Known for its stunning scenery, the Temple of the Tooth Relic and a large cluster of verdant tea plantations, Kandy has long been a cultural hotspot in the heart of Sri Lanka. Fine-dining is another string to Kandy’s bow, with the city offering an excellent selection of elegant restaurants embracing the Sri Lankan penchant for coconut and seafood. From simple home-cooking with a twist to all-out upscale dining, we’re revisiting Kandy’s best restaurants.
The Honeypot Restaurant is a simple, family-owned establishment known for its fantastic river views. The menu features a mixture of traditional Sri Lankan, South Asian and Halal dishes, as well as a number of Western favourites perfect for those craving the flavour of home. Go for the chicken biryani, served with dhal maharainie, pineapple, boiled egg mint raita and a poppadum. The interior is elegant and charming with exposed brick walls, wooden tables and large windows that illuminate the interior with plenty of natural light. The balcony offers gorgeous views of the river below, making it a great spot to linger with a Lion Lager for a post-dinner treat.
Honeypot Restaurant, 33, Deveni Rajasinghe Mawatha | (War Cemetery Road), Kandy, Sri Lanka, +94 81 2 384082
The Empire Café
Housed inside the Olde Empire Hotel, the Empire Café is a quirky, relaxed establishment with an affordable menu. Popular with tourists and locals alike due to its close proximity to the Temple of Tooth, the café’s interior features eclectic artwork and a bright pink-and-teal colour scheme. The menu offers a mix of Sri Lankan curries, pastas, salads, sandwiches and soups, as well as a variety of snacks and desserts. Go for the Empire Classic chicken rice and curry for lunch or the Sri Lankan-style eggs at breakfast. Be sure to save room for the Regal Cake for dessert, a rich chocolate cake covered in chocolate sauce.
The Empire Café, 21 Temple St, Kandy, Sri Lanka, +94 81 2 239870
The Kandy House is a charming boutique hotel and restaurant nestled in a restored 18th century manor house, once belonging to an aristocratic Sri Lankan family. Located on a tree-covered hillside overlooking rice paddy fields, the interior is decorated with antiques, old photographs and colourful silks. The restaurant’s menu is Sri Lankan fusion with daily set menus based on what’s available at the local market. A typical menu might include chermoula-crusted mullet with tomato and avocado salsa or carrot and cumin soup with slow-roasted tomatoes. The restaurant also regularly serves special dinners focused on Sri Lankan curries – perfect for those wishing to experience a truly authentic taste of Sri Lanka.
Kandy House, Amunugama, Gunnepana, Kandy, Sri Lanka, +94 81 492 1394
Slightly Chilled Lounge
Kandy isn’t particularly famed for its nightlife, making Slightly Chilled Lounge and Bar an appropriately named and particularly welcome addition to Kandy’s dining scene. A popular expat hangout, the restaurant is known for its daily Happy Hour, live music and great selection of beers and cocktails. Seating is offered in a partially-covered lounge or on the outdoor terrace, with fantastic views over the city. At dusk, diners on the terrace can often spot flying fruit bats and birds. The menu is a mix of Chinese cuisine with a few Western favourites, such as burgers, sandwiches, salads, and a classic ‘steak n chips’.
Slightly Chilled 29a, Anagarika, Dharmapala, Mawatha, Kandy, Sri Lanka, +94 0812238267
Mlesna Tea Centre
The Mlesna Tea Centre is one of the few remaining places where tea is prepared in the traditional Sri Lankan way. The intimate tea room is decorated with dark woods and leather, an inviting setting that encourages customers to linger over their brew. The menu offers delicious cakes and other light snacks to enjoy alongside the tea, making it an ideal spot to take a break during a hectic day of sightseeing. The centre also sells a variety of packaged teas and related products, so customers have the option of bringing their favourite brew home with them.
Dalada Veediya street, Kandy, Sri Lanka
Soya Centre serves up a variety of creative dishes made entirely from soya beans. The restaurant offers roti rolls, sandwiches filled with soy sausage and soy-based drinks as well as traditional veggie buns and sweets. The soy soft-serve ice-cream cones are easily the restaurant’s most popular item, available in flavours such as vanilla, strawberry and chocolate. Set in the YMCA, seating is outside on an overhanging porch, where guests can gaze over at the street scene below. The restaurant often gets busy but service is always fast and friendly.
Soya Centre, 116 A, Kotugodella Veediya, Kandy, Sri Lanka, +94 81 2 202016
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