Sakura

04/05/2009

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Location: 14 Rheinland Place, Colombo 3
Tel: .94 (0)11 2573877
Hours: 11.30 am to 2.00 pm and 5.30 pm to 10.45 pm
Cuisine: Japanese 
Price: Inexpensive




Overall: 3  Food Quality: 3  Service: 3  Ambience: 3

Sakura is one of the few Japanese restaurants in Sri Lanka. Whilst Japanese cuisine is not as popular as Chinese cuisine, this restaurant is fairly well patronised. Those who love Sushi are frequent visitors at Sakura. Residents also go to this restaurant to experience a change from the fare available at the many Chinese food outlets.

Sakura is closed on poya days and for a week at the time of the Sinhala and Tamil New Year in April each year. It is located on a quiet street in the heart of Colombo, close to the city’s major hotel district. Parking at Sakura is not a problem.

The chefs at Sakura have been trained in Japan. The menu features an extensive selection of Sushi made from tuna, cuttle fish, white fish, prawns, fish eggs, eel (imported from Japan), curd, egg omlet and soya bean. The numerous Japanese dishes on the menu are great. Some of the favourites amongst patrons are; Teri Yaki (chicken or beef served with rice), Kouchi Yaki Meshi (Sakura’s very own rice dish with mushroom, white fish, peppers, etc.), Gyoza (pork and cabbage dumpling), Suki Yaki (meat of choice with egg, tofu, mushrooms and bean sprouts), Sashimi Moriawase (tuna, white fish and cuttle fish with wasabi sauce and radish), Katsu Don (rice with meat of choice) and Kanikorokke (crab cutlet).

Sakura serves liquor and have a variety of cocktails. The Saki, which is served hot or cold, is delicious. They have a few run-of-the-mill desserts for the sweet toothed.

The service is quite ordinary. The interior, whilst decorated in true Japanese style, is rather drab. However, the restaurant is very comfortable. The Sakura can accommodate 100 guests. 60 of the 100 seats are in Japanese Thathami style, i.e., low tables with cushions laid out on the floor.

A visit is recommended, especially for those who want a change and something different.


 

Agra

03/04/2009

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Location: 100/10 Independence Avenue, Colombo 7
Tel: .94 (0)11 4723333
Hours: 11.30 am to 3 pm and 6.30 pm to 11.00 pm
Cuisine: Indian 
Price: Moderate


Overall: 4  Food Quality: 5  Service: 4  Ambience: 4.5 

Agra dishes out truly “Exquisite Indian Cuisine”. It is easily one of the best Indian Restaurants in the Country. Diners are bound to have a memorable eating experience whether they bite into hot buttery paratas stuffed with spicy potatoes or indulge in delicious recipes fresh from the tandoori oven. The mouth watering aroma of steaming biriyani and succulent lamb in a rich, creamy gravy satisfies any craving.

The ambience of the place is out of this world. The richly decorated dining area in Moghul style architecture has a water feature dividing cosy cubicles separated by intricate wooden trellis work. Subdued lighting and a ceiling full of baubles of glass which reflect the light, gives one the feeling of dining under the stars. There are also some classical oriental musicians and singers performing during the latter part of the week. There is even an area for diners who want to keep away from the air-conditioning. This large open air area overlooks the famous Royal College rugby grounds and has a large screen and a separate bar. The outer area can seat up to 60 diners, whilst the main air-conditioned dining area with its own bar can hold up to 160.

Agra’s bars are well stocked. They have an exclusive VIP room and fully serviced facilities to hold weddings, parties and private functions on their open terrace. Ample parking facilities are available.

The food, turned out by 4 Indian chefs, is delightful. So much so, that the Indian cricket team had Agra deliver food to them at their hotel when they toured Sri Lanka recently. Lasooni prawns, chicken tikka biriyani, mutton Rogan Josh, aloo gobhi, paneer pasanda (stuffed cottage cheese in cashew gravy), Mohin naan (with egg on top) and traditional chicken tandoori are some of the deliciously wonderful dishes available at the Agra. A variety of traditional desserts are available to end your meal, from soft gulab jamuns served with ice cream to a cool kulfi flavoured with cardamom and cinnamon and topped with nuts.    

The service is of a very high standard with all staff well versed in the dishes served and always ready with helpful advice. Agra is very popular amongst the large Indian expatriate community as well as locals. We wholeheartedly recommend Agra as one of the best eating out options in the City of Colombo.


 
 

Location: 69, Hyde Park Corner, Colombo 2
Tel: .94 (0)11 7219169
Hours: 10 am to 10 pm  (Friday and Saturday up to 11 pm)
Cuisine: Fusion, Casual Dining, Halal 
Price: Inexpensive

Overall: 4  Food Quality: 4.5  Service: 3.5  Ambience: 4 

The Urban Kitchen brings a unique concept of dining to Sri Lanka. It is part restaurant and part food court. The owners refer to the concept as the ”food factory concept”. The facility is large and can seat 250, 180 of the seats indoors in air-conditioned comfort. The indoor area is very bright, very comfortable and tastefully decorated.

The Urban Kitchen is inexpensive. Considering what one gets, the value preposition is superb. The staff are very friendly, well trained and makes you feel at home as soon as you walk in. The waiting time after ordering the food is a bit too much. This is something the management is addressing at present.

All meats at the Urban Kitchen are Halal-based. They do not serve pork or liquor. The focus is very much on healthy food.  At lunch time in addition to the a-la-carte menu, diners have a choice of having either a Sri Lankan or Chinese meal, both laid out buffet-style. The menu is extensive and very inexpensive. It is divided into Asian, pasta, grilled items, sandwiches, salads, kids menu and desserts. The Asian section features Sri Lankan, Chinese, Thai and Malaysian cuisine. The choices are many, and there is bound to be something in the menu to satisfy everyone’s taste. Seafood Laksa, vegetarian Laksa, hot lamb baguette, steak sandwich, flame-grilled chicken salad, pan-seared modha  (white fish) and chicken Char Kway Teow are examples of some of the attractive dishes available.

The Urban Kitchen is located in the property of a mega-store and the whole locality is quite busy during the day. However at night time things quieten down considerably. Whatever time you get in, once you are in, the atmosphere is quite pleasant, peaceful and comfortable. There is plenty of parking available in the premises.

We highly recommend the Urban Kitchen as a great place where you get real value for the money you spend. It is ideal for a family outing.


 
 

Location: 50/1 Park Street, Colombo 2
Tel: .94 (0)11 2300133
Hours: 11 am to 11 pm  
Cuisine: Fusion, Semi Fine Dining 
Price: Moderate



Overall: 4  Food Quality: 5  Service: 4.5  Ambience: 4.5 

Opened at the beginning of 2009, the Park Street Mews is a super place to have a really great dining experience. The restaurant is located at a very central part of Colombo. The street it is located on is not that busy, and gets really quiet at night time. Parking is not a problem, especially at night time.

The Park Street Mews is very spacious and can seat between 80 to 100 persons. Although not air-conditioned, the very high ceiling makes it very airy and pleasant. It has one air-conditioned room which can easily seat about 10 people for private dining. At present the Park Street Mews does not serve liquor. It is unique, in that it also doubles up as a shop that sells high end furniture, lamp shades and wood carvings. The interior is very tastefully decorated and exudes a very cosy and calming atmosphere. The restaurant is a WIFI hot-spot for those who want to bring their laptops along.

The food is excellent and the service is superb. Staff-members are always around, very friendly and obviously well trained. It is a pleasure to dine at the Park Street Mews. The fusion food menu, whilst not extensive, offers enough variety to the discerning diner. The spaghetti with tomato and seafood I had was divine. They have some very interesting items such as roasted pork loin, seared yellow fin tuna steak, feta and lime marinated chicken breast, NZ rack of lamb, Australian fillet steak, Australian sirloin steak and potato Gnocchi on spinach with blue cheese sauce.

The Park Street Mews offers great food presented in a novel concept, at a location which has subdued lighting, plenty of open space and a cool ambience - ideal for a memorable dining experience.


 
 

Location: 17, Melbourne Avenue, Colombo 4
Tel: .94 (0)11 2582685
Hours: 11 am to 11.30 pm
Cuisine: Thai
Price: Moderate
  

Overall: 3  Food Quality: 3.5  Service: 3  Ambience: 4 

Siam House is a very popular haunt of local residents. It is conveniently located in a quiet street in a very residential part of Colombo, close to all the major hotels. The restaurant is a converted old house and has many separate dining spaces that afford privacy to diners. It is tastefully decorated and quite impressive. The prices are very reasonable (on the low side of “moderate”). The service, although not bad, could be better! Some of the staff do not seem to be very conversant as to what is on offer.

The menu is very extensive. All of the usual Thai favourites are available. The dishes featuring seafood are great. There are many cuttle fish, fish, crab and prawn preparations. Some of the favourites amongst patrons are; Meat/fish Penang (red curry), meat/fish Kheaw Wan (green curry), Deep fried or steamed whole Garupa, spicy mango salad, spicy papaya salad, roasted beef salad, Suriyaki soup and various pai noodles dishes.

The desserts menu features a few run-of-the-mill desserts. Liquor, beer and cocktails are also available. The restaurant can seat about 225 of which 175 seats are in air-conditioned areas.

Considering the low prices, the Siam House is an excellent value proposition. The relaxed atmosphere and the good food, which is different from the food served at the numerous Chinese restaurants in the City, make it a good choice for a  meal away from home.


 
 

Location: 11, Galle Face Court 2, Colombo 3
Tel: .94 (0)11 2307056
Hours: 12 noon to 3 pm and 6 pm to 11 pm (6 pm to midnight on Fridays and Saturdays)
Cuisine: German, Pub 
Price: Moderate

Overall: 3  Food Quality: 3.5  Service: 3  Ambience: 3.5 

The Bavarian, situated close to many of the leading hotels in Colombo, serves German food. It is the oldest and best German restaurant on the Island. The Bavarian has been in operation for a long time, and has undergone several ownership changes together with name changes over this period. It is located close to a high security area, and therefore a bit difficult to get to. There is parking available. After a recent refurbishment, the restaurant has a very pleasant and cosy interior. The Bavarian has a very small bar area and can seat about 85 persons for dining.

The menu is very extensive and the portions are very generous. There are plenty of meat, seafood and vegetarian main dishes, in addition to an extensive selection of appetizers, soups, snacks and desserts. The steaks (rump, pepper and fillet) are real hits. Some of the customer favourites are; Weiner Schnitzel (crumb fried escalope of pork), Schweineschinitzel (Cordon Bleu with Pork), roasted pork knuckles, grilled seer fish, crumb fried medallion of seer fish, Bratwurst sausages with Sauer Kraut and their mixed grill A ’la Bavarian.

A bites menu is available for those who want something to munch on whilst having a drink. This menu features chicken skewers, shredded spicy pepper beef, spicy potato wedges, barbequed chicken wings, frankfurters, beef sausages and much more. The pub has a good selection of beers, and their bar is well stocked.

The service is prompt and good, and everyone at the Bavarian is very friendly. The Bavarian is a great place to go with friends and family, or even on your own.


 
 

Location: 100, Hotel Road, Mount Lavinia
Tel: .94 (0)11 2715221
Hours: 7 pm to 10.30 pm
Cuisine: Seafood 
Price: Moderate




Overall: 3  Food Quality: 4  Service: 2.5  Ambience: 4 

The Seafood Cove, which is conveniently located at the Mount Lavinia Hotel just 3 kilometres south of the City of Colombo, has the unique concept of seafood displayed market style. Dine on the most exquisite food freshly caught, straight from the Indian Ocean on to your plate. The Seafood Cove is a restaurant located on the Beach which has a Seafood Market concept. You are able to choose the seafood of your choice prepared to suit your individual needs on the spot, be it grilled, cooked, sauteed, fried, devilled (spicy), curried or baked.

You choose what you want and request the preparation of your choice. You pay for what you ordered by weight. What is available depends on the catch of the day. A wide variety of seafood is usually available and includes lobster, jumbo shrimps, other shrimps of all sizes, crab, fish of various sizes like sprats (small fish), seer, modha, mullet, snapper etc. The members of staff at the Seafood Market are always there to advise you on the best preparation for the different varieties of seafood. For those who don’t feel like walking up to the Market, the menu features some combo seafood platters ranging in price from USD 15 to USD 50. They have a well stocked bar with quite a selection of wines. The choice of desserts, whilst not wide, is great.

The restaurant is also open during the day (from 8 am to 6 pm), when a limited selection of dishes are available for around USD 10 per dish. In addition to seafood, other dishes are also available at this time. At daytime the restaurant caters mainly to beach goers who can walk in anytime for a bite. There are lunch time specials available during the weekend and holidays. These holiday specials include a main dish and open salad bar for around USD10 per person. It is ideal for families who want to spend the day at the beach.

The best part is the surroundings of the Seafood Cove. It seats 130, with most seats located right on the beach. On most days the sound of the waves lapping on the beach and the sounds of the sea has a real soothing effect on everyone. However, every once in a while the hotel has other functions on the nearby beach which really ruins the atmosphere, usually due to loud music. We are assured that this happens very infrequently.

We found the service a bit lacking in courtesy and attentiveness.  

The hotel has ample parking. However, during weekends, the hotel usually has many functions that could make finding convenient parking a bit tricky.

All in all, the Seafood Cove is a great place to enjoy the sounds of the sea whilst having really good meal.


 
 

Location: 25,Galle Face Centre Road, Colombo 3
Tel: 94 (0)11 2446622
Hours: 7 pm to11.30 pm
Cuisine: Chinese 
Price: Moderate


Overall: 4  Food Quality: 4  Service: 4.5  Ambience: 4.5 

The Golden Dragon Restaurant is located in the plush Taj Samudra Hotel in the heart of Colombo. The only negative is that the hotel is in the midst of a high security zone and hence getting to and from the restaurant can be a bit time consuming because of the many security checks along the way. Once you get there, the great ambience of the place tends to make you feel relaxed and at home. This is helped by the excellent service rendered by superbly trained and very friendly staff. The interior decor is very tastefully done and gives a real Chinese feel to the place. The Golden Dragon can seat 110 diners and has a private dining room that can seat accommodate 12, if one is looking for added privacy. Although the restaurant is closed during lunch time, the same food can be ordered from the hotel’s Coffee Shop at lunch time at the same prices. 

The food is out of this world. There is a very wide choice on the menu. When trying to decide what to eat, getting advice from the knowledgeable staff is recommended unless you know about the various dishes from previous visits. Some of the favourites are; Peking Duck with Pancakes (quite expensive), Golden Fried Crispy Prawn, Crunchy Baby Corn and Mushroom with Pepper,  Shark Fin Soup with Crabmeat, Lobster with Hot Garlic Sauce, Singapore Chilli Crab and Crispy Whole Grouper. For the thirsty, the bar is very well stocked with all kinds of beers, cocktails and other drinks. The wine list is very extensive with a bottle costing upwards of USD 20. 

The Golden Dragon is highly recommended for anyone looking to eat great Chinese food in very good surroundings.


 
 

Location: 34, Queens Road, Colombo 3
Tel: .94 (0)11 2501384
Hours: 11 am to 11 pm
Cuisine: Casual Dining, Pub, Fusion 
Price: Moderate


Overall: 4  Food Quality: 4  Service: 3.5  Ambience: 4 

The Cricket Club is one of the most popular pubs/restaurants in this cricket-crazy country. The theme of the entire place is the gentlemen’s game called “cricket”. Autographed cricketing memorabilia adorn the walls and there are TVs in all areas showing live and recorded cricket matches. For cricketing enthusiasts the memorabilia on display include Shane Warne’s hatrick ball, Arjuna Ranatunge’s sweater, Sir Donald Bradman’s blazer, bats used by Alan Border, Ian Botham and Graham Gooch, balls used by Dennis Lillee, Kapil Dev and Curtly Ambrose and famous umpire Dicky Bird’s hat, to name a few. Sri Lanka’s cricketers are often seen dining at the Cricket Club, and whenever there is a visiting team in the country, members of the tour party usually drop in at the Club whenever they are in Colombo. 

The restaurant, located very centrally in the city, is a converted house which is very spacious and can easily handle more than 100 dining guests. There are tables set out in the garden too. The pub, named Bradman’s Bar, can easily handle more than 75 people and is always busy. The service becomes a bit slow when the place is very busy. However, the staff-members are very friendly and attentive, and generally the service they provide is good. 

The choice of food is very extensive with separate menus for soups, salads, pastas, wraps (only available between 11 am and 5 pm), burgers, pies, vegetarian dishes, grills, seafood and chicken. They do not serve pork. Although the restaurant is not halal certified, the food they serve is halal-based. If your budget allows it do try the daily specials which appear on the blackboard - they are generally delicious. They also have a delightful collection of juices, smoothies, sundaes, ice creams and desserts. The choice for the thirsty is very wide with a good collection of beers, cocktails and other liquor-based drinks on offer. The wine collection is limited and a bottle of wine will cost upwards of USD 30. 

Most of items on the menu are named after famous cricketers. Nasser’s Napolitana, Pollock’s Parmagiana, Sobers Stir Fry, Jayasuriya’s Triple Century, Sachin’s Sausages and Mash, Donald’s Deluxe Burger, De Silva’s Colombo Burger, Boycott’s Beef Stroganoff, Marvan’s Magic Mousse and Mahela’s Matriciana are some of the delicious dishes available. 

The Cricket Club is a fun place and is well worth a visit.


 
 

Location: 150, Sri Jayawardenapura Mawatha, Rajagiriya
Tel: .94 (0)11 2883311
Hours: 12 noon to 3 pm and 7 pm to 11 pm
Cuisine: Singaporean 
Price: Inexpensive

Overall: 3  Food Quality: 4  Service: 3  Ambience: 3  

The Prima Taste Restaurant is a franchised operation with headquarters in Singapore. They operate restaurants in 10 countries at present, most of which are located in Asia. They serve Singaporean cuisine exclusively. The Sri Lankan operation is conveniently located with ample parking on the main road leading to the Parliament complex about 10 minutes from the City of Colombo.  

The restaurant is very spacious and can accommodate about 115 people. The service is good and the food is superb. Two of their chefs have been trained in Singapore. All the sauces used are supplied by their principles in Singapore. Laksa with Chicken or Prawns, Singapore Chilli Crab, Black Pepper Crab and Seafood Char Kway Teow are among the favourites of patrons. The menu is very extensive and features all meats, vegetarian selections, a variety of noodles and rice-based dishes, wok fried preparations and separate soup and appetizer menus.   

Prima Taste serves wine and beer and allows patrons to bring in their own hard liquor at no extra cost. The selection of wines is not that great with a bottle costing around USD 20 and above.  

This restaurant is definitely worth a visit especially for those who are looking for a slightly different tasting experience from the numerous Chinese restaurants in Colombo.


 

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    Eating Out

    We love our food, we love to cook and we eat out a lot. We have travelled a great deal (at last count more than 50 countries) and we always indulge in eating out very frequently when we are on the road.  
      

    This page is our (my wife and myself) effort to give you the benefit of our opinion of as many Eating Out locations in Sri Lanka as possible. We have eaten at least 2 times in each of the restaraunts reviewed.
      
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