Sri Lanka’s south coast is home to some of the island’s best restaurants outside of Colombo. Galle is Sri Lanka’s premier tourist town and it is no surprise that this increasingly cosmopolitan hub attracts the most diverse range of eateries. The streets of Galle Fort are lined with restaurants and hole-in-the-wall cafés, and the beautifully renovated Galle Dutch Hospital, a precinct of restaurants and boutiques, is the fort’s newest dining venue. From Galle to Tangalle, here are 6 of the best south coast restaurants in Sri Lanka:
The Tuna & The Crab
This outlet in the Galle Dutch Hospital follows in the footsteps of its popular sister-restaurants Ministry of Crab and Nihonbashi in Colombo. This is the place to try succulent export quality Sri Lankan crab doused in beautiful sauces (we love the garlic and chilli), served with local kade paan (bread) and (optional) sticky garlic rice, or the delicately flavoured crab linguine. Also on the menu are steaks and a selection of fresh sushi and sashimi. Bring your own alcohol.
A striking coral and lime wall, showcasing the centuries-old heritage of the beautifully restored building in which it stands, backs this open-fronted restaurant in Galle Fort. This is a popular place for a rest stop whilst touring Galle Fort, and the eclectic menu includes Singapore style burgers, table barbeques and sesame-crusted tuna salad as well as coffee, beer and juices. Tables spill from the fan-cooled interior onto a convivial courtyard edged by banana plants.
Wijaya Beach Restaurant
This casual beach restaurant on Dalawella’s idyllic beach, 8km east of Galle, is a hot favourite amongst the region’s expats. Families and groups of friends converge here to dine on very reasonably priced seafood, pasta, salads, curries and excellent wood-fired pizzas, all served up in an open-sided pavillion with dashing views of the Indian Ocean. The sandy beach here is kid-friendly and the lagoon-like sea a reliable place for a swim. Sunsets from here are spectacular.
Talpe Beach Club
Talpe Beach Club is another favourite with expat families thanks to its swimming pool, open-plan restaurant and varied menu of international dishes. As the kids swim, the adults can dine with a clear view of their offspring, and the varied menu caters for all members of the family. This is another fabulous spot for sunset (grab the top corner lounge and order a tropical cocktail). Turtles can be spied in the shallows of the sea here too, however the water is too rocky for swimming (although you can swim in the sea around 150 metres further east).
More information: Talpe Beach Club
Although this casual garden café isn’t on the beach, Kabalana’s wide sands are just 30 metres away. Kabalana is famous for its safe surf, and the surfing hotspots of Midigama and Weligama are nearby. The short menu here fuses Sri Lankan ingredients with international mains; wild lagoon oysters, baked snake gourd, toddy battered fish and chips, and lobster prawns with fried rice. Dine indoors in the open-plan fan-cooled pavilion or in the big grassy walled garden.
Easily the best place to dine in the Tangalle area is this boutique lagoon-view hotel located close to the Rekawa Marine Turtle Sanctuary – an ideal dinner venue if you’re planning on doing one of the turtle watches. The hotel’s open-sided restaurant overlooks tropical gardens, ponds and lawns and the international menu features gourmet burgers, grilled seafood and local rice and curry. The hotel is currently building a new restaurant and pool on its sea side, which will offer further potential for outside diners. Bookings are essential.
Website: Buckingham Palace, Tangalle
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