Header image courtesy of Paradise Road The Gallery Café (via Facebook)
One of the two capitals of Sri Lanka, Colombo is buzzing with scrumptious eateries left, right, and centre. The commercial capital is becoming increasingly popular for its selection of premium eats, to lend a range of flavours to the discerning diner. Here are some of the best gourmet restaurants in Colombo to try for an elevated experience with the local and international cuisine.
One of Colombo’s most distinguished and well-loved eateries, Ministry of Crab is the brainchild of two former cricket players and a skilled master chef. The restaurant is situated in a preserved 400-year-old Dutch Hospital, with a minimalistic open-kitchen setting. Crustacean lovers flock here to try the best of what is known for—the highly-prized Sri Lankan crab, available in different variations on the menu, including crab curry, chilli crab, and the infamous, two-kilo crabzilla. If you want something a little extra, on top of the must-try crab dishes, order the freshwater prawns and king prawn bisque. Chef Dharshan Munidasa takes the kitchen reins here, in addition to owning two other flagships—The Tuna & The Crab, a Japanese seafood restaurant, and Kaema Sutra, a contemporary Sri Lankan diner in the Shangri-La Hotel, Colombo.
Ministry of Crab, Old Dutch Hospital Complex, 04 Hospital Street, Colombo 00100, Sri Lanka | (+94) 77 002 4823
At Cinnamon Grand Hotel, The Lagoon takes Sri Lankan seafood cuisine to new heights. As one of the top destinations for lobster, shrimps, and fish, the eatery provides over 150 ways of cooking seafood using over 30 different sauces. Embrace the charming atmosphere of the intimate venue, which serves the best of local dishes. Try the catch of the day for something straight out of water.
The Lagoon, Cinnamon Grand Hotel, 77 A2, Colombo 00300, Sri Lanka | (+94) 112 497 371
Ginger Kafe is a hip hangout spot, frequented by Colombo’s locals and visitors. Perched near the stunning Viharamahadevi Park (විහාරමහාදේවී උද්යානය), the restaurant is decked in chic, modern decor, and boasts a welcoming ambience from the moment you step in. Helmed by Chef Koluu, diners can swing by for a heartwarming cup of coffee, or try one of the creamy curries from the menu. The dishes are pan-Asian of Sri Lankan, Vietnamese, and Indian, yet retains an authentic Sri Lankan flavour in all of its dishes. Curl up on the sofa with a good book, and grab an Oreo chocolate mousse for dessert—sounds pretty chill, right?
Ginger Kafe, 145, Dharmapala Mawatha, Colombo 7, Colombo 00700, Sri Lanka | (+94) 112 582 162
A popular joint amongst locals and visitors alike, Raja Bojun is a cult favourite with good reason. Although the venue isn’t exactly gourmet per se, it features a range of authentic Sri Lankan seafood dishes which pay tribute to the region’s diverse culture. Guests can order from the a la carte menu, or try a bit of everything from the buffet. Plus, the restaurant prides itself on its healthy cooking ethos—there are no added flavourings or additives, and it only uses regional and natural ingredients to serve customers. With chic interiors and all-you-can-devour eating, Raja Bojun welcomes you with open arms.
Raja Bojun, Liberty Arcade, 282 R. A. De Mel Mawatha, Colombo, Sri Lanka | (+94) 114 716 171
First opening its doors in 1998, The Gallery Cafe is housed in the former offices of world-renowned architect Geoffrey Bawa. The restaurant and gallery is part of the Paradise Road concept, which means you can explore the artwork in between meals. Serving authentic Sri Lankan dishes, The Gallery Café is now an internationally-acclaimed eatery which also serves international cuisine. As a highly-recommended, go-to restaurant, it continues to draw in visitors from near and far.
The Gallery Café, 2 Alfred House Rd, Colombo 00300, Sri Lanka | (+94) 112 582 162
It’s no trip to Sri Lanka without visiting the country’s stunning beaches. Colombo’s Seafood Cove takes you on a culinary adventure—and, lucky for us, it’s perched directly on the beach. The eatery is located in a rustic setting and features a constantly-evolving menu. Well-known for its seafood dishes—hence the name—the venue will keep you satisfied with the most scrumptious flavours.
Seafood Cove, Mount Lavinia Hotel, 100 Hotel Road, Dehiwala-Mount Lavinia, Sri Lanka | (+94) 112 711 711