Matara Restaurants

  • Indian Spice restaurant, Matara, Sri Lanka.
    Indian Spice restaurant, Matara, Sri...
    by planxty
  • Food, Indian Spice restaurant, Matara, Sri Lanka.
    Food, Indian Spice restaurant, Matara,...
    by planxty
  • Food, Pearl Cliff Hotel, Matara, Sri Lanka.
    Food, Pearl Cliff Hotel, Matara, Sri...
    by planxty

Most Recent Restaurants in Matara

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    Pearl Cliff Hotel: Great food, inexplicably quiet.

    by planxty Updated Apr 22, 2014

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    I had read good things about hte Pearl Cliff in my guidebook and had decided that I was going to treat myself to a meal there one evening when I was in Matatra. When I say treat myself, all these things are relative, I had a wonderful meal and a couple of beers and it still came to a lot less than £10 ($15US). I had been to see the big Buddha image that day and didn't really feel like walking, especially in the dark, although I am told the views as you walk up here from the Beach Road (perhaps one to one and a half miles) are hugely rewarding during the day.

    I was deposited at the front door by my trusty tuk-tuk driver and looked about to see, well absolutely nothing. The place was as deserted as a hermit's address book. It was obviously a top-notch place, beautifully lit, spotlessly set out, the whole bit. I wandered into what I take to be the lobby a bit lost and was greeted by a man I subsequently found out to be the owner. Delightful chap he was, too. I informed him that I would like to dine and he asked me whether I would like to do so al fresco as the evening was warm (frankly, it had been stinking hot all day!) and I was duly escorted to a table outside under the cover of a huge gazebo sort of affair. I seated mysef, ordered the obligatory beer and perused the menu which carries the usual Sri Lankan standards as well as a more Western orientated selection (pasta, omelettes etc.) Even for a place of this obvious quality, the most expensive dish was about SLR800 (£4 or $6US) so not over-priced at all.

    The hotel building itself is very pleasant and designed in the colonial style. It was originally a bungalow constructed for the then Btitish Governor and has been in service as a hotel since 1996. It is well worth having a little look inside at the public areas as much of the original charm remains, indeed even if you were not dining it would make a lovely place for a drink.

    Of the menu items offered, the one that caught my eye was the kankun. Now, I had read about kankun and wanted to try it but had not previously had the opportunity. It is an aquatic plant and the taste is quite difficult to describe, I suppose the nearest Western thing I could liken it to is spinach. It is very pleasant and I have seen it offered various ways including being tempura battered which was interesting. In this establishment I opted for the kankun served with chilli which was hot enough but not excessively so. I also ordered a devilled dish which, similarly, was nicely spiced but not to nuclear levels.

    As I was finishing my meal, a small family group of fice or six local people came on for a drink and they were the only other people I saw in the couple of hours I was there which surprised me as it really was rather a good restaurant and I recommend it.

    Favorite Dish: The kankun with chilli was particularly good.

    Food, Pearl Cliff Hotel, Matara, Sri Lanka. Food, Pearl Cliff Hotel, Matara, Sri Lanka. Pearl Cliff Hotel, Matara, Sri Lanka. Pearl Cliff Hotel, Matara, Sri Lanka.
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    Indian Spice restaurant: Slightly odd but great food.

    by planxty Written Apr 20, 2014

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    One evening in Matara I was wandering about looking for a bit of a snack fairly late in the evening. when I say fairly late in Sri Lanka I mean before ten in the evening. It is really hard to get anything to eat after about nine in the evening anywhere there, including Colombo, the capital. Anyway, I happened upon the Indian Spice as I was having a fairly gentle stroll along the seafront in the dark, listening to the surf breaking on the beach and generally feeling fairly good about myself. I had had a brilliant day out wandering about the Fort in Matara and it's environs and when I happened upon the Indian Spice restaurant, that looked like just the place for me.

    I walked in and quickly established that you ordered at the counter and then the waiter brought your food to the table. No problem, I can do that, I don't need to be waited on hand and foot. As I said, I only required a small meal and so I opted for the Indian bread which came served with a small dish of what was effectively curry sauce and another of the ubiquitous sambol (spicy chutney). Exactly what I wanted.

    I went to seat myself and became aware that the dining area is quite unusual. If you think about perhaps a lecture hall in a University or medical college, that is what it was like. There were row upon row of seats, all facing the television which happened to be showing some British police show and to which the other few diners seemed transfixed, albeit that the sound was down. It was a strange dining experience to say the least but the food was excellent, albeit I only had a small amount.

    I even had a dessert (unusual for me) of a simple ice-cream which was delightful.

    I have to say the menu here looked extensive and, even by local standards, the prices were very reasonable. This is a good place to fill up for the day.

    Favorite Dish: I only had the bread as described and it was excellent.

    Indian Spice restaurant, Matara, Sri Lanka. Food, Indian Spice restaurant, Matara, Sri Lanka. Food, Indian Spice restaurant, Matara, Sri Lanka.
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    Nawathana Hotel: Food fit for a king

    by planxty Written Apr 1, 2014

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    I have mentioned on a separate tip on this page that I stayed at the excellent Nawathana Hotel whilst I was in Matara and I do recommend it. However, even if you do not stay here, it is well worth dropping in for a meal whilst you are in the town. It has a pleasant seafront location within the blissfully quiet area of the old Fort where you can sit and watch a lovely Sri Lankan sunset should you be there at the right time of day.

    The service is extremely friendly and relaxed which is the general tenor of the whole place and the food is outstanding. Depending o time of day or if the head chef is off, the wonderful Weereseera will knock you up a very decent feed, either Sri Lankan or Western, and I think he is wasted doing the ironing and gardening which comprise the majority of his duties. If you are staying here and want something genuinely local, just ask him and he will turn you out a proper "rice and curry" meal or a bit of a snack should you have less of an appetite.

    Whilst Weere, as he is known, is an excellent cook, the main draw here has to be the head chef who was formerly employed in the kitchens of the Qatari royal family, hence the title of this tip. You don't get that gig unless you are very good, and he really is. He is also extremely friendly, speaks pretty good English and if he is not busy in the kitchen is more than happy to talk cookery with you which was such a joy for a very amateur cook like myself. Speaking of the kitchen, I was in it many times and it is spotless.

    Hotel Nawathana has a fairly extensive menu, both local and "Western" and even what we in the UK would probably describe as "Chinese".

    Being so close to the sea (you can hear and even see it as you eat depending on where you choose to dine) it will come as no surprise that I am going to recommend the fish. The menu is really a fairly flexible affair, depending entirely on what the local fishermen have caught but I love that concept. If a place steadfastly offers cod, muplet, whatever it might be, then you will be thinking that if none of that fish was caught that day it is coming from the freezer. However, if you have to ask chef or the waiter what fish he has, you can be fairly sure it has just come off the boat.

    As a final word, they also make some of the best chilli paste I have ever tasted, so good in fact that I have included an image here.

    Given the delightful surroundings and first class food, I have no hesitation in highly recommending this place and an additional bonus is that it is all one one level which would make it accessible for mobility impaired travellers which is not always the case in Sri Lanka.

    Favorite Dish: Very hard to pick a favourite but any of the daily fresh fish is always excellent. The mixed seafood platter also deserves an honourable mention.

    Food, Nawathana Hotel, Matara, Sri Lanka. Food, Nawathana Hotel, Matara, Sri Lanka. Chef, Nawathana Hotel, Matara, Sri Lanka. Food, Nawathana Hotel, Matara, Sri Lanka. Food, Nawathana Hotel, Matara, Sri Lanka.
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    Mayura Beach Resort: Another fine restaurant.

    by planxty Written Apr 1, 2014

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    I had been in Matara for a couple of days and , as is my wont, was trying to sample as many of the eating options as I could. Strolling along the seafront that evening, I chanced upon the Mayura Beach Resort which looked clean and pleasant enough so I thought I would give it a try. Although the fairly extensive menu did not seem overpriced to me by local standards, the restaurant was fairly empty. I was there at about 2030 hours and I have found that Sri Lankans like to eat quite early so that may explain it. The restaurant is fairly simply furnished but that seems to be the norm here except in the most expensive resorts.

    As I say, the menu was very comprehensive covering all the usual options, Sri Lankan and "Chinese" which seems so popular in Sri Lanka. Noodles, fried rice of various types, omelettes, sweet and sour, fish dishes etc. all made an appearance and there were no less than five potato options offered. The one thing that is not on offer is beef and so I am guessing that this is a Hindu run establishment but that wasn't a problem for me as I find beef in Sri Lanka generally is not the greatest.

    I was "trapped in the indecision of another fine menu" as my old mate Fish once wrote in an excellent song lyric but finally decided on the sweet and sour prawn with pineapple at 650 rupees (£3:25, maybe $4:50US) and plain rice as a main. To start I had the prawn cocktail, which was pure Seventies UK cuisine only so much tastier, as delicious as it was retro. Hey, I like to revisit my youth now and again!

    The main arrived and was beautifully executed, the batter light and not at all greasy, the prawns succulent and so sweet, which is hardly surprising as I can almost guarantee they were bought fresh from the nearby market that morning. You are literally thirty yards from the sea here and there is not much in the way of frozen food in this country I am glad to say. Similarly, the fresh diced pineapple in the well-balanced sauce was beautifully sweet and the rice light and fluffy, served with a fried egg as seems to be common here. I am not normally one for eating desserts but I did have an ice-cream to finish and the whole meal was thoroughly delicious.

    Highly recommended.

    Favorite Dish: I only ate here once but the prawn cocktail followed by the sweet and sour prawns with plain rice as described in the main text were both excellently executed.

    Mayura restaurant, Matara, Sri Lanka. Mayura restaurant, Matara, Sri Lanka. Food, Mayura restaurant, Matara, Sri Lanka. Food, Mayura restaurant, Matara, Sri Lanka. Food, Mayura restaurant, Matara, Sri Lanka.
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    Samanmal restaurant: Great food, slightly odd place.

    by planxty Written Apr 1, 2014

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    I had read about this place in my guidebook and decided to visit it fairly soon after my arrival in Matara. The guidebook had mentioned that it was more a "drinking den" than a restaurant per se and that it was extremely gloomy and that is correct to an extent. Samanmal extends over three floors with the ground floor being a snack takeaway as the neon sign in the image suggests. Walking up to the first floor you pass the takeaway bakery with an excellent selection of the delectable cakes and pastries that seem to form such a part of Sri Lankan cuisine. Walk up another floor and you come to the bar / restaurant on the top floor which is what this tip concerns itself with.

    Regrettably, all these stairs render the place unsuitable for the mobility impaired traveller as there is no lift, at least none that I could see.

    On the top floor there are two distinct areas. The front part (pictured) benefits from natural light during daylight hours and the rear portion has no windows, precious little lighting and is, as suggested, gloomy. This, however, is the area you need to go to if, like me, you are a smoker as it is banned in the front restaurant. In a country where smoking seems fairly ubiquitous, this may be of interest to the non-smoker.

    Although the usual Sri Lankan suspects are on offer on the menu, Samanmal specialises in Chinese food which seems to be very popular in the country. I should say that it is not apparently done for the benefit of travellers as I didn't see another Caucasian in the place on my several visits, it just seems to be genuinely popular amongst the locals. I like Sri Lankan devilled dishes and you can see the3 devilled prawns pictured here but for me the only difference between a devilled dish and a "Chinese" sweet and sour dish is merely a touch more chilli. There really does seem to be a lot of crossover, most of it extremely tasty.

    Service is pretty prompt in a country where it can be sketchy, to say the least. I was there when the Arise Asia cricket cup was on TV and most of the customers were glued to the small TV. Any sort of small-talk / mime on that subject with the waiters will earn you a friend for life!

    I did notice a lunchtime "rice and curry" buffet advertised @ 295 rupees (about £1:50 or $2US) although I was never there during service so I cannot comment on it. I would recommend the Chinese soups which are well done, I tried a couple of variants of it.

    Samanmal is a decent option, about average price, and I would definitely recommend it.

    Favorite Dish: I had seve3ral meals here, all excellent, but if forced to pick I would suggest the devilled prawns (pictured), which were delicious. As mentioned in the text, the soups are excellent as well.

    Samanmal restaurant, Matara, Sri Lanka. Food, Samanmal restaurant, Matara, Sri Lanka. Food, Samanmal restaurant, Matara, Sri Lanka. Food, Samanmal restaurant, Matara, Sri Lanka. Samanmal restaurant, Matara, Sri Lanka.
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    Wijethunge Sea View: Varied menu, nice food.

    by Maxus Updated Jan 23, 2009

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    This is a new place (January 2009) which is also a hotel. We came for lunch, we had rice and curry but others in the group had fried chicken and chips, omelette etc and everyone was very happy with the food and the service. With drinks and ice cream the bill for 5 people was a little under Rs2000.

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    DKW Fast Food: Chinese Take Away

    by Maxus Updated Feb 2, 2008

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    No one goes to Sri Lanka for the food and after three weeks on the road I had more or less given up finding anything to eat that wasn’t rice and curry or the just about edible alternative, short eats. But walking through Matara late one night (after several beers) I came across DKW Fast Food. When they passed me the menu I thought I may have been dreaming.

    Favorite Dish: I over-ruled my Sinhalese friends, who had instinctively ordered rice and curry all round and went for what the boss recommended, mixed seafood chop suey, my dormant taste buds suddenly burst into life, it was quite possibly the best meal I had eaten in weeks.

    DKW Chinese Fast Food (one of several similar outlets in Matara) cooks take away meals from six in the morning until eleven thirty at night (which in Sri Lanka is very late indeed).

    Is that a mirage?
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Matara Restaurants

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