Oh Colombo! The Getaway Down South

Mar 09 2023.

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Stepping out of our usual holiday pattern, Ranil and I decided to holiday in Weligama. The main attraction is the restaurants with rave reviews situated in Ahangama and Weligama. We spent five nights at W15 Weligama. W15, situated in the heart of Weligama, is a 10-room luxury hotel categorised as a Beach Club. The rooms were very comfortable. The staff is friendly and obliging. W15’s beachfront extends quite a length and the sea is suitable for both surfing and swimming.  The beachfront was full of activity and, more importantly, no touts hanging around.  The area was packed with tourists from all parts of the world.  The atmosphere defined the Sri Lankan smile for which we are renowned.  

Prior reservations had to be made at many of the restaurants for our culinary journey.  The restaurants are full from the time they open their doors. The food in most restaurants was of a very high standard, the atmosphere casual and some of the locations were breathtakingly beautiful.  In reality, we should have spent a month exploring all the restaurants and cafes in these two areas.

The majority of these restaurants are owned by foreigners, where the foreign chefs know how to cook extremely well and to perfection, especially using all the locally available seafood. All food was plated in a sophisticated and classy manner with no garnishing and was super delicious. In our quest to look for good food, my personal favourites were Alaia by the Sea and CITRA in Ahangama; Kaiyo Sushi Bar in Weligama was excellent too. There were other restaurants on the beach in Weligama where fresh seafood is available in the stalls to be chosen from and cooked to your preference at reasonable prices.

Keeping up with its reputation of being one of Asia’s best bars, Smoke & Bitters is a place to visit. Its location is spectacular, especially if you get there at sunset. The ambience is perfect. The cocktails presented looked and tasted amazing.  Sadly, I have stopped having alcohol and could not indulge in them. The menu is kept short and everything tasted good. This location is a must for every visitor to the area, to spend time savouring everything they have to offer.

While all these restaurants offer great choices, most places are not cheap but well worth the price. Service levels are high and cleanliness is obvious in most places. Ahangama and Weligama are the go-to places during the season to enjoy culinary wonders. It was unclear if most of the restaurants are shut during the monsoon, though a veteran in the business said that there were plenty of foreigners who resided in the area and sustained the businesses during the off-season. 

A visit to these two areas is well worth experiencing all they have to offer. The culinary levels are of a high standard and made Colombo look like it was caught in a time warp. For me, the five-day sojourn was of great value.  


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