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The Top 6 Restaurants In Colombo


Modified: December 27, 2023

by Raine Alger



Known for its rich history, vibrant culture, and stunning landscapes, Sri Lanka has become a top tourist destination in recent years. And when it comes to culinary delights, the island nation does not disappoint. Sri Lankan cuisine is a fusion of flavors influenced by Indian, Portuguese, Dutch, and British cultures. From spicy curries to delectable seafood dishes, the local food scene offers a wide array of options to satisfy every palate.


If you find yourself in the bustling capital city of Colombo, you’re in for a treat. The dining scene in Colombo has evolved significantly over the years, with a plethora of restaurants offering diverse cuisines and unforgettable dining experiences. Whether you’re a food enthusiast seeking authentic Sri Lankan delicacies or a traveler looking to explore international flavors, the city has something to offer for everyone.


In this article, we’ve curated a list of the top six restaurants in Colombo that are sure to tantalize your taste buds. These establishments have not only gained a stellar reputation among locals but have also garnered international recognition for their mouthwatering dishes, impeccable service, and inviting ambiance. So, let’s dive in and explore the culinary wonders that await in Colombo.


Ministry of Crab

The Ministry of Crab is a culinary gem nestled in the heart of Colombo. This renowned restaurant is a collaboration between two cricket legends, Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara, and celebrity chef Dharshan Munidasa. Known for their passion for seafood, the trio has created a dining experience that celebrates the flavors and freshness of Sri Lankan crabs.


Located in the iconic Dutch Hospital precinct, the Ministry of Crab offers a chic and contemporary ambiance, with its rustic interiors and modern accents. The highlight of the menu is, of course, the crab, which is sourced from the country’s best crab farms. From the succulent Pepper Crab to the fiery Chili Crab, each dish is prepared to perfection, showcasing the natural flavors of the crustacean.


Aside from the mouthwatering crab dishes, the restaurant also offers a selection of delectable seafood delicacies. The Prawn Curry and Garlic Chili Prawns are must-try dishes for seafood lovers. For those who prefer non-seafood options, the menu features a range of vegetarian and meat dishes, ensuring there’s something for everyone.


The Ministry of Crab is not just about the food; it’s an overall experience. The friendly and attentive staff are knowledgeable about the menu and are more than happy to assist guests in choosing the perfect dish. The restaurant also boasts an extensive wine list, curated to complement the flavors of the seafood dishes.


With its dedication to quality, innovative flavors, and stellar service, it’s no wonder that the Ministry of Crab has earned a spot on many food enthusiasts’ bucket lists. Whether you’re a seafood aficionado or simply looking for an unforgettable dining experience, a visit to the Ministry of Crab is guaranteed to leave you craving for more.


Nuga Gama

For a taste of traditional Sri Lankan cuisine in a unique and authentic setting, Nuga Gama is the place to go. Nestled within the premises of the Cinnamon Grand Hotel, this restaurant transports you back in time to a rustic village setting, complete with traditional huts, wooden furniture, and lush greenery.


Nuga Gama aims to showcase the rich cultural heritage of Sri Lanka through its food and ambiance. The menu features a wide range of Sri Lankan dishes, prepared using age-old recipes and traditional cooking methods. From spicy curries to aromatic rice dishes, each bite is a burst of flavors that reflects the essence of the island’s culinary traditions.


One of the highlights of dining at Nuga Gama is the interactive and immersive experience it offers. As you explore the restaurant grounds, you’ll discover live cooking stations where skilled chefs prepare traditional Sri Lankan delicacies right in front of your eyes. The aroma of spices fills the air, adding to the overall sensory experience.


The menu at Nuga Gama is diverse and caters to both vegetarian and non-vegetarian preferences. Vegetarians can indulge in dishes like jackfruit curry, coconut sambol, and creamy daal, while meat lovers can savor the flavors of chicken curry, mutton biriyani, and fish ambulthiyal. The restaurant also offers a range of freshly prepared seafood dishes, including the famous Jaffna crab curry.


What sets Nuga Gama apart is not just the food but also the cultural entertainment it provides. Traditional Sri Lankan dances, drumming performances, and live music create a vibrant atmosphere that enhances the dining experience. It’s the perfect place to immerse yourself in Sri Lankan culture while enjoying a delicious meal.


Whether you’re a culinary explorer or simply seeking a unique dining experience, Nuga Gama will leave you with a lasting impression. The combination of authentic Sri Lankan flavors, traditional ambiance, and cultural entertainment make it a must-visit restaurant in Colombo.


The Gallery Cafe

The Gallery Cafe is a culinary haven that seamlessly blends art and gastronomy in the heart of Colombo. This charming restaurant is housed in a beautifully restored colonial-era mansion, adorned with exquisite artwork and elegant decor. The ambiance is sophisticated yet inviting, with its spacious courtyard and cozy indoor seating.


One of the distinguishing features of The Gallery Cafe is its unique menu, which offers a fusion of Sri Lankan and international flavors. The diverse range of dishes caters to different preferences and dietary requirements, making it a favorite among both locals and tourists. From traditional Sri Lankan curries to wood-fired pizzas, each dish is crafted with meticulous attention to detail.


The restaurant takes pride in using the freshest locally sourced ingredients, resulting in a menu that is not only delicious but also sustainable. The seafood dishes, in particular, are a highlight, with the catch of the day transformed into delectable creations like grilled jumbo prawns and seared tuna. Vegetarian options include creamy pasta dishes, flavorful stir-fries, and innovative salads.


Aside from the exquisite food, The Gallery Cafe also offers an extensive wine selection, curated to complement the diverse flavors on the menu. The knowledgeable staff are always ready to provide recommendations and pairings, ensuring a delightful dining experience.


What sets The Gallery Cafe apart is its commitment to showcasing local talent. The restaurant doubles as an art gallery, with stunning pieces by Sri Lankan contemporary artists adorning the walls. Guests can indulge in the visual feast as they enjoy their meal, creating a unique fusion of culinary and artistic indulgence.


Whether you’re looking for a romantic dinner spot, a place to unwind with friends, or a cultural experience infused with delectable flavors, The Gallery Cafe ticks all the boxes. From its charming setting and artistic ambiance to its mouthwatering cuisine, a visit to this iconic restaurant is a sensory journey you won’t want to miss.


Upali’s by Nawaloka

Upali’s by Nawaloka is an esteemed restaurant that offers an authentic taste of Sri Lankan cuisine with a modern twist. Located in the heart of Colombo, this family-owned establishment has been serving up delicious food for over 40 years, earning a reputation for its traditional flavors and warm hospitality.


Step inside Upali’s and you’ll be greeted by a cozy and welcoming atmosphere, with traditional Sri Lankan decor and a friendly staff ready to assist you. The menu features a wide array of Sri Lankan dishes, influenced by regional flavors and prepared using age-old recipes passed down through generations.


One of the highlights of dining at Upali’s is the opportunity to savor authentic home-style dishes, showcasing the diverse culinary heritage of Sri Lanka. From fragrant rice and curry platters to savory hoppers and string hoppers, each dish is a testament to the rich flavors and spices that define Sri Lankan cuisine.


While Upali’s prides itself on its commitment to traditional flavors, it also presents innovative dishes that blend local ingredients with contemporary techniques. The restaurant is known for its seafood specialties, such as the signature jumbo prawn curry and the tangy crab curry. Vegetarians will also find plenty of options on the menu, including the flavorful vegetable biryani and the mouthwatering eggplant curry.


The attentive and friendly staff at Upali’s go above and beyond to ensure a memorable dining experience. Their helpful recommendations and warm hospitality add a personal touch to the meal, making guests feel like they are part of the Upali’s family.


Whether you’re a fan of Sri Lankan cuisine or simply curious to explore the flavors of the island, a visit to Upali’s by Nawaloka promises a delightful journey through Sri Lanka’s culinary traditions. With its combination of authentic flavors, warm ambiance, and personalized service, it’s no wonder that Upali’s remains a beloved dining destination in Colombo.


The Lagoon

If you’re a seafood lover, then The Lagoon is an absolute must-visit restaurant during your time in Colombo. Situated within the prestigious Cinnamon Grand Hotel, this seafood specialty restaurant offers an exquisite dining experience that showcases the freshest catch from the island’s coastal waters.


The Lagoon boasts a unique concept where guests can handpick their seafood from an impressive display of live fish and shellfish, ensuring the utmost freshness and quality. The restaurant’s skilled chefs then transform these ingredients into delectable dishes, packed with flavors that will tantalize your taste buds.


From succulent jumbo prawns and melt-in-your-mouth lobster to flavorful crab and a variety of fish options, The Lagoon offers a wide selection of seafood delights. The dishes are prepared using traditional Sri Lankan techniques, with a focus on enhancing the natural flavors of the seafood.


The restaurant’s commitment to quality extends beyond the seafood offerings. The Lagoon also presents a range of mouthwatering vegetarian and non-seafood dishes, elevating the dining experience for all guests. Whether you opt for the tangy vegetable curry or the aromatic biryani, each dish is crafted with care and attention to detail.


The Lagoon’s elegant and spacious interior provides a welcoming and comfortable ambiance, making it an ideal choice for a special occasion or a romantic dinner. The attentive and knowledgeable staff are always at hand to provide recommendations, ensuring a memorable dining experience.


With its commitment to the freshest seafood, expert culinary skills, and inviting ambiance, The Lagoon has cemented its place as one of the top seafood restaurants in Colombo. Whether you’re a seafood enthusiast or simply looking to indulge in a gastronomic delight, a visit to The Lagoon promises an unforgettable culinary experience that showcases the best of Sri Lankan seafood cuisine.


Barefoot Garden Café

Tucked away in the heart of Colombo, the Barefoot Garden Café offers a unique dining experience that combines delicious food, vibrant ambiance, and a touch of bohemian charm. This cafe is housed within the premises of the iconic Barefoot Gallery, a popular destination for art lovers and those seeking unique handmade crafts.


The Barefoot Garden Café is known for its relaxed and laid-back environment, with its outdoor seating surrounded by lush greenery and colorful flowers. The casual setting is perfect for enjoying a leisurely brunch or unwinding with a cup of freshly brewed Ceylon tea.


The menu at the Barefoot Garden Café features a fusion of Sri Lankan and international flavors, ensuring that there’s something to satisfy every palate. From hearty Sri Lankan breakfast favorites like egg hoppers and coconut roti to international classics like salads, sandwiches, and pasta dishes, there’s a wide range of options to choose from.


One of the standout aspects of dining at the Barefoot Garden Café is its commitment to using high-quality and locally sourced ingredients. The cafe takes pride in serving fresh and organic produce, supporting local farmers and ensuring the flavors are at their best.


Aside from the delectable food offerings, the Barefoot Garden Café also boasts a bakery that produces a tempting array of pastries, cakes, and bread. Whether you’re craving a slice of rich chocolate cake or a freshly baked croissant, the bakery is sure to satisfy your sweet tooth.


While indulging in the culinary delights, guests can browse through the Barefoot Gallery, which showcases a diverse range of contemporary art, hand-woven textiles, and unique crafts. The combination of art, food, and nature creates a serene and inspiring atmosphere, making the Barefoot Garden Café a favorite among locals and tourists alike.


For a relaxing and eclectic dining experience in Colombo, the Barefoot Garden Café is the perfect choice. Whether you’re looking for a quiet brunch spot or a place to unwind amidst artistic surroundings, this charming cafe offers an inviting ambiance and a delicious menu that will leave you feeling nourished and inspired.



Colombo, the capital city of Sri Lanka, is a true culinary paradise, offering a wide range of dining experiences to satisfy every palate. From traditional Sri Lankan delicacies to international cuisine with a local twist, the city’s restaurant scene has something for everyone.


In this article, we’ve explored six of the top restaurants in Colombo that have captured the hearts and taste buds of locals and visitors alike. Ministry of Crab, with its exquisite crab dishes, offers a unique seafood experience curated by cricket legends and a celebrity chef. Nuga Gama provides an immersive cultural experience with traditional Sri Lankan cuisine in a rustic village setting.


The Gallery Cafe combines art and gastronomy, offering a fusion menu in a beautifully restored colonial-era mansion. Upali’s by Nawaloka presents authentic Sri Lankan flavors in a warm and welcoming atmosphere, while The Lagoon specializes in the freshest seafood dishes that showcase the bounty of the island’s coastal waters.


Lastly, Barefoot Garden Café offers a relaxed and bohemian dining experience amidst nature and art, combining delicious food with a touch of creativity.


Each of these restaurants stands out for their commitment to high-quality ingredients, exceptional flavors, and attentive service. Whether you’re a fan of seafood, traditional Sri Lankan cuisine, or international flavors, these establishments provide an unforgettable dining experience that celebrates the diverse culinary heritage of the island.


Whether you’re a local resident or a traveler exploring Colombo, embarking on a culinary journey across these top restaurants is a fantastic way to immerse yourself in the vibrant and rich food culture of Sri Lanka. Prepare your taste buds for an unforgettable adventure filled with flavors, ambiance, and culinary delights in the bustling city of Colombo.