2019 Sep 14
To be an islander is to be one with seafood and what is seafood without the glorious king of the crustaceans. I personally have a soft spot for crabs and unfortunately the best crab spots are hidden away in beach wadiyas across the country so commoners like us who do not have constant access to such a heaven have to make do with the restaurants closer to home.
Crab is such a delicious conundrum. It requires both patience and the willingness to get down and dirty, but the reward is well worth it to most. For an island with an abundance of seafood, good crab can be surprisingly hard to find, but there are a few trusty spots that do it justice.
Here’s a list of where to go to get your crab fix.
The Fat Crab
Address: 53 Haig Road, Colombo 4
Opening hours: 12 PM – 2:30 PM, 6 PM – 10:30 PM
The Fat Crab is one of the few crab-centric restaurants in Colombo. One does not simply walk into The Fat Crab to have anything other than crab. Look out for the Spicy Negombo Devilled Crab and Garlic Butter Crab.
If you haven’t already been to The Fat Crab, ordering a crab-based meal here involves two steps. First you pick the size of the crab that ranges from 350g to 800g upwards (price depends on the weight of the crab) and then you add the necessary accompaniments and carbs to satisfy your desires
Crab cannot be enjoyed properly if you’re keen on keeping your table manners, which is exactly why The Fat Crab has a motto that says “No fuss – Make a Mess.” So take that advice, use your hands all you want because there’s no one here to judge you, and bask in this seafood goodness.
Ministry Of Crab
Address: Dutch Hospital Shopping Precinct, Colombo 1
Opening hours: 12 PM – 3:30 PM, 6 PM – 10:30 PM
The Ministry of Crab is aptly named as its policy is to serve the finest, export-quality crab only found in Sri Lanka. Following its opening in the restored old hospital building, the restaurant rapidly became a trend setter and a favourite with both locals and tourists alike.
From quality of ingredients to character to location, this Dharshan Munidasa joint has it all. It even has celebrity co-owners in Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardena. More than anything else, however, people come here for the crab. It is not exactly the nicest to your purse strings but it is definitely delicious.
Address: Cinnamon Grand, 77, Galle Road, Colombo 3
Opening hours: 12 PM – 2.30 PM, 7 PM – 12 AM
The Lagoon is a fine dining seafood restaurant located in Colombo’s Cinnamon Grand Hotel. Freshly caught crabs of varying sizes and colours are displayed upon a bed of ice and can be chosen with the preferred style of preparation and sides. You can pick how you want your seafood and the chefs will do the rest.
It truly is a treat to see the open kitchen prepare all what will eventually be in your tummy. The flavours are sublime and curries absolutely top knotch. Maybe opt for the Singapore chilli-style crab meat and thank me later.
Yarl Eat House
Address: 46/1 Station Road, Wellawatte
Opening hours: 11 AM – 3 PM, 6 PM – 10.30 PM
The Yarl Eat House is perhaps Sri Lanka’s best street-diner, serving spicy crab and a plethora of seafood with a solid rice and curry, all for a reasonable price. The Yarl is quite literally a hole in the wall. As you go down W.A. Silva Mawatha, past the Galle Road, it turns into Station Road. Not five meters in, you’ll see this tiny restaurant. There is no parking at all down the narrow lane and it’s recommended that you take a trishaw or park upfront somewhere and make your journey down.
Off The Hook
Address: 180, Park Road, Colombo 5
Opening hours: 12 PM – 3 PM, 6.30 PM – 11 PM
Off The Hook is a fresh seafood restaurant located on Park Road run by the same management as The Bavarian German Restaurant. You will notice when you walk in an entire tank filled with live crabs lurking about basking under a little waterfall resembling a raunchy GQ photo shoot for sea creatures.
Off The Hook is not exactly cheap but it has simple, tasteful décor and stellar service. They also do a nice lunch crab meal deal for two which comes to around Rs. 4,500. Their menu is quite a treat with options to absolutely spoil and intimidate you but the waiters can guide you in the right direction. If in doubt, choose the Jaffna crab.
Address: 2, Hilton Colombo Hotel, Fort, Colombo 1
Opening hours: 7 PM – 12 AM
Curry Leaf is the Hilton’s Sri Lankan restaurant, and their spread of local cuisine and fresh seafood is top notch. If you can afford the taxes, this is a must try. Their crabs are fresh and you could totally tell they went to boarding school and had a good life.
Richly decorated, this romantic Colombo restaurant offers guests an authentic Sri Lankan experience with a wide selection of local cuisine. Hand pick your dinner from the exquisite seafood market and have it prepared exactly to your liking as you relax in the landscaped gardens by a Lotus pond or in the thatched dining area at this popular Colombo restaurant.
Address: Taj Samudra, 25 Galle Face Center Rd, 80500
Opening Hours: 12:30 PM – 2:30 PM
Taj Samudra’s Crab Factory is the new indulgence for crab lovers. With a restaurant dedicated for the sole purpose of tantalizing your taste buds with a unique array of crabs prepared according to your preferences, it certainly is the place to dine in style.
This restaurant offers a variety of exotic crab preparations for you to pick from. For crab lovers, here’s the place to indulge in a scrumptious spread. The place is a cosy little area with an ambience that would suit any occasion.