The Gallery Café
A permanent fixture on Colombo lists but deservedly so. Reliably good, if not spectacularly memorable food, wonderful night-time atmosphere and fine service. Not too extravagant on price.
Ministry of Crab
Unoriginal to suggest it but a worthwhile inclusion.
Former Sri Lankan cricket captains Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakara were tired of seeing the island’s best crabs packed up and sent to be enjoyed elsewhere so partnered with famed Japanese chef Darshan Munidasa to keep the best of the catch in Colombo.
If after something a little more low key (in price and size of crab) then try The Fat Crab on Marine Drive.
A lesser known spot on Castle Street (Dudley Senanayake Mawatha), Colombo 8, offering Middle Eastern dishes and mezze.
A little like The Gallery Café the food might be trumped by the atmosphere – the restaurant a small, cobbled courtyard, very nicely lit.
With not many covers you’ll need to book in advance and bring your own wine if needed. Quite uniquely, the restaurant won’t let you drink beer.
An invention of the Teardrop team (behind the very excellent Wallawa and Fort Bazaar), Monsoon is a new addition.
Serves a variety of south and east Asian dishes. Prices reasonable. As per most new openings, new liquor license as yet but no corkage charged.
At the bottom of Park Street Mews it’s the ideal spot for dining before a bit of peacocking amongst Colombo movers and shakers.
Colombo doesn’t as yet offer much local fine dining. Upali’s, then, is perhaps the best option for old-fashioned rice and curry-type eating. Sambols, rottis, curries are all well done. Prices are higher than you’d pay in typical road-side places but you’ll be happier with the provenance here.
An uninspiring dining room but well-cooked, well-served Sri Lankan food.
The oldest and best of Colombo’s Japanese offerings. On an understated (scruffy) back street opposite the Galle Face the dining room is suitably Japanese to have you wanting to take your shoes off.
Prices go from modest to super-high for exotic, Kobe beef-type, dishes. All are fairly justifiable, just mind what you order.
Colombo’s drinking scene does a little better than the dining scene- both in terms of variety of options and atmosphere. Here are some of our current favourites:
New comer to the Colombo dining scene and talk of the town at the moment. The views of the Colombo skyline from the rooftop are nothing but impressive. Cocktail list is comprehensive and well executed- anything with Colombo No7 gin is a must.
Red Bar at Tintagel
If seeking a grown up bar then this is your place. It’s small, dimly lit and intimate making it perfect for a romantic tête-a-tête or a night cap. The wine list should satisfy even the most refined palettes and full restaurant menu is also available should you decide to make a night of it.
Galle Face Hotel
A sundowner at Galle Face Hotel makes an appearance on many Colombo itineraries for good reasons. Considered The Raffles of Colombo, there’s nothing quite like a seat in the lawns of the hotel watching a spectacular sunset over the Indian Ocean with a gin and tonic to the sound of bag pipes.