15 Must-Visit Restaurants on Your Solo Trip to Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka is a country with rich history, culture, and tradition, but that’s not all it is known for. The local food is world-famous. From creamy curries to spicy sambols, there is something for everyone here! You can experience a wide variety of other cuisines too. Be it Sri Lankan, Indian, Dutch, Mediterranean, Portuguese, Chinese, Moroccan, or Japanese – you have it all! So you will never feel that you are missing out on something when it comes to food. And when there are so many cuisines to choose from, there would be a ton of restaurants too. It’s a no-brainer!
Due to hundreds of restaurants all over the country, there is no chance that you can explore them all. But don’t worry, I am here to guide you. While you can easily find top-class and famous restaurants, you will always miss out on the hidden gems. I am writing this blog so that you can find the best ones. So, read on to find out!
1. Nuga Gama
Nuga Gama is an ancient-looking restaurant built around a 200-year-old Banyan tree. It has a village setting, surrounded by huts, and takes the customers back in time. The open kitchen allows everyone to look at the food being prepared, mostly in clay pots. They primarily offer local food, and needless to say, the taste is exemplary. I absolutely loved it!
Moreover, there is an Ambalama, a place where travellers can rest and a farm with some animals. You can spend a couple of hours here if you wish to. So if you want to explore the different traditions of Sri Lanka in food, you should definitely visit the Nuga Gama!
Address: 77 Galle Road, Colombo 00300
2. Theva Cuisine
This is by far one of the most luxurious restaurants in Kandy. It has indoor as well as outdoor seating from where you can enjoy the stunning views of the Hanthana Mountain Range. Talking about food, the Theva Cuisine has a wide variety that you can choose from. They also offer a rather unique ‘bread section’ on the menu, which I highly recommend that you try out!
Other items include seafood, local cuisines, Indian and Continental. I tried out the baked fish and blueberry cheesecake, both of which turned out to be excellent. And god damn, those views! I doubt if you can have a wonderful meal with breathtaking views elsewhere. This makes it a must-visit!
Address: 71/B1, 2nd Lane, Hanthana Road, Kandy 20000
3. Ministry of Crab
Is your solo trip to Sri Lanka even complete without visiting the Ministry of Crab? I don’t think so. It is one of the most famous restaurants in the country. Sometimes, you need to reserve a table due to its popularity. Moreover, it regularly takes place in Asia’s top 50 restaurants.
Talking about food, it offers some of the tastiest and meatiest lagoon crabs that you will ever eat in your life! Be it garlic chilli crab, pepper crab, crab curry, or even the Crabzilla – there are more than a few reasons to visit the Ministry of Crab! However, if you don’t like crabs, you can choose from various other seafood dishes like oysters, clams, and prawns.
Address: Old Dutch Hospital Complex, 04 Hospital Street, Colombo 00100
4. Chambers Restaurant
Chambers has many cuisines to choose from, Mediterranean, Lebanese, Moroccan, and Middle-eastern. It is the only restaurant that I found on my solo trip which offers these cuisines. It is also quite popular among locals and tourists. Also, I found the dishes to be very authentic and varied compared to a few other restaurants that I tried in Galle.
I tried out shish kebabs, chicken kabsa, and Moroccan tea, and I had no complaints whatsoever! I suggest that you visit this restaurant and explore the unique food they have to offer, which is hard to find elsewhere.
Address: 40 Church Street, Galle 80000
5. The Lagoon
The Lagoon is considered one of Colombo’s most popular restaurants, thanks to the excellent taste and quality of every dish that they serve! They offer a wide variety of cuisines, but their seafood attracts tourists from all over the world. You can choose from more than 150 varieties of seafood dishes prepared using more than thirty sauces. That’s crazy! The restaurant is run by two head chefs who ensure that only the freshest of ingredients are used.
To sum up, they take their food very seriously! I visited the restaurant twice on my solo trip and loved everything from food to their service. So while the cost might be slightly on the higher side, you shouldn’t take a pass on this restaurant.
Address: 77 A2, Colombo 00300
6. Upali’s by Nawaloka
Upali’s by Nawaloka is known for its variety of local dishes. Be it the mouth-watering curries or the lip-smacking sambols – they have the most extensive offering of the regional cuisines at one restaurant! You can find this restaurant near Viharamaha Devi Park, and the best part is you can enjoy the scenic views while having your meal!
They have loyal customers who keep coming back to the restaurant to devour the tasty delicacies of the country. The staff is also amiable and ready to help with questions anytime. If you are looking for some local delicacies amidst the modernity of city life, you should head to Upali’s without a second thought!
Address: 65 Dr CWW Kannangara Mawatha, Colombo 00700
7. Balaji Dosai
When it comes to South Indian restaurants in Sri Lanka, nobody beats Balaji Dosai! It is by far the cheapest restaurant that doesn’t compromise on food quality. During my stay in Kandy, I visited Balaji Dosai multiple times, and it was the perfect start to my day. I never spent more than a dollar for a tasty breakfast. The staff is welcoming and helping, which keeps you bringing back to this restaurant. You should definitely try out their paper dosa, which, as the name suggests, is paper-thin! You can also try out the finger-licking cheese dosa. To top it off, do not forget to have a hot cup of tea, all for less than a buck!
Address: 03 DS Senanayake Veediya, Kandy 20000
8. Curry Leaf
Curry Leaf is located inside the Hilton Hotel and remains a hidden treasure due to its location. While it is known for its Sri Lankan cuisines, you can choose from a range of other cuisines too. You can find everything here, be it Indian, Chinese, Italian, Japanese, or the local dishes like kottu roti, string hoppers, or ambul thiyal.
What differentiates Curry Leaf from the other restaurants is the ambience. It has an old-school vibe and an outdoor venue, including fairy lights, all of which look fantastic! No matter what you are looking for, you can always find mouth-watering dishes that will satiate your hunger.
Address: Sir Chittampalam Gardiner Mawatha, 2 Lotus Road, Colombo 00100
9. Hoppa Galle Fort
Galle Fort is a popular tourist attraction, and so are the restaurants nearby. One of those is Hoppa. Artistic décor, fantastic service, and great food make it a must-visit. It is not your typical boring restaurant, rather a unique one. While they primarily serve Sri Lankan food, it is unlike something that you will taste elsewhere.
They have their own versions of local dishes, and trust me, they taste excellent! I loved the coconut pancakes, prawn vadai, and their extensive range of combos. They are also reasonably priced, so you don’t have to worry about burning a hole in your pocket. The restaurant has vegan and gluten-free options too. If you want to try something unique, you should surely visit Hoppa!
Address: 20 Pedlar Street, Galle 80000
10. Raja Bojun
Raja Bojun is a famous restaurant that offers a buffet and an a la carte menu at an affordable price. A buffet costs as little as $10 here. Yes, you read that right! And if you think that the food quality might be a trade-off due to the cheap rates, you’re wrong! They use only locally sourced freshest ingredients to make all their flavourful dishes. The head chefs told me that they refrain from using any synthetic ingredients to enhance flavours.
Talking about the ambience, the restaurant is not very fancy, and it just focuses on providing quality food to its customers.
Address: Liberty Arcade, 282 RA De Mel Mawatha, Colombo 00300
If you are craving some Japanese food, Nihonbashi has got you covered. It is one of the best Japanese restaurants in the country that doesn’t cut corners in any aspect. Be it the ambience, quality, service, variety, or the authenticity of dishes – this is a top-class restaurant!
Having travelled solo to Japan myself, I can assure you that their dishes taste more or less like authentic Japanese food. I tried sushi and prawn tempura and was surprised by the original taste! However, keep in mind that the cost of an average meal is on the higher side.
Address: 11 Galle Face Terrace, Colombo 00300
12. Bombay Brasserie
Bombay Brasserie is another Indian restaurant that you should check out on your solo trip to Sri Lanka. It offers some of the best Indian fast food that you can have here. Their menu has a lot of Bombay dishes like samosas, pav bhajis, vada pavs, and others. But that’s not all. They also offer some local delicacies like rice and curries. So, if you want to eat something healthy and local, you have that too. Besides, the restaurant has a homely vibe, and you will indeed have a memorable experience here.
Address: No. 14, Leyn Baan, Cross Street, Galle 80000
1864 is a restaurant that almost looks like a mansion. It is one of the fanciest-looking restaurants that you will visit in the country. However, it is not as famous as other restaurants, and you would probably never hear about it otherwise. It mainly focuses on Continental cuisine and is really good at it. Don’t forget to try out their jumbo prawns and baked mushrooms. They also have a wide variety of high-quality wines that you can choose from. And I must say, their service is top-notch, and I loved it. As the setting of the place is antique, you can wear something fancy like a short ballroom gown that matches the ambience. It is a perfect way to have a little me-time on your solo trip!
Address: 2 Galle Road, Colombo 00300
14. A Minute by Tuk Tuk
This is one of the most popular restaurants near the Galle Fort, and it just takes two minutes to reach here. The best part about it is the picturesque views of the restaurant. And while you are at it, why not click some pictures for your Instagram stories?
They offer almost everything, from local dishes, seafood to continental dishes and excellent drinks. It is open from 8:00 am to 11:00 pm, so you can visit here at your convenience. If Galle Fort is on your itinerary, try visiting this restaurant for a quick snack!
Address: Hospital Street Shop #U-12, Old Dutch Hospital, Galle 80000
15. The Gallery Café
The Gallery Café is one of the most famous restaurants in Colombo. It offers elegant outdoor seating with a luxurious ambience. Talking about food, it provides a wide variety of cuisines like Indian, Italian, and Sri Lankan. However, the star of the show is the desserts. There are more than thirty desserts to choose from, and their taste is unmatched in the whole country! And I’m not even kidding! So, if you are craving something sweet, don’t forget to visit the Gallery Café and treat yourself. It is also a highly rated restaurant and is quite popular amongst locals.
Address: 2 Alfred House Road, Colombo 00300
Which ones are you planning to visit on your solo trip?
Those were some of the restaurants that you must visit on your solo trip to Sri Lanka. I know there are many places and you won’t have enough time to check out all of them. So, shortlist the ones you like and visit them while exploring the different cities. After devouring on these delicious delicacies, you will be a few pounds heavier but definitely happier. And if you have never been to Sri Lanka, here are some tips that will help you on your solo trip. Happy travelling!
An introverted blogger who is looking to make unforgettable solo travel memories with one short life.