EDITOR’S CHOICE: We have handpicked the best Sea Food Restaurants in Colombo where you could enjoy the best and freshest produce from the ocean prepared to suit any taste and palate.
Sitting in the middle of the Indian Ocean, fishing is a big part of the lives and food of the people of Sri Lanka and therefore there is an abundance of the fresh ocean produce at all times. As a result, you can have a wide range of seafood delicacies in the country. Sri Lanka is also famous for its spices, therefore the seafood dishes in the local cuisine also has a dense, spicy flavor. It is something you cannot find anywhere else in the world.
The Sri Lankan seafood restaurants offer a wide range of cultural flavors as well. You can find dishes influenced by cuisines from around the world. In the capital Colombo, you will discover many good restaurants where you could indulge in some of your favorite seafood delicacies.
1. The Ocean – Kingsbury Hotel
The seafood restaurant – The Ocean – is in the famous Kingsbury hotel. It is ranked among the best seafood restaurants in Colombo and it is an exceptional fine-dining experience. The amazing panoramic views of the ocean complements the setting. The best part is that diners can select their fresh seafood options right off the counter and have it prepared in any manner. The Prawns, Cuttlefish, Lobster, Crabs, Salman and Oysters are absolutely fresh – almost straight off the local fishermen. An absolutely delightful dish – which is one of our personal favourites is the Hot Buttered Cuttlefish – what a sensation as the flavours explode in your taste buds. Fresh oysters are also a must at around just LKR 1,500 for a dozen fresh oysters – you cannot beat that price anywhere else in the world.
|Location||Lobby Level. 48, Janadhipathi Mawatha, Colombo 01|
|Opening Hours||Lunch: 11:30 to 14:00|
Dinner: 18:30 to 23:30
|Telephone||+94 112 421 221|
|Price Range||LKR 1,500 – 3,000|
2. The Lagoon – Cinnamon Grand Hotel
The Cinnamon Grand is one of the most prestigious five-star hotels in the country and its seafood restaurant – the Lagoon – stands up to the name and prestige of this luxurious hotel. At The Lagoon you have a wonderful and varied selection of seafood items displayed at the fresh produce counter – in a seafood market stall concept. You can select your favourite and request for it to be cooked to your liking. You also have a wide range of sauces to choose from as well. The seafood items come straight from the market – therefore, everything is as fresh the ocean. We had the Chillie Crab, Chillie crab ball and grilled Octopus along with a number of smaller spicy seafood dishes as we were in a group of 8 adults. The seating arrangement is both comfortable and ambient and the service is par excellence. The wine list is also pretty darn good and we were pleasantly surprised to have a number of our favourites on the list.
We also happened to book for a Sunday lunch and was informed that the Asian Sea Food buffet was on that day. What a wonderful experience it was to savour our favourite seafoods – dished up Asian style. We were amazed at the wonderful array of the freshest of fresh ocean produce cooked in every style and manner that you could dream of. Heres a tip – if you are in Colombo on a Sunday afternoon looking for a good seafood meal – The Lagoon is the place to be.
|Location||Cinnamon Grand, 77 Galle Road, Colombo 3|
|Opening Hours||Lunch: 12:00 to 14:30|
Dinner: 18:00 to midnight
|Telephone||+94 112 497 371|
|Price Range||LKR 2,500 – 3,500|
3. Ministry of Crab
The newly restored Dutch hospital in Colombo is home to one of Asia’s top 50 restaurants, the Ministry of Crab. It is owned by two of the countries cricketing legends. Living up to its name, this must visit restaurant is all about crabs – in all sizes and prepared in number of different mouth watering ways. Their signature dish, the Crabzilla, comes at a gigantic size of almost 2 kg – the cost is gigantic too at LKR 39,400. During our visits, we had crabs dished up in a variety of ways – but the best was the Garlic Chillie Crab which was a perfect blend of species and heat. An absolute must is to also have it with the local bread called “paan” and another Sri Lankan special, a spicy coconut sambal – locally called pol sambal. However, if you are not in spices, the Baked Crab is highly recommended. A variety of sauces is also available from butter sauces to tasteful spicy sauces to delight any palate. We finished our delightful meal with a Chocolate Biscuit pudding and Iced Tea. The Ministry of Crabs does not freeze their produce – therefore you can be sure that all dishes are fresh at all times which brings out the juicy, succulent and sweet flavour of the crabs. A tip – if you need the bigger crabs – ensure that you book for an earlier dinner time slot as sometimes, the large sizes run out as the evening wears on.
|Location||Old Dutch Hospital Complex, 04 Hospital St, Colombo|
|Opening Hours||Lunch: 12:00 to 15:30|
Dinner: 17:00 to 23:30
|Telephone||+94 112 342 722|
|Price Range||LKR 6,000 – 8,000|
If you are into Japanese seafood dishes, the Nihonbashi is a restaurant you should ensure you have visit in Colombo. It is another restaurant that has made it to Asia’s top 50 restaurants. The Chef is the same from the Ministry of Crab. The strange name is, in fact, the name of a Japanese bridge. This fusion restaurant is a must-try for any seafood lover and especially those who are into sushi and other Japanese dishes combined with Sri Lankan and other International flavours. We were in a group of 5 adults and we were amazed at the quality of Japanese food – if you close your eyes you would be forgiven if you might think you are in Tokyo itself. We had Shiitake Mushrooms, Sashimi and Squid accompanied by heaps chilled Sake. On our second visit we tried the Wagyu beef – oh so tender and genuine. The crab salad was also wonderful!! The service was great and we vowed to come back again on our next visit to Colombo.
|Location||11 Galle Face Terrace, Colombo 3|
|Opening Hours||Lunch: 12:00 to 14:30|
Dinner: 18:00 to 12:30
|Telephone||+94 112 323 847|
|Price Range||LKR 1,500 – 2,000|
5. The Fat Crab
The Fat Crab is another good restaurant in Colombo if you are after authentic Sri Lankan crab and seafood dishes. At the Fat Crab you will be able to delight in a spicy Sri Lanka crab curry like no other, served with other local accompaniments such as dhal (lentils) and beautiful fluffy rice cooked to perfection. Don’t forget to also to order the local roast bread (paan) to go with the curries. The restaurant overlooks the shoreline and you can enjoy the cool freshness of the ocean while digging into some hot and spicy curries. There is nothing better in Sri Lanka cuisine than a crab curry coupled with a good white wine while enjoying the serenity of a beautiful sunset. The prices are pretty reasonable for the quality of food on offer and the service could not be faulted. The wine list was a bit light but you could still score a good bottle at a slightly higher than normal price. Spirits are also on the list which is a good option with the curries. You can also BYO wine – corkage is payable.
6. Seafood Cove – Mount Lavinia Hotel
The Mount Lavinia Hotel is another renowned hotel in Sri Lanka. And its seafood restaurant – the Seafood Cove – lives up to the name of the place. The restaurant opens to the Mount Lavinia beachfont and you can sit on the sandy beach and enjoy your meal. It has a rustic charm with small lanterns for lighting and sand for your feet. The delightful dishes range from lobster to prawns to cuttlefish. What better way to enjoy seafood than sitting by the sea enjoying a wine or two or three with your better half. The food itself would satisfy the cravings of any foodie and the produce is fresh. We had the local catch of the day – grilled. Wow! Is the expression that came to mind – both myself and the wife. If you like your fish fried, poached cooked in any other way, the chef would be happy to oblige. The wine list was pretty good and a talented local band was in played some great music, which created a great atmosphere. Quite romantic it was!
7. Curry Leaf
The Curry Leaf, situated within the Colombo Hilton, has without doubt one of the best buffets in Colombo. The great thing about the buffet is that it has a great mix of authentic Sri Lankan seafood cuisine along with the best street food you would possibly get in Sri Lanka.
The seafood section has the best crabs, prawns and fish which you can request the chefs to prepare in any way you want. The most attractive part of our experience was the unlimited seafood buffet which had crab, lobster and huge prawns.
The restaurant has an extensive array of authentic Sri Lankan dishes such as noodles, pilau, string hoppers and rice. The Curry Leaf also have a daily seafood buffet, which is much sort after by its clientele. This is one of the most exclusive Sri Lankan seafood experiences you can find in Colombo.
The food we had was the best we had in Sri Lanka thus far in terms of the value in dollar spend. The Chillie Crab was on par with what we have had in Singapore and at the Ministry of Crab. Highly recommended.
8. Off the Hook
Not everyone has the money to spend on fancy restaurants. The Off the Hook Restaurant is caters exclusively for seafood lovers. The prices are reasonable, and you can select your seafood items from the counter and have it prepared exactly how you want it done according to your taste preferences. They have a good range of tantilising dishes and seafood items to choose from. The service is above par and the wait staff are delightful to say the least. Our pick was the Jaffna Crab curry served with hot rice and the local roast bread (paan). We had a great home made ice cream which had a taste of acidity. When we asked the waiter – he said it was tamarind. Wow! We must try this combination at home too.
Cocktails are great and the wine list is acceptable. All in all a memorable evening.
Isso is the local name for prawns and is a term commonly used across Sri Lanka. Therefore, the restaurant is aptly named as it has the best prawns cooked Sri Lanka style on offer. The good part of this restaurant is that you could also take away or have it delivered to you. The Jumbo Shrimp cooked as a devilled curry was simply sumptuous as was the Barramundi cooked Jaffna style. Prices were reasonable considering the portion sizes, but you may want to request to tone down the heat when you order. The Isso is highly recommended if you are after a quick seafood meal with all the local flavours – you cannot go wrong at this place.
10. Beach Wadiya
The Wadiya as it is fondly called is a well know hangout for Sri Lankans for over 4 decades – and it has still retained its old charm. The restaurant is extremely popular with locals and foreigners alike, especially Sri Lankans who have enjoyed this place in its glorious past. The best part of this place is the super cool local beer coupled with the Hot Buttered Calamari served as a tapas dish. Of course, there is a wide variety of seafood dishes on the menu and all of them are equally delightful. We had the Kangkun cuttle fish curry served with hot fluffy rice and vegetables and could not fault the dishes one single bit. The setting at the Wadiya is rustic and you can enjoy a cool afternoon enjoying the sunset with the best seafood in Colombo. The service is excellent and the wine list is acceptable – however, you must try the local ale – the Lion Lager served super chilled at the Beach Bar.