Raheema Hotel

Cumaratunga Munidasa Mawatha, Colombo, Sri Lanka

If you're in Colombo 7 and you're craving a good biriyani, Raheema is one of the first places that will come to mind. That's exactly the situation we found ourselves in, and we're glad we dropped in.

Street Biryani Success

It's those golden grains again... We seem to go through phases here at YAMU first it was lamprais now it's Biryani. So far, however, our quest for a street-side biryani that really does justice to South Asia's celebration on a plate hasn't been too successful. The Maradana stalwart- Buhari and the ever-popular Big Bite fell short on the deliciousness index so our next destination was another Biryani heavy weight - Raheema's, on Thurstan Road.

Raheema Hotel has been upscale Colpetty's supplier of godamba rotis, Maldive fish sambol and that particular Sri Lankan Muslim style roasted /grilled chicken for generations. Their Biryani lunch, however, rather than finding its way into the mansions of Bagatalle road, is a favorite with the area's office/shop workers and students from the neighboring Colombo University and Thurstan College.

While Raheema's is rather humble by the standards of Flower Road/ 5th Lane vicinity eateries, the workaday downstairs is clean and, at lunch time, typically full of people digging their fingers into steaming bowls of biryani. Seeing our lunch-choice endorsed by two dozen other diners was encouraging, as was the fact that the biryani appeared almost instantly, spooned out of a very promising looking copper vat. As it appeared we sensed we were on much more solid Biryani ground. In addition to chicken and rice there were condiments (unlike Big Bite) curry gravy- mint/coconut sambol, onion sambol, and an egg. The first bite with its hit of rose water, stock and spice confirmed our positive impression. The rice, even without any condiments, was actually moist, rich and falvorful. With the condiments piled on things really began to look (and taste) good. The leg of Sri Lankan Muslim style chicken was crispy skinned, lightly spiced with meltingly soft. The curry gravy was more a curry broth - full of flavor and not a tasteless amorphous ooze. The mint/coconut sambol added tang and that chili-kick and there was the onion sambol for astringency. Topped with a perfectly boiled egg this was Sri Lankan street-side biryani as it should be; a special alternative to your day to day buth packet and more than just chicken and rice.

Now this isn't your catered Muslim wedding style biryani - the rice is short grained (not basmati), the saffron non-existent, the cardamoms fractional, the raita absent - but for Rs 330 lunchtime fuel a very worthy option.


They now deliver for just Rs. 50 as a delivery cost


Cumaratunga Munidasa Mawatha, Colombo, Sri Lanka


coming down Thurstan Rd, past the Alfred Place turn off, Raheema is right opposite the Thurstan College pool entrance.


Open 8 AM to 10 PM daily

Price Range

Between Rs. 200 - Rs. 500

Dish Types


Ratings Breakdown

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