Where to Eat, Drink, Stay & Play in Sri Lanka

From tea plantations to delicious seafood, tropical beaches, five-star hotels and natural beauty, Sri Lanka is one of those places you could visit time and time again. With so much do in one country, we’ve made the planning easier for you with our pick of the top things to do in Sri Lanka.

Eat: Like the locals do

Sri Lanka and spice trail are two names which go hand-in-hand. Embedded in Sri Lanka’s rich history is a passion for cooking, and Sri Lanka is renowned for fragrant spices and sumptuous dishes. Due to Sri Lanka’s geographical location in the Laccadive Sea, it is no wonder seafood and fish are used as core ingredients in many dishes. Here’s our list of the top dishes to try in Sri Lanka.

Sour Fish Curry: Fish ambul thiyal is a beloved version of fish curry within Sri Lanka. The core ingredient is usually tuna and is marinated in black pepper, cinnamon, turmeric, garlic, pandaman leaves, curry leaves, and the most important – dried goraka. The end result is a flavoursome fish curry, best eaten with rice!

Where to eat it:

Nuga Gama at Cinnamon Grand: Nuga Gama is a great restaurant to try traditional Sri Lankan dishes like sour fish curry. The restaurant is centrally located within Colombo but has a village feel. Diners can enjoy alfresco dining underneath a 200-year-old banyan tree.

Beach Wadiya: Located by the beach, Beach Wadiya has some of the best seafood Sri Lanka has on offer. Enormous plates of crab, prawns, fish and any other seafood you can think of can be made to order. Make sure to book in advance as this place fills up fast!

Kottu: Some people might believe Roti is only found in India. Well, Sri Lanka has their own spin on the flatbread – Kottu Roti, and it is out of this world. The Roti is shredded and then mixed with vegetables, meats and eggs to create a delicious street food dish.

Where to eat it: 

Kottu Roti: Kottu Roti 24/7 is located in Hotel de Pllawoos – a landmark in Colombo. Wash down your kottu roti as the locals do, with a glass of ice cold milo.

Green Cabin Terrace: Green Cabin Terrace is a great place to try some other street foods like hoppers – a pancake bowl served with eggs or curry. This place is loved by locals and tourists alike for its affordable menu.

Drink: Tea

Sri Lanka is famous for its tea plantations and Ceylon tea leaves. Sip on a warm cuppa crafted locally by expert Sri Lankan tea farmers.

Pagoda Tea Rooms: The Pagoda Tea Rooms is located in Colombo’s central tourist district and is famous for being in Duran Duran’s film clip for ‘Hungry like the Wolf’. If you’re feeling a bit hungry like the wolf, take a tea break at this iconic establishment.

T-Lounge by Dilmah: Enjoy a sip of Sri Lanka’s most famous tea, Dilmah Ceylon Tea, and relax at the T-Lounge by Dilmah. Located at Colombo’s independence square, indulge after a day of sightseeing.

If you’re after something a bit stronger than tea, Colombo has a bustling bar scene. Sip on a cocktail at the top of Colombo or enjoy a nightcap at a swanky bar.

The Sky Bar: The Sky Bar is located at the top of the Kingsbury building. Enjoy gorgeous views of the sunset or panoramic views of Colombo at night, all while sipping on some cocktails crafted by some expert bartenders.

Capital Bar & Grill: Does a nightcap before bedtime help you nod off? Sit back and relax at the Capital Bar & Grill at the Shangri-La Colombo. Plant yourself in the swanky bar and enjoy their extensive selection of whiskies.

Play: Here, there and everywhere

Sri Lanka offers a large variety of attractions, from visiting tea farms to the cultural heritage in Colombo and cooking classes, there is something for everyone.

 Visit a working tea plantation and the Tea Museum

Ceylon Tea Museum: The Ceylon Tea Museum is located just outside of Kandy. The Museum exhibits old machinery, a library and auditorium and a store where you can buy some of the finest Ceylon tea. If you’d like to find out about the origins of tea production in Sri Lanka and how the industry has evolved, this is an attraction you cannot miss!

Handunugoda Tea Estate: Visit this family run tea plantation and experience a tour of the factory where you can see the entire process from leaf to bag.

Experience Colombo’s cultural heritage

Visit the Red Mosque in Colombo (pictured above): The Jami Ul-Alfar Mosque is a beautiful red mosque, painted in the most intricate way, located in central Colombo.

Shop til you drop at the Dutch Hospital Shopping district: The old Dutch hospital has been transformed into markets where you can find Sri Lankan souvenirs and street eats.

Learn about Sri Lanka’s culture and history at the Colombo National Museum.

Attend a Sri Lankan cooking class.

Cooking by Colour. Learn to cook traditional Sri Lankan dishes with a Sri Lankan grandmother called Mohara. Watch the process of turning spices into curries and take home some new cooking skills you can impress your family and friends with.

Words by Georgia Ristivoje

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