Where to Eat in Jaffna: The Best Restaurants and Bars

April 6, 2018 Randal Brittian

Jaffna (Tamil: யாழ்ப்பாணம், translit. Yāḻppāṇam, Sinhalese: යාපනය, translit. Yāpanaya) is the capital city of the Northern Province of Sri Lanka. It is the administrative headquarters of the Jaffna district located on a peninsula of the same name. With a population of 88,138, Jaffna is Sri Lanka's 12th largest city. Jaffna is approximately six miles (9.7 kilometres) from Kandarodai which served as an emporium in the Jaffna peninsula from classical antiquity. Jaffna's suburb Nallur served as the capital of the four-century-long medieval Jaffna kingdom. Prior to the Sri Lankan civil war, it was Sri Lanka's second most populated city after the commercial capital Colombo. The 1980s insurgent uprising led to extensive damage, expulsion of part of the population, and military occupation. Since the end of civil war in 2009, refugees and internally displaced people have started to return to their homes and government and private sector reconstruction has begun.
Things to do in Jaffna

1. Cosy Restaurant

15 Sirampiradi Lane, Jaffna 40000, Sri Lanka Takeout, Reservations, Seating, Waitstaff, Serves Alcohol, Delivery Indian, Asian, Sri Lankan, Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan Options Lunch, Dinner, Late Night +94 21 2 225899
Excellent
26%
Good
41%
Satisfactory
15%
Poor
8%
Terrible
10%
Overall Ratings

3.5 based on 175 reviews

Cosy Restaurant

Reviewed By barefootmart - Toronto, Canada

If you come at 6 pm the tandoori oven is just getting started so you will have a wait if you're getting anything from this oven including naan. Lassi's were good had a deep fried ? waiting for the oven. Had the garlic prawn...spicy well cooked but small. Chetinad mixed veg. curry was excellent but really hot if you've never had it. Naan was very good. You can bring in a beer into the back garden/tandoori area...just keep the can/bottle down...Staff will assist or will even get you a beer from down the street.

2. Malayan Cafe

36-38 Grand Bazaar, Jaffna 40000, Sri Lanka Takeout, Seating, Waitstaff Indian, Cafe, Asian, Sri Lankan, Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan Options Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Brunch +94 21 2 222373
Excellent
42%
Good
37%
Satisfactory
10%
Poor
6%
Terrible
5%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 204 reviews

Malayan Cafe

Reviewed By dogadoga - Ispra, Italy

Last time we were eating with hands from a banana leaf was in southern India. So it was a place to remember a previous trip.
Anyway there is not much choice. You get four types of curry together with bread and other baked stuff.
If you are still hungry, they will give you a bit more, so don't worry to leave this premise in a hungry mode.
You have to use your right which, obviously, can be washed afterwards. Interestingly, you have to carry away the "empty" banana leafs to some counter where they will be washed for further use.
The place is inexpensive. enjoy!
The premise is obviously quite simple but nevertheless they serve very good veggie curries. The costs are very low.

3. Mangos

359/3 Temple Rd | Nallur, Jaffna 40000, Sri Lanka Takeout, Reservations, Outdoor Seating, Seating, Waitstaff, Parking Available, Wheelchair Accessible Indian, Asian, Sri Lankan, Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan Options, Gluten Free Options Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Brunch, Late Night +94 21 2 228294
Excellent
55%
Good
32%
Satisfactory
10%
Poor
1%
Terrible
2%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 455 reviews

Mangos

Reviewed By DURAN85 - Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Jaffna's famous vegetarian restaurant. Their food was fresh and not very expensive. Good place to dine in or simply to take away. It is famous among locals too for the good vegetarian foods. Try their cheese kottu & mango lassi (as recommended by our guide)

4. Rio Ice Cream

448A Point Pedro Rd, Jaffna 40000, Sri Lanka Takeout, Outdoor Seating, Seating, Waitstaff, Parking Available, Validated Parking, Wheelchair Accessible Vegetarian Friendly Late Night, Drinks +94 21 2 227224
Excellent
45%
Good
37%
Satisfactory
12%
Poor
3%
Terrible
3%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 476 reviews

Rio Ice Cream

Reviewed By DURAN85 - Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Though it says Rio ice cream,they do offer snacks and tea. We went for an evening tea. It is very close to Nallur temple.Moreover,good news for vegetarians is that they do have vegetarian cakes(means no eggs mixed) for evening tea apart from other veg snacks.Spacious and good place for snacks or ice cream based desserts in Jaffna.

5. Lingan Ice Cream

Ab20, Jaffna 40000, Sri Lanka Takeout, Seating Cafe
Excellent
49%
Good
30%
Satisfactory
16%
Poor
5%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 36 reviews

Lingan Ice Cream

Reviewed By Mohan_Wijebandara - Colombo, Sri Lanka

Visited the place after seeing some good reviews but the service was very poor. They didn't even notice us for quite some time. There are fewe good options around.

6. Green Grass Hotel & Restaurant

33 Aseervatham Lane | Hospital Road, Jaffna 40000, Sri Lanka Wheelchair Accessible, Full Bar, Reservations, Outdoor Seating, Seating, Waitstaff, Parking Available, Serves Alcohol, Accepts American Express, Accepts Mastercard, Accepts Visa, Takeout, Television, Free Wifi, Accepts Credit Cards Indian, Seafood, Asian, Sri Lankan, Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan Options Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner +94 21 2 224385
Excellent
25%
Good
36%
Satisfactory
26%
Poor
6%
Terrible
7%
Overall Ratings

3.5 based on 179 reviews

Green Grass Hotel & Restaurant

Reviewed By Ali Akbar K

I visited this hotel after Seven year. Many improvements such as swimming pool, spacious restaurant, new accommodation units etc. The hospitality is very good and staff well trained. From reception to room service, restaurant attendants are very friendly. I would recommend this hotel for Family, Business and leisure based visit to Jaffna

7. Fort Hammenhiel Restaurant

Karainagar, Jaffna 40000, Sri Lanka Reservations, Outdoor Seating, Seating, Waitstaff, Serves Alcohol Sri Lankan, Chinese, Indian, Seafood, Asian, Vegetarian Friendly Lunch, Brunch, Breakfast, Dinner +94 11 3 818215
Excellent
43%
Good
27%
Satisfactory
21%
Poor
9%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 61 reviews

Fort Hammenhiel Restaurant

Reviewed By louierh - Paris, France

The setting is beautiful and the sunset view from this restaurant is even more so. There is outdoor Seating and also an airconditioned indoor Seating. The facilities are very clean and well-maintained and the staff are very friendly. Unfortunately, the food is just ok. The prices are reasonable and not at all expensive but you can get better from other places. But it's still worth coming here for a sundowner.

8. Akshathai/Nila

60 Stanley Rd, Jaffna 40000, Sri Lanka Takeout, Seating, Waitstaff Indian, Asian, Sri Lankan, Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan Options Lunch, Breakfast, Dinner +94 21 2 219946
Excellent
50%
Good
36%
Satisfactory
4%
Poor
8%
Terrible
2%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 46 reviews

Akshathai/Nila

Reviewed By lakshmanisaac - Kandy, Sri Lanka

We walked into Akshathai/Nila for a good vegetarian breakfast, and we're very happy with the service and qulity of the food must be the best in jaffna will recommend this place to everyone will be visiting again very soon

9. Nila

286 Stanley Road, Jaffna 40000, Sri Lanka Seating, Reservations, Waitstaff Indian, Chinese, Asian, Sri Lankan, Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan Options Lunch, Dinner +94 21 2 219946
Excellent
41%
Good
26%
Satisfactory
17%
Poor
8%
Terrible
8%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 23 reviews

Nila

Reviewed By Margaret N - Melb

Although the food was acceptable (though not as good as some other Jaffna eating places, Sunday lunch may not be the best time to visit Nila, as the food selection was very limited. When you first walk in, you go into a courtyard and there was no staff for quite a while to show us where needed to go to find a table. They seemed to be short of staff, although service was quite quick after we ordered our meal. The meal was acceptable but there were no drinks apart from bottled soft drinks. It was just a meal - which suited us but if you wanted something reallly special you would probably be disappointed.

10. Cosy Vege

272 Stanley Road, Jaffna 40000, Sri Lanka Reservations, Seating, Waitstaff, Serves Alcohol Indian, Asian, Sri Lankan, Vegetarian Friendly Lunch, Dinner +94 21 2 227100
Excellent
40%
Good
34%
Satisfactory
10%
Poor
13%
Terrible
3%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 29 reviews

Cosy Vege

Reviewed By SudarsK - Colombo, Sri Lanka

The place is very clean with friendly staff. They have a variety of menu and the foods are very tasty too.

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