The 6 Best & Coolest Cafes in Southern Sri Lanka: Where to Eat and Drink
Looking for the best cafes in Southern Sri Lanka?
The southern coastline of Sri Lanka is well known for glistening gold and white sand beaches, swaying palm trees, turquoise waters, and some of the best surf in the world. But what some people may not know is some of these quaint surf towns are home to the coolest and trendiest cafes in Sri Lanka.
During my 3 weeks in Sri Lanka, I tasted all of the amazing authentic Sri Lankan food and fell in love with the spicy sambals, the creamy lentil dahls, and the zingy and flavourful juices. What these cool cafes do best is mix a small dose of that Sri Lankan locality with new-age, health-conscious eating, and focus their efforts on sourcing food from their own backyard.
Here are my top recommendations for the best & coolest cafes in Southern Sri Lanka. Great for satiating your foodie soul with yummy elixirs, breakfast, and brunches.
READ MORE | Travelling to Sri Lanka? Here is my 3 Week Sri Lanka Itinerary
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Coolest Places to Eat and Drink Along the Southern Coast of Sri Lanka
Salty Swamis | Hikkaduwa
Located right on the main drag in Hikkaduwa and with close proximity to the beach, this hip spot is a must on your stay here. Created by brothers and surfers Yhevin & Yanik Tissera, Salty Swamis puts an emphasis on sourcing local ingredients and preparing them with a westernized methodology. A fusion between the food culture of Sri Lanka and beyond, if you will, makes it one of the best cafes in Southern Sri Lanka.
Vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, and dairy-free options galore, this beautifully built cafe has something for everyone. The cafe itself is mainly located outdoors and is a cross between effortless surf cool and hip trendy Melbourne-inspired restaurant. Great place to plop down and spend a couple of hours journaling or people-watching amongst the action.
Stars of the Show
EGGPLANT TACOS | Panko eggplant with Gotu kola slaw, guacamole, radish, pickled onion, coriander and chili flakes
ISSO BOWL | Comes complete with crispy chilli prawns, miso-dressed mung bean noodles, pickled carrot, pickled ginger, cucumber, Gotu kola salad, radish, wasabi aioli, coriander, sesame seeds, nori
Prices at Salty Swamis
- All Day Breakfast | 850 – 1400 LKR
- Bowls + Burgers | 800 – 1400 LKR
- Juices + Smoothies | 500 – 800 LKR
- Coffees + Beverages | 500 – 600 LKR
Opening Times of Salty Swamis
8 am – 4 pm daily
Take a peek at the Salty Swamis full menu
The Kip Cafe | Ahangama
The Kip is situated a short distance inland from the Ahangama beaches. Nestled in a jungle oasis, you can find whitewashed stone walls, hammocks, and beautiful wood communal tables.
The Kip, as well as being an accommodation and shop, offers an outside cafe that serves some of the best brunch in the biz. They offer an a la carte menu of small tapas-style brunch items that can be combined on one plate, and holy man, they are absolutely delicious. The Kip is one of my favourite cafes in Southern Sri Lanka.
Healthy, indulgent, creative, you name it! And the coffee is brought in from Italy, so you know it will be good. With such beautiful greenery surrounding your brunch experience, it’s definitely an ideal place to laze away a morning.
Stars of the Show
LABNEH FRIED EGGS | Spiced carrot labneh with infused oil, sesame-roasted carrots, fresh greens and toasted brown sourdough bread
SAVOUR BRUNCH BOWL | Tomato braised chickpeas, hummus, tzatziki, herb salad, pickled onion with green chilli relish, dosa and a poached egg
SWEET BREAD | Banana and housemade ricotta on toasted brown sourdough with roasted almonds, organic honey and casa casa seeds
Prices at The Kip Cafe
- Brunch Meals | 1800 – 2900 LKR
- Blended Drinks | 500 – 600 LKR
- Coffees + Beverages | 300 – 600 LKR
- Sweet Treats | 500 – 800 LKR
Opening Times of The Kip
9 am – 4 pm, closed Monday
Take a peek at The Kip’s full menu
Nomad Cafe & Boutique | Weligama
Craving a healthy and refreshing lunch after a morning of surfing? Nomad Cafe is just the ticket. Located across from the most popular surf beach in Weligama, this trendy spot offers up some great nourishing globally-inspired fare.
Created for nomads by nomads, this restaurant focused on flavour, wholesome ingredients, and mixing different cuisines. Plop yourself down in their back courtyard and sip on a tropical smoothie while enjoying the cute white-washed walls and wood decor. Make sure to check out their boutique on the way out.
Stars of the Show
TOFU POKE BOWL | Hoisin grilled tofu, jasmine rice, mixed leaves, carrot, zucchini, shredded cabbage, nori seaweed, avocado, mango, and sesame seeds with a side of light soy sauce. Not vegan? Add their homemade kimchi mayo
JACKFRUIT TACOS | 3 tacos served with BBQ jackfruit, pickled onion, guacamole, shredded cabbage, coriander, dressed in cashew sour cream and a side of spicy salsa verde
VEGAN SHAKSHUKA | Served with spiced tomato sauce with roasted pumpkin, chickpeas, hummus, and homemade flatbread
Prices at Nomad Cafe
- All Day Brunch | 700 – 1300 LKR
- Juices + Smoothies | 500 – 650 LKR
- Coffees + Beverages | 350 – 650 LKR
- Desserts + Healthy Treats | 300 – 700 LKR
Opening Times of Nomad Cafe
8 am – 3 pm daily
Take a sneak peek at Nomad’s menu
Ceylon Sliders | Weligama
Another hot spot in the surf hub of Weligama, Ceylon Sliders is where you will find all the ‘cool’ kids in the area and is one of the best cafes in Southern Sri Lanka. If you prefer to be in the thick of things, this is your place. This hopping hipster food joint slash accommodation slash shop offers up a menu inspired by a mix of western, middle eastern, Asian, Sri Lankan, and Scandinavian influences.
Taking pride in only sourcing local ingredients. They don’t claim to be a raw, vegan, or gourmet restaurant (they have meat on the menu) all they want to do is cook good food. You won’t be disappointed.
The rooftop dining here is also quite the treat and a great place to enjoy their pricey, yet mouthwatering cocktails while watching the sun go down. Note, they do have 2-for-1 cocktails every day from 5-6!
Stars of the Show
FALAFEL BOWL | Crispy Falafel with quinoa, rocket & fennel salad, zucchini noodles, roasted red peppers, sweet potato wedges, tomato, fresh herbs, tzatziki, and baba ganoush
CORN FRITTERS | Crunchy corn fritters with 2 poached eggs, tomato & red onion salsa, fresh lime, and coriander yogurt
VEGAN WELI BURGER | A mushroom, walnut, quinoa & red bean patty on top of a vegan beetroot burger bun with rocket, red cabbage, cucumber noodles, a house-made vegan feta ‘cheese’, fresh herbs, onion jam & Dreamy Creamy Dressing
Prices at Ceylon Sliders
- Brunch | 550 – 1400 LKR
- Bowls & Burgers | 1100 – 1600 LKR
- Baked Goods | 300 – 600 LKR
- Fresh Blended Juices | 600 LKR
- Coffees + Specialty Beverages | 300 – 500 LKR
- Cocktails | 1200-1300 LKR
- A glass of Wine | 1100 LKR
Opening Times of Ceylon Sliders
7:30 am – 9 pm daily
All-day breakfast menu available from 7:30 am – 3 pm
Lunch and dinner menu items added from 12 pm onward
Take a peek at the Ceylon Sliders menu
Shady Lane | Mirissa
A two-story modern concrete building surrounded by palm trees, Shady Lane is the destination for new-age health food and vibes in Mirissa. Tucked back in the jungle away from the main road, this hipster spot offers tropical fruit smoothie bowls, loaded avocado toasts, veggie burgers, and a few sweet treats. Very vegan and gluten-free friendly, their coffee drinks come with the option of traditional dairy milk or coconut milk.
Make sure to check out their small shop on the second floor that features local products, clothing, and artisans.
Stars of the Show
TOAST WITH TOPPINGS | Wood-fired wholemeal toast with your choice of eggs (poached, scrambled, or fried), smashed avocado, slow-roasted tomatoes with basil, wilted spinach, garlic butter mushrooms, feta cheese, and fresh tomato & basil salsa
JUNGLE FEVER | Smoothie bowl with mango, banana, spinach, pineapple, coco curd, and coconut water. Topped with toasted rice flakes, buckwheat, seasonal fruit, and coconut flakes
Prices at Shady Lane
- Toasts with 1 – 7 Toppings | 450 – 1100 LKR
- Smoothie Bowls | 700 LKR
- Burgers & Bowls | 1000 – 1200 LKR
- Coffees | 350 – 450 LKR
Opening Times of Shady Lane
8 am – 3 pm, closed Tuesdays
Malu Poke | Hiriketiya
Malu Poke, a casual cafe with bamboo huts and wood picnic tables is located across from the westernmost tip of Hiriketiya Beach. This cafe offers outdoor dining and a curated poke bowl menu. But you also have the option to build your own bowl (recommended!) and even finish off with a sweet treat like a frozen chocolate banana with roasted peanuts or coconut flakes. This spot is a perfect place to recharge after a morning of surfing in the bay.
Stars of the Show
MAHALO BOWL | Tofu with glass noodles, cucumber, carrots, red onion, mango, tomato, and peanuts, topped with roasted sesame ponzu
ICED LANKA COFFEE | A double shot of espresso spiced with cardamom, cinnamon, kithul pani treacle syrup, and homemade coconut milk
Prices at Malu Poke
- Poke Bowls | 1200 LKR
- Smoothie Bowls | 950 LKR
- Homemade Fresh Juices | 450 LKR
- Vegan Iced Coffees | 600 LKR
- Frozen Chocolate Banana | 350 LKR
Opening Times of Malu Poke
11am – 8pm daily
There you have it, my top recommendations for cool, trendy, and healthy eats that combine the flavours of Sri Lanka with the western world. Enjoy!
MORE ESSENTIAL GUIDES FOR SRI LANKA
Want to continue planning your trip to Sri Lanka?
Check out my 3 WEEK SRI LANKA ITINERARY or if you prefer to determine the route yourself, read the specialized guides below for some of the best experiences in Sri Lanka:
SRI LANKA BUCKET LIST | Get inspired by all that Sri Lanka has to offer. Here are my Sri Lanka highlights.
SRI LANKA TRAVEL TIPS | Prepare for your Sri Lanka trip by reading my 21 top tips on what you should know before visiting the beautiful teardrop isle
KANDY | Bustling market streets, quiet strolls around the lake, lush botanical gardens, and ornate Buddhist temples, the cultural capital of Sri Lanka has it all
ELLA | Nestled in the green centre of Sri Lanka, this hiker’s paradise features trails with panoramic views of jagged green hills, deep valleys, and rushing waterfalls.
YALA NATIONAL PARK | Majestic elephants, elusive leopards, and a myriad of bird species can all be found in one of the biggest national parks in Sri Lanka.
WELIGAMA | Where surf culture is alive and thriving, this central town is located on the golden south coast of Sri Lanka and offers the best surf beach for beginners, and an abundance of traditional and modern eateries.
MIRISSA | A small surf town located 15 minutes away from Weligama, offers golden beaches, surfing, serene spas, and healthy food.
GALLE FORT | Fortified stone walls, dutch and Portuguese-style architecture, great food, and shopping all culminate in this little town that was once a major Sri Lankan trading post.
SRI LANKA PACKING LIST | Take the guesswork out of packing and easily check off my list of all the things you will need for Sri Lanka’s warm climate