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Palmyrah (Hotel Renuka)

328, Hotel Renuka, Galle Road, Colombo 3

Palmyrah has long been one of the best places in the city for Sri Lankan food. They've expanded well into Western and Indian too, the food is great, and it's also a comfy, quiet, chilled space to dine at.

Nestled in the basement of the Renuka Hotel, Palmyrah is a little gem that serves authentic Northern Sri Lankan cuisine and hoppers. We weren't able to try out their legendary aappa this time around, but did have some pretty mindblowing mutton rolls.

Ambience and Service

You walk into a neat, cool and spacious dining area tastefully furnished with simple and comfortable tables and chairs. Nothing much has changed over the last few years except the colour of some of the upholstery. There's a splash of teal amongst the beige.

The waitstaff ushers you to a table and service is swift, efficient, and friendly — and best of all, they are actually honest about portion sizes and let you know what you'll be getting. For instance, I asked if a portion of rice was enough for two servings or just one, and our server told us that one would suffice. Seeing my excitement over spotting masala chai on the menu, he told me that it's a tea bag, not brewed from scratch; which I found very thoughtful and helpful: we basically avoided a disappointing experience. Likewise, he helped us through our orders and was conscientious throughout, down to asking for preferred sugar and ice levels in our drinks, and delivering it to the dot. Unfortunately, we weren't able to get his name.

However, we did get a complimentary basket of pappadam and a cup of perfectly brewed rasam.

Food and Drink

The prices range from middle-end to slightly more expensive: you can expect to put down about Rs 1500 - 2000 per head. There's a Western Menu and a local one, with Palmyrah recommendations and 'legends': their more popular dishes, I suppose. I love how they've stuck to the native names of the dishes with a brief description of what it is (e.g. Porichcha Meen Sambol: diced fried fish tossed with sliced onion and green chillies).

For appetizers, we started off with a portion of mutton rolls. Priced at Rs. 600 for 3 rolls, we reconsidered getting this dish because it seemed too expensive, but whatever apprehensions we had about it disappeared the moment we bit into it. For 'rolls', it's actually more of an elongated cutlet so the size is a bit of a disappointment, but the cutlet (roll?) itself was delicious: fresh out-of-the-wok hot, this was a bread-crumb coated and fried mashed-potato concoction stuffed with flavourful and aromatic minced mutton.

We eyed the last remaining roll with utter sadness as Dili and I split it between the two of us and squashed the temptation to order another portion.

For mains, we got a bowl of Saffron Rice (Rs. 290) with Beef Paal Poriyal and Poori Potato, both priced at Rs. 790 and Rs. 400 respectively.

The rice was slightly dry, but nicely made with batterfried onions and tempered spiced karapincha mixed in with it. The Poori Potato was creamy and milky, with a lot of potato in the dish: this was easily enough for 3-4 people (but maybe order it with some dosai instead, I feel it'd be better as a dip instead of something to go with rice).

The Beef Poriyal (a slow cooked, semi-dry dish) was superbly spiced, not too much heat packed in it but full of flavour. The beef was surprisingly soft and succulent, and diced into convenient, bite-sized pieces. It went great with the yellow rice.

For drinks, we ordered iced coffee and a lime juice. The iced coffee (you can get it with or without ice cream, I opted for without) was creamy (Milkmaid?) but had a strong and flavoursome caffeine aftertaste which we really liked.

We asked for a sugar-free lime juice and received just that: a strong glass full of fresh lime with the acidity counterbalanced with just the right amount of water so that the flavour wasn't diluted.


In case it wasn't clear, let me reiterate: we really enjoyed our meal here and would definitely drop in again for both their amazing service and the food. And the mutton rolls, despite the heavy price tag.

All Reviews

The good old Palmyrah is still consistent with their flavours.

Palmyrah is one of the places we 'd recommend twice over for their authentic food and great service.

Palmyrah has long been one of the best places in the city for Sri Lankan food. They've expanded well into Western and Indian too, the food is great, and it's also a comfy, quiet, chilled space to dine at.

Palmyrah has long been one of the best places in the city for - Sri Lankan food. A cuisine type which, quite bafflingly, is massively underrepresented in the capital of Sri Lanka.

සිංහල රේණුකා හොටෙල් එකේ පැල්මයිරා රෙස්ටොරන්ට් එක

සිංහල ලංකාවේ කෑමවලට කොළඹ තියෙන ඉහළ මට්ටමේ තැන් කිහිපයෙන් පට්ට තැනක් තමයි රේණුකා හෝටලේ ‘පැල්මයිරා’ අවන්හල.

සිංහල කොළඹ පුරවරයේ හොඳම දේශීය ආහාර පිරිනමන තැනක් කලක පටන් පිහිටා තිබෙනවා කොල්ලුපිටියේ රේනුකා හෝටලයේ. ඒ තමයි, පැල්මයිරා.


328, Hotel Renuka, Galle Road, Colombo 3


Right on the Galle Road in Kollupitiya, on the corner of Sellamuttu Avenue, almost opposite Burger King. Once you walk into the Hotel, go straight in and take the staircase to the basement.


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