I’ve been living in Dehiwala for the past several weeks, previously living just a stone’s throw further from Mount Lavinia in Nugegoda and Pepiliyana for about 2 years. I quite like living in the suburbs of the city as it’s less full on than right in the centre.
When Ranjit isn’t cooking a mouthwatering multitude of Sri Lankan dishes at home and we overcome the temptation of ordering Uber Eats, Mount Lavinia is our go to spot for a casual lunch or dinner as it’s just 15 minutes away.
In all honesty, Mount Lavinia has been a little up and down over the years. I tend to avoid the beach after sunset, especially at weekends, as it can at times attract a slightly dodgy crowd. If you do go, choose a safe establishment and stick to it, don’t walk along the beach after dark, especially as a solo female traveller.
That being said, I feel much safer these days than even a year or so ago, especially visiting with my boyfriend. Try to visit in a small group, otherwise go for lunch instead of dinner.
We have 4 favourite restaurants in Mount Lavinia at the moment which we rotate depending on what we fancy, with the occasional day of trying something new. So if you’re planning a trip to the Southern suburbs of Colombo, why not give one (or all!) a try.
FYI All of the recommendations below are from paying visits with no prior knowledge of the staff anticipating our arrival and the food photos are taken on my iPhone instead of professional camera.
Sugar Beach is one of Mount Lavinia’s newcomers, and a much needed breath of fresh air along the beach strip. With a well crafted food menu and a diverse range of alcoholic and non alcoholic drinks, Sugar Beach has no doubt independently raised the bar.
There’s a second chain of Sugar Beach down south in Thalpe as well as Sugar Bistro at Crescat Boulevard and Sugar 41 (great live music on weekends) in the city.
It’s more expensive compared to the rest of the strip but the quality of the food is oh so worth it. The most affordable snack options include hot butter cuttlefish, chickpeas and items from the brunch menu such as dukka (a type of middle eastern spice sprinkled on top) eggs on toast served till 3pm.
Sri Lankan seafood curries including prawn and crab are on offer as well as western favourites with a local twist such as pizza and pasta.
They serve their drinks with bamboo straws instead of plastic. Hallelujah! Any restaurant or hotel that makes a conscious effort to contribute in preserving the beauty of Sri Lanka deserves extra brownie points. They also serve one of the best classic margaritas in Colombo.
Mount Lavinia Hotel
Standing proudly at the tip of Mount Lavinia since 1806, the views from Mount Lavinia Hotel stretch all across coast to Galle Face Green and the construction of the new Port City. While the local buzz isn’t as prominent as the main beach strip, the ambience has an air of luxury without extortionate prices.
They often host Sri Lankan and international lunch/dinner buffets which are great for visitors wishing to taste a handful of dishes in one sitting. As I have quite a small appetite, I tend to opt for the a la carte menu.
While there’s a refreshingly cool AC room, my choice of seating is outside (not poolside as it can quickly elevate into a scene from ‘The Birds’ but with crows!), facing the views of the City with the salty sea breeze.
My highlights from the a la carte include the pumpkin ravioli, roasted tomato soup, fish tacos, local Sri Lankan snack parippu wade with green chilli sambol and chilli cheese toast.
We shared the grilled red snapper with garlic butter sauce, roasted root vegetables and chips (using the leftover sauce on the chips!) yesterday before enjoying the pool for the afternoon which was probably my favourite dish of them all.
Order the lime juice with mint or lion beer to quench your thirst or for a more indulgent meal, order from their wine list.
Request drinks without a straw as they disappointingly still serve plastic straws. They’re advertising their participation in World Earth Day at the moment which is a bit baffling considering how many hundreds of straws they must dispose of in a single day.
Pool access on weekdays is just Rs.1,000 per person or complimentary at weekends with a lunch/dinner buffet which is about Rs.2,500 plus service charge and government taxes which makes it approximately 30% more.
La Rambla Thai Cuisine
Having dined at their flagship restaurant Thai Cuisine Boulevard in Colombo, we decided to head to La Rambla Thai Cuisine in Mount Lavinia for lunch. I often flag hotels & restaurants I would like to visit on Google Maps- this had been flagged for quite a while!
I must be honest, if I hadn’t dined at Thai Cuisine Boulevard before, I wouldn’t be enticed by the entrance of the restaurant. Large photos of unappetising dishes (using on camera flash!) are the first impression, alongside items from the menu clinically written on a whiteboard. A chalkboard would be the way to go.
Don’t let this sway you however, the dining experience is worth it. The quality of Thai food is on point and the food served is worlds apart from the large printed photos outside. We ordered a Tom Yum soup each and a papaya salad to share with a glass of tamarind juice. It was a quick, light lunch but a very pleasant experience.
The staff are professional & attentive and serve the dishes on your plate silver service style.
They don’t serve alcohol and I’m not sure whether they allow you to bring your own bottle. We try to visit on our non drinking days so we aren’t tempted. When I find out I will update this post!
FYI Another plastic straw offender! Request drinks without straws.
Harpo’s is an ever growing local pizza chain in Sri Lanka. Don’t be enticed to visit international chains Dominos or Pizza hut for a pizza fix, the quality at Harpo’s far surpasses.
Their Mount Lavinia restaurant is tucked away under a cool canopy of trees in the vicinity of Colombo Beach Hostel. There’s only outside seating but there are plenty of fans and the canopy is dense enough to block all direct sunlight. It’s quite a beautiful space to be honest.
I ordered a classic margarita pizza and my boyfriend opted for a pepperoni. They arrived piping hot and delicious.
We ordered the pizza pollo (chicken) and pennette con formaggi pasta from the Mount Lavinia branch recently on Uber Eats. The pizza was great as always but the pasta a little bland so we tweaked it to add more flavour.
I recently used an ice cube tray to freeze cubes of extra virgin olive oil with freshly chopped oregano and basil which we melted in a saucepan before adding the pasta.
I hope these recommendations inspire your foodie travels in Mount Lavinia. If you have any additional suggestions or opinions/experiences of your own, do comment below!