You’ve probably heard of Jaffna before. It was the epicentre of the Sri Lankan civil war, so it was off-limits to tourism for a long time.
But now it’s open, and it’s a good thing because it’s a beautiful peninsula with tons to see and great food!
The best places to eat in Jaffna, according to me
Mangos Indian Veg
Mango’s Special Dosa Rs. 460 is indeed unique! It’s the richest dosa I’ve ever tasted! They drench it in ghee (clarified butter) and then add 2 big lumps of cream cheese that melts all over the mixed vegetable filling.
Rio Ice Cream
Rio Ice Cream is a famous ice cream parlour in Jaffna. Many imitations have popped up around it. But Rio’s is the original.
They have a vast selection of ice creams and milkshakes. I had vanilla ice cream covered in a hard hazelnut shell Rs. 350.
Just feast your eyes on their menu:
Ordering is a bit tricky. First, you have to place your order at the order counter, then go to the service counter and hand over your coupon. They’ll then make your ice cream.
Valampuri Hotel is not only a fancy hotel next to the Jaffna Station. They also have a popular restaurant on the ground floor filled with locals.
They have a special Jaffna cuisine menu from which I ordered the Jaffna Crab Curry. You should try the Jaffna Mutton Curry too.
D’Villa Garden House
They provide an epic breakfast of locally made dishes like String Hoopers and Pittu, and it costs just a few dollars extra a day!
Yarllini Hotel was the first restaurant I ate in after arriving in Jaffna. It was recommended by the hotel manager because he eats there, and it was a great choice!
I tried their Chicken Fried Rice Rs. 300. It comes with a chilli sambal chutney that you can mix in for extra flavour and spice. Wash it down with a bottle of Ole (ginger beer).
Their menu is only in Tamil. But basically, what’s on offer is: curry rice, fried rice, kottu, and various filled buns and wraps. The Clerk will help you decide what to order.
Nallur Bhavan Vegetarian Restaurant
Nallur Bhavan is another pure vegetarian restaurant. Very similar to Mango’s. I ordered the Chilli Parotta Rs. 300, but I would not recommend it (it’s too sweet and sickly tasting). Their Dosas and normal Parotta that comes with two curries is better.
Like many places in Jaffna, they only serve plain rice and curry at lunch, and they aren’t fully operational with the full menu until evening time.
My Favourite Beach in Jaffna
Off the top, I know, but I wanted to share the best beach I found in Jaffna.
Manatkaadu Beach is about 1-hour from Jaffna and it’s surrounded by large sand dunes where you’ll find a destroyed church and cemetery.
Just beware because the waves are powerful, so be careful swimming there.
US Hotel & Restaurant
I only got takeaway from US Hotel & Restaurant, and it was good. Try their Dosa 5-Set Rs.300 (5 dosas with sambar and tomato coconut chutney) and their Egg Kottu Rs. 300.
They’ll also deliver for free to your hotel.
Not-so-good places to eat in Jaffna
None of the below restaurants are horrible. I just found the food average. But take a look, as some of them may appeal to you.
Malayan Cafe is highly rated, but I found the flavour of their Kottu a bit lacking. Their “Indian Sweets” didn’t taste much like India either. But it is billed as a pure Indian vegetarian option in town, so this place might be right for you.
Lavin’s Vegetarian Family Restaurant
Lavin’s might interest you if you’re looking for pure vegetarian food. My problem is it was a little overpriced, and there are better options like Nullur Bhavan.
If they post helped you, please leave a comment.