April 9, 2024

The 10 best restaurants, cafes and bars in Ahangama

by Zinara Rathnayake

It’s no secret that Ahangama houses some of the most Instagrammed dining spots in the island right now. Frequented by digital nomads and those with an eye for design, this once sleepy fishing village has cemented itself as Sri Lanka’s most vibrant surf town, with a continuously evolving food scene. Take a stroll along its tiny alleyways and you’ll quickly notice contemporary chic cafes, tropical design-led bistros, rooftop sunset bars and elegant dining venues tucked away in its green jungles. With new spots open every peak tourist season (it’s when the surf’s up with bright blue skies), Ahangama’s culinary scene is only going to be more varied, and exciting—and you can go from sampling island-inspired small plates to trendy hangouts serving avo on toast within a couple of hours. This is our edit of Ahangama’s favourite cafes, bars and restaurants for anyone visiting the south coast’s lively beach town.

Cactus Ahangama

Think of a sun-dappled open pavilion by the beach, with tall desert-loving cacti leaning by the wall where all your tropical beach dreams come alive—well, that’s Cactus. Take a seat by the bar, or outside on tatami cushions in the late evening. Ahangama’s cafe darling with wicker lights and potted cacti all over, this brunch bar lately became an Instagram sensation, and for all the right reasons. The menu focuses on all-day brunch and is equally outstanding with mushroom bagels, and rhubarb French toast on offer. For something boozy and refreshing, opt for mimosa or passion caipiroska. There is also a great selection of cakes, tea and coffee. 

76, Ahangama 80600


+94 76 805 4856


The Kip 

Kip, a bohemian hideaway off the coast from Ahangama’s surf spots, doubles as the perfect, little cafe and gathering space—there’s also a boutique with locally-made products. With its lush village surroundings, cosy nooks decked with rustic tables, and terracotta-tiled floors, Kip is a welcoming retreat from Ahangama’s buzz. Sustainability and slow living are core concepts here, and they source some of their herbs and veggies from the on-site garden. Don’t sleep on the cafe’s food: Go for their breakfast tapas and stay over for coffee. Their savoury brunch bowls served with dosa, tzatziki, fried egg, and hummus are quite the crowd-favourite.  

Mahavidana Gedara, Dharmarama Road


+94 76 053 3239


Hotel de Uncles

Capital Colombo’s go-to weekend hangout bar Uncles now sports a second location right by the sea in Ahangama. And perhaps, Hotel de Uncles is just better, and a welcoming addition to Ahangama’s brunch scene with its refined take on Sri Lankan food: There are egg roti and hopper breakfasts served with fish curry, and cheese roti wraps and kottu. Drinks are clearly the winner (remember, it’s primarily a bar) with Uncles’ take on pina colada with fragrant pandan leaves. There are other creative concoctions like the Lion Strong, a blend of coconut arrack, honey, fresh lemon and local Lion beer, inspired by the island’s infamous drinking traditions. Sit outside on the deck for magical sunset views. 

No. 58, Matara road


+94 77 024 6606


Vertigo Pizzeria Italiana

Vertigo Pizzeria Italiana is exactly what the name suggests: Incredible, light, crisp, thin-crust Neapolitan pizzas served by warm, cheerful Italian chefs and owners. The pizzeria itself is quite charming with rattan lights and chairs adding to its cosy, intimate vibe, but their well-balanced menu of classics and special pizzas, paired with great wine, take the limelight. Ask for Casentina with mozzarella, homemade pork sausage, truffled potatoes and olive oil. Desserts are incredible, too—there’s affogato and focaccia served with Nutella and coconut flakes. The south coast isn’t short of incredible pizzerias, but Vertigo may be the best of them all, especially in Ahangama.  

Kathaluwa Kabalana Rd


+9477 145 3491


Abode By The Beach

Chef Jason Hudanish’s Ahangama restaurant, a skip away from Kabalana Beach, is seriously stunning—it’s right by the crashing waves with lounging chairs, the perfect spot to catch the sunset with their ingredient-forward, boat-to-table menu. For something light, start with their Peruvian-inspired tiraditos, like mahi mahi, fresh-catch oysters, or the lime-cured papaya. Mains include yellowfin tuna bowls with the perfect nori crust, Cuban-style beef picadillo, and dragon fruit poke bowls. Drinks are a lavish affair, with seasonal, island-inspired concoctions aiming to enhance the country’s evolving cocktail culture. Pick from their house sakes infused with local passion fruit and hand-muddled lime, as well as fiery wasabi margaritas garnished with red amaranth.  

Galle Road, Ahangama


+94 76 272 1712


Lighthouse Ahangama

Occupying a seaside spot by a surf break, Lighthouse Ahangama provides the ideal spot to linger over sundowners at their rooftop bar. It’s the kind of spot to go with your friends, grab drinks, and tune into their live music sessions. The bar is known for their pink martinis, good vibes and possibly the best sunset views in town. They’ve also got a beautiful lawn and a second cafe downstairs where you can spend sunny, tropical afternoons by the crashing waves all day long, with hearty, dessert-for-breakfast meals like their vegan banana cinnamon pancakes topped with cashew, palm treacle and peanut butter. 

Goviyapana, Ahangama


+9476 552 1242


Black Honey

A cafe located in Ahangama’s rice paddies framed by three swaying coconut palms, this gorgeous, Instagram worthy hangout is all about clean, white exteriors while the interiors drip in tropical modernism; arched openings lead to a little swimming pool perfect for midday dips; walls are painted in soft, earthy pinks; and bright, airy spaces are adorned with cane furnishings and tropical plants in every nook and cranny. A great spot to get work done, Black Honey is known for their coffee, but do try their post-surf snacks like the prawn egg roll, a spiced prawn and potato roll served with pumpkin puree, herb salad, poached egg, pickled red onion and crispy lotus root.

Wewilihena, Duwa Watta


+94 71 110 0650



Abrazo frequents the island’s two idyllic coasts, the east and the south, and it’s only open during the peak season in each location—from December to April in Ahangama. The vibe is unfuzzy but intimate, and cosy: It’s an open-air space with plenty of shade. This beachside hangout serves excellent Mexican fusion fare with native island ingredients like their burritos made with slow-cooked baby jackfruit in barbecue sauce, or chicken tacos with homemade peanut butter and honey sauce. The drinks are quite Instagrammable, and refreshing with sparkling raspberry lemonades on ice with mint and berries, as well as their lilac-coloured margaritas. 

No 12, Abrazo, A2 Southern Beach


+94 71 048 6313


Mr. M Rooftop

Tucked in a coconut grove by the sandy shores in Ahangama, It’s here in this gorgeous rooftop bar that Australian owner Paul Harding explores his Sri Lankan roots. Their Mr. M Rooftop–named after Paul’s late Sri Lankan grandfather serves curated fusion fare inspired by native island ingredients. Framed by coconut palms with Indian Ocean views, this rooftop hangout is open from sunset until late night for dinner and drinks. Reserve well in advance, and don’t miss the M Rooftop’s Thai prawn dumplings, perfect with an amaretto sour, or order their famous tuna tower made from the day’s catch. 

Galle, Matara Rd


+9476 057 5475


Le Cafe French Bistro 

Located in a little alley that’s easy to miss, this small, open-air French-style bakery and bistro doesn’t feature extraordinary design, but it’s gorgeous with cement floors, white-painted tables and ocean views. Grab a chair or sit on their cosy floor mats, and order their homemade bakery products. Everything here is locally sourced, made from the freshest ingredients, like the two-cheese baguette sandwiches with homemade pesto, feta and smoked scamorza. They also serve delicious chocolate tarts and passionfruit meringue tarts that pair well with iced chai, coffee and cold-pressed juices. The bistro opens in the evening and serves French classics like charcuterie platters, and handmade pasta. What’s special? You’ll quickly notice that the service staff here are all local women—another plus point for this incredible spot. 

Wella Watta, Ahangama 80650



Written by Zinara Rathnayake