinks in the lounge area and dine under cover of the pavilion or in the open-air courtyard. The menu includes international classics and a mammoth variety of mouth-watering desserts.
Ministry of Crab
Seeking a speciality dining experience that’s wholeheartedly Sri Lankan? Try Ministry of Crab.
Co-created by two Sri Lankan cricketers and one of the country’s master chefs, Dharshan Munidasa, this restaurant is a high-end dining experience dedicated completely to crab dishes. It regularly ranks in Asia’s top 50 restaurants, praised for its creative cuisine and high standard of cooking. You’ll find Ministry of Crab in the Dutch Hospital close to Colombo’s new Port City.
Nihonbashi is one of Munidasa’s other restaurants that pays homage to his Japanese heritage.
Polished tables are set out in the Yakitori Garden, a striking outdoor setting where bamboo is used to create partitions for plenty of privacy. There’s also an indoor Tachi Nomi bar serving fresh sushi over ice. Private rooms are available for group dining and special events. The menu covers a range of Japanese favourites made using the finest fresh fish and other local ingredients.
You’ll find Peking duck, delectable dim sum and other Chinese dishes at Shangri-La’s Shang Palace.
This light and airy restaurant has a chilled-out vibe making it easy for guests to relax and unwind and socialise over their meal, but the food is of the highest quality. Authentic Chinese favourites upgraded with a luxury edge make up the menu, and you can follow these up with a range of traditional teas. Shangri-La’s great location means you can enjoy sea views as you eat and drink.
Cricket Club Café
As the place where Red Dot was born, Cricket Club Café is close to our hearts!
As the name suggests, Cricket Club Café (or CCC to those in-the-know) is a restaurant dedicated to the sport that is a national obsession in Sri Lanka. Surrounded by pictures and photographs of famous international cricketers and cricking artefacts, indulge in British pub classics and instantly recognisable international staples washed down with a Lion larger or fresh fruit juice.
Black Cat Café
Located in a leafy residential suburb on the outskirts of the city centre is Black Cat Café.
This is one of the trendiest spots in town to grab a proper coffee and delicious brunch with Western and Sri Lankan options on offer. They also sell homemade chocolate biscuit pudding which is a popular dessert in Sri Lanka that’s so enticing it’s sure to have you reaching for a spoon! Also sold here are books, prints, cards and something even clothes from local brands.
Last but certainly not least is Barefoot Café which has become a Colombo institution. Set across from a small and welcoming art gallery and attached to a shop selling local crafts and clothes, Barefoot Café is beloved by locals and tourists alike. The menu consists largely of salads, sandwiches and other lighter lunch bites, but there’s also rice and curry and special hot dishes each day. Live jazz is played here on Sundays, inviting you to linger at your table with a cool drink.