Vegan Guide to Colombo

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OCTOBER 2022: Due to COVID we were unable to travel for nearly two years, which means it’s been impossible to update our vegan travel guides. Therefore we cannot be sure if the below restaurants are still open, so please contact them directly to check. As travel has now restarted we will be updating guides accordingly, but in the meantime please check out the excellent HappyCow, which you can find via the link at the bottom of this vegan guide.

Published October 2016

Find yourself in Colombo, Sri Lanka’s capital city and you’ll find yourself spoilt for choice with the number of places to get really good vegan food. Here’s our Vegan Guide to Colombo to help you make the most out of your stay. We’ve been really well looked after as vegans in the hotels we chose to stay in during our visits to Colombo, mainly due to the well stocked breakfast buffets, for us, these were an essential start to the day in making sure we ate enough fresh fruit and vegetables in a day as vegan Sri Lankan food (as delicious as it is, can often fall down in this area).

The problem with Colombo is that there seems to be an abundance of ‘Pure Vegetarian Hotels’ which serve the most delicious, local food (much of which is vegan). A hungry, food loving vegan traveller can find themselves unable to choose or (much worse) can miss out on the best places to get your Sri Lankan and Southern Indian vegan food fix, our Vegan Guide to Colombo allows us to relive what we ate during our various trips and share our experiences with you. Also, don’t forget to check out the Vegan Sri Lanka FaceBook group which is full of friendly vegans living in Sri Lanka!


Open daily 7.30am-3pm and 6-10.30pm

37 Jaya Rd
Colombo 4

When we visited this mid-range restaurant serving North and South Indian food as well as Sri Lankan dishes,  the service was painfully slow but the food was extraordinarily excellent. We ordered a masala dosa with a vadai (little deep fried spiced lentil flour donut) on the side and it was possibly the most generously filled dosa that we have ever eaten. Crispy, good coconut chutney, delicious sambar curry on the side and a total highlight for us.

Dwaraka in Colombo
Dosa with all the trimmings and a vadai at Dwaraka


Open daily 10am-10pm

53/3 Ramakrishna Rd
Colombo 6

This is a busy, upscale restaurant serving some Sri Lankan food and a huge range of North and South Indian food too. The service was friendly, efficient and really helpful in picking out dishes we could have with no ghee or milk. In hindsight we didn’t order that well and so we didn’t rate the food that much. We had ‘Bhel Puri’ which was veganised and delicious, “Cauliflower Manchurian” which was covered in too much fake tasting cornstarch thickened sauce and a “String Hopper Pulau” which was OK if not that exciting. The portions are small and the prices are relatively high. Having said this, we’d definitely go back if we wanted somewhere nice to eat or to take people we were meeting. The service and setting were so good that we both thought with some better ordering we’d have had more success and other people’s food looked good.

Shanmugas in Colombo
vegan food at Shanmugas in Colombo

Amirthaa Vegetarian Hotel

Open daily 6.30am-10pm

Amirthaa Vegetarian Hotel
Frankfort Pl
Colombo 00500
Sri Lanka

Want a humble, local experience where you eat with your hands and will be pleasantly surprised by the price on the bill at the end? Then go to this little Pure Vegetarian Restaurant. We ate string hoppers with dahl, potato curry and a coconut milk carry that was ladled out by a passing waiter with a stainless steel bucket as we ran out. Other buckets that came by had coconut chutney and a chilli tomato sauce. The ‘short eats’ we ordered were a little past their best (probably best to order these only if you go earlier in the day) as ours tasted like they were on their last legs a bit.

Amirthaa in Colombo
vegan curries at Amirthaa in Colombo

Oro 1889

2nd Floor, Liberty Arcade – Colombo 3

We discovered Oro 1889 by accident but we’re really glad we did. Their pizzas are nothing short of amazing. Expect authentic, light and delicious pizzas cooked in a traditional (imported from Italy) wood fired oven.

best vegan pizza in Sri Lanka at Oro

Indo Ceylon Cafe

Galle Rd – Colombo 3

Another cheap local place, the no frills Indo Ceylon Cafe is an all vegetarian restaurant which serves up a lot of good Sri lankan food. Get your fix of rotti kottu, dosai and dahl, string hoppers and kiri hodi, plus delicious short eats.

vegan short eats at Indo Ceylon Cafe in Colombo

Smokey’s – The Brownie Bar

It’s a well known fact that vegan brownies are everyones best friend and luckily you can get some special brownie time in during your trip to Colombo. A very lovely vegan Sri Lankan has embarked on a mission to fill the world with vegan brownies and set up Smokey’s – The Brownie Bar and let us tell you now that they are really good!

vegan brownie in Colombo

Vegan Friendly Luxury Hotels in Colombo

Cinnamon Red

Cinnamon Red
59 Ananda Coomaraswamy Mawatha
Colombo 03 00700
Sri Lanka

Located in the district of Colombo 3 and well within reach of the train station and lively ‘Fort Area’, Cinnaom Red will give you a taste of ‘Lean Luxury’. It’s a cool, funky hotel with an awesome breakfast that had loads of vegan options including these freshly made Sri Lankan hoppers and string hoppers which were delicious. For more details please read our review of Cinnamon Red.

Sri Lankan hoppers for breakfast at Cinnamon Red
red string hoppers at Cinnamon Red

OZO Colombo

OZO Colombo
36-38 Clifford Pl
Colombo 00400
Sri Lanka

OZO Colombo can be found in the district of Colombo 5. It has the added bonus of being right opposite the sea. It’s not a sunbathing / swimming beach but there is something soothing about waking up to the view of the ocean or heading up to the rooftop pool for some more amazing views. At breakfast, eat everything from a well stocked salad bar, Marmite on toast (with vegan spread) to traditional Sri Lankan treats like string hoppers, here is our detailed review of OZO Colombo.

String hoppers, kiri hodi and mung bean curry with assorted sambols at OZO Colombo
choice of salads including delicious roasted pumpkin for breakfast at OZO Colombo

Vegan Food Quest in Sri Lanka


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  1. Dee Fancett October 27, 2016 at 10:53 pm - Reply

    Thanks so much guys, this guide was so useful it helped me a lot while I was there. I’ve written a summary of my experience here!

    • Vegan Food Quest October 28, 2016 at 12:41 pm - Reply

      no worries Dee! we LOVE Sri Lanka and enjoyed seeing your pictures of all the food and some of our favourite places – we will share your post also….

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