Remembering a time when there were just a couple of small cafes and one or two restaurants, the foodie scene has really flourished over the past couple of years in Galle Fort. With an evenly diffused combination of both local and ‘luxury’ shops & restaurants around every cobbled corner, more places have sprung up in the past few years than ever before.
With the newfound choice it can be a little overwhelming for visitors to the Fort, especially those travelling to the south for the first time so I’ve carried out a little research and compiled my ultimate list of consistently good (from my experience) foodie spots for you- as requested so many times over on Instagram!
With history as rich and exotic as their cuisine, dating back to the arab traders of a beygone era, it seems only fitting to have an exceptional middle eastern restaurant in the Fort. Founded and run by a local Muslim family who have been in Galle for generations, Chambers serves a multitude of arabic favourites from a light and zesty hummus to a rich and hearty slow cooked lamb tagine, perfectly balanced with traditional mint tea or passion mojito mocktail. They also offer a selection of Italian dishes as the head chef is also trained in a Italian food- especially handy for families with children.
Church Street Social $$$
26 Church Street
Located in one of the chicest, most successful hotels in Galle Fort, Fort Bazaar, Church Street Social is the place to go for mouthwatering comfort food. You can choose to go Sri Lankan (with a more mild/creamy touch than authentic local cooking but nethertheless delicious) or western/fusion with their much acclaimed pulled pork burger, grilled vegetable & feta burger or middle eastern mezze platter. It’s hard to find international dishes of this quality in Sri Lanka. The breakfasts are often hailed the best in the Fort, with a killer eggs benedict and a decadent Sri Lankan cashew nut curry with plain/egg hoppers.
A Minute by Tuk Tuk $$
The Old Dutch Hospital
So I will be honest in saying that this review is 100% based on their ‘Batu Moju’ aubergine and parippu (dhal) dish. In my experience the others are hit and miss but this delectable and beautifully presented plate of Sri Lankan vegetarian goodness is in another league. Please be pre-warned, it’s a little spicy, as are the other curry dishes on the menu. Try the dish accompanied by their ‘tuk tuk special virgin mojito’ for a non alcoholic thirst quencher or a cool lion beer for a stronger fix.
Street Food $
And last but not least, I can’t complete a foodie feature of Galle Fort without mentioning street food. There’s nothing like a walk around the ramparts at sunset with a homemade bag made from newspaper filled with freshly cooked parippu wade- deep fried lentils with prawns- and a couple or crispy salted chilis. The wade cart tends to emerge around 5:30/6pm opposite The Bartizan Hotel at the western end of Pedlar Street although sometimes it’s there, sometimes it’s not- weekends are most likely. There are also (again, most often) two ice cream bikes cycling around- Cargills and Elephant House. If you have a sweet tooth, try the local favourite ‘pani cadju’ which is vanilla ice cream with a drizzle of kithul honey and sprinkle of cashew nuts.
Other restaurants in Galle Fort:
The Fort Printers39 Pedlar Street $$$
Pedlars Inn Cafe/Pizzeria 92 Pedlar Street $$
Sugar BistroThe Old Dutch Hospital $$
Lucky Fort7 Parawa Street $
Cafe Punto42 Pedlar Street $
If you have recommendations of your own, do feel free to share in the comments below.