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Colombo Cafe Culture: The Top Cafes To Try when in Colombo Sri Lanka

Who doesn’t love a good cafe? Whether it be a cosy, outdoorsy cafe, or a minimalist, indoor one, Colombo has quite a selection of cafes for you to choose from. So if you’re looking for a spot to grab a coffee and a bite, or maybe even a spot to work from for a few hours, here are our favourite picks in no particular order! Check out the Full Vlog here

1. Commons Coffee House

Located in close proximity to the heart of Colombo, Commons Coffee House down Flower Road is a favourite haunt among many millennials, especially because we’ve been going there since we were teens! Whether you want to have a plate of pasta, a filling burger, a milkshake or some delicious Lankan food, Commons’ extensive menu has got you covered.

(Tip: Their Cheese Kottu is a fan favourite, so if you’re in the mood to try a signature Sri Lankan Kottu slathered in thick cheese sauce, definitely give this one a try!)

You can drop by Commons, here: The Commons Coffee House

2. Kiku

Perched atop one of Colombo’s most popular flower shops, Shirohana, is the quaint and unique Kiku. Adorned with shades of pastels, neon lights and minimalist interior design, this Japanese-inspired cafe is yet another frequently visited spot thanks to its yummy fusion food and one-of-a-kind drinks.

Their Udon Kimchi Carbonara is a much sought-after dish because it marries the flavours of miso, kimchi and the taste of carbonara so well. 

They also have a range of classic coffees like espressos and cappuccinos, but they’ve also got their very interesting variety of Kiku Lattes which features flavours including lavender, charcoal and rose, and even turmeric! But, if you’re not a fan of coffee, you can choose from their selection of Garden Sodas which is made using homemade syrups. These syrups also come in riveting flavours including Elderflower and Rosemary, Hibiscus and more. It’s always 5 o’clock somewhere, so if you’d like to take things up a notch, you could even try out their impressive range of cocktails.

(Tip: If you’re travelling with smaller kids, this is also a great place to swing by as they have a well-equipped playpen for little ones in the cafe as well.)

You can find this Kiku, here: KIKU Colombo

3. Seed Cafe

Another lovely little cafe in the heart of Colombo, down Horton Place, is Seed Cafe. It’s quite the homely spot (which is amplified by the fact that this property is actually an old, colonial-style manor that has been refurbished into a BnB and cafe) sheltered by lush green plants, and you could very easily forget that you’re in the midst of a bustling city! They’ve even got a yoga studio called Prana Lounge in the same space with classes scheduled throughout the day.

Their menu carries a variety of healthy food, fusion food and even comfort food, alongside some hot beverages and colourful, cooling drinks, so they’ll likely have something you’re looking for.

(Tip: You can very conveniently replenish at the cafe with some guilt-free, healthy food and drink after a yoga class!)

You can find Seed Cafe, here: Seed Cafe

4. Cafe Kumbuk

Located just before the historic Independence Square in Colombo, and tucked away in a little oasis filled with trees and plants, is Cafe Kumbuk. 

They’ve been around for a while and this garden cafe is a peaceful place to go to right in the middle of the city, and it’s made even better all thanks to the tummy-rumbling food and drink they have to offer. It’s also an ideal spot if you have any sort of dietary preferences as they have dishes with homemade plant-based “meat”, dairy alternates and more. 

Another reason why Cafe Kumbuk comes highly recommended is that it’s a great place to get some work done, and you do get quite a few digital nomads who work from the cafe. The cherry on top is that they also have accommodation on their upper floors, making it very convenient as it’s located in the heart of Colombo as well.

(Tip: Give their Key Lime Pie a try and you won’t regret it. There’s a reason it’s a customer favourite, and has been so for a very long time!)

Swing by and grab a cuppa at Cafe Kumbuk, here: Cafe Kumbuk

5. The Travelling Bruncher

If you’re a fan of brunch (especially a boozy brunch wink wink), no matter what time of day it is, The Travelling Bruncher has to be on your list! 

This rooftop eatery is situated in Colombo’s business district, down Navam Mawatha, but is not too far from Galle Face Green. You also get a spectacular view of Colombo, including the ocean in the distance, making it a stellar place to catch a tropical sunset.

Their menu comprises of predominantly Western dishes, but with an interesting Sri Lankan twist.

(Tip: Check out their Instagram page to find out what events they have going on because they usually have some fun-filled evenings throughout the week.)

You can find them, here: The Traveling Bruncher

6. Department of Coffee

If you’re a coffee lover, you undoubtedly have to check out Department of Coffee, located right opposite Colombo Racecourse. 

They’ve got an ample selection of coffees to choose from, and if you consider yourself a connoisseur of coffee and truly appreciate coffee culture, you’ll love the variety of beans they have to offer from all over the world.

In addition to that, they also whip up some flavourful dishes, so if you’re in the mood to grab a meal or just a bite to eat while you sip on some coffee, this is the place to be.

(Tip: They also do demonstrations of how they prepare and pour the coffee, so if you want a well-rounded coffee experience.)

You can visit them, here: Department of Coffee

7. t-Lounge by Dilmah- Horton Place

Also located down Horton Place, is t-Lounge by Dilmah. Dilmah needs little to no introduction given that they are one of the most globally recognised tea brands, and lucky for us, it also has a chain of cafes in and out of Colombo which gives its wide variety of teas a superb platform to shine!

While they do have some delicious bites and dishes to gorge on, you must absolutely try out their tea-based drinks, whether it be iced or piping hot as they have some very intriguing takes on tea. They even have a dessert bar which features some yummy desserts for anyone with a sweet tooth.

(Tip: If you’d like to take a taste of Sri Lanka back home for you and your loved ones to enjoy, the perfect gift would be some truly Sri Lankan tea right from the source. Fortunately, t-Lounge by Dilmah also has a little store where you can find a huge variety of their teas in a plethora of flavours, making it a one-stop-shop for you!)

You can find this particular t-Lounge branch, here: t-Lounge by Dilmah - Horton Place

8. Barefoot Garden Cafe

Hidden away in Colombo 03 is the very special Barefoot Garden Cafe. It’s been around since the 90s and over time has grown to become a watering hole for admirers of the arts. The property consists of the retail shop in front, which houses all things handloom from the famous Barefoot brand itself, the outdoor cafe area where you can sip on a cold glass of wine while munching on some yummy food, and the art gallery which showcases some stunning pieces done by local artists.

(Tip: Give their Lankan dishes like their Black Pork Curry a try to indulge in some truly Sri Lankan flavours. They also usually have live Jazz music playing every Sunday, so if you want to hangout with friends or take yourself out for a chilled out solo date, this would be a great option).

To visit Barefoot Garden Cafe, you can find it here: Barefoot Garden Cafe

Honourable Mentions

We know we’ve given you quite the detailed list of cafes above, but it wouldn’t be complete with these honorary mentions:

I. The Gallery Cafe

With a very rustic and artsy vibe, The Gallery Cafe, which you can find down Alfred House Road also deserves a visit if you’ve got the time. It’s a bit pricier and a tad more formal than your average cafe, but the ambience and service is impeccable. 

You can find them, here: The Gallery Café

II. Tea Avenue

Tea Avenue is one the most popular cafe chains in Colombo, with multiple outlets sprinkled in and around the city. They serve up some mouth-watering milkshakes and also have some very interesting dishes like their Charcoal Waffles with Fried Chicken.

III. Java Lounge 

Similar to Tea Avenue, Java Lounge is also quite a well-known cafe chain in Sri Lanka and they’ve got branches all over the country. This is a favourite among many they serve some delicious coffee, and it’s yet another great option to work from.

Don’t forget to check out our video on our café roundup and how you can get around in Colombo here:

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