When Naina & I visited Hikkaduwa which was also my first trip for 2019, what surprised us the most was the fact that there were no Indian tourists in Hikkaduwa – I think the locals seemed equally surprised by our presence too! Sure you’ll find Indian tourists in places like Colombo and Galle, the more ‘touristy’ spots. But we really thought that there would be more Indians given the proximity both the countries have, cheap flights and cheap everything literally. Hikkaduwa is super cheap especially when it comes to eating and drinking out.
By the way, Naina has shared the best blog story on our entire stay in Hikkaduwa. Click here to check it out.
When travelling, I always prefer eating the local cuisine because you can get plenty Indian back home – it’s honestly the most daft thing I’ve heard of when Indian tourists look for Indian restaurants while travelling/vacationing out of India. Why even go am I right! I get it when an Indian is living abroad because then they tend to miss the food from back home but that’s a completely different dynamic. You travel so that you can get introduced to newer things, cultures, tastes, etc.
So, I’m sharing below a list of places we ate at in Hikkaduwa – good views, good food and all very very decently priced. Hope you guys enjoy the list, decide to hit the places if you ever visit Hikkaduwa and send in more suggestions to me if you try other places that you loved.
Sunny’s Beach Cafe – A dirt cheap place with chairs, sunbeds and a covered cafe area serving the most chilled Lion beer (no stout though). Their butter prawns are actually batter covered, fried prawns and not the buttery prawns we had in mind. SO maybe just go for a nice beer and snack here.
Refresh Restaurant & Bar – Refresh is a place best enjoyed for a sundowner. It’s an old restaurant with a lot of seating but very few tables with the best sea-facing views so you might want to get there a bit early. With the good seats you are literally sitting right on top of the water since there is a very narrow and rocky beach area in front of it – because of this you won’t have too many people in front spoiling your sunset views either. They have a great selection of beers and drinks. Steer clear of their Pina-coladas they are a total waste of everyone’s time. Instead eat their local pork curry rice – the best we had during our entire stay. The pork curry is served in a clay pot and one is more than enough for 2 people.
Apart from one very talkative, borderline shady waiter (especially if you’re 2 women only) the overall vibe of Refresh was super chill, easy and with really good food.
Neela’s – Bang on a nice spot on Hikkaduwa beach, Neela’s is a popular cafe with good local food and beer. They have covered seating, chairs outside and sunbeds. But their sunbeds fill up fast so after lunch we headed on to the neighboring Drunken Monkey for the best Pina Coladas in Hikkaduwa and a sunbed to spend the rest of our day in. This part of Hikkaduwa has a nice sandy stretch where you can go in for a fun dip.
Salty Swamis – We unfortunately could not visit Salty Swamis because they were shut on that particular day due to a power outage but we’ve heard a lot about this place which is why I thought of including it in the list. It’s supposed to have hipster food which I was particularly craving that day. No sunbeds on the beach but just a sea view. really good vibe, coffee and food apparently.
Home Grown Rice & Curry Restaurant – Probably the cheapest and most authentic place to eat at for a Sri Lankan vibe.It’s cheapest because it’s not actually on the main beach stretch or even the main road along the Hikkaduwa Beach but on a by street that runs away from the beach. You need to turn at the spot where you see Hotel Blue Note and you’ll cross this place just before you cross the un-protected railway line of Hikkaduwa.
Really good fish curry rice, pork roast and a ginger beer that is so fizzy it’ll open up your nostrils ALL THE WAY.And the sweetest staff of course. We ate here multiple times because this was also the closest to our Airbnb.
Apart from this we visited Galle one of the days and ate at these places:
Heritage Cafe – A very picturesque cafe with an old world charm – definitely a hit with the insta-clicking millennials. Their food however is just average – pizza was okay, iced tea was quite nice but by all means do not order their avocado prawn salad – it was largely underwhelming – it’s also the first time I’ve even not finished a dish with avocados in it – so you get it. But yes, go here for the charm and the beautiful interiors.
Fortaleza Restaurant & Boutique Hotel – A very lush and green setting, this restaurant has a great vibe, great cocktails and a residing cat. Only thing we ordered to eat was some fusion banoffee dessert which was not that great honestly. I think it’s best to stick with Sri Lankan food when ordering at restaurants in Hikkaduwa & Galle at least (dunno about the rest)
Hikkaduwa is over-all very cheap for eating and drinking out when compared to Galle as a whole.
On a side note, it was heartbreaking to see excessive use of plastics straws, bottles, etc in Hikkaduwa. It’s a beautiful place and the locals seem to have no concept of eco-friendliness – there is an epidemic of selling packaged water in plastic bottles – not 1 restaurant/cafe had a filtration system from which regular drinking water can be offered. Instead you HAVE to buy a plastic water bottle EVERY time you want to drink water anywhere. The only place that did luckily have a filtration system was the Airbnb that we were staying at. And plastic straws being offered with all drinks. I do use metallic straws here at home but didn’t take them with me to Sri Lanka and most times you just forget to tell the waiter to NOT bring any straws. Byt the time they get you the drink and you see not 1 but 2 straws in your drink it’s all quite late and pointless. Sigh.
We live in such hipster bubbles in our cities condemning plastics straws whereas in places like these where it matters way more, nobody has a clue. I mean Hikkaduwa is literally famous for the giant turtles that visit and lay eggs on it’s beach. It’s horrifying to think of it…