Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > India & South Asia >
Feb 7, 2012 01:35 PM

Sri Lanka, Sigiriya, Kandy and Nuwara Eliya

Hello All,

I am heading to Sri Lanka on Saturday and am looking for some restaurant recommendations. I have had a look on the internet and it seems there are very few foodies out there writing about the places I am going in Sri Lanka.

Does anyone know about any secret gems hidden down back alleys? I am visiting Sigiriya, Kandy and Nuwara Eliya.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Hi Patsy79,
    I'll be there in January, any recommendations from your trip would be much appreciated. If you know of eateries in other cities that would be helpful as well. Chow!

    1 Reply
    1. re: vivo

      Hi Vivo,

      The best meals we had in Sri Lanka were in a guest house in Sigiriya, it is called Thick Forest and is a short drive from the rock.

      The Sri Lankan owner was extremely gracious and had worked for many years in 5 star hotels. A few years ago he set up his own guest house in the jungle and built the bedrooms as tree houses(so as they would be protected from elephants(I have attached a photo of our room)).

      This guest house is by no means a 5 star hotel, but it it is clean, the food was very tasty and our stay was memorable.

      Unfortunately, the rest of our trip is rather a blur of non-descript curries and grimy restaurants.

      I must acknowledge however, that we spent most of our trip inland and missed what culinary delights the coast has to offer.

    2. Hi, All I can do is wish you good luck. We visited Sri Lanka in the early 80s (Sigiriya, Kandy, Nuwara Eliya), and we had some of the worst food of our lives. In most places the only thing on offer was something called "rice with curry". In Nuwara Eliya we stayed in a fancy lodge that used to be a British club. The food there was a little better. And one hotel had a special buffet dinner on Christmas Eve, or maybe it was New Year's Eve. That was good. And in Colombo we had a good meal at the Galle Face hotel. But the rest was pretty bad. Good luck.

      1. Generally speaking, don't go to restaurants that serve non-Sri Lankan food. It tends to not go well. Sometimes, the food is good for the first few months while the restaurant has a chef from abroad who specializes in that particular cuisine. Then after a few months, the owner will fire that chef because he figures his local cooks can do it just as well but for cheaper, then the cooks start skimping on the ingredients or making substitutions that just don't make any sense at all (like using parsley instead of basil - they're both green and European, so they should be interchangeable, right? And basil is difficult to find, but parsley is easier maybe...), and it goes downhill from there.

        There are exceptions, of course, but those are far and few between.

        But Sri Lankan food tends to be better since it's done by people who know how to cook Sri Lankan food.

        We didn't eat out all that frequently when in Sri Lanka (I lived there for eight years with my Sri Lankan husband) just because it's so difficult to predict which restaurants are going to have good food and which won't. Quality varies so wildly one month to the next.

        One place that has been pretty consistent is The Sizzle in Colombo. I'm bored with their menu because it's all same old, same old, but it is, at least, consistently pretty good over quite a few years. It's mostly non-Sri Lankan food.

        1. Enjoy country & people!...we just came back & cannot wait to go again! Best tastes include Ma's place on roof in Galle (skip Tripadvisor Crepe rec), Ministry of Crab in Colombo (expensive but WORTH IT if you love crab), Sigiriya Village hotel buffet for bkfst/dinner......go for Sri Lankan dishes side of buffet,....Ayubowan!

          2 Replies
          1. re: CMT

            Can you give an address for Ma's Place as am headed to Galle tomorrow.

            1. re: sageonsail

              I assume by Ma's they mean Mama's. The food is really good. Galle is not very big so it's easy to find, on checking the address is 76 Leyn Baan St. I'd recommend going to the Galle Fort Hotel for pre dinner drinks, only a couple of mins walk from Mama's.