Aariya Rest House: Home cooking at its best
I cannot rave more highly about this restaurant in Polonnaruwa the food here is superb. It is simply sri lanka rice and curry homecooked by mum but on a larger scale and you have heaps of choice and variety.
So let me explain the selection and be prepared to start the salivas flowing first on the buffet is coconut roti these can even be enjoyed with your banana as a sweet. Second is vegetable noodles not at all greasy like some places. Third is lovely fluffy rice. Fourth is beautifully cooked dahl seasoned just right some places oversalt. Then you have a further 3/4 vegetable dishes ranging from pumpkin curry, aubergine, jack fruit curry, okra, mixed vegetable, cabbage, drumsticks. A chicken curry which is mild but in the kitchen they can do it spicier for a more local taste which is how I like it. Then the last curry is pol sambal coconut, chilli and lime a personal favourite of mine and accompanies these dishes very well.
Dessert is included in the buffet usually fresh fruits and sometimes curd with kithul treacle followed by tea or coffee.
The sitting area is lovely and cool under cover with large rotating fans and everywhere is super clean. The food is kept hot and cooked in batches so nothing stands around for long.
Shani the family's daughter is a total delight and has studied the art of dancing her english is perfection and she will gracefully glide from table to table ensuring your complete satisfaction.
The price as of 2014 was LKR800 if you wish to add a tip they all get shared equally by the kitchen and waiting staff. The other highlight at Ariya rest house is my cat that lives here after I had to leave Sri Lanka Shani took Cinnamon in (ginger kitty on the cover page) and he is so incredibly happy. He loves any commercial cat food as a treat but he has a wonderful diet of fried fish.
Favorite Dish: its all good my favourite is the aubergine curry. All the vegetables come from the farmers market and they use seasonal vegetables.
See my tip for a cooking class here its not official but it can be arranged.
They do evening meals and delicious breakfast if you do happen to stay at the guesthouse
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Hotel Sudu Araliya Restaurant: another Sri Lankan buffet
Let's face it - I'm not a fan of buffets.. usually the food is very indifferent and of no quality at all. Sadly this restaurant was not the exception. I guess I'll never understand why Sri Lankans are so fond if buffets
Favorite Dish: The usual buffet-style Sri Lankan dishes - hot, spicy and not very good tasting. There must be better Sri Lankan food than this. We were saved by some pasta. As for real Sri Lankan food... I'm still hoping to get around to atste it locally
Rest House Polonnaruwa: Eating near Polonnaruwa
Right next to one of the entrances to Polonnaruwa, you will find the Rest House Polonnaruwa which has a small restaurant overlooking the lake.
The restaurant is quite old and a photo of Queen Elizabeth II's visit here in 1954 is proudly displayed in the corridor nearby. In some ways, the hotel looks as though it has not changed since the 1950's, but it is pleasant enough to visit and the views are great. There is an outdoor terrace too to admire the views.
The restaurant serves a lunchtime buffet to the tourists that visit, although I chose to order a sandwich from the menu, which was tasty enough, although no fries were available that day.
Prices were reasonable and staff were friendly.
Favorite Dish: Sandwich snack.
The rest house: The queen visited it, but don't bother
We were treated to a lunch at the rest house where the queen had lunch in 1954. Not a lot changed then. I really believe the food we were served was from 1954! Awful, and dirty. Would recommend that you safe your money, go elsewhere. It is a tourist trap.
Hotel Sudu Araliya: Skip the expensive restaurant.
We ate at Hotel Sudu Araliya, Polonnaruwa's finest hotel, by accident. We had wanted New Araliya Sinhala Hotel, a cheap, local eatery in town, but our driver mis-understood. We were in a hurry to get to the sites, so we went with it.
We found the food fine, but bland and not really worth the price tag - Rs. 500+ per person. Nice view of the Tapa Wewa tank, though.