Dining in Galle

Follow your festival events with memorable dining experiences accompanied by engrossing literary conversation. The following is a comprehensive guide to the eclectic dining establishments in and around Galle Fort for your culinary exploration during your visit to the Galle Literary Festival.


The Lit Fest Café

Situated immediately behind the Hall de Galle, this informal al fresco cafe is the meeting point for all festival-goers. Take a table or just lie back on cushions and watch the festival unfold! The café has delectable hoppers, fresh juice, a free tea stall, sandwiches, wraps and much more! Catch your favourite authors at the author signing booth, whilst buskers entertain you and everyone relaxes. 

Jetwing Lighthouse (Festival Hospitality Partner)

Located on the main Galle Road, a few minutes before the Galle Fort, Jetwing Lighthouse is an iconic hotel designed by Sri Lanka’s greatest architect Geoffrey Bawa. The main restaurant, Cardamom Café, is renowned for sumptuous buffet spreads. Open 24hrs a day, it also has a variety of light refreshments including provisions for special dietary requirements, vegetarian/vegan options and kids meals. Other dining options at the hotel are, the Cinnamon Room (dinner only), Anchor Bar, The Coats of Arms Bar, Rock Dining, and Nihal’s – where Happy Hour is 5.30pm – 7.30pm daily.


The Sun House (Festival Gold Partner)

Contemporary gourmet cuisine with the highest quality ingredients, bought fresh from local markets. The dinner menu at The Sun House changes daily: starter, main course and choice of 3 desserts – predominantly seafood cuisine with Thai, Sri Lankan, Australian and Mediterranean influence. Light lunches & snacks are also served. Dick’s Bar serves salads, soups and pies. The Bamboo Bar and Grill specialises in al fresco dining.


The Dining Room, Amangalla (Festival Silver Partner)

Built in 1684, the Dining Room at Amangalla is living heritage. The intimate high-ceilinged dining room has period furniture, linen and antique silverware. The chef scours local markets for dinner, and guests can accompany him before taking a Sri Lankan cooking lesson. Famous for their High Tea, this afternoon ritual is held daily from 3pm – 5.45pm. Calling ahead and making a booking is recommended as the High Tea gets fully-booked. Anyone can stop in to dine, but it’s better to make reservations to avoid disappointment.


The Runcible Spoon, Owl and the Pussycat (Festival Silver Partner)

This small, luxury hotel sits at the water’s edge. Simple, fun and unpretentious, the Owl and the Pussycat has a sense of romance, food and moonlight dancing. A tranquil but social place, each minute detail is lovingly restored and handcrafted. The Runcible Spoon restaurant is set on an elegant dining terrace with superb wines and light, fresh food, including Sri Lankan specialities. Only the freshest local produce is chosen. Guests can enjoy a pre-dinner cocktail or after-dinner drinks in the Edward Lear drawing room.


The Fort Printers (Festival Silver Partner)

Meals at The Fort Printers are served in the Frangipani Courtyard or grand dining room. Lunch may include fresh salads, gourmet burgers, grilled tuna or open-faced sandwiches. Dinner is generally a lavish affair with specialties such as grilled lobster, seared tuna, prawns, slow roasted leg of goat, grilled lamb cutlets or delicious Sri Lankan lobster, prawn or fish curries. Guests are consulted before the chef creates soups, mezzes and mains of grilled seafood, Mediterranean specialties and rice and curry (which include several vegetable dishes plus a fish or meat curry).


Galle Fort Hotel (Festival Bronze Partner)

This restored small luxury hotel in the heart of Galle Fort offers many dining options. Dining at the Gale Fort Hotel is a culinary experience, using the freshest produce to create inspired and inventive dishes. Serving cuisine that has an emphasis on seafood, the hotel’s lobster and jumbo prawns are famous. They have a wide range of the freshest fruit and vegetables. The menu is a wonderful journey that draws inspiration from the exotic spice route Ceylon is famed for.


Fortaleza (Festival Bronze Partner)

The restaurant & bar in the beautiful, tranquil courtyard is the heart and soul of Fortaleza. Head chef Arun uses only the best local ingredients. The food maintains hints of Asian flavour in its western style menu and the dishes can be matched with an elaborate cocktail or a glass of wine from the varied wine list. The restaurant is a quiet oasis for a relaxed breakfast, lunch, ice-cold drink or snack. In the evening, it transforms it into a magical place, perfect for a romantic dinner or a relaxing night out.


Church Street Social, Fort Bazaar Hotel & Spa (Festival Accommodation Partner)

The Fort Bazaar Hotel’s restaurant, the Church Street Social has a quintessential al fresco inner courtyard. The best times to dine are at lunch and dinner for classic dishes such as rice and curry, beef, fish and chips, burgers and a delectable fusion western menu. Some popular favourites are the salt and pepper cuttlefish starter and the barramundi fillet for mains. The beef burger here is recommended as one of the best. The rockstar dessert is a dark chocolate layered meringue with berry coulis.


Tamarind Hill (Festival Accommodation Partner)

The breezy courtyard and green lawn is perfect for a classically themed celebration, a splendidly lavish banquet or a stylish cocktail. A 22-seater dining table sits beneath an antique “Avana”, an artistically designed historical fan. The restaurant serves international dishes. Local fare is moderately spiced and made from fresh produce. Menu includes seafood delicacies and grills. The bar has a carefully selected list of wines, exclusive spirits and classic cocktails. Non-residents need to call and make a reservation to dine.


Taru Villas (Festival Accommodation Partner)

The dining at Taru Villas stands apart. Whether breakfast, lunch or dinner, you are in for a treat. From spicy rice and curry specialties to a diverse world cuisine, the flavours are both classical and modern. The pan seared tuna with avocado, soy, ginger and lime, and the halloumi aubergine burger are some ‘foodie’ favourites. Breakfast ranges from an elaborate Sri Lankan feast to an exemplary continental spread, with offerings to satisfy the health and taste conscious diner. Lunch and dinner are á la carte.


Kahanda Kanda (Festival Accommodation Partner)

At the exclusive boutique hotel Kahanda Kanda, guests can taste a fusion of flavours with Sri Lankan curries and Thai cuisine. Only fruits, vegetables and herbs grown on the estate and fresh local produce are used. Two of three resident chefs have trained in Thailand. Breakfast is local specialities and Western dishes, while is lunch can be three courses or chosen from the snack menu. Calorie-counted menus are available too. The Dining Pavilion is open to non-residents – just call to make a reservation.


KK Collection Cafe (Festival Accommodation Partner)

The KK Collection cafe is a great stop to sip tea/coffee, snack, or have a buffet lunch or dinner. The menu is small but every dish is amazing – especially the Sri Lankan curry with meat and 5 vegetables and the Kottu. The dessert does not disappoint either. Fresh juices too are a delight here. However, no alcohol is served here. It is a hidden gem located in the back of a design shop under comfy cover and worth a visit.


Why House (Festival Accommodation Partner)

You’re sure of a warm welcome at this family-orientated boutique villa hotel. A dedicated head chef oversees a small kitchen team with one of the biggest reputations on the south coast. Whether Sri Lankan, Western or Asian cuisine, the gourmet in-house restaurant will not disappoint. All dishes on the menu are prepared from locally sourced ingredients and served in the breezy open-sided dining pavilion or privately to your room veranda. Non-residents need to call and make a reservation to dine.


Dining Inside Galle Fort:

A Street-by-Street Guide Curated by Friend of the Festival: Yamu

CHURCH CROSS STREET

Chambers

As the name suggests, it was originally the official chambers of an attorney. This tiny but elegant outlet within a colonial building serves delicious Moroccan food and a wonderful Middle Eastern menu at reasonable prices.


CHURCH STREET

The Stairway

Once an attic, this little cafe with an exposed staircase has a charm of its own—a very minimal look, homely feel and a view of Fort rooftops. They do rice & curry, sandwiches, noodle dishes, fish and chips etc. 

Boutique Cafe

A relatively new establishment, the staff is very friendly and happy to tell you the building’s history. They serve a variety of rice dishes including rice & curry, Iranian Rice as well as many superb Western dishes.

Mamas Galle Fort Guest House

Serves a good rice & curry. It is basically a house with random knick knacks everywhere. The restaurant is upstairs with books in the window sill. In sum, it is a pleasant space.

Dairy King

A popular stop for homemade ice cream and milkshakes. Has a range of flavours and very good brownies. They have long list of options for juices, shakes, coffees and teas.


HOSPITAL STREET

Kamu Restaurant

À la carte and buffet style meals are hygienically prepared to meet stringent Halal standards. The menu includes Western and Chinese cuisine with seafood being the speciality. The restaurant can cater to a maximum of 150 people.


OLD DUTCH HOSPITAL BUILDING, HOSPITAL STREET

The Tuna & the Crab

This is celebrated chef Dharshan Munidasa’s sushi, seafood, steak and wine bistro in Galle. It serves baked crab, chilli crab, tekka maki and tuna nigiri. It has a selection of steak, though the restaurant is mainly seafood.

Thai Heritage

The à la carte menu has starters, soups, mains, desserts, beverages and a kids menu. Their Pad Thai is a memorable dish with a strong aroma and rich mix of flavours.

A Minute by Tuk Tuk

A go-to spot in Galle, it overlooks an uninterrupted view of the ocean. Fun and quirky, the menu has a variety of Asian inspired tapas, salads and mains that can be paired with a selection of wines, cocktails and juices.

Sugar Bistro Galle

This stylish and cosmopolitan café has a nice buzz. A great place to sit and enjoy a glass of wine; to revel in the feeling of just being inside Galle Fort. Food favourites are the steak sandwich and Sugar Daddy.

Tap House by RnR

An unique pub with a stunning bar and outdoor entertainment area. The food menu has appetizers, salads, soups, sharable bites, mains, sandwiches, burgers and desserts. Beverages include beer, cocktails, wine, liquor, mocktails, juices, smoothies & shakes, and chasers. 

Cannon Bar & Grill

A bar & grill run by Lucky Tuna. The outside-table gives a lovely ocean view and also looks into the courtyard below. There is inside seating as well. A nice place to hang out in Galle Fort if you go for location!

Tea Breeze

Part of a tea café chain run by 170-year-old tea giant Mackwoods. The interior has handcrafted furniture in a contemporary design. Serves over 30 flavours of tea and food such as chicken pie, Chinese rolls and dessert.

Sri Lankan Hammock Cafe & Pub

True to its name, seating is mainly in hammocks, comfortable though not the reclining type. Good for enjoying a cocktail while sitting in a hammock. Main meals served, but many go just for the drinks – the Amaretto Rose is great.


LEYN BAHN STREET

The Mansion Cafe

This fantastic cafe has an extensive menu to choose from. Situated opposite the Historical Mansion Museum, it is a great place to dine after a day of exploration. They serve local cuisine, pizza, crepes, salads etc. as well as fresh juices.

La Clochette

A French restaurant and bakery. Has freshly made bread, croissants, brioches, lemon and chocolate pies, alongside fresh juices, good espresso and tea. It serves typical French dishes such as Coq au Vin, as well as family food like pasta and pizza. 

Crepe-ology Restaurant

For crêpes, drinks and a romantic rooftop atmosphere! Has salads, wraps, chillers, smoothies and milkshakes. Indulge in a desert crêpe and share a shisha with friends. Has a separate A/C dining area with dining tables, couch and play area for kids.

Serendipity Arts Cafe

This is a trendy spot that serves a fusion menu which incorporates the best of western sandwiches and eastern curries. Great juices and quality coffee is also available. 

Royal Dutch Cafe

The owner is a charming ‘storyteller’. This cosy place serves various teas and coffees, from cinnamon to cardamom to ginger. There is a small menu of curries and good banana pancakes at breakfast. Enjoy the day from the colonnaded porch.

Mamas Galle Fort Roof Café

Offers rice & curry and a great view and location. It is a good spot for a beer or lime soda and an excellent rice & curry.


NEW LANE 1

Antic Guesthouse

The restaurant at Antic serves up a variety of western dishes and even classic favourites such as pizza, and has both buffet and a la carte dining in addition to a separate kids menu.


LIGHTHOUSE STREET

Anura’s Restaurant & Cafe

Best known for its pizzas, it was the first pizza place in Galle. As well, Anura’s serves a range of other dishes, both western and Sri Lankan. Try their prawn curry for your main course and the chocolate pancake for dessert.

  • 9, Light House Street, Galle Fort.
  • Tel: +94 091 224 3354 / +94 77 661 3275
  • Email: anura9@yahoo.com

Fort Rotti Restaurant

The menu is mostly sweet and savoury rotti, pancake and drinks. It is the low-budget place to go to in Galle Fort.

The Heritage Cafe

This café, located within the Galle Fort, is housed in a 400-year-old building, which was previously a bakery called ‘The National Bakery’. They serve breakfast, lunch, dinner and a wide variety of fresh juices and milk shakes.

Barista Coffee

Barista Lavazza is the largest international coffee house franchise chain in Sri Lanka. This outlet serves a variety of Italian coffee, savouries and deserts.


MIDDLE STREET

Elita

The owner-chef brings Continental European flair from over a decade of working at Belgian restaurants. Offers raw tuna carpaccio, whole grilled fish, fresh garlic creamed prawns, substantial tuna steaks, best cuts of local beef, salads and stir-fries. Serves breakfast, lunch and dinner.


PARAWA STREET

Lucky Fort Restaurant

They serve a Sri Lankan rice with 10 curries for a reasonable price. One portion can be easily shared among two people.

Bubblelement

Nine bubble drink flavours as well as gummy worms/sour tape, Oreos and Barbican as nibbles. All ingredients are from Bahrain. Five tea flavours, three milk flavours, coconut water, and a choice of bubbles between the chewy tapioca and juice filled ‘fruit pearls’.


PEDLAR STREET

The Original Rocket Burger

Serves beef, chicken, fish and veggie burgers, and also has special starters, mains, drinks and ice cream. Has a separate kids menu and gluten-free buns. Ingredients are sourced from specialty vendors. It is the first American Burger restaurant in Galle.

Cafe Punto

A small family run cafe. Has only five tables that open to face the outside, making it an attractive spot to take in the Fort’s atmospheric street life. Sri Lankan meals are reasonable and European dishes are served here too.

Il Gelato

Bite into a crispy wafer cone, dive into a sinful sundae or just sit back and relish every spoon of a creamy creation in a cup.

Pedlar’s Inn Gelato

Situated right opposite Pedlars Inn Cafe, it is the first traditional Italian Gelato shop in Galle. Its freshness and authenticity meets international standards. Favourites to try are Amarena Black Cherry, Chocolate Macadamia or spaghetti ice cream for the kids.

Poonie’s Kitchen

A hidden oasis: it is located in a courtyard with frangipani leaves hanging overhead. Small, charming and quiet, its reputation has spread through word of mouth. Menu includes sandwiches, quiches and ‘salad thali’. Also has tea and desserts.

The Pedlars Inn Cafe

A popular stop in Galle Fort. The food is decent and the ambience makes it great to hangout with friends. The front verandah of the cafe is arranged French bistro style, with cafe tables and a sunshade canopy. Go for the rice or prawns or brownies.

Raux Brothers Cafe

Set in a charming atmosphere that blends with the colonial architecture and the breathtaking ocean, the cafe is a great place for dining at any time of day. You can also head over to the courtyard for a romantic dinner.

  • 96, Pedlar Street, Galle Fort.
  • Tel: +94 91 223 5201

Spoon’s

Features Sri Lankan, Japanese and Indian cuisine. Favourites include rice & curry, baked and sweet goods, and fast food such as burgers. Serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. Also has free wifi and delivery/take away.


RAMPART STREET

Cafe Hula Hula

This is a little shop that serves a random assortment of short-eats and meals. They have got some of the best éclairs in the Fort and really good grilled prawns.

Rampart Hotel

Serves rice & curry, seafood dishes and snacks too. There is a wide selection in the menu, as well as a buffet spread. Has magnificent sea views over the Fort’s ramparts. Good for people watching and taking in the sunset with a drink.

Indian Hut

Set in a great location close to the lighthouse, the restaurant is upstairs and has a great view of the ramparts. Serves Indian and Chinese food and drinks such as milk shake, lassi and fresh juice. Prices are reasonable. 


SRI SUDHARMALAYA ROAD

Fort Dew Restaurant

The restaurant of this family-owned guesthouse has been open since 2006. With breathtaking views, the great cuisine and homely atmosphere make it a very enjoyable dining experience. Relaxed dining and drinking. Open daily: 8am-11pm.


GALLE TOWN AND HINTERLAND

Closenberg Hotel

This cliff citadel’s Fernery Restaurant has old and new world specialties, fresh seafood and southern style Sri Lankan curries. Their Sushi Bar serves authentic Japanese cuisine. The Cocktail Bar has an international selection of liquor, fine wines and signature cocktails.


HIKKADUWA

The main beach strip in Hikkaduwa has a selection of street side cafes, snack bars and roti houses, including the No.1 Roti house on the South Coast which sells over 60 kinds of roti (doughy pancake). Food options range from seafood, local food, vegetarian and vegan to Italian cuisine and good coffee.

The No. 1 Roti Shop

Opening up to the road, under the shade of a tree, is the best ‘Roti restaurant’, 2km from town. Boasting original recipes and an exotic mix of ingredients, it is famed for its Kottu Roti and chocolate banana Roti. Open only at night. 

Aditya

A contemporary boutique hotel with excellent food and service located on a secluded palm-fringed beach, midway between Galle and Hikkaduwa. A relaxed restaurant serves international cuisine.

Drunken Monkey

A popular restaurant and bar in the Hikkaduwa area. The food is average but it is a great place to hang out by the beach. It is a good place to have cocktails, tasty salads and seafood on the beach.

Nordic House Cafe & Burgerhouse

Has some of the tastiest burgers in Hikkaduwa. They are not cheap, but you are sure to get top quality delicious sirloin beef burgers. Toppings include grille cheese bacon, blue cheese, onion rings etc.

Top Secret Beach Restaurant

A small, yet awesome beach hangout. Great ambience and quite good food, without being too pricey. Their portions are decent. Order prawn rice, tomato and cheese spaghetti or rice with devilled fish. Also get the Top Secret butterscotch ice cream.

Spaghetti & Co

Serves mainly Italian wood-fired pizzas and pastas such as prawn and pesto gnocchi. Portion sizes are large. Has a spacious veranda, airy and well lit.


UNAWATUNA

Lucky Tuna

They have a good lunch menu and it is a great place for evening Barbecues. Specialises in seafood cuisine and serves a variety of grilled and BBQ fresh fish, calamari and jumbo prawns. A great place by the beach, with sun beds to enjoy a drink in.

  • Warrior Udaya Lenard Amarasinghe Road, Unawatuna.
  • Tel: +94 91 225 0288 / +94 077 756 6978
  • Email: luckytuna@hotmail.com

Bedspace

The Bedspace Kitchen is in the Bedspace guesthouse garden. Here, they offer evening dinner parties, kitchen meals and a variety of juices, smoothies and coffees. Breakfast is only for overnight guests. The Kitchen is open to all from noon – 4.30pm for lunch and 6pm-10pm for dinner.

Le Cafe Francais Bakery & Boutique

A delightful French Cafe, bakery & boutique set in the beautiful gardens of Kahuna Club Hotel. They offer French patisseries, cakes, homemade breads and great Italian coffee. They serve really good croissants, tarts and cakes. Everything is homemade.

Tartaruga Restaurant

Located right in the centre of Unawatuna Bay, the restaurant has a large beach area to watch the sunrise and sunset from. The resort holds barbecues and guests can enjoy meals at the restaurant or drinks at the bar.

The Roti Shop

A classic down south stop with one-of-a-kind roti. Painted a cheery orange and blue, the shop front’s beachside sign proclaims: ‘A roti a day keeps the doctor away’. Try the mushroom/cheese/olive/garlic combo or the chocolate banana roti.

Kingfisher

This hotel and restaurant is beautifully located on the crescent-shaped beach of Unawatuna. The place has evolved from a beach shack with amazing food to a boutique hotel and top party-spot.

Wijaya Beach

This unassuming restaurant has superb seafood, crisp pizza and a great view. The beachfront restaurant and bar serves an assorted mix of Asian and European food.


THE TALPE RIVIERA

Talpe Beach Restaurant

Great food, cool drinks, friendly service and a good location. Beautiful sunsets and ambiance. Serves high end cusine such as tartare of fresh tuna with avocado, grilled tiger prawns, grilled calamari, devilled pork, Australian Tenderloin etc.

Why Beach Villa

Also known as WB Villa, the restaurant offers a selection of coffees and juices, a scrumptious lunch range and local seafood. A daily-changing menu includes organic salads, homemade pastas, prosciutto, salami, cheese and olive oil from Italy. Evening menus can be pre-arranged.

Cantaloupe Aqua

This private hotel and beach club is contemporary in its design. The Coconut Restaurant offers Western, Asian fusion and Thai cuisine, including ocean fresh fish and seafood. The bar serves cocktails and has an upstairs deck for romantic alfresco private dining.


AHANGAMA

Cafe Ceylon

This boutique villa seafood restaurant is in a class all its own. Celebrated for top quality fish, lobster, oyster and other seafood, it is led by German Dimaano, a four-star rated chef from Melbourne. Features Chef German’s unique beyond curry concept!


MIRISSA

Mirissa Eye Beach Restaurant

It is one of the better beach-side restaurants in Mirissa. They make very tasty seafood and super banana and chocolate milkshake. Works well as a beach-side bar, the TV is switched on to sports and flags hang from the ceiling.

Zephyr Restaurant & Bar

This beach venue is very clean. At night it is transformed, with fairy lights and candles everywhere, into a club-ey vibe with thumping music. The menu has interesting mains such as ‘Negombo style crab curry’ and ‘chili jaggery beef tenderloin’.


WELIGAMA

Cape Weligama

A gourmet paradise. At Cape Weligama the day’s freshest catch is selected by you at a Pola (local market) and cooked to order at the Ocean Terrace restaurant. The Ocean Grill steak house & grill is dramatically poised at the cliff edge.