Negombo offers a beautiful lagoon, the Ma Oya river, and plenty of westernized hot spots for any tourist. But it also has scrumptious food! The culinary experience in Negombo is not one to miss, so make sure to carve out time for delicious food and fine dining experiences.
Best Food Experiences
1. Seafood on display at Coco Beach
Negombo pays homage to the culinary art of seafood using spices and flavors from around the globe to tantalize your taste buds. Prawns, lobsters and crab — these are the specialty dishes whether you dine in a ‘home-style’ restaurant or the commercial outlets. Start your gastronomic adventure with Coco Beach — where the pub faces the road and the restaurant stretches on to the beach. Here, after sifting through the day’s catch, the seafood is taken to Coco Beach for its evening seafood display on an ice bench; diners pick and weigh their seafood and pair it with their preferred method of preparation and other mains. How cool is it, right? It’s like an exhibition of sea food where the best is showcased for you so that you can choose the right one for a culinary treat. Try their starters such as oyster platters, baked crab and baby clams – yum is the word.
2. Curries at Lords Restaurant
For a creative eating experience, Lords is the best with a hybrid of Western and Eastern flavors. Highly recommended are the Thai and Sri Lankan curries – you just can’t miss their prawns, spinach, coconut crème curry and the chili crab curry. For vegetarians, you have the creamy jackfruit, coconut and arrack curry to gorge on. The chef’s special here is the prawn, coconut and arrack curry – what a combination! What makes the seafood here special is their signature Jumbo Prawns which are hatched by eggs in Negombo and then released into the large lagoon. The company then pays the fishermen to catch the prawns when ready and sell back at the market price – now that’s an interesting transaction!
3. Seafood cheese kottu at Sameeha
We wouldn’t be exaggerating if we say Sameeha rules the region when it comes to Negombo kottus. Their seafood cheese kottus are bomb and come loaded with plenty of pieces of fish, prawns, and cuttlefish. The kottu is intensely heavy and creamy, and the strips of rotti used in it are huge, not the tiny chopped up ribbons of dough that you usually get in the north, south and the east coast. You can also go for their chicken cheese kottu, a whopping platter enough for four, with chunky dory pieces and chicken—moist and creamy to melt in your mouth. And if you still need a reason to head here, we’ll give you one more. This family restaurant is open 24/7 to entertain your cravings.
1. Black Coral Restaurant ($$$$)
Jetwing Beach Hotel, Ethukala, Negombo| +94 31 2 273500 | www.jetwinghotels.com/jetwingbeach/black-coral
Renowned for its exceptional haute cuisine, Black Coral also offers an exceptional selection of wines. Whatever palette you crave, however acquired your taste is, this place will charm you with its luxurious settings and delectable food. Their Go Sri Lankan menu is a must try for anyone who loves rich tasting food.
2. Papou’s Restaurant ($$$$)
295 Lewis Place, Negombo | +94 77 792 9397
Papou’s prides itself on serving the best grilled tuna dish in all of Negombo. A haven on a hot day, this is the perfect eatery to chill with a cold one while you taste exotic seafood dishes that are purely Sri Lankan. The ambiance is bright and comfortable with good hosts and food worth the prices.
3. The Vu Restaurant ($$$)
249/15, Lewis Place (Beach Road), Negombo 11500 | +94 (0)772 667 667 | www.thebeachhotel.com/vu-restaurant
Offering ultimate rooftop dining experience, The Vu literally has the best view in all of Negombo. This is the perfect place for a family dinner or a romantic one too thanks to the late hours—it’s open until midnight. Fresh seafood, grills, Asian fusion, Italian, and international cuisines are their forte. They serve a famed breakfast too. Minimal decor with stylish prints and good ambiance, this place is the epitome of fine dining.
4. Serendib Pub & Seafood Restaurant ($$$)
No 35A, Poruthota Road, Negombo | +94 312 279129 | www.serendibnegombo.com
The Serendib Pub & Restaurant is exactly what its name suggests—a purely Sri Lankan place that serves alcohol and amazing seafood. This restaurant is what a dream vacation meal looks like! Bright walls, friendly staff, and food that keeps you wanting to eat more of it. What more do you need?
Family and Casual Dining
1. T Lounge by Dilmah ($$)
No 112, Poruthota Road, Negombo
Run by one of the most prestigious tea brand in Sri Lanka, the name itself speaks for the quality! Sri Lankan tea and English food is what they offer. The ambiance is extremely comfortable, with a wall showcasing all types of teas imaginable. Take a sip of warm or cold tea in this air-conditioned haven after a hot day strolling through Negombo.
2. Prego ($$)
This bright eatery is literally the best Italian place around the vicinity. Prego offers a variety of pizzas, pastas and delicious dishes for a very standard price. Their seafood platter is a favourite among many and the word is that their servings are huge. Definitely a must visit if you need a break from rice and curry. The ambiance is jolly, the service prompt, and the food is out of this world.
3. Rodeo Pub & Restaurant ($$$)
35A Poruthota Road, Ethukala, Negombo
The Rodeo Pub and Restaurant serves alcohol and has upbeat music playing throughout the day. This is definitely the perfect place to go with your friends for zippy cocktails. Their seafood dishes are to die for, and their lobster is a must try.
4. The Coco Beach ($$$)
155 Poruthota Road, Palangathure, Negombo
Coco Beach is a tastefully decorated place with dimmed lighting, wooden furniture, unique picture frames. The wet bar lets you choose the fish you want to eat, and within the next hour, it’s on your plate! It might seem a like a long wait, but if reviews are anything to go by, it’s worth it.
Budget Friendly Dining
1. Pancake House & Restaurant ($$)
227 Lewis Place, Negombo
This blue-and-white eatery offers a variety of cuisines, authentic Sri Lankan being one of them! They pride themselves in serving the best local food in town, so if you want the real deal for a very low cost, this is the place to eat at. Pastas are a must try here, especially if you accompany it with their famous chilled beers.
2. Bee Beach Family Restaurant ($$)
Palangathure, Kochchikade, Negombo
Looking over the sandy beach and ocean, the Bee Beach is raved about for its amazing local cuisine and sunset views. Busy as a bee at all hours, this is a favourite of both the locals and tourists who venture into Negombo. Their nasi goreng is a must try.
Negombo can hold it’s own in terms of exciting things to do and places to see, but the food is another adventure unto itself. Whether you’re ordering a fresh catch—usually served up within an hour and straight from the sea—or rice and curry, you can rest easy knowing you’ll find something delicious to fill your belly. Enjoy the local restaurants and friendly people. Negombo is an adventure stop in delicious food!