I’ve had the privilege of visiting Galle not once, but twice, and I must confess, it holds a special place in my heart as my favorite destination in Sri Lanka. Credit for this delightful discovery goes to my cousin, who wisely recommended staying within the enchanting Galle Fort.
If you ever find yourself within the centuries-old walls of Galle Fort, Sri Lanka, consider yourself in for an absolute treat! This historical UNESCO World Heritage Site doesn’t just boast rich cultural and architectural wonders; it’s also a haven for food enthusiasts. Galle Fort’s culinary landscape is as diverse as it is delightful, offering a wide range of experiences from charming cafes to upscale dining establishments. It’s a paradise for those seeking to satisfy their gastronomic cravings.
Let me take you down the lane and tell you about some of my favorite eateries inside Galle Fort:
1. 1710 by The Merchant
Located on Pedler’s Street, 1710 is a charming little spot that offers a delightful dining experience. Step into the cozy interior and be transported to a bygone era with its vintage decor and colonial charm. The cafe boasts a menu that showcases a fusion of Sri Lankan and European flavors, creating a unique culinary experience.
Indulge in their signature dishes such as the Sri Lankan breakfast platter, which includes traditional favorites like string hoppers, dhal curry, and coconut sambal. For lunch, try their mouthwatering beef curry with fragrant rice or their delectable seafood pasta. End your meal with a slice of their homemade cake or a cup of aromatic Ceylon tea. They also have live music at night on some days, so you better go early and grab a table for yourself!
- Sri Lankan Thali
- Fresh catches of the day (grilled/fried)
- Coconut & Buffalo Yoghurt (dessert)
Price for 2: Approximately $15-$20 per meal
2. Pedler’s Inn
Situated in a beautifully restored Dutch building, Pedler’s Inn is a must-visit for food enthusiasts. This iconic restaurant offers a mix of Sri Lankan classics and international favorites, ensuring there’s something for everyone. Step inside and be greeted by a warm and inviting ambiance, complemented by the friendly staff.
Start your culinary journey with their famous seafood platter, featuring an array of fresh catches from the ocean. If you’re in the mood for something more indulgent, their rich and flavorful beef curry won’t disappoint. Pair your meal with a refreshing cocktail or a glass of fine wine from their extensive selection.
- Seafood platter
- Beef curry
- Signature cocktails
Price for 2: Approximately $25-$30 per meal
3. Dumpling Cafe
Craving some Asian flavors? Look no further than Dumpling Cafe, a hidden gem nestled in the heart of Galle Fort. This cozy eatery specializes in authentic dumplings, prepared with love and expertise. Step inside and be greeted by the aroma of freshly steamed dumplings and the bustling atmosphere of locals and tourists alike.
Indulge in their wide variety of dumplings, ranging from classic pork and cabbage to innovative combinations like prawn and lemongrass. Each dumpling is carefully handcrafted, ensuring a burst of flavor with every bite. Don’t forget to try their homemade chili oil for an extra kick of spice. Also, this is one of the most ‘gram-worthy cafes in Galle!
- Pork and cabbage dumplings
- Prawn and lemongrass dumplings
- Homemade chili oil
Price for 2: Approximately $10-$15 per meal
4. Aqua Forte
For a taste of authentic Italian cuisine, head to Aqua Forte. This charming restaurant combines the flavors of Italy with the tropical vibes of Sri Lanka, creating a truly unique dining experience. Started by 4 friends back in 2019, this happens to be one of the most popular Italian restaurants in Galle. Every dish on their menu is accompanied by a choice of wine, and trust me, it’s hard to ignore!
Start your culinary journey with their antipasti platter, featuring a selection of Italian cured meats, cheeses, and marinated vegetables. Indulge in their homemade pasta dishes, such as the creamy carbonara or the rich and flavorful seafood linguine. They have a couple of amazing vegetarian dishes, including eggplant lasagna and truffle mushroom spaghetti. End your meal on a sweet note with their tiramisu or panna cotta.
- Antipasti platter
- Carbonara pasta
- Seafood linguine
Price for 2: Approximately $30-$40 per meal
5. A Minute by Tuk Tuk
Perched on the second floor of the Old Dutch Hospital, A Minute by Tuk Tuk offers breathtaking views of the ocean while serving up delicious fusion cuisine. The restaurant’s casual and laid-back atmosphere makes it the perfect spot for a relaxed dining experience. Choose to sit on the terrace and enjoy the gentle breeze or opt for the cozy bar inside.
Indulge in their Sri Lankan specialties, such as the flavorful prawn curry served with local bread or the aromatic chicken curry with traditional godamba roti. If you’re in the mood for something international, their burgers and plates of pasta won’t disappoint you either! Try out the tuna burger, using locally sourced tuna, or the traditional Sri Lankan lamprais (a Dutch-influenced dish) with accompanying condiments. Don’t forget to sip on one of their refreshing cocktails while enjoying the ocean views.
- Prawn curry with local bread
- Chicken curry with godamba roti
- Signature cocktails
Price for 2: Approximately $20-$25 per meal
6. The Tuna and The Crab
If you’re a seafood lover, The Tuna and The Crab is the place to be! Created by renowned Sri Lankan chef Dharshan Munidasa, this restaurant combines the best of Sri Lankan seafood with Japanese culinary traditions. Located within the historic Galle Fort, the restaurant offers a chic dining experience, that’ll take your tastebuds on a roll!
Indulge in their olive oil and soy sauce sashimi, a dish that showcases the freshness and quality of the seafood. For a truly indulgent experience, try their black pepper crab served with bread for dipping. The flavors and textures will leave you craving for more!
- Olive oil and soy sauce sashimi
- Black pepper crab
- Prawn croquettes
Price for 2: Approximately $40-$50 per meal
7. Isle of Gelato
Satisfy your sweet tooth at the Isle of Gelato, a gelateria that offers a delightful range of flavors made with locally sourced ingredients. Located in the heart of Galle Fort, this charming gelato shop is a perfect spot to cool down on a hot day or treat yourself to a sweet indulgence.
Indulge in their creamy and flavorful gelato, with options like jackfruit, roasted coconut, wood apple, and mango. Each scoop is made with traditional Italian techniques and a touch of Sri Lankan flair. Whether you prefer a classic flavor or an adventurous combination, Isle of Gelato has something for everyone! My favorite was the caramel hazelnut chocolate ice cream, and also the nutty professor!
- Roasted coconut gelato
- Caramel hazelnut choco gelato
Price for 2: Approximately $5-$10 per visit
Galle Fort is not only a treasure trove of history and culture but also a haven for food lovers. From traditional Sri Lankan cuisine to international flavors, the restaurants inside Galle Fort offer a diverse range of culinary experiences.
Whether you’re looking for a casual cafe or an upscale dining experience, Galle Fort has something to satisfy every palate. So, embark on a gastronomic adventure and indulge in the flavors of Galle Fort.
*Note: Prices mentioned are approximate and may vary depending on the season and menu selection.