Sri Lanka food and drink | Kandy restaurants

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Kandy Food

Kandyan cuisine has a distinct flavor. Ambul Thiyal, for example, is a popular sour fish curry. Traditionally in the villages, lunch is taken to the fields, or for a special occasion, in a Kuruni basket with rice and curries wrapped in banana leaf. Kandyan sweet meats including Kavum, Kokis, and Pani Walalu - prepared mainly for festive occasions – are delicious treats not to be missed. There are several wayside cafes right in the centre of Kandy town such as the Bake House, Paiva’s, and the Pub that are popular for their snacks and savoury short-eats (pastries). The History restaurant show cases Kandyan history with its myriad of old black and white photos and serves Sri Lankan and western cuisine. The Empire Café opened in 2014 and is housed in the old Empire Building right next door to the Temple of the Tooth. Owned by The Kandy House, the Empire Café serves up freshly ground coffee, premium teas, snacks, cakes and home made ice cream. Most of the hotels in Kandy including Chaaya Citadel and Mahaweli Reach welcome non-resident guests at their restaurants that serve a mix of Sri Lankan and western buffets. For a more novel dining experience, Red Dot recommends Helga’s Folly where fusion cuisine is served amidst an utterly creative and novel environment.

Cafes & Restaurants

  • The Empire Café, Temple Street, Kandy, Located right next door to the Temple of the Tooth, this trendy café serves tea/coffee, fresh juices, home-made ice cream, wraps and sandwiches, pasta and a Thali of traditional rice and curries during lunch time. Open from 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Owned by The Kandy House.

  • Paiva’s, 37 Yatinuwara Veediya, Kandy, One of the oldest bakeries in town, Paiva’s serves pastries and Sri Lankan rice and curry.

  • Bake House, 36 Dalada Veediya, Kandy. Tel: 081 2234868, Serves pastries, Sri Lankan rice and curries and cool drinks

  • The Pub, 36 Dalada Veediya, Kandy. Tel: 081 2234868, Located at the top of Bake House overlooking the hustle and bustle of Kandy’s Dalada Veediya, The Pub is a popular hangout for tourists. Serves a mix of western dishes.

  • History Restaurant, 27A Anagarika Dharmapala Mawatha, Kandy. Tel: 081 2202109, Is owned by the same family that owns Bake House and the Pub. True to its name, the History restaurant has many interesting black and white old photographs on the walls that depict Kandy’s fascinating history from 1860 – 1960. A variety of Sri Lankan and western dishes are served here.

  • Kentucky Fried Chicken, Cargills Food City, Dalada Veediya, Kandy, Situated within Cargills Food City, this is a good stop for an iced Coca Cola, French fries and fried chicken.

  • Flower Song, 137 Kotugodella Veediya, Kandy. Tel: 081 2223628, Serves Chinese food that is made spicier and adapted more to suite the Sri Lankan palate. Is popular with families.

  • Senani Restaurant, 167/1 Rajapihilla Mawatha, Kandy. Tel: 081 2235118, Serves Sri Lankan, Indian, Chinese and western dishes buffet style. Also has an a la carte menu.

Hotel restaurants

  • Chaaya Citadel, 124 Srimath Kuda Ratwatte Mawatha, Kandy. Tel: 081 22234365, Chaaya Citadel sits at the edge of the Mahaweli River on the northern outskirts of Kandy. The spacious main restaurant here with views of the Mahaweli, offers Sri Lankan and international buffet-style breakfast, lunch and dinner. Chaaya Citadel’s fine-dining restaurant, Mahaweli Eliya serves authentic Kandyan cuisine as well as western dishes.

  • Mahaweli Reach, 35 P.B.A. Weerakoon Mawatha, Kandy. Tel: 081 4472727, Mahaweli Reach is a `five-star’ hotel perched on the banks of the Mahweli River in Kandy. A mix of Sri Lankan and western meals are served usually buffet style, at the poolside restaurant.

  • Queen’s Hotel, Kandy. Tel: 081 2233026 The Queen’s Hotel is a heritage property dating back to the mid 19th century and situated right in the heart of Kandy alongside the Kandy Lake and right opposite the sacred Temple of the Tooth. This is a good lunch stop after doing some sight seeing. Queen’s serves tasty Sri Lankan rice and curries at their main restaurant served buffet style.

Fusion cuisine & Fine dining

  • Helga’s Folly, Off Mahamaya Mawatha, Kandy. Tel: 081 4474314; 081 2234571, Helga's Folly is a thoroughly individualistic place – a slice of art nouveau situated above the Kandy Lake. In the eyes of its flamboyant owner Helga de Silva Blow Perera, this is not a hotel but a home of rare originality and spirit. Over the years Helga has brought it to life with her own creative expression. Walls are enlivened with whimsical murals; ceilings with baubles and chandeliers; antique couches and beds are draped in vibrant silks; hallways are filled with old photos and stories of colourful personalities that have passed through here; and wax-laden candlesticks are straight out of a Gothic novel. The Folly’s heady blend of Sixties flower-power and high-camp will appeal to those seeking an imaginative alternative to routine hotel life. Sumptuous home cooked fusion cuisine is served here anywhere that guests desire. Advance booking is required.

  • The Kandy House, Amunugama Walawua, Gunnapana, Kandy. Tel: 081 4921394, The Kandy House is a beautiful and stylishly renovated boutique hotel set in an old Kandyan 'Walauwa' (ancestral mansion) and located 12km from Kandy's town centre. The inspired refurbishment of the 'Walauwa', with its light white interiors, polished hardwood floorboards, Dutch-style antique furniture and old photos that tells of Kandyan history, has been a triumph. The restaurant here offers a daily set menu. Sumptuous Sri Lankan and western fusion cuisine is served here. Advance booking is required.

  • Theva Residency, 11/B5/10-1, 6th Lane, Off Upper Tank Road, Off Circular Road 2, Hantane, Kandy. Tel: 081 7388296-99, Theva Residency is a 10-room boutique hotel in the peaceful Hantane mountain range with breathtaking views across the Kandyan hills. Theva offers an interesting range of cuisine including Sri Lankan, Middle Eastern, and Western cuisine. Exotic meals are served here in the main restaurant overlooking the hills.

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