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Located in the hills of peaceful and serene Kandy city, the kitschy and quirky boutique hotel Helga’s Folly is unique. The deeply eccentric interior design is a combination of 1940s Hollywood glam and the visual aesthetics of 19th-century horror stories, creating a one of a kind atmosphere. It’s full of huge candelabras, antique artifacts and original art pieces, including giant wax sculptures and impressive mural paintings. The hotel has been a favorite holiday spot for many celebrities since the Second World War, ranging from the leader of Indian nationalism, Mahatma Gandhi, to famous actor couple Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh. The food is equally good, making Helga’s Folly a perfect destination for a relaxed lunch or afternoon drinks.
Mahamaya Mawatha, Kandy, Sri Lanka, +94 814 474 314
The palatial villa of the last Chief Minister of the Kandyan kingdom, Kandy House has been converted into a lovely designer boutique hotel and restaurant. The 18th-century manor house, which was the first building apart from royal residences to be built with roof tiles, charms its guests with a lush green garden and a beautiful view over the rice paddy fields. The restaurant features a delightful mixture of European fusion and traditional Sri Lankan cuisine, including such specialties as poached fillet of para fish with jasmine rice or beef massaman curry with broccoli and basmati rice. Kandy House restaurant is a perfect spot for a romantic dinner, often served in the lovely old verandah surrounded by flickering lanterns.
Amunugama, Gunnepana, Kandy, Sri Lanka, +94 81 492 1394
Situated in the YMCA building, strictly vegetarian restaurant Soya Centre offers a great variety of traditional Sri Lankan street food, all of which is made from soya beans. Expect tasty vegetable buns, roti rolls and sandwiches with soy sausage. The desserts, particularly the soy-based soft ice cream cones, are delicious. The open-air eatery also sells a range of different soy products, including tofu and Indonesian tempeh. As for drinks, try something a little different with the chocolate and orange flavored soy drinks. Soya Centre is a great lunch option for vegetarians and vegans.
116 A, Kotugodella Veediya, Kandy, Sri Lanka, +94 81 2 202016
Located at Kadugannawa on the way to Kandy city, the laid back and simple Rockview restaurant stays true to its name and offers breath-taking views over the green hills, rain forests and tea plantations. Whilst admiring the view from the breezy open-air deck and occasionally spotting different trains passing throughout the hills, guests are welcomed to try the best of traditional Sri Lankan cuisine. Some of the specialties include raw banana and jackfruit subzi with red rice, Devil chicken curry with fried rice and string hoppers, also known as idiyapappams or cooked rice flour, pressed into noodle form. The hearty meal is then concluded with a cup of strong Ceylon tea, served in lovely earthen pots.
Pahala Kadugannawa, Kadugannawa, Kandy, Sri Lanka, +94 81 257 1611
A part of Mlesna Tea shop, Mlesna Tea Center is a cozy and quiet tearoom located in the heart of the Kandy city. The tearoom offers a small range of cakes, snacks and quick bites, yet the main focus remains on the tea. An enterprise of a local Sri Lankan tea manufacturer and exporter, the Mlesna Tea Center is one of the rare places where tea continues to be prepared in the authentic Sri Lankan way. The interior design of dark wood, glass and leather creates a soothing and relaxing atmosphere, perfect for a moment of rest and people watching amid busy day.
Slightly Chilled Lounge and Bar, also known as Bamboo Garden restaurant, offers some of the best views over the city. The seating in the restaurant is divided between a partially covered inside lounge and an outdoor terrace, which becomes particularly busy during dusk hours, when fruit bats and various birds can be observed flying back to their nests. The restaurant specializes in Chinese cuisine, yet offers some of more popular western dishes such as pasta, burgers, sandwiches and even fajitas. The laid back atmosphere changes almost instantly in the evenings when Slightly Chilled becomes a trendy and hip social gathering spot, with live music and tasty cocktails on the offer.
Anagarika, Dharmapala, Mawatha, Kandy, Sri Lanka, +94 0812238267
Although Sri Lanka is considered a birthplace of the tea industry, sometimes a cup of good coffee is all that’s needed. Natural Coffee is a perfect place to catch a breath and unwind after exploring Kandy city and its temples. The first cafe in Kandy to serve fair trade coffee grown entirely in Sri Lanka, coffeehouse Natural Coffee is conveniently located in the vicinity of the Temple of the Tooth. The cafe also offers a small range of sandwiches and toasts, as well as delicious cakes and pastries, including Belgian waffles and ice cream. On Sundays, female travelers get 50% discount.
Temple Street, Kandy 20000, Sri Lanka, + 94 8122 05734