The Mahaweli View is a small restaurant at the entrance to the Paradeniya Botanical Gardens near Kandy. The cafeteria in the Gardens was closed so we had to wait for the end of our visit to eat something. We tried a very typical Sri Lankan specialty called the "lunch packet" which is a meal inside a cardboard box. Children take these to school and office workers to their offices. The box generally comes with white rice, various vegetables stacked in each corner, and an egg, or a bit of fish or meat in the middle. Mine had the smallest piece of fish I've ever seen, but it was all very good and fresh. Prices are super low, less than a half of a euro for one packet. The only problem is that you eat your food with your hands but there isn´t a place to wash them before or after your meal!
The Vijethunga Hotel is actually a village restaurant in Padiyatalawa, a town halfway on the road between Kandy and Ampara. The main reason why visitors come is usually that they are going to one of these cities or because want to visit the natural parks of Maduru, or Gal Oya Oya. The Vijethunga has a selection of samosas and other spring rolls, which even if they have different shapes and forms, are filled with the same curry mixed with potatoes, eggs, vegetables, and usually very spicy. It s cold drinks without alcohol. They now prepare dishes whic are eaten in a small room. There is rice and curry as always, that is ready and you can order a "lunch packet", which is a cardboard box to take away, and prepare other dishes, based upon chicken and vegetables with rice. It's very cheap but there is not a lot to choose from.
The New Pilawoos Hotel is not actually a hotel, but in Sri Lanka they use the name hotel for any relaxing place you eat, so it's actually a restaurant. The Pilawoos is at the heart of Anuradhapura, next to the central market and bus station. Many people go here to eat, which normally guarantees you a fresh meal. They serve the classic samosas and rolls, filled with spicy curry and vegetables, sometimes with an egg. Do not panic if the owner brings a plate with a large assortment of them, they will just charge you for what you ate. It typically costs around 30 - 50RS. If you have to eat on the bus, it is delicious and convenient, but don't forget to buy a bottle of water because they are spicy. The Pilawoos also offers a plate of fried whole garlic. It is very tasty.
This restaurant is in the center of Anuradhapura and close to the bus station. It's a modern restaurant and they do not sell alcohol. I was amused because therewhere a half dozen waiters attending to us and yet the food took hours to arrive. We ordered chicken curry and rice, and a plate of string hoppers. The hoppers are bowl-shaped pancakes that you see in all the restaurants, and the string hoppers are made with the same mass, but they seemed like spaghetti. Everything was already cooked, ready and they only had to put it on a plate. There was one waiter that had the plate in his hands, the other one looked, one who poured some rice and left and another who came back. But there is an English menu and it is pretty cheap.
On Mirissa Beach you can find lots of small family B and B´s. We found the Long Wave Rest and asked if we could have dinner there. What generally happens is that they go to the market in the morning, then they let them know whilst you have breakfast, so that they can have your two meals ready on time. In this case, the poor guy had to go and get the fish in the afternoon, and the only fish he could find was tuna, but it was delicious. This is a guy who studied cooking in the capital, he prepared the grilled tuna with rice and a vegetable sauce. You can eat on the beach with a beer or a natural fruit juice. Dinner costs about .... 5 euros per person. Very cheap, amazing. The only downside is that you have to ask hours beforehand, and sometimes you do not know what you´ll want.
Imagine an idyllic beach, where you are alone. There is a bar, asa lodge, constructed just on the water, so you can have a cocktail with your feet in the ocean. This is the Moon Bay. A place that you do not want to leave. They offer fresh, grilled fish, rice and curries, sometimes lobsters but it depends on the day. Just for fishing, the most common is tuna, sometimes there is shark, or another exotic fish. The fish comes out to around 4 euros per person, if you ask before going to tan or swim, it can be ready when you return. Drinks are made from fresh fruit. I liked the local alcohol, apart from the beer, but a cocktail of pineapple and coconut is tops.
This place is nothing special, apart from the fact that it serves food late at night. The word "late" in Sri Lanka, particularly in the village of Mirissa, means 19.30 ... It is on the main road from Matara to Galle. It offers a mixture of foods, but if you arrive "late", you can only get fried rice with vegetables. With a large serving for one euro, it was enough for two people. The curry rice is 150 rupees, less than one euro. You wait about 20 minutes for the food, and if you want you can order to take away. They were friendly but speak very little English. In the pensions on the beach, if you want dinner, you have to order food at least 3 hours before so they can go and do the shopping. This place is the only alternative we found.
This restaurant is close to the police check point at the entrance of Ella. It's a small place that is not very noticeable, and most of all one of the few places that is full of locals. While most of the restaurants adapt their menu to tourists, this remains traditional. Kottu rotti ordered a crepe that was with vegetables and chicken, and is one of the best I´ve tried. What intrigues me is that it is a dish that doesn´t even cost one euro, and required the participation of 3 people, because they were not prepared to do so, they didn´t raise the price or request anything for the inconvenience. The place is not the prettiest nor the best decorated, but we asked for it to go and ate with natural views.
We went to eat dinner one night at this restaurant because the guide recommended it. I can not compare with other places, apart from a local place which was also very good. One must go at 4-5 pm, to ask for what you want, as most of the dishes require preparation ahead of time. We also asked that they put a few beers in the fridge to be cold, which they don´t do if they aren´t asked! We ordered a lumprice, which is a little spicy paste and rice wrapped in a banana leaf. Served with "curries" which are dishes with vegetables, some chicken, and flatbreads. It was a delight and there were very big portions. Moreover, the place was nice, a courtyard with many plants, great for dinner. For dessert we ordered a "curd" which was a buffalo milk yogurt with palm honey.
The Snack is a small restaurant in the hear of Negombo that caught our attention, because it was full of locals, in the middle of this tourist paradise of consumerism known as Negombo. We went to eat there a few times, prices are almost half of the those in neighboring restaurants for the same plates, but with western décor. The chef cooks outside and you can watch him prepare hoppers, a favorite dish of the country, which are like crepes shaped like a bowl, with an egg in the background. It often accompanies the main dishes. They serve some cold drinks, but not beer. You can ask to go and eat at the nearby beach or eat at the tables outside because there is no room inside. A dinner comes out to less than 2 Euros a head, and one can eat really well here!
The green hotel is on the side of the main road from Galle to Matara, about 6 miles out of Galle. You'll see its name written in huge letters, but it isn't really a part of any town. The name "hotel" in Sri Lankan English really means restaurant and, as such, they place didn't have any rooms or lodging. There is a dining room inside but we ate outside under the palm trees, with the sound of the surf from the Koggala beach nearby. There was no one on the beach and we went swimming while we waited for our food. We ordered a chicken fried rice, which cost one euro per person, which is generally more than they charge local people but you get a pretty fancy plate. In fact, it was so much that it was difficult to finish. We went with a tuk-tuk and the driver got free lunch because he took us there. It was good, although there wasn't much variety.
New Ariyasinghala is a restaurant on the main street of Polonnaruwa. In the part of the city are only the most tourist places because the ruins of the ancient royal city are near it. But this place doesn't have a lot of people, and there were only locals. We enjoyed the food, they prepared a simple rice with curry that was fresh and delicious. They has a good selection of dishes that accompany rice. The bill was 800Rs has left us with two beers for 200Rs and a dessert. I recommend the place because instead of serving us something that was made in the morning, they prepared something, without asking if we wanted something different. The prices were very reasonable for the amount you get good quality dishes. The only problem is that there were many bugs attracted to the light and they had to turn them off so we almost sat in the dark.
Senani restaurant is in the lower part of the hotel of the same name. It has incredible views of the cit from which you can see the lake, the temple of the tooth and the other monuments of Kandy. The restaurant is one of the most luxurious in the city, with a very attentative service. The guests are a mixture of foreigners and locals who come to eat there. The menu is a mix of Eastern and Western dishes. Serving roast, rice, Indian food .... Sometimes they do theme nights with a buffet of Sri Lankan, or Japanese ... The prices are reasonable, eat for 10 euros per person or so. During Buddhist festivals they do not serve alcohol.
With curry and fried rice, there comes a time when you want to eat something sweet. Cornhill the pastry shop is the ideal place. It is very popular among locals, who arrive in the afternoon to have a cold tea or a fruit cocktail with some fruit cake or chocolate. It was so crowded that no one could sit down at the table. You can order a takeaway if you like, but with so many people about it's difficult to eat on the street. Upstairs is a restaurant serving Asian specialties, from Malaysia and China. The prices of sweets and cakes are low, two euros for an afternoon snack. The chocolate products were slightly disappointing, but with cream and fruit it was very good.
The Indian Hut stole the logo and design of Pizza Hut, and is situated in the southern part of Galle Fort, the historic colonial city. One of the great things about it is that it offers beautiful views of the sea to the south, and if it is not too hot, you can eat outside on the balcony. It offers a menu that includes a mix of traditional Indian dishes, Chinese dishes and island specialties. They do not serve alcohol or pork or beef, as Buddhists and Muslims do not eat it. The prices are quite cheap, starters cost about 150Rs and 300RS per dish, ie one to two euros! The chicken dishes are great, and the portions are really generous. It is a place offering both classic and traditional cuisine, you have to ask about the level of spiciness or you will burn your mouth for hours. It is a good place to go to dinner early and enjoy the sunset over the sea.
The Sea Green is a small restaurant with good sized balcony just south of the fort ramparts of Galle. Around you, you can see the lighthouse, a small beach, and the rest of the colonial district (declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site). They have an extensive menu, but the service is a bit slow. So there are two options: either order around a half an hour early and go for a walk, or simply order what they have already made, typically fried rice or curries. But you are by the sea, so I recommend trying the grilled fish and grilled shrimp, both of which are very good. You're going to end up eating for less than 5 euros when the same plate might cost 20 in Europe. They don't serve alcohol but they do have delicious natural fruit juices.
Saman is a great bakery bakers at the Dambulla exit, heading toward Sigiriya. I liked the place because they offers all the typical dishes of Sri Lanka. Also they know how to make pastries and small sandwiches that come out a but like the super spicy samosas that these kinds of places usually have these. It's very cheap, I bought four or five things for only a euro and fifty cents, and it was more than enough food. My only regret is not having more vegetables with their breads, such as tomato or salad, but with the heat they don't keep well. They did not speak English but with gestures it was easy to communicate. There is a room if you want to eat there, or you can order to go. The cakes looked good too.
Lalith and his family are the owners of Lucky Tuna, a restaurant which is situated on the beach of Unawatuna. The staff are very friendly and the food is great, but it takes a while to prepare. To avoid waiting, what we used to do is arrive a couple of hours early and order our food so that it would be ready on time. It does not leave much room for the imagination, but at least you don´t start to despair when you get hungry. The restaurant has a few tables set in the sand, and it is the perfect place to have a drink when the sun starts to set behind the hill and the Buddhist Temple at the end of the beach. You can eat plain rice with curry for 2-3 euros and a fish dish for less than 5 euros. It depends on what fish they have caught that day, but in general there is always tuna, small whole fish is seasonal.