THE BEST Restaurants in Sri Lanka
Dining at the Best Restaurant in Sri Lanka: Upali’s by Nawaloka

On the last day of my hasty one-week trip to Sri Lanka, I could not pass on the opportunity to dine at Upali's by Nawaloka - a posh dining spot hailed as the best Sri Lankan restaurant located in the heart of Colombo.

*Scroll down for Chef's recommendations.

Top Foods & Dishes You MUST try in Sri Lanka
Upali’s by Nawaloka is voted as the best Sri Lankan restaurant.
Upali's by Nawaloka Colombo
 Upali’s by Nawaloka is the winner of Tripadvisor's Certificate of Excellence from 2015 to 2019.
 BEST Restaurants in Colombo
The restaurant in Colombo is run by David Cruse and Upali Dharmadasa - both whom are high profile individuals in the Sri Lankan business community as well as veterans in the hospitality industry.

Upali’s takes the effort to stand out. From the way the restaurant is elegantly decorated to the little special touches to its recipes, it is dedicated to bringing its patrons the best of Ceylonese hospitality and cuisine.

For starters, the spices used in Upali’s are all sourced locally from Sri Lanka’s northern city of Jaffna as well as from the southernmost city of Matara to ensure diversity yet effectively preserving authenticity. Its elaborate menu showcases its wide array of signature and well-flavored dishes that are unique to the country only.

Eating in Sri Lanka
Spices used at Upali's are sourced from Jaffna and Matara.

Located in the heart of the capital Colombo, Upali’s faces the serene ViharamahaDevi Park and is adjacent to popular attractions such as the city’s Town Hall and the Nelum Pokuna Theatre. It was rather quiet when I visited the restaurant at 4pm, but as soon as the clock struck 6, the crowd started pouring in and soon the restaurant was filled with buzz.

Best restaurant in Colombo
Tastefully designed interior at Upali's by Nawaloka.
Upali's by Nawaloka price menu
 Upali’s by Nawaloka is voted as the best restaurant in Sri Lanka.

Must-try Popular Dishes at Upali’s by Nawaloka

All the dishes listed below are recommended by the Chef at Upali's, a few being its signature dishes while the others being the crowd's favorites. Remember to add them to your list when dining at Upali's at Nawaloka the next time you're visiting Colombo!

The Best Restaurants in Sri Lanka
Organic Homemade Ginger Beer Rs.560
Concocted using ginger and aromatic lemongrass, this homemade drink is sweet and spicy but not overly gassy. The taste is perfect as a palate cleanser between dishes.

 What to Eat in Sri Lanka
Mutton Varuwal Rs.850 
Jaffna-style mutton pieces sauteed with spices and served on a sizzling plate

 the best Colombo restaurants
Thora Maalu Stew Rs. 850
Creamy and rather bland in my opinion, this is a dish of seer fish cooked in mustard cream, onions, garlic, ginger, curry leaves, green chilli, coconut milk, potatoes, capsicum, tomatoes and spices.

Colombo's best Sri Lankan eateries
Hathmaluwa Rs. 650
A traditional seven-in-one vegetable curry recipe that dates back 2000 years. Full of flavors from the spices and great for health!

What to Eat in Sri Lanka
Roti Parata Rs. 395
Two paratas served with chicken gravy

Upali's by Nawaloka menu price
Themparadu Bath Rs. 325
Steamed white rice with onions and curry leaves tempered in ghee

is sri lanka food spicy
Sandhya's Wiskothu Pudima Rs.390
A recipe by Upali's wife: Baked biscuit pudding layered with chocolate sauce and topped with vanilla ice cream

popular local dishes in sri lanka
Watalappan Rs.300
A pudding made using jaggery and coconut milk, topped with nuts

We were looking to try traditional, authentic Sri Lankan food and we found it at Upali's by Nawaloka. As the restaurant caters to mostly expats and curious travelers, the chefs are careful when adjusting the hotness and spiciness of the dishes. If you are one who loves your food hot, remember to tell the waiter your preference to avoid being disappointed!

Upali’s by Nawaloka
65 Dr C.W.W Kannangara Mawatha, Colombo 00700, Sri Lanka
+94 112 695 812
Opening hours: 11.30am-10.30pm

traditional sri lanka food
Dining at the Best Restaurant in Sri Lanka: Upali’s by Nawaloka

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